Dr Vijay H Viashnav
What is Homeopathy ?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine which assists the natural tendency of the human body to heal itself. It acknowledges that all symptoms of ill health are a mere manifestation of the disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient that requires treatment and not the disease. It has been in existence worldwide for nearly two hundred years and its popularity is rising in the present day.
People suffering from all kinds of illnesses, from arthritis to migraine, depression to ulcers, including ‘modern day’ illnesses like AIDS, can be helped by homeopathy in regaining their health. Since different people react to the same illness in different ways, a homeopath approaches patients in a holistic manner. The physical, emotional and mental or spiritual state of each person are regarded as intimately connected. Homeopaths understand that symptoms of disease are evidence of the body’s natural immune systems response to healing itself and these clues are used to guide them when prescribing a remedy.
How do the remedies work … ?
Homeopathy remedies are prescribed to the Law of Similars which states” That which makes sick shall heal”. For instance, we know that when cutting a strong smelling onion we often experience an acrid running nose, a soreness in the throats and stinging, watery eyes. A homeopath will prescribe Allium cepa (made from onion) for patients who suffer from cold and a sore throat with similar symptoms. This Law of Similar has been part of medical practice since ancient times but homeopathy (similar & suffering) as we know it today was first formulated two hundred years ago by a German physician, chemist and linguist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.
A homeopathic remedy acts as a signal which energizes or stimulates the body’s healing power, mobilizing the defense systems and working in the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the being. Just as a television produces images of the program it has been tuned, so is a sick person very much in tune or sensitive to the correct remedy and only a minute stimulus from the correct signal (or remedy) is required. Therefore, in homeopathy, only one remedy (or signal) is used at a time.
The idea is to cure with the minimum amount of medicine and with the minimum amount of intervention. For the same reason, it is not possible to take an overdose of homeopathic remedies in the same way as in allopathy. Homeopathic remedies are not therefore intrinsically dangerous. Nonetheless, they are clearly capable of stimulating the body’s reactive forces powerfully and should be treated with respect.
What will your homeopath need to know … ?
The homeopath approaches patient in a holistic manner and regard the physical, emotional and mental or spiritual complaints of each person as intimately connected. Since all are aspects of the whole being of the patient suffering. Homeopaths understand that symptoms of disease are evidence of the body’s natural and automatic effort to heal itself and these clues are used to guide them when prescribing a remedy.
Your homeopath will ask detailed question on all aspects of your life past and present. Be as detailed and thorough as possible, what you may determine as unusual, trivial or unimportant could hold a greater significance to your homeopath. Initial consultations are long, could last an hour or more and all discussions are treated with the strictest confidence.
What is entailed in the treatment … ?
Traditional homeopathic remedy is prescribed in the form of pills that should be allowed to dissolve under the tongue for greatest absorption. Patients should refrain from ingesting anything for aleast 1/2 hours after taking the medication. Your homeopath will usually advise you to refrain from any strong smelling substances while undergoing homeopathic treatment because such substances lessen the effect of the remedy. Tea, coffee, peppermint, eucalyptus oil, camphor or menthol products are some examples of the same. Store all remedies in cool dark places and well away from anything with a strong smell.
Please inform your doctor of any other medications that you may be on as well as any medical procedures that you are about to start, or have already begun. Because other treatments and prescription medications may impact the effectiveness of your treatment.
Do not be surprised if your homeopath asks you to make necessary changes in your lifestyle.
What can I expect to happen … ?
One may experience certain physiological changes upon starting a remedy. It is often noticed that the symptoms may get worse after beginning the treatment for a short period of time. This is a good sign. This is a signal that the remedy is taking the desired effect and that the recovery would begin once the symptoms have passed.
It is not uncommon to develop a runny nose, cold, rash or some kind of discharge. This is the remedy’s way of cleansing the body. Contact you homeopath if you are concerned by any changes that you notice upon beginning the remedy. Whatever you reaction maybe, the homeopath will need to know, so make notes, be detailed and list the changing symptoms.
Are there any side effects … ?
