Homeopathy: stimulating the vital force

How is it different? We treat individuals- not diseases.

How to take homeopathic remedies - simple and easy.

Homeopathic potency - what do the numbers and letters mean? Different strengths.

How long do I take remedies? Not forever! You are supposed to change and become well, not take the remedies for the rest of your life.

Case example - a simple example of what might happen in a consultation and how a homeopath will be gathering information

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Everything is energy

Grasp this and you understand homeopathy

Homeopathy is well recognized and widely used in India, Europe, and in the UK with the Royal Family being strong supporters. It is safe, non-toxic, does not interfere with medication (although you should tell your doctor everything you’re taking) and can be used by all ages.

From 1997 to 2000 I studied homeopathy on a full-time course in London, England. After my training I worked towards my registered status with the Society of Homeopaths in the United Kingdom, as accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. After moving the USA, I registered with the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH) to continue my professional standards.

I practiced at various clinics in London, held a quarterly clinic in Bermuda, and worked via Skype with patients all around the planet. My exposure to the differences in us humans is quite extraordinary.

My patients at London Bridge Hospital used homeopathic remedies for surgical support and to help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. The Oncology consultants and medical board of LBH approved the use of homeopathic remedies to complement the medical care they were providing. In twelve years of using remedies alongside orthodox cancer medication, no patients or doctors ever reported a negative reaction, and most patients stated that homeopathy had helped.

Homeopathy differs from herbalism in that through the method of preparing the homeopathic remedies, only the energetic imprint of the original raw material is left in the final remedy. Herbalism uses raw plant material as the medicine, whereas homeopathic remedies are prepared in a specific way, as discovered in the late 1700s by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. He found that he could release the healing energy (vitality) of a plant or substance while avoiding possible complications of otherwise toxic ingredients by using his method of succussion and dilution. The energy imprint of the remedy gives the body’s own inherent healing system a targeted direction, allowing the body to make healthy changes.

The energy of the remedy “speaks” to the body’s immune system and energy system, encouraging changes to bring the body back to homeostasis, or balance. All day every day your body is trying to maintain balance. If you get too hot, you sweat. If you get too cold, you shiver. Your mind and body work in tandem, each influencing each other continuously. Sometimes the physical manifestation of a mental complaint is immediately apparent, and sometimes it takes a bit longer to show up. For example, if you are mentally or emotionally stressed, your body responds by going into the adrenal ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode. If you are embarrassed or angry, your face may turn red, physically exposing your mental state.

As much as we cannot physically hold an x-ray or radio wave, science cannot yet explain why homeopathy works, and yet it does, often quite dramatically. I have been shocked many times at how a tiny 'sugar' pill can alter a person's path instantaneously. Homeopathy does not suppress and mask the complaint; we actually want to see it and understand it in order to get rid of the energetic pattern. We address the symptoms and never try to squash them.

Additionally, homeopaths look at a person’s emotional state as it pertains and relates to the physical state. As children, many of us are taught, (at least a lot of us are taught), to swallow and control our strong emotions. You know, big boys don't cry and nice girls don't get angry, the sort of stuff that leads to therapy later in life.

Holding in those feelings, or getting stuck in a belief (for example, I'll never be good enough, I am unlovable) can create a pattern that manifests physically later. You can't separate your emotions from your physical body. When you have an "anxious stomach" isn't that your emotions and your body tying you up in knots? When you “feel it in your guts” that is an emotional state manifesting physically. Homeopaths look for the overall big picture in order to help your body heal itself.

How is homeopathy different from orthodox or ‘regular’ medicine?

Homeopathy treats the individual and not disease. When you show symptoms, a homeopath looks at those as signposts for a remedy. Your symptoms are your body expressing its discomfort and everyone is different.

For example, let’s say your family of four all have the flu. In standard medicine, everyone will get the same treatment for flu. The disease is treated, not the person. In homeopathy, we want to know what is happening to each person specifically.

Now, with your expression of flu, you want to clean the house. You’re convinced the house is dirty which is why you are sick and you rather frantically start scrubbing and bleaching all surfaces. You feel awful but you are driven to clean. Your partner is completely unable to help, groaning and moaning on the couch, and is experiencing a total loss of energy. One of the kids just wants to be left alone and doesn’t want to eat or drink. She wants to be in a dark, quiet room and gets irritable, almost violent. The other child is acting like velcro and wants to be cuddled and soothed and is whining and crying for attention. All four of you have the flu but you are each experiencing it in an individual way. Different remedies will be prescribed to match the symptoms of each individual.

