Homeopathy may seem like just an alternative form of medicine, like essential oils or herbals used in healing, but it’s so much more than that.
Learning about homeopathy includes learning about the entire body and how it functions when it is healthy and when it is ill. Once you learn anatomy, then you can begin to learn the different ways you can heal the body using thousands of combinations of minerals and plants. It can seem overwhelming to a beginner in the field of homeopathy and it can take years of learning and practice to become an expert. Watch this video that gives a good explanation about Homeopathy and discusses whether or not this is a real science.
The Federal Trade Commission explains that in homeopathy, diluted versions of an illness put into a sick person will cure the person of that illness. For example, a person with cancer can be given diluted versions of the cancer and that will help the body heal itself. The Society of Homeopaths describes the practice as “treating like with like”. If a substance can cause an illness when given in large amounts, then it can also heal a person when given in smaller amounts. It is hard to make sense of this process and this way of thinking. While it sounds like it should be a simple concept, it has very confusing elements, both positive and negative.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health makes it known there are some unpopular aspects of homeopathy:
- The FDA regulates homeopathy but does not evaluate its safety
- There is not much evidence to support the use of homeopathy instead of traditional medicine
- Even though diluted, the substances used in homeopathy can still cause drug interactions or side effects
- Some homeopathic medicines are so diluted they hardly have any of the natural medicine remaining in the product, which causes many to question how it would even work with such a low amount provided
Homeopathy vs. Traditional Medicine
There are many differences between homeopathy and traditional medical practices.
In fact, at times they can seem almost completely opposite of one another. The National Center for Homeopathy differentiates between homeopathy and traditional medicine. Homeopathic medicines are made from plants and minerals while traditional medicines use synthetic drugs that are made in a lab. Homeopathic remedies may come in the form of sugar pills, liquid drops or supplements, while traditional medicines come in the form of a pill, usually with a hard coating.
Homeopathy for Life claims homeopathy works with the body’s natural defense mechanisms to fight illnesses and diseases while traditional medicine tends to use synthetic medications as a treatment. It is a natural form of treatment versus a man-made type of treatment.
Differences between homeopathy and conventional medicines include conventional medicine being prescribed to control the symptoms a person is having but not curing the person of the illness. Homeopathy, while it can be lethal in large doses, works on the immune system through small diluted doses of plants and minerals. By working on the immune system, the remedies are assisting the body in healing and curing itself.
Homeopathic practitioners tend to follow the Law of Similars in which they compare their techniques to traditional methods in some ways. In traditional medical practices, an adult with ADHD will be prescribed some form of medicine treating hyperactivity with an amphetamine. The theory is that what can produce something in a healthy person (example: runny nose, eyes watering when cutting onions), can heal a person who is experiencing a cold that causes them to have symptoms of a runny nose and watery eyes.
Homeopathic remedies may best be of use in the prevention of illnesses and diseases. While it cannot prevent diseases, it can help build up the immune system that can fight illnesses and diseases. Even traditional practitioners will tell you that prevention is a major key in living a long and healthy life.
Types of Homeopaths
Homeopathic followers can fall into different categories according to how they acquire and how they implement the remedies into their daily routines.
One of the hardest things for homeopathic supporters to do is to remain consistent in taking their remedies. Some are super strict with their homeopathic routines while others are very relaxed in using their remedies. According to Dr. Edzard Ernst, there are numerous types of homeopaths. The types and styles have changed throughout the last two centuries.
The most current types of homeopaths include the following:
- The purist homeopath – this type strictly follows all homeopathic rules and does not stray from using only approved homeopathic medicines.
- The liberal homeopath – this type finds it useful to mix conventional medicines with homeopathic medicines.
- The occasional homeopath – these only use homeopathy on rare occasions, leading researches to think they don’t really believe in the practice of homeopathy but don’t see the harm in adding it to a conventional regiment.
- The DIY homeopath – this group involves all the at-home do-it-yourself homeopaths who do not have training but feel they can figure out the best treatment for them. They usually buy over the counter homeopathic medicines and use as instructed on the side of the bottle with no professional care. This is the largest group of the four today. It seems with the introduction of the internet, many people feel they can be their own homeopathic practitioner. However, this way of thinking can lead to dangerous results if one is not careful.
Remedies Used in Homeopathy
Rather than call their treatments “medicines”, homeopathic practitioners call them “remedies”.
Homeopathy claims there are many different animals, plants and even chemicals that can be used to make homeopathic medicines. These include plants such as the red onion which is sometimes used a base for medicines. Chemicals like nitrous acid, iron and phosphorous are used, as well as snake poisons and milk taken from sick animals.
This sounds very dangerous but the claim is that homeopathy dilutes the material so much that they are no longer dangerous to ingest by humans. If diluted to a safer level, it makes skeptics wonder if the remedy is actually doing any good or if it is more of a placebo. Remedies can be used to treat many mental health disorders.
