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How does it work?

The word Homeopathy comes from the Greek - "Homoios" in Greek means similar and "pathos" means disease or suffering. Homeopathy sees symptoms of disease as expressions of disharmony within the whole person and therefore treatment focuses on the individual not the disease. Homeopathic medicines go with, rather than against, the person's natural defences.

The remedies, of varying potency, are used to stimulate the body's innate healing ability, which may be blocked by inherited immune system weaknesses, suppressed emotional expression or restrictive beliefs. The remedy works by resonating with the symptoms at a cellular and sub-cellular level, and energizing the body to cure itself and the very small doses used in homeopathic medicines make them extremely safe.

The efficacy of this approach and its physical basis has been the subject of recent scientific research, which has begun to measure and explain its powerful effects. A survey of research published in the British Medical Journal (February 9, 1991) indicated that there have been 107 controlled clinical trials, 81 of which showed that the homeopathic medicines had beneficial results.

Where does it come from?

Homeopathic concepts have existed for thousands of years. The basis of homeopathy is the fundamental law of similars which describes how a substance can cure the same symptoms that it causes. This law of similars was described by Hippocrates and Paracelsus and was utilized by many cultures, including the Mayans, Chinese, Greeks, Native American Indians, and Asian Indians, but it was not until the 18 th century that the German, Samuel Hahnemann codified the law of similars into a systematic medical science.

Homeopathy attracted support from many of the most respected members of society. Its advocates included William James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathanial Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Daniel Webster, William Seward, Horace Greeley, and Louisa May Alcott. John D. Rockefeller referred to homeopathy as "a progressive and aggressive step in medicine"; the fact that he was under homeopathic care throughout the latter part of his life may be one reason he lived 99 years.

Today Homeopathy is particularly popular in the UK – visits to homeopathic physicians are estimated to be increasing in England at a rate of 39% per year. Not only is there growing interest from the general public, there is also surprising acknowledgement of homeopathy by conventional physicians - a study published in The Times found that 48% of physicians referred patients to homeopathic physicians.

Where do the remedies come from?

They are derived from naturally occurring substances such as minerals, plants, metals, animal and human products. The original substance is made into a remedy by a homeopathic pharmacy. This is done by repeated dilutions and agitation. It has been discovered that the higher the dilution the greater the potency of the remedy.

The First Consultation

For cure to begin it is first necessary to determine the single remedy that most closely matches your symptom picture. This is the crux of the initial homeopathic consultation. The homeopath sees every disease as a mind-body process, so in seeking to understand your physical complaints the homeopath will also ask questions about your mental and emotional life in order to try to understand you as a person, not just an illness or condition.

The Remedy

This is given either as a soluble tablet or in liquid form. Nothing should be put in the mouth 15 minutes before or after the remedy. You will notice changes following the remedy. In some people there is a healing crisis in which certain symptoms are exaggerated for a short time, or old symptoms may re-appear. Your homeopath will be available to support you through these stages of cure.

Is it available on the NHS?

Homeopathy has been available within the NHS since the Health Service first began in 1948. When the NHS Act was originally debated in Parliament, the government confirmed that the homeopathic hospitals would be included in the Health Service and that homeopathy would continue to be available as long as there were "patients wishing to receive it and doctors willing to provide it".

There are currently five NHS homeopathic hospitals and many community-based and independent clinics where qualified medical homeopathic doctors work.

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