This is why a homeopath will ask seemingly odd questions such as “What makes it better, what makes it worse?” You might be thinking well duh, hot soup makes all flu better, but is this true? What about the child who wants to suck on ice cubes? What about the person who only wants orange juice and refuses the homemade soup? Why would one person want a steaming hot bath whereas another is opening the window for a cold breeze? A homeopath can differentiate by using these clues and give the appropriate remedy to help the individual’s immune system recover.

Thus, trying to make homeopathic remedies “work” the way standard medicine does (a broad suppression of symptoms) misses the mark. We need the symptoms in order to accurately prescribe.

A simpler example is a sprain. If it is better for warmth and gentle movement, it’s an indication of one remedy. If it is better for ice and rest, it’s another. We are taught the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for all sprains, but some people want a heating pad after twisting an ankle. The desire for either hot or cold will differentiate between remedies, giving us a clear sign to a certain remedy, and lead to a faster resolution of the sprain.

How to take Homeopathic Remedies

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The traditional way to take remedies is to put one or two pills under your tongue and let them melt, handling them as little as possible. You take them with a “clean” mouth, meaning you have no food, drink, or toothpaste for twenty minutes before or after taking the remedy. This can require some attention to timing. Another way is to put the remedies in water and drink it throughout the day.

Twice a day, dose your water with your remedies. Put three pills of each homeopathic remedy you are taking in a bottle of water. Sip throughout the day, leaving about an inch of dosed water in the bottom when you refill. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening, put in new pills. If you don't carry around a water bottle, dose a pitcher of water you will refill throughout the day. This also helps you stay hydrated which makes a huge difference to your health.

 

Homeopathic Potency

One thing you will notice is that homeopathic remedies have a number and letter after the name. This is the potency. There are volumes of books covering the science and technique of how to make remedies into their various strengths and potencies. I will give a very rough example of how this might work. I grow calendula flowers in my garden. I crush and preserve them in alcohol to make a healing tincture, and this is herbalism. If I alter the tincture to the first level in homeopathy, it becomes an X potency (to the tenth) and is still very close to the original tincture I made. While this is fine for calendula flowers, it would not be so great when using snake venom. So I take it to the next level of potency, diluting and energizing the tincture to a C potency (to the hundredth). This can carry on up and up, continuing to energize the calendula to assist in healing the human mind and body.

Have you ever been to a concert where the bass is emphasized and you feel it hit your body with every chord, making your heart go ka-thump and your stomach flip? These are the lower potencies that have a very physical impact on your body. The more refined and higher notes of an opera singer might impact your emotional body, causing your heart to swell in your chest and tears to spring to your eyes. Remedies work in a similar way. The higher the potency, the more a remedy will impact your emotional energetic field, releasing anything that is stuck there, and then filter it down through your physical body. The higher potencies usually carry a letter of M, CM, MM, and beyond to LM.

The more commonly sold remedies come in a 30C, which is a general therapeutic potency. You will also see some 200C remedies stocked, and these are a higher potency, a punchy potency, so use sparingly when needed. I think of 200C as an emergency potency. Here's an illustration. Oh, look, I've bumped myself' bruise = 30C. Whereas, 'Holy sh*t! Aah, I've fallen off the ladder and dude, oh my god my leg, uh, I'm freaking out' bruise = 200C. It's a more shocking situation that deserves a higher potency. 

Please do not be tempted to buy your remedies in higher potencies unless prescribed by a homeopath as you can cause what is known as a “healing reaction” which is NOT FUN. Imagine you’re cleaning up an old attic. As you move things around a little dust is kicked up but nothing dramatic. Now imagine the same scenario but someone turns on a turbo fan. You’re choking and coughing, your eyes are burning, you start sneezing… it’s just too much too fast.

We had a saying as firefighters and the same applies here: “Go slow to go fast.” In other words, go slow in order to reach the final destination quicker. Creating a healing crisis won’t make you feel better faster.

Chamomile

Chamomile

How long to take the remedies

You may wonder how long you need to take the remedies. This is where the powers of observation come in to play. Remedies can be prescribed for a long-term complaint or for an acute situation. An acute problem is sudden, often shocking, and will usually resolve swiftly.

