Questions you always wanted to ask. Understanding the basics would help you take more responsibility for your health.
Homeopathy, a therapeutic system used for over 250 years, works on the principle that ‘like cures like’ — an illness is treated with a substance which could produce similar symptoms in a healthy person. However, medicines are given in highly diluted forms and are therefore extremely safe and have no side-effects.
It is a holistic system of treatment. It aims to treat the whole person, rather than just the physical symptoms.
The homeopath will ask not only about your illness but also about how you are affected by environmental factors such as temperature and the weather, what kinds of food you eat or avoid, your moods and feelings as well as your medical history in order to establish a complete picture of you, as a person. This is then related to the description of your current symptoms in order to prescribe the correct remedy at the right potency and repetition.
Whereas in allopathic medical practice, people diagnosed with the same condition will generally be given the same medicine.
Every individual reacts and adapts in a different way to their surroundings and this is accepted and respected in homoeopathy for remedy selection and its dosage.
The way people adapt to new home, family, or work environment; their reaction to external circumstances; their past and present experiences; and their general state of mind are all key attributes of patient assessment and treatment.
The subsequent consultations entail discussions about what has happened to the particular symptom(s) – are there changes in intensity or frequency, has the patient noticed any changes in his/her general health (appetite, sleep, bowel habit etc.).
To a homeopath, this most recent picture is again a new symptom totality that needs to be addressed; the medicines are again prescribed taking this changing totality into consideration.
The second prescription is therefore based on the new symptom totality – which may also change from patient to patient even in cases where the diagnosis of the disorder might be similar.
In homeopathy there are no fixed rules for describing a particular ‘plan of treatment’ for a particular disorder – the doctor would prescribe based on the totality of the presenting symptoms, then fine tune and adjust according to changes reported by the patient.
According to homoeopathy, mind and body are very much linked and physical problems cannot be effectively cured without understanding and putting right the person’s constitution and character. Constitution means a person’s state of health, including their temperament and any inherited and acquired characteristics. To determine the constitution of a person, a homeopath usually asks a great many questions.
Homeopathy believes that if your constitution is healthy, you will not succumb to any infection, i.e. bacteria and viruses will not affect you as your susceptibility is low. This is the basic difference between allopathy and homeopathy.
For example, allopaths or conventional doctors believe that one becomes sick due to infection, i.e. bacteria and viruses; hence their treatment is aimed at killing the infection using strong drugs. This however, further reduces the immunity of the person making it weaker and the person becomes more susceptible and falls sick again and again. Homeopaths believe, however, that first your constitution becomes weak and then you become susceptible to infection. The bacteria and viruses are the end products of disease process and not the cause of disease. The bacteria and viruses are everywhere; they will not affect you till your immunity is strong.
The treatment is aimed at raising the vitality, i.e. immunity of the person so that he can fight out the disease himself. This is why homeopathy is able to cure permanently while in allopathy there are frequent remissions.
Unlike allopathy, homeopathy is not readymade but tailormade to suit an individual. Therefore, two people are unlikely to be prescribed the same remedy. One remedy may be prescribed constitutionally for general bodily imbalances and another remedy may be prescribed simultaneously for specific, acute symptoms.
On the subsequent visit the remedies may be changed depending upon the progress of the patient. Thus, we can say that in homoeopathy we use designer remedies designed especially for an individual.
Several factors are considered while deciding the potency of the remedy prescribed like, condition to be treated, the strength of the patient, the age of the patient, the sensitivity of the patient, and the circumstances. Not only must the remedy given be suitable, but the potency chosen must also be appropriate to the individual patient.
Usually after taking a well-indicated medicine, the person feels better in all aspects – physical, mental and emotional. Occasionally after taking a medicine your symptoms may become slightly worse. This effect will be brief and is a good sign that the body’s natural healing energies have started to counteract the illness. After this, the symptoms will subside as you regain your health. If symptoms do not go away, talk to your homeopathy doctor.
It is a myth. It does not happen to all cases and always, if the chosen remedy matches the patient’s need. But if repeated more than the need or the potency is too high, often increases the complaints, but it would subside on its own as soon as the medicine is withdrawn.
Sometimes, a patient who is dependent on some other medicines, for example, steroids, stops them, then he gets the original disease symptoms, and considers that the disease has aggravated.
- Avoid putting anything in your mouth for half-an-hour before or after taking your medicine. This is because medicines get absorbed from the inner linings of the mouth. Substances usually leave a coating in the oral cavity and also an odor. This may hinder the absorption of the medicine. You may, however drink water.
- It is also advisable to avoid strong substances while taking remedies because these may antidote the remedy prescribed.
- Strong household cleaners and other such chemical products may actually have a poisoning effect on the body.
