FAQ - frequently asked questions about homeopathy
Homeopathy isn't as common in Norway as it is in many other countries. And, even if you might have heard the term "homeopathy", and have some inclination of what it's about; it can still seem vague if you yourself haven't studied it for four years - or been to see a homeopath.
So, I have gathered some frequent questions about homeopathy in the follow sections: in an attempt to make homeopathy less cryptic for you, and to help prepare you for what to expect when seeing a homeopath.
If you can't find answers to your own questions here, you are welcome to get in touch with me! 🙂
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a branch of natural medicine that focuses on strengthening and stimulating the innate ability that each person has to increase the level of health. "Homeo" and "pathy" derives from greek and refers to "like" and "disease": it represents an old principle of like cures like. The German doctor Samuel Hahnemann experimented with administering tiny amounts of substances (derived from minerals, plants and animals) for his patients' ailments - choosing substances that he had discovered to produce similar symptoms in healthy people. That's how his work of systematically developing a system of natural medicine that has been used for more than 200 years: homeopathy.
How are homeopathic medicines made?
There are homeopathic pharmacies that prepare the homeopathic remedies. The substance is triturated (grounded/crushed in a morter), diluted and shaken vigorously (potentised) several times in water and ethanol. The medicine can be bought as suger pills that have been soaked in the various homeopathic liquids, to be melted under the tongue or dissolved in water and then sipped; or, they can be bought as liquids that are administered orally as drops/diluted in water that i then sipped. The homeopathic medicines often go by remedies. You can read more about the homeopathic medicines, and see a movie clip of how they are prepared, here.
How does homeopathy work?
The mechanism behind the action of homeopathic medicines is not known (established yet). However, clinical observations show that the "like-cures-like" qualities of the remedies trigger a response in the patients - in a way that gradually relinquishes the symptoms and ailments in a natural and gentle way.
Experience shows that the better the prescribed homeopathic remedy fits the patient's totality of symptoms and characteristic patterns, the better the medicine will be in treating the overall state of the patient.
What does the homeopath do?
The homeopath takes note of the patient's physical, emotional and mental symptoms, as well as the personal characteristics and individual sensitivities. After the consultation the homeopath analyses the information, looking for patterns that can guide towards the indicated homeopathic medicine - striving to navigate towards that one remedy that fits best with the patient's state.
There are thousands of homeopathic medicines! Luckily homeopaths have several tools - models, references and softwares - that help working towards the most appropriate remedies and potencies (strengths) in each case. In the follow-up all changes in the patient's symptom picture are enquired about, and the homeopath does adjustments in the prescribed remedy, potency and dosage - when indicated.
What changes to expected during the treatment?
Homeopaths often observe an increase of health, wellbeing and optimism in their patients; following a (well-prescribed) homeopathic medicine. Sometimes there is an initial aggravation of symptoms: this homeopathic aggravation is interpreted as a sign of the remedy-response being triggered in the body, preceding the action of relinquishing ailments and imbalances towards the positive outcome. Patients may experience a "spring cleaning" from the body following the homeopathic medicine: this could take the form of a short-lived rash, a cold, or some other kind of clearing-out. Also, a shorter period of sequential recurring of previous symptoms may come about: the homeopathic medicine, along with the patient's innate tendencies towards restoring inner balance, goes about clearing away all imbalances and disturbances - past and present ones. These are all part of an underlying pattern and inner sensitivity - unique for every one of us.
How long does homeopathic treatment take?
This is highly individual! And, not always easy to predict. In the initial consultation the homeopath will attempt to give as good an estimation as possible, based on the patient's overall state. In acute conditions, that are of a higher intensity and more rapid occurrence, we expect a quite rapid amelioration of symptoms. In more chronic and longterm ailments we expect it to take longer for balance and good health to be restored. The treatment course and frequency of consultations will vary accordingly. With more deeper-seated illnesses it may take (several) years for the treatment to be concluded; though marked positive changes will be experienced within weeks of taking a (well-prescribed) homeopathic remedy.
As there are thousands of homeopathic medicines for the homeopath to navigate through, it sometimes takes a few consultation for that one best fitting homeopathic medicine (the similimum) to be prescribed. But, when it is, all the thorough ground-work beforehand is so worth the rewarding amelioration experienced by the patient! 😀
Who seeks homeopathic treatment?
Often, the people who seek homeopathic treatment have "tried everything else" for their ailments, or they want homeopathy as a supplement to other ongoing treatment(s). The symptom pictures can be complex, which demands patience and determination from the patient. On the other hand, people who have grown up with natural therapies, and are used to seek these natural approaches; these people often go see their homeopath before their symptoms have gotten a strong hold on them.
Complaints that patients often seek homeopathic treatment for, range from a whole spectrum of possible issues: digestive disorders, sleep disturbances, musculoskeletal disorders, sensitivities towards their environment/surroundings, emotional and mental challenges, infections, weakened immune system, aches and pains, skin disorders ... Homeopathy can address so much!
What role does homeopathy have in other countries?
Several countries in Europe and the rest of the world emphasise homeopathy's great potential for bringing about health: alongside conventional medicine. In Switzerland homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine are among the natural therapies that have gained the same status as conventional medicine - and have been included in the country's preliminary health insurance system. A referendum was especially significant for this, as 2/3 of the populations wished for this development. Also, the evaluations demonstrating these treatments' effectiveness, cost efficiency and safety weighed in favour of the emphasis on these branches of natural medicine.
In Asian countries like Nepal, India and Bangladesh there are specific posts in the state budget with the sole aim of strengthening homeopathy as a treatment option in the countries' health services. In the World Health Organisation's "WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023" they outline the importance of countries' governments to work towards more collaboration between traditional and complementary medical treatment options, and a more available offer of complementary health services through the public health systems. If you want to read about research being done on homeopathy, HRI's website is a good place to start 🙂