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Myths and Misapprehensions About Homeopathy

 

Many homeopaths, believing that the explanation of how homeopathy works is  secondary to its success with literally millions of patients, have traditionally  refused to reveal the names of the medicines they give. This and the lack of  information they have provided about their practice has led to an aura of  secrecy in which myths abound. It is worth looking at a few of these  misapprehensions.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is a form of herbalism’

In my experience, this is the commonest myth of all. While it is certainly  true that a proportion of the remedies a homeopath uses are based on plants, and  though, as in homeopathy, the herbalist prescribes on the individual, the  principles that govern the two therapies are quite different.

Many plants have known healing properties; herbalism is concerned with the  known sphere of action of a plant based on its chemical constituents as well as  its known healing qualities. Herbalism has existed for thousands of years—for as  long as we have records—in some form or another and has its roots in mother  earth. It is the only form of medicine used by wild animals.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, is based on a very different set of  principles. Homeopathic remedies are not used in the material dose; nor are they  based solely on plants, using as they do poisons, metals, and disease products.  Homeopaths generally prescribe one remedy at a time rather than the mixtures of  plant tinctures that herbalists employ. And, of course, homeopathy in its modern  form is a mere 200 years old.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is safe

In the same way that homeopathy can cure—dramatically and permanently in many  cases—it can also cause harm. Kent said that he would rather share a room with a  nest of vipers than be subjected to the administrations of an inexperienced  homeopath! Potential dangers are:

Unintentional provings

If you take too many homeopathic pills over a period of time it is possible  to ‘prove’ the remedy—that is, to suffer from the symptoms that the remedy was  supposed to cure. This can mean that although your own symptoms may improve  initially, they may worsen again if you continue to take the pills. Worse still,  if the remedy did not fit your picture—was not right for you—you may experience  symptoms you never had before.

This is a danger with self-prescribing or over-the-counter prescribing, where  there is no professional homeopath to monitor the symptoms. In my first year in  practice a woman rang me one day in a frantic state, desperate for help. She  told me the following story:

I asked for help at a homeopathic chemist for thrush, which I had  suffered from for several months, and was prescribed Nux vomica 30 over the  counter and told to take it three times daily. After a few days I experienced a  marked improvement in my condition, so I carried on taking it. After a week of  no further changes my symptoms started to get worse so I carried on taking it. I  finished the bottle of pills and went back to the pharmacy and told them my  thrush was now as bad as when I had started taking the remedy. They gave me  another bottle of Nux vomica 30 and told me to continue with the treatment. It  is now two months since I started on this remedy and my thrush is unbearable. It  is so bad I can’t sleep at night and I am irritable all the time. Please help  me.

I advised this woman to stop taking the pills and to antidote the remedy with  strong coffee and camphorated ointment (to counteract its effects) and within  twenty-four hours she was back to her old self, having slept well for the first  time in over a month. The thrush was back to where it had been before she took  the Nux vomica—annoying but manageable.

A colleague of mine tells of a six-month-old baby who was treated at a local  hospital as an emergency out-patient in a state of collapse. The nurse on duty  was a student of my colleague’s and discovered that the mother had been giving  her baby Chamomilla 6 several times a day for colic since soon after birth. As  soon as the homeopathic remedy was discontinued for a period of time the muscle  tone returned.

It is important to be on your guard against this over-use of homeopathic  medicines.

Confusion of the symptom picture

If a remedy has not been prescribed on the whole person it will work in a  limited way, curing a restricted number of symptoms. In these cases some  complaints remain and it is possible to end up giving one remedy after another  in order to try to ‘get rid’ of the remaining symptoms. In the end the whole  picture becomes so changed that it is difficult to find the similimum (that  single remedy that was needed at the very beginning).

The professional homeopath has different ways of dealing with this phenomenon  in order to get back to the original symptom picture. If you find that you are  prescribing one remedy after another with only limited effect, then do get  professional help.

Suppression

A homeopathic remedy can cure a superficial symptom such as skin eruption in  the same way that, for example, the application of a Cortisone cream can. This  will only be the case if the remedy has been prescribed on the skin complaint  (single symptom) without taking into account the whole person and/or the cause.  The effect is to push the disease further into the body. Constitutional  treatment will often commence with the original symptom resurfacing. Suppression  is not common in homeopathy but is possible. In self-prescribing, if your  complaint disappears but you feel much worse in

yourself (i.e. your moods and your energy) then it is likely that you have  made a poor choice of remedy—antidote it and get some professional advice.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is form of vaccination’

People often say that they understand homeopathy to be like a vaccination in  that the patient is given a small quantity of the disease he already has in  order to make him immune to it.

