Homoeopathy as Family Medicine – a practicing doctor with a healing touch

Dr Vivek Gopalakrishnan 

Family medicine (FM) is a clinical medical specialty which is devoted to the comprehensive health care for people of all ages and provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family across all ages, genders, diseases, and parts of the body.FM has been developed as a counterculture in response to rapid fragmentation of medical care during post second world war period into specialty and subspecialty care in the much of the developed world. The concept evolved as a concept of medical care to cater to the growing demand of the people for personalized, continued, and comprehensive care. 

The specialty of family medicine is centered on lasting, caring relationships with patients and their families. Family physicians integrate the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences to provide continuing and comprehensive health care. The scope of family medicine encompasses all ages, sexes, each organ system and every disease entity. Of the primary care specialties (family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics), family physicians provide the most care – managing nearly one-fourth of all primary care visits . Given the scope of family medicine, this comes as no surprise. 

Family medicine is a three-dimensional specialty, incorporating (1) knowledge, (2) skill and (3) process. At the center of the process element is the patient-physician relationship with the patient viewed in the context of the family . It is the extent to which this relationship is valued, developed, nurtured and maintained that distinguishes family medicine from all other specialties. Family physicians also pay special attention to their patients’ lives within the context of family and the community. While there are similarities between family medicine and the other primary care specialties, family physicians have an unprecedented opportunity to have an impact on the health of an individual patient over that person’s entire lifetime. Family physicians take a proactive approach to medicine. 

The cornerstone of family medicine is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care . Your family physician is trained to provide optimal medical care by looking at the whole person, rather than focusing on just one organ system . In addition to diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, your family physician provides routine health screenings and counseling on lifestyle changes in an effort to prevent illnesses before they develop.In fact trained family physicians are able to provide care to 90% of the healthcare needs. In developed countries, conditions such as “diabetes” and “hypertension” are considered primary care diseases and managed in community setting, unlike India where these clinical conditions are still considered specialist domains.  

In the era of super specialist practice, family medicine, and family physicians are more relevant than ever. Today, there is no one doctor who is responsible for the whole person. People often find it frustrating when their small health-related questions are not answered by the treating doctors, as they have to visit multiple health care providers. This is more difficult for older persons with multiple health issues. People want solutions which only family physicians can provide, who are capable of generalist care. The entire health system is internally unstable for India as even rich countries find it difficult to cope up with ever increasing the cost of tertiary care facilities. 

Family physicians can provide quality and cost-effective healthcare . It is a win – win situation for both public and doctors. Family physician’s close contact with society also strengthens the doctor-patient relationship. 

The National Health Policy 2002 by the Government of India identified “Family Medicine” as a focus area of human resource development. However, implementation has been very slow. Several other policy documents by the government have talked about developing FM Training Programs – these include (a) Mehta Committee report, (b) NRHM task force on human resource in health, and (c) planning commission’s 12th plan paper on health forecasted requirement of 15,000 family physicians per year.Health Secretary, Government of India, has written twice to the state governments to incorporate FM Program within the National Health Mission. At one point, Government of India also offered funds through NRHM to start FM Training Program. 

Alternative practitioners and in particular Homoeopaths occupy a whole spectrum of primary care space in India.One of the best options for medical graduates for today is to opt for FM career as it brings you closer to people . 

And did not we always dream to become a practicing doctor with a healing touch? 

Family physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, they also provide preventive care, including routine checkups, health-risk assessments and screening tests, and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Family physicians also manage chronic illness which is a main forte of Homoeopathy. 

Some of the subspecialties of family medicine include: 

  • Adolescent Medicine. … 
  • Geriatric Medicine. …
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine. …
  • Pain Medicine. …
  • Sleep Medicine. …
  • Sports Medicine.

5 Reasons You Should Have a Homoeopath as your Family Doctor:
If you have a medical need — sudden flu symptoms, nagging back pain, an unexpected rash — who is your first point of contact?A family physician can be the right answer for most healthcare situations.
1. Family doctors follow your life cycle
I treat toddlers, I care for teens and people in their 20s. I treat middle-aged adults, retirees and people well into their 90s. I often see these same patients for years or even decades.That’s typical of family practitioners especially Homoeopaths. Because Homoeopaths treat a wide range of conditions, they can be your primary care physicians at any point in your life .In the long term, that means you can build a lasting relationship with a Homoeopathic physician.
2. They know your personal — and family — history
When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out. That helps them make accurate diagnoses, watch for red flags regarding medications and monitor changes in your health through the years.But the “family” in family doctor matters, too. Seeing multiple generations of a family can help a doctor record an accurate, in-depth family health history . For example, if I know you had cancer at a young age, and so did your mother, that’s a red flag. I will recommend genetic counseling and offer a screening plan not only for you but also for other family members at risk.
Medical history is just part of the picture. Sometimes it helps to know what’s happening at home, too. When treating a child whose parent just lost a job, for instance, that information comes into play when assessing stress and anxiety. When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out.This is in-fact one of the highlights of Homoeopathic case taking where Homoeopath enquiries from head to foot of a patient including all relevant histories before he arrives at prescription. 