Homeopathy influences the body’s energy rather than its chemical balance. Hence, the remedies do not cause side effects since there is no chemical trace to accumulate in the tissues. For the same reasons, it is not possible to take an overdose of homeopathic medicine in the same way as in allopathic medicine (which works on a chemical level) Homeopathic remedies are therefore not intrinsically dangerous. Yet, they are capable in stimulating the body’s reactive forces powerfully and should be treated with respect.
Explain the law of Similar Suffering…?
Homeopathy is derived from two Greek words “homoeos” meaning similar and “pathos” meaning suffering. Translated literally, it means “similar suffering”. It is a system of medicine propounded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, a little over 200 years ago. Thus was born Homeopathy- Similar Suffering, and the law of cure- Similia Similibus Curentur, that is, ‘let likes be cured by likes’. In simple terms, it means, ” any substance that can produce a set of signs and symptoms in a healthy person can be used to cure a similar set of signs and symptoms in a diseased person”.
For instance, we know that when cutting a strong onion, we often experience an acrid runny nose, a particular soreness in the throat and stinging runny eyes. So, a homeopath will prescribe Allium cepa, the remedy made from the red onion, for the patient who has a cold and bad throat with these particular symptoms.
This law of similars has been a part of medical practice since the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and is also mentioned in the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas. However, homeopathy as we know it today, was first formulated only 200 years ago. Even the term Allopathy was coined by Hahnemann to describe the type of practice prevalent at that time.
Is Homeopathy a holistic science…?
Homeopathy is holistic medicine. Homeopaths do not treat physical, emotional and mental illnesses separately, but regard them as intimately connected. These are all aspects of the whole of the patient’s suffering. Further, they understand that symptoms of illnesses are evidence of the body’s natural and automatic efforts to heal itself. These clues are used to guide them when prescribing a remedy.
So, the patient may be asked questions about all sorts of apparently minor deviations from health and about character and personality traits. It may appear that the homeopath is interested in matters that have little to do with the particular complaint about which the patient is most concerned. This is because, before prescribing, the homeopath wants a complete overview of the patient. A remedy is then prescribed for that individual patient and not for his or her disease. Therefore, homeopathy is truly holistic.
What is the Principle of Individualization…?
Each patient is different from another and his reaction to all the internal and external forces or stimuli will therefore be different from another. This is called the principle of individualization.It is for this reason that two patients with apparently the same illness may be treated with different remedies. Let us take the example of common cold. An allopath will prescribe for each patient the same medication- a decongestant, an anti-allergic and an anti-pyretic. A homeopath first looks for the cause.
He will ask you how you caught the cold- did you get wet in the rains, were exposed to a draft of air, got overheated or chilled, had cold drinks, etc. Then, he looks for the details of the symptoms- whether you sneeze or not, is there a runny nose, what is the type of discharge, etc. He finds out what factors aggravate or relieve the complaints, what are the associated symptoms, etc. Armed with these details, he selects a remedy similar to the illness and attacks it.
What is potentization … ?
The remedies we use come from many sources. Most are derived from plants, but minerals, metals, animal products, and even some poisons, which have been used medicinally for generations, are also used. It seems alarming that homeopathy uses poisons, but you can rest assured that all substances whether of plant, mineral, metal, animal or poisonous origin are put through a special process whereby they are serially diluted and vigorously shaken.
This special process is called “potentisation”, wherein the crude medicinal substances are serially diluted and “energized”. The dilution is frequently so great that no chemical trace of the original substance remains. However the characteristic energy pattern or the blue print of the original substance is imprinted onto the dilution. This process is very much akin to the radio or television signals, where the original program or scene is converted in to an electromagnetic energy pattern or signal which is transmitted to a receiver.
How soon will I be cured … ?
Homeopathic remedies cure the whole as opposed to the symptoms. The time it takes to cure a symptoms is directly dependant on the complexity of the ailment. Since the remedy works from inside out, internal disorders are the first to be cured as opposed to superficial outer symptoms. Be patient, for it is more beneficial to cure the cause of the illness as well as the symptoms , rather than simply relieve the symptoms. Two patients with a cold may look similar but may have completely different remedies prescribed to them.
Should I treat myself with homeopathic remedies … ?
One can learn to utilize excellent remedies for simple first aid situations such as cuts, bruises, insect stings, stomach upsets etc. Do not try and resolve serious and more complex ailments on your own. Contact your homeopathic doctor for such treatments.