Homeopathy, what is it and how does it work?
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy was developed over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor, who was dissatisfied with the harm caused by the orthodox drugs, and other conventional treatments being used at the time.
Homeopathy is based on a much older medical principle, indeed an principle that dates back to ancient Greece (and probably earlier), called the 'Law of Similars', or more commonly described as
"Like cures like"
Homeopathy uses remedies made from a wide variety of substances. Over the years, homeopaths have developed a 'remedy picture' for each substance. How is this done?
One example is the remedy Allium Cepa. Many people, when they peel an onion, will find that their eyes stream, and their nose runs. Therefore, Allium Cepa (made from an onion) is used in conditions where the patient's eyes are streaming, or when their nose runs - conditions such as hayfever, for example.
So the task of homeopathy is to match the symptoms of a patient's illness with one of these remedy pictures. The 'Law of Similars' states, and the experience of homeopathy demonstrates regularly, that once a good match is found between the symptom picture of a patient, and the symptom picture of a remedy, the patient will usually experiences a positive outcome.
The 'Law of Similars' is the principle that homeopathy applies to any conventionally-diagnosed medical condition.
How safe is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a very safe form of medicine. Even the critics of homeopathy have to admit this! So even though some homeopathic remedies are made from toxic substances, such as Mercury, Arsenic, and others, they are entirely safe to take. The reason is that all the substances used to make remedies are extensively diluted in a process called 'potentisation'. In fact, remedies have been so 'diluted' that by the time you take them they will have no physical trace of the original substance left.
Homeopathic remedies do not have 'side-effects', adverse reactions, and they do not cause disease.
I came into homeopathy when I discovered that the conventional drug I had been given to treat my gastric ulcers could cause heart damage. I did not consider this to be acceptable! So I refused to take them! Ultimately it was pain that drove me to a homeopath, despite my cynicism at the time. I discovered then that there were safer, and more effective medical therapies available!
Similarly, many people who ask to see me are now looking for drug-free treatment.
Sometimes, homeopathic remedies can cause an 'aggravation'. This can happen when the symptoms of an illness become temporarily worse for a short time before the illness begins to get better. So unlike a drug 'side-effect' or 'adverse reaction' (which can mean you develop more serious diseases on a permanent basis), an aggravation is a short-term, temporary phenomenon that signfies that the patient's illness has been closely matched by the remedy.
However, in most circumstances, homeopathy does not cause an aggravation, and homeopaths always work very hard with patients to ensure that even this temporary aggravation does not happen.
How does homeopathy work?
The working mechanism of homeopathy has long been an matter of scientific debate. This is particularly so because science has never fully explained the high dilution of substances, used for most homeopathic remedies, work. Most homeopaths in the past have not been too concerned about this lack of explanation, because they have seen proof that highly diluted remedies do work with patients, and do so regularly.
But in more recent years a number of scientists, such as Jacques Benveniste and Rostrum Roy, and many others, have been adding to our understanding about how homeopathy works. More recently, Nobel Prize winning scientist, Luc Montagnier, has been conducting a scientific investigation, and has come to this conclusion.
"I can't say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right".
"High dilutions are something, not nothing" (critics of homeopathy have said for years that homeopathy cannot work, that 'there is nothing' in the remedies).
"They are water structures which mimic the original molecules. We find that with DNA we cannot work at extremely high dilutions used in homeopathy; we cannot go further than a 10/10th dilution or we lose the signal. But even at 10/10th dilution you can calculate that there is not a single molecule of DNA left. And yet we detected a signal".
What Montagnier's work, and the work of other scientists, is doing is to overcome that often-repeated criticism of homeopathy - that it cannot work - and so it does not work. Clearly, what science is now beginning to understand and explain is that homeopathy is more than placebo.
Homeopathy has been used by millions of people during the last 200 years - as a safe and effective medical therapy. Now, it seems, there is an emerging science that is beginning to understand, and explain, the working mechanism of homeopathy.
Steve Scrutton runs a homeopathy practice in Northamptonshire. For more information please contact 01536 744520 Email
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