3. Family doctors & infact Homoeopaths treat more than you think 

Yes, family doctors do your yearly check-up. But they also can help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. They can treat acute situations such as sinus infections and injuries. They can help you throughout a pregnancy.They also can perform minor surgical procedures, such as dressing a wound or draining an abscess. These are but a few examples, and the list goes on. 

4. When you need a specialist, they help find the right fit 

When you need to see a specialist for heart disease, cancer or any other serious concern, a family doctor can help find someone who fits your specific needs — and personality.Here’s an example: Say I have a patient who needs to see a cardiologist. I know from years of experience this patient prefers conservative treatments. That means I’ll search for a cardiologist who takes a conservative-first approach rather than someone known for aggressive treatment. 

5. They can improve lives — and save money 

There’s ample evidence that using more primary care saves money for a healthcare system.And data suggests that adding one primary care physician (such as a family doctor) for every 10,000 people can lower hospital admissions by 5.5 percent, emergency room visits by 11 percent and surgeries by 11 percent.Those numbers are even more impressive than cost savings. Homeopathic Physicians as Family doctors can certainly save the country money, but more importantly, they can offer your family -a better health. 

Homeopathy as is known ,is a unique, natural, holistic system of medicine which stimulates the body’s healing responses with no known contraindications or common side effects.This does not mean that Homoeopathy is not FAIL SAFE.Homeopathic practice and manufacture rely on well-defined principles and guidelines. Three fundamental principles define homeopathy and have not changed since its inception in the late 18th century. Homeopathy’s founder, Dr.Samuel Hahnemann, established these principles in his book Organon of Medicine, aka, Organon of the Healing Art. 

Homeopathic treatment is tailored to each individual patient, according to their complete symptom picture. This would include not only physical symptoms, but also their emotional and mental state.Homeopathy is truly a holistic system of healing. For every remedy and patient, Homeopathy treasures every mental, emotional and physical change in extensive detail including: the sensations, locations, times and qualities of each symptom, plus the modalities for each case and symptom, i.e., influences– what aggravates, ameliorates or causes. This is typically the pattern followed by a Family Medicine Practitioner. 

The holistic nature of homeopathy means each person is treated as a unique individual and their body, mind, spirit and emotions are all considered in the management and prevention of disease. Homeopathic doctors work in the same way as any other conventional doctors. History taking, examination and investigation are all important in establishing the diagnosis. However, as well as asking about your symptoms, a homeopathic doctor will be interested in you as an individual and the unique way in which your symptoms affect you.The homeopathic consultation Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, temperament, personality, sleep patterns and medical history to help the doctor to form a complete picture of you. This picture will be matched to the symptoms of your illness in order to prescribe a particular type and strength of homeopathic medicine. 

Homeopathy is a sophisticated medical science which individualizes a substance based on the totality of a person’s symptoms. Inherent in the homeopathic approach is a basic respect for the body’s wisdom; it is thus no wonder that it is a safer medicine.At a time in our civilization when it is essential to develop practices that strengthen the immune and defense system, homeopathic medicine is quite naturally gaining popularity. Homeopathy embodies the characteristics of a medical science one could hope and dream for in the 21st century… and the best news is that we do not have to wait until the 21st century to draw upon of its benefits. 

This similarity between Family Medicine and Homeopathy in pretty much all aspects of its approach to managing the sick shows that the scope of Homoeopathy in Family Care and of Homoeopaths to function as Family Medicine Practitioners should be universally understood,accepted and implemented in medical service delivery. 

REFERENCES: 

1. http://familymedicine.bsd.uchicago.edu/OurDepartment/WhatIsFamilyMedicine
2. https://www.familycarenetwork.com/provider-types/what-is-a-family-physician-md
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943145/
4. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-reasons-you-should-have-a-family-doctor/
5. http://www.txoptions.com/resources/education/principles-of-homeopathy/
6. https://homeopathic.com/a-modern-understanding-of-homeopathic-medicine/ 

Dr Vivek Gopalakrishnan
drvivekg4u@gmail.com

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