is a 200-year-old medical system that uses dilute amounts of plants,
minerals, and animals to treat patients.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples was during a cholera epidemic in Cincinnati in 1849. Two hospitals, one conventional and the other homeopathic, published the names of those who died.
Recently, however, the word homeopathy has become frequently, casually, and inaccurately used. Homeopathy has become such an umbrella term that those practitioners who use and study homeopathy in the original way have become designated as classical homeopaths. Classical homeopaths maintain the guidelines set forth by Hahnemann. They focus on a complete healing rather than simply a temporary improvement. Further, they adhere to the philosophy of treating the entire person rather than one or two symptoms. To understand the significance of this, lets look at some of the newer uses of homeopathy.
In Europe, there are many practitioners who use combination remedies. For example, if an arthritic patient visits this type of homeopath, he or she will receive a prescription for 3 to 6 remedies combined in one dose. Each remedy component of the prescription will heal one aspect of arthritis. For instance, Rhus tox will target the early morning stiffness with relief from heat. Several other remedies, Phosphorus, Ruta grav, and Calcarea carbonica, will target the same symptoms.
Each remedy, however, has a unique profile. The patient who will most benefit from Rhus tox is likely to suffer from restless sleep, crave cold milk, and may have sciatica. Similarly, Phosphorus will best help those who have the arthritis and cold drink craving and may have ulcers or respiratory problems. Giving Phosphorus to the patient who needs Rhus tox (or vice versa) may result in a short term improvement with an eventual return of symptoms or it may do nothing. The goal of homeopathic practitioners who use multiple remedies is that one or more of the remedies will correct the situation and the long interview involved in putting together a specific profile of the patient can be avoided. It is frequently effective. The positive side to this is that the patient is in less pain with a minimal to no side effects. The negative side is that the patients arthritis has not been healed and he or she must continue to take the remedy combination for years.
Another type of homeopathy called isopathy has emerged more recently. In it, doctors have taken substances such as contemporary drugs and pollutants, diluted them and used them as homeopathic medicine. The new medicine is then used to treat either the same diseases as the drug or the pollutant-derived symptoms. There is no testing of these remedies.
homeopathy and isopathy may improve symptoms, but they dont
effect a lasting change, nor do they address the mental and emotional
aspects of an illness. Classical homeopathic remedies are based
on 200 years of study, use, and research. It takes years of
study and practice before a doctor can become proficient in homeopathy.
(A famous homeopath once said that it takes ten years before one becomes
a good homeopath.) The sheer amount of study involved is intimidating
to many physicians and has encouraged them to venture in less effective
uses of homeopathic remedies. A classical homeopath must study hundreds
of remedies and learn the unique mental/emotional/physical profile
of each. But on the strength of this knowledge, the classical
homeopath can safely and effectively help the patient.