Homeopathy is a school of natural medicine that was first formulated at the end of the 18th century by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. Through homeopathy, Hahnemann discovered a means to help people heal gently, rapidly, and reliably. In the late 1800′s there were more than twenty homeopathic medical schools in the United States. A few of these schools still exist today as allopathic medical schools including Hahnemann Medical School, Boston University, and New York Medical College.
During the 1800’s, the popularity of homeopathy grew rapidly in the U.S. despite vigorous opposition from the allopathic profession. Devastating epidemics in the late 19th and early 20th century demonstrated that homeopathy often proved to be more successful than allopathy. In the 1884 cholera and the 1918 influenza epidemics, homeopathic hospitals reported a statistically significant success rate over allopathic hospitals.
Still, opposition grew to this form of medicine and resulted in the formation of the American Medical Association (AMA) in response to the success of homeopathy and the growing number of homeopathic practitioners. In 1910, the AMA, partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, sponsored a report evaluating and ranking medical schools that assigned high ratings to schools emphasizing the use of pharmaceutical medication and penalizing those using homeopathic medications. Unfortunately Congress was influenced to provide financial support to allopathic medical schools. Of the 22 homeopathic colleges operating in 1900, only two were still teaching homeopathy in 1923. Homeopathy virtually disappeared from the mainstream American medical scene until the 1970’s. In the last twenty years homeopathy has experienced significant growth in the United States. It is currently the fastest growing form of alternative medicine.
So how does Homeopathy work? Homeopathy acts at an energetic level; it has a broad effect, shifting mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. Since homeopathy is used to assist people rather than to treat illness, anyone, regardless of his or her diagnosis, can benefit from homeopathic care. Homeopathy helps by increasing the individual’s strength and resistance to disease and can be effective in relieving many acute and chronic health complaints. It, like all truly natural therapies, seeks to stimulate the innate healing power of the individual so that all physiological systems function at their best.
How does Homeopathy differ from allopathic or “modern” conventional medicine? Homeopathy is practiced on a holistic level via the principle of “like cures like,” also called the “Law of Similars,” which states that a substance that causes a particular disease in a healthy individual will cure the same disease in an ill person. Homeopathic remedies are given to stimulate the whole body to heal itself, while herbs and conventional medicines are given to take away specific symptoms from parts of the body. Because the homeopath views a person’s health as a condition of the entire individual rather than in terms of isolated symptoms, he or she will listen as you describe the conditions that have caused you to seek homeopathic care. In homeopathy the individual patient and his or her unique conditions and responses are essential for the homeopath to understand. Homeopaths are practitioners who will listen when it comes to your health concerns–everything about you from the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual is related and points your homeopath to a precise remedy unique to you. For this reason, the initial interview with your homeopath may take anywhere from one to two hours, as your homeopath carefully gathers detailed information about your case.
What, then, is Classical Homeopathy? Many forms of homeopathy have evolved over the years. Classical Homeopathy is considered the truest form in that it follows the foundational principles laid out by Dr. Hahnemann in his lifework, The Organon. A classically trained homeopath will have spent many hours formally studying this work, gleaning the time-tested methods that have led to great successes in homeopathy. A classical homeopath will also only prescribe one remedy at a time, after thorough case analysis, and never a combination remedy (containing more than one remedy substance). This will ensure the highest and most gentle quality of care, allowing your homeopath to monitor the effects of the remedy and reevaluate your case as needed. A classical homeopath will not use any machines or any apparatus when selecting your remedy. The homeopathic process is noninvasive and quite simple. It begins with an initial consultation and continues with follow-up visits every few months to have your progress monitored. Again, your homeopath is one who listens, gathering the detailed information about your case. In fact, many people feel a bit better on the holistic level after their initial consultation, before the remedy is even prescribed, simply because they were able to speak freely about themselves in a safe and therapeutic environment.
Homeopathy…a growing alternative. Currently, there are many practitioners using homeopathy worldwide, with the profession rapidly expanding in the United States. After seeing the results of many conventional treatments, with undesirable side-effects and high costs, many people are seeking a safe, gentle, rapid and permanent approach to health. Classical homeopathy successfully treats many people and many ailments worldwide. Perhaps this is the right time to explore this wonderful alternative medicine.