Towards a better understanding of homoeopathy

 
“A legalized form of quackery”
“Homoeopaths use cortisone and steroids”
“A slow medicine, not good for acute diseases”
“Excellent system, good for chronic diseases only”
“Cures through Homoeopathy are nothing but placebo effects”
“Excellent system, extremely safe and highly effective”

 
This is how, different people in Pakistan react when asked, what they thought of homoeopathy.

Most of the above statements are based on misinformation spread by the quarters whose interests will be jeopardized if homoeopathy receives the status it deserves in the national health delivery system. Questionable practices and misplaced claims by some of the practitioners of homoeopathy have lent a sort of authentication to the anti-homoeopathic hype. Except for individual efforts, there has been no organized campaign by any homoeopathic organization to either check and discipline the wayward homoeopaths or to effectively present the case of homoeopathy. As a result, the pall of myths, notions and misconceptions that shrouds homoeopathy continues to be thickened with passage of time.

The approach

The approach of homoeopathy to healthcare revolves around the central concept that each person, each organism possesses on a deep level the will and the wisdom to be healthy. Each one of us has the natural capacity to overcome disease. We fall ill because this natural capacity becomes subdued due to a number of factors such as stress, bacteria, virus, environmental or medicinal pollution, extremes of weather, etc., and fails to show a resistance strong enough to combat the disease. The energized homoeopathic doses prescribed in accordance with the principles of homoeopathy help our defense system become once again fully active and overcome the disease.

Detailed medical and personal history of the patient

The object of treatment is to remove the disease in its entirety. This is achieved by taking a detailed history of the patient with great emphasis on pinpointing the underlying cause of the disease and removing the same by shaping and adjusting treatment plan in accordance with the specific needs of each patient. To achieve this, the homeopath tries to have as much information about the patient as possible. He gives attention to minute details to have an understanding of the patient and what ails him. The homoeopath is not only interested in his present complaints but also wants to know about his past illnesses and family medical history. He asks about his moods, his reaction to weather changes, to stressful situations, to warmth and cold, his likes and dislikes for certain foods or situations, etc. He wants to closely know the patient, his surroundings, his activities, at times, even to the extent of his routine in 24 hours. The information so gathered is minutely analyzed to have a good understanding of the personal characteristics of the patient and his medical problem(s).

Analysis of the case and selection of the remedy

Once all information is gathered, the homoeopath is in a position to perceive which of the homoeopathic remedies are most relevant to the case. By matching the symptoms of the patient with those produced by homoeopathic remedies on healthy human volunteers (as recorded in the large homoeopathic medicinal volumes), he selects a group of remedies that most closely meet the broad features of the case and decides on the course of treatment. These remedies may be needed at different stages of treatment but usually only one remedy is prescribed at a time with the dose and potency adjusted according to the specific needs of each patient.

Individually customized solutions

Homoeopathy places much stress on the individuality of each patient.  Since no two individuals are alike, therefore, they cannot suffer exactly in the same manner although the two may have the same disease. A true homoeopath does not base his prescription on a disease name i.e. remedy “A” for cough, remedy “B” for fever, remedy “C” for arthritis, etc., rather he takes into account the factors and circumstances that make a given case of a disease different from all other cases of the same disease. A simple example will explain the point. M/s Zaid, Baker and Haris had recurring episodes of semi-lateral headaches that started as a sticking sensation in the left temple, gradually increasing in intensity and settling over the left eye. Mr. Zaid got them whenever exposed to strong smells or cigarette smoke; he was prescribed a homoeopathic remedy Ignatia amara. Mr. Baker experienced the headaches whenever he skipped a meal or took it late; he was given another remedy Lachesis. Mr. Haris’ headaches were caused after exposure to the sun in hot summer days; he received yet another remedy Glonine. The three individuals had the same disease i.e. semi-lateral left-sided headaches but the circumstances under which they got affected were different in each case and therefore each one received a different remedy.

Safe and non-invasive

Homeopathy offers highly effective and safe health solutions for a wide range of acute, sub-acute and chronic disorders. Even some of the diseases for which no help is available with other systems of medicine can be successfully treated with homeopathy. Homeopathy also has a history of successfully treating a number of cases where surgery seemed to be unavoidable. Some of the areas where homeopathy has helped avoid surgery are diseases of the nose, throat, eyes, tonsils, spine, digestive organs, kidneys, gall-bladder, prostate gland, female reproductive organs, etc. Cases of arthritis, asthma, migraine, allergies, etc. respond well. In brief, all diseases without irreversible pathological changes can successfully be treated with homeopathy. However, this is not to suggest that homoeopathy is a cure-all medicine. Cases with advanced tissue changes usually do not respond well to homoeopathic treatment, though, in such cases too, a temporary relief can be obtained. Claims on the contrary by some homoeopaths are misleading as no substantial proof has been published to show the effectiveness of homoeopathy in such cases.

In brief, for the health-conscious people looking for a safe and dependable alternative to the mainstream medicine, homeopathy offers the best prospects for a number of reasons, such as: high degree of effectiveness and safety, ability to help avoid surgery in a good number of cases, cost-effectiveness and adaptability to the specific needs of each patient.

References:

Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine

Kent’s Lectures and Minor Writings

The Genius of Homeopathy – Stuart Close

The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy – H. A. Roberts

A brief study course in homoeopathy – Elizabeth Wright

The Patient, Not the Cure – M. Blackie

Homoeopathy – The Medicine of the 21st Century – George Vithoulkas

Homoeopathy: Removing some misconceptions – Ahmad Fakir Muhammad, Homoeopth