- Handling medicines can inactivate them; therefore, avoid touching the remedies. It is best to tip 4 pills into the lid of the container and then tip the medicine into your mouth. If the pills are touched or dropped, they should not be returned to the container. Otherwise your remedy will lose its ability to do its job.
- Remedies should be stored away from strong light, strong temperature variations and strong smells.
NO. The founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann, MD, was a German allopathic doctor of his time. He, disillusioned with his profession, left his career in allopathic medicine to research alternative treatments.
He began treating patients with a principle of “like cures like”. He called his new system “homeopathy”, from the Greek word: homeo meaning “similar” and pathos meaning “suffering.”
Government of India through Central Council of Homeopathy controls and reviews education, research and practice of homeopathy in India. In India, most of the Government run clinics and hospitals have a homeopathic unit.
Homeopathy in India is a full-fledged Bachelor’s degree course spanning 5½ years of training with one-year internship and a post-graduate MD course.
There are around 147 homeopathic medical colleges all over India which offer undergraduate medical education; many of these are government run while others are run by private educational societies. Out of these, 23 offer postgraduate education.
Minimum qualification for admission into these colleges is high school with Biology, Physics and Chemistry as majors. The students also have to undergo an entrance exam for admission into the undergraduate degree course. The above process ensures that only the talented students are chosen to become future homeopaths.
There is no difference between the homoeopathic medical curricula and that of MBBS and in 4½ years the students learn Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Parasitology, Forensic Medicine, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Surgery, Community Medicine, Practice of Medicine along with Homeopathic Pharmacy, Repertory, Materia Medica and Homeopathic Methodology & Philosophy. From the second year on, they learn bedside medicine and attend clinical classes. Exams are conducted at the end the academic year.
At the end of 4½ years after passing their final exams, they are awarded the BHMS degree (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery).
There is a 1-year internship after that where the prospective homeopaths are posted in the hospital and other Government-run clinics to get some real-world experience.
At the end of the internship, the homeopaths register themselves with the State Homeopathy Boards which in effect is a license to practice.
There are postgraduate courses also. Admission to these is through an entrance exam.
Homeopathy is NOT slow acting. This myth is popular, because most of the people approaching us have a long history of chronic ailments, and hence the treatment takes time. Since homeopathy offers a much better alternative than allopathy in such ailments, it is believed that it is slow acting. Homeopathy is, in fact, FAST and RAPID in Action in acute conditions.
The efficacy and effectiveness of homeopathic medicines has been demonstrated by more than 200 years of successful use by physicians all over the globe. It is the better and sometimes the only alternative in many ailments. Homoeopathy cures curable conditions and palliates incurable conditions.
It is not only a therapy which can effectively cure acute or chronic diseases, but it is a method of stimulating the defence mechanism and balancing the constitution of patients.
It is capable of enhancing the degree of productivity, creativity and serenity of people by removing the susceptibility to disturbing influences. More and more people are being successfully treated.
NO, scientific, random, double-blind, controlled studies have repeatedly indicated that homeopathy is not placebo effect. The effects of medicines have been observed repeatedly on neonates, infants, unconscious patients, animals where faith healing is not possible. Hence, the misbelieve that homeopathy is placebo is nothing but prejudice
Most of our medicines are prepared in an alcohol base. The white sugar globules or pills are only a medium or vehicle for the transport of the medicine into the body. These doubts arise in people who use homeopathic medicines for the first time. It is the medicine (in liquid form) that acts on the patient.
No, homeopathic medicines do not have any side effects, as they are administered in minute doses and do not have a chemical or mechanical effect on the body.
The term ‘side effects’ of a medicine comes from modern pharmaceuticals. These drugs are aimed at one area of the body such as the cardiovascular system, the gut, the kidneys, etc. Though they have a primary area of action, they also affect other areas of the body. If these other affects are undesirable, they are known as adverse side effects. Streptomycin, an excellent antibiotic, has been known to cause deafness. The deafness is an adverse side effect.
Homeopathic remedies are not employed against one particular area or organ of the body. The remedy is chosen because it matches as closely as possible the totality of symptoms of the patient. Side effects, such as tissue destruction, do not occur under homeopathy.
They are derived from a variety of natural materials and are prepared in licensed laboratories under strict quality control. They are given in tablets, granules, pills, liquid or powder form and are available in different, but extremely dilute strengths known as potencies.
Yes, it is totally safe for children. It can also be safely administered to pregnant females.
If properly stored, homeopathic medicines can be used for years without any deterioration of quality.
Storage Guidelines: Medicines are to be kept tightly capped at room temperature in a cool, dry, dust free environment and away from direct sunlight. They should not be exposed to strong odors. Don’t store your remedies in your medicine chest if you also keep things like strong smelling balms, or cough drops that contain menthol.