This is not true. Homeopathy and vaccination have similar, not the same,  concepts and very different practices. Vaccines work on the physical body in a  very specific way, in that they stimulate the immune system directly to produce  specific antibodies as if that person has contracted that particular disease; in  so doing they are, of course, stressing the immune system. Many vaccines have  been known to produce permanent side effects. They must be tested on animals and  then on humans to verify their safety, and even then children and adults are  often damaged on a physical, emotional or mental level.

A homeopathic remedy works in a totally different way. Homeopathic remedies  affect the energy patterns or vital force of a person and by so doing stimulate  the body to heal itself. They are administered orally in a diluted (and safe)  dose as opposed to being introduced directly into the bloodstream, as is the  case with vaccination thereby bypassing the body’s natural defense system and  stressing it in a way that is not fully understood. Homeopathic medicines are  not tested on innocent animals and do not have side effects.

Myth: ‘Homeopathic remedies are placebos’

This myth can be rephrased to read ‘You need to believe in it for it to  work.’ This is patently ridiculous to anyone who has experienced or prescribed a  successful homeopathic cure for, say, a head injury or a middle-ear  infection.

A placebo is an unmedicated pill which the patient believes contains  something that will cure him or her. Double-blind trials always involve the  inclusion of a control group taking a placebo instead of the medicine being  tested in order to rule out the individual’s ‘suggestibility’.

It is because homeopathic remedies do not always work that they are sometimes  believed to be ineffective and, because routine prescriptions such as Rhus  toxicodendron for rheumatism and Chamomilla for teething babies are freely  available from high-street chemists, people are wrongly persuaded into thinking  that they need not consult a homeopath (or an adequate first-aid book). If the  remedies do not work it is assumed that homeopathy does not work; if they do  work it is attributed to a placebo effect—some double blind!

Homeopathic medicines work effectively on babies and animals, neither of whom  are open to being affected by placebos.

It is always essential to individualize the remedy to fit the patient and not  the disease, to ensure that the underlying principles are observed so that the  element of chance is decreased and homeopathy can be seen to work.

Of course, there are many people who will recognize the experience of  consulting a practitioner who inspires belief and hope, who left them feeling  buoyant and encouraged. But if this initial rapport is not backed up with good  solid prescribing, then no amount of that positive ‘transference’ will cure the  patient.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is mysterious and unscientific’

The fact that homeopathic medicines are prepared in a pharmacy or a  laboratory and that their preparation involves a particular technique subject to  precise and clearly stated controls (it does not involve mysterious and secret  processes which put it into the realm of white magic or alchemy) is enough to  convince many people of its validity.

Homeopaths have traditionally justified their practice by their results,  without feeling a need to explain how their methods work. The homeopathic  philosophy or doctrine is a set of rules for practice—one that hasn’t changed  since it was formulated 200 years ago. These rules and principles constitute a  unified hypothesis whose validity is tested out empirically—with cured patients  confirming the hypothesis.

Harris Coulter, in his book Homeopathic Science and Modern Medicine (The  Physics of healing with Microdoses), discusses this issue at great length and  also describes many of the trials that have been conducted over the past fifty  years or so using plants, animals and humans as controls to prove the  effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.

(In Atlanta, GA, Leesa recommends Dr. Seneca Anderson at www.longevityhealthcenter.com.  Be sure to tell them Leesa Wheeler referred you!)

 

Reprinted from The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda  Castro

by Miranda  Castro FSHom, RSHom (NA), CCH, Contributor to Homeopathy  on Allthingshealing.com

Editor´s Note from Judith  Hanna Doshi: Miranda’s article lays out some of the common misunderstandings  about Homeopathy. Although it is usually promoted as a “safe, gentle and  effective” mode of treatment, it must be recognized that Homeopathy is a complex  treatment modality that requires considerable skill to administer and manage effectively,  preferably by a professional homeopath. If poorly done, it can cause  aggravations and even complicate the existing disease picture. Fortunately,  these effects are usually short lived and in no way resemble the toxic effects  of conventional treatments  that leave their imprint permanently.

Dr. Neala Peake, selected  from AllThingsHealing.com

All Things Healing (allthingshealing.com) is an online  portal and community dedicated to informing and educating people across the  globe about alternative healing of mind, body, spirit and the planet at large.  We are committed to bringing together a worldwide community of individuals and  organizations who are working to heal themselves, each other, and the world. We  offer 39 healing categories, 80 plus editors who are experts in their fields, a  forum for each category, and an extensive “Find Practitioners” listing. Our  Costa Rica Learning Center and Spiritual Retreat is coming soon. Join  us!

 

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