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.