Yes, diabetics can take pills because the amount of sugar present is very minute. Also, medicines can be administered in distilled water, thereby avoiding pills.
Yes, it is effective and efficient in acute conditions and in emergencies. The right remedy, the right potency and the right dose can have amazing action in acute diseases.
All remedies work best when combined with balanced diet, yoga, a low-stress environment, and emotional and intellectual states that promote a balanced body system.
Usually people are under the impression that homeopathy can treat only chronic diseases like arthritis, skin conditions, migraines, menstrual irregularities, hemorrhoids, digestive conditions, allergies, cancer, liver, kidney, heart and lung disorders.
But what many people do not know is that it is very effective and prompt in acute conditions like tonsillitis, pharyngitis, viral fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, asthma, bronchitis, constipation, injury, childhood disorders etc. Sometimes it may cut short the attack of the disease all together and in most cases gives relief faster than conventional treatment and that also without any side effects.
This would depend on the problem you have and your homeopathic treatment. This issue is best decided by your consultant homeopath.
Yes, it is a fact that medicines are first tested or proved on healthy human beings of both males and females. The effects are recorded and a compendium of the symptoms and signs is prepared. Using these compendia as references, a physician selects a remedy to be given to a patient.
They are useful only to understand whether the case can respond to homeopathy or not and to decide the prognosis which can only be decided after an exhaustive case taking. These are also necessary to assess the progress in the case.
One of the wonderful advantages of using homeopathic medicines is that it is very easy to give them to animals. There’s no need to force pills down their throats or squirt nasty-tasting liquids in their mouths. In fact, giving an animal family member his remedy can be part of a quiet, relaxing healing time for both of you. Just follow these simple steps:
- Before you begin, remember to rinse your hands to remove any residual odors that might de-potentize your remedies.
- If you’re working with a family member or other animal who is comfortable being handled by you, have it relaxed in a quiet, comfortable place, and spend a few moments stroking and talking softly to her until she relaxes into this special time with you. If possible, have her lie on her side. Make a point of gently touching her around her mouth so that she associates this contact with your loving attention.
- To avoid handling your remedies any more than necessary, open the bottle and gently tap the number of globules you need – usually four – into the cap, returning any extras from the cap back into the vial. If you touch a globule or it falls on the floor, throw it away; returning it to the vial might de-potentize the remaining globules.
- If your patient is a dog, cat, or other small mammal, stroke the side of his face, then gently lift the side of his lip and drop the globules directly from the cap onto his gums. Allow his lip to fall back against the gums and continue to gently stroke his face and body. Chances are he will continue to lie quietly, enjoying your attention and barely noticing the sweet-tasting pills dissolving in his mouth.
- If it’s not practical to have the animal lie on her side (as with a horse or other large animal, or one who is a little tense), it’s okay to use your fingers to place the pills in her mouth. As long as there are no strong smells on your hands, touching the remedy briefly will not de-potentize it. Simply pour the correct number of pills from the vial cap into the palm of one hand, then pick those up with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand and place them on the animal’s gums, in her mouth, or slide them between her lips.
- Ideally, the pellets will dissolve against your patient’s mucous membranes as they release their healing energy into his system. However, if he chews and swallows the pellets, don’t worry. They will still do their job. Even if they remain on his gums only a few moments before he shakes his head and spits them out, there’s an excellent chance his system will receive the benefit of the healing energy.
- If the animal you’re caring for is unwilling to allow you to handle her mouth, crush the pellets and dissolve them in a small amount of water, and administer it with an eye dropper or offer it for her to drink.
If there is evidence that surgery is warranted, the homeopathic physician too is anxious that it be done promptly. Major surgery often necessitates a long, difficult recovery period. Homeopathic remedies, by stimulating and strengthening the body’s defence mechanism, can aid recovery enormously.
Fortunately, good homeopathic prescribing has made many operations unnecessary. Fractures, of course, must be set and cast by an orthopedic surgeon. Manipulation of the musculoskeletal system is referred to a qualified osteopath, chiropractor, rolfer or massage therapist. In each of these situations, homeopathy can provide corollary assistance. For example, a remedy can speed the union of a fractured bone; a bad bruise or sprain can be helped greatly by the specific homeopathic remedy.
Homeopathy cannot cure birth defects whether biochemical or structural. It can, however, improve the level of health of persons born with congenital weakness.
The range of problems to which homeopathy can be effectively directed is extensive and includes first aid, acute illnesses and all kind of chronic conditions.
Like any other system of medicine, homeopathy has its own limitations. By homoeopathy any ailment acute or chronic, local or general can be treated except diseases where surgery is unavoidable. Furthermore, we may note that many surgical diseases are treatable by homeopathic remedies to a great extant like enlarged tonsils, kidney stones, appendicitis, warts, piles, fissures, fistula and so on.