We all know life can be jolting. Maybe you fall off your speedy mountain bike, get a bee sting, or hear bad news. You go into some sort of crisis whether emotional or physical. The appropriate remedy can be taken every fifteen minutes or put in water and sipped frequently. Use it until you feel calm and back to your normal self. Once you feel better, stop taking the remedy. Acute remedies are used in the heat of the moment to help you through the ups and downs of life.

Long-term or chronic conditions usually need more time to unwind, and your remedies may be once a day, once a week, or even once a month. It is fairly impossible for me to guess how long you’ll need remedies without a consultation. A general rule of thumb is a month of treatment for every year you’ve had the problem.

Now, I believe you can speed up your healing with Nutritional Medicine. When your diet is made from the most nutrient-rich materials, your body has a much better chance of improving.

 

The following is an example of how a homeopath gathers information for a complaint.

Presenting complaint: Chronic stress headaches

Let’s suppose a man has chronic stress headaches and neither aspirin nor painkillers is helping. He goes to see a registered homeopath. As part of the consultation she asks him to tell her about his work environment. The man instantly describes a heated argument with a colleague over a project. “As always, the boss decides to go with the other guy’s suggestions instead of mine,” sneers the man. “That gosh-darned, hot-air balloon Stanley always gets prize.”

The homeopath notes that the man’s voice has become louder. He has loosened his tie and his eyes are getting a little manic as the stress hormones come flooding back through his body, as though the argument is happening at that very moment. She puts a little star in her notes next to how he describes his co-worker Stanley and how he reverted to a childish voice. She notices that he is taking shallow breaths, his forehead is getting sweaty, and his face is flushed. The arteries in his temples and neck are showing, and the energy in the room has shifted considerably. He snaps out of his reverie, almost embarrassed to have shown her his inner mind.

All this man has to do is think about work and his body goes into a full fight-or-flight response, creating a stressed body and a continual loop of fiery energy that has to go somewhere. In his case, it goes to his head and creates headaches. This stress energy could just as easily become a stomach ulcer, heart attack, depression, or eczema. Where and how it will show up depends on lifestyle, genetics, food choices, environment, and self-care practices.

The homeopath understands that the problem is not really the headaches. It is how the man handles stress in his life. With a little more prodding, she tries to narrow it down into smaller components. She asks if there was any other time in his life that he experienced headaches like these. He says, “Yes, as a teenager.” She asks what was happening in his life at that time. He explains that his father wanted him to play football, but he was not very good so the coach kept him on the bench. While sitting on the sidelines, he knew his father would yell at him when he got home, telling him to try harder and that he was a disappointment and that a monkey could play ball better than him. He would work himself into such a frenzy he would get a crippling headache, which provided distraction from his father’s tirade. It also offered protection as he would soon be able to escape and go lie down. The man’s body goes back to this familiar pattern whenever he feels inferior, unworthy, small, insecure, and just not good enough—as is happening in the present when Stanley’s ideas are chosen over his.

We know that balance or homeostasis is the bull’s-eye for the body, which will always try to get there. We use homeopathic remedies to harness and direct that inherent intelligence. Here is where I think homeopathy gets really fun. Using the energy of the remedies, we can essentially pull a fast one on a body and mind that is stuck in a dis-ease pattern, encouraging the built-in homeostasis. We use the remedies to create a similar, yet slightly stronger version of the patient’s complaint, allowing the body to wipe it out as it pushes back to center. As a result of purposely directing the inherent healer inside you, the illness or discomfort is extinguished as the body strives for balance, overcompensating for the remedy.

To treat our man with the headaches, having established there is no physical reason for his pain, we narrow his symptoms down to grief, shame, disappointment, and/or rejection. Then we give a remedy that addresses those emotions. The patient now has an awareness of this dis-eased emotional pattern and how it is connected to his headaches. If he were my patient, I would show him breathing exercises, encourage physical activity, probably more water and 'me-time'. 

If the homeopathic remedy has worked well, I would expect a follow-up appointment to go like this: A month later the man returns and reports that not only are the headaches gone, he is getting along better with his boss, and now sees that Stanley the blowhard actually has some great ideas. He has broken the pattern of feeling small, holding in the anger until a headache comes on. He has used his breathing consciously in traffic and during stress at work, and finds it helps calm him down, as do the weekend fishing trips he's started taking with his son. Will he ever get a headache again? Maybe, because patterns run deep. But now he has awareness, his energy has changed, and he has more control over how he responds to challenge. His likelihood of having headaches diminishes greatly and with continued care he may just resolve them forever.