For anxiety, typical remedies include:
- Aconitum napellas or wolf’s bane, a perennial plant is used for panic attacks
- Silver nitrate for dizziness associated with anxiety
- Gelsemium- a twisting and turning vine that is usually found in the tropical regions is used for anxiety chills and sweats
- Natrum muriaticum- or salt, can be used for chest pains associated with anxiety
Remedies used in treating various types of depression include extracts from the seeds of a St. Ignatius bean tree, stavesacre, table salt and even gold. While people may think anything made of gold can make them feel better, it can be a lengthy trial and error process and evaluation of the whole body to determine the right combination for each person.
Some practitioners claim homeopathy can help with autism using the Houston Homeopathy Method. This method has been created by four homeopathic practitioners, one of them being Cindy Griffin. She claims, as do her colleagues, that many cases of autism stem from vaccines the child received earlier in their lives. It is the goal of homeopathy to reverse the effects the vaccine created through individualized and structured treatments using a variety of medicines from plants and minerals. Treating autism with Homeopathy is done by some practitioners using isopathy which involves giving the patient treatments of the materials that actually gave them an illness in the first place, just in diluted forms. Treatments also focus on healing the gastrointestinal tracts and the bowels.
Other mental health problems that can be treated with homeopathic remedies include grief, violence, addiction, and insomnia. On top of these mental health disorders, there are many more medical problems that can be treated with homeopathy, ranging from asthma to the flu to cancer.
How to Become a Homeopath
If you are thinking about becoming a homeopathic practitioner, there are steps to follow.
You cannot just hang a sign on your door and call yourself a homeopath after reading a few articles and watching YouTube videos. There are many principles within the field you must understand before prescribing remedies to others. The School of Homeopathy suggests before beginning any training towards becoming a homeopath, it is important to ask the following questions:
- Why do you want to be a homeopathic practitioner? Is it to make money, help others who don’t want to use traditional medicines? Make sure your reasons are valid.
- Have you ever had homeopathic treatments before? It will be quite hard to sell homeopathic remedies to a customer if you don’t truly know what you are selling.
- Do you have the time and money it takes to educate yourself? This field is not a quick process, not in the certification or the practice itself.
- Will you be able to run your own business and be self-employed? Most practitioners are self-employed and need basic business skills such as accounting and marketing.
The National Center for Homeopathy states there is no licensing board for homeopaths but there are numerous programs for certifications. For instance, a person can get certified through the Council for Homeopathic Certification, the American Board of Homeotherapeutics, and the North American Society of Homeopaths.
There are classes and practice training experiences needed to become a homeopathic practitioner. Classes such as anatomy and physiology, foundations of homeopathy and even business courses can help a person get certified in homeopathy. The more education and training experience acquired the better. Clients tend to trust a homeopath who has a broad education in the field rather than someone who has simply taken a few courses online.
You would not allow an untrained surgeon to operate on you so don’t let an untrained homeopathic practitioner prescribe you remedies that may not be beneficial.
What to Know Before Starting Homeopathy
If you are considering homeopathic medicine, there are important facts you need to be aware of before you begin:
- It is possible you can have an allergic reaction to the remedy you are given, depending on how sensitive you are to certain plants and minerals. If you do have an allergic reaction, seek help immediately through a traditional family doctor.
- It takes a long time for homeopathic remedies to realize their full potential.
- The practitioner will need to know a great deal of information about you before he or she can prescribe a remedy.
- Remedies work best on acute illnesses such as the flu versus the diseases that have been lingering for years like end-stage cancers.
- In order for homeopathy to work, you may be expected to change your lifestyle and quit taking traditional medicines prescribed to you by a medical doctor.
- Know what training your practitioner has had in the area of homeopathy. The more they know the better chances you will have at receiving good remedies. Do not allow someone to treat you who does not have the basic educational classes required by certification programs.
There are both pros and cons of using homeopathy as a form of treatment to heal disease and illness in the body. It can be a long process of experimenting with different remedies until you find the one that works best for your body so you have to have patience.
Before beginning any homeopathic treatments it is important to know the clinical background of the practitioner.
Make sure the practitioner is an educator and teaches you about homeopathy along the way so you understand what remedy is being used and why. Although you may be against using traditional medicines, it is still very important that you discuss with your family doctor whether or not you are using homeopathic remedies. Being honest with your entire team of practitioners is one of the most important steps in your recovery. Many medical doctors will be supportive of your efforts to use homeopathic remedies before trying synthetic drugs.
They may even suggest you implement other holistic forms of treatment such as acupuncture or yoga to assist in your healing. The motto of the story is that knowledge is everything. Answer all your questions regarding homeopathy before beginning any treatments.