The premise of homeopathy is that every person has energy called a vital force or self-healing response. When this energy is disrupted or imbalanced, health problems develop. Homeopathy aims to stimulate the body's own healing responses by giving extremely small doses of substances that produce characteristic symptoms of illness in healthy people when given in larger doses. This approach is called "like cures like."
More than 200 year ago Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, conducted extensive research and study, and concluded that when any substance – plant, animal or mineral – is taken excessively, the body responds with certain symptoms. But when properly diluted, they can relieve the same symptoms they induce at high doses. Hahnemann developed symptom profiles for hundreds of substances by testing his theory on himself and family members. Today there are several thousand homeopaths administering homeopathic remedies helping people to overcome illness without the use of drugs, which can often have negative side-effects. Although research has provided mixed results in terms of the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, many people, including myself, have found relief from bothersome symptoms without any adverse side-effects.
The concept is unlike other modern medicines, such as antibiotics, that are designed to inhibit the growth of, or to kill germs. Homeopathic remedies are thought to alter the conditions that make the body susceptible to infection. The body’s self-regulating mechanism, the vital force, signals when emotional, physical or mental stresses become too difficult for the body to cope with.
In order to identify the proper remedy a homeopath will first identify the patient’s symptoms, as the symptoms are the result of an illness, not the illness itself. The symptoms are signs that call attention to physical, emotional or mental stress and therefore should not be suppressed, but rather looked at as clues. Different remedies are used for different symptoms and conditions, and those that best match a patient’s particular set of symptoms are called a similar.
The raw material for the homeopathic preparation is referred to as the mother substance (solid) or mother tincture (liquid). They are obtained by grinding the reduced raw solid materials in a mortar, then dissolving them in alcohol. Liquid substances, such as vegetable oils, snake venom or fruit juices, are the bases of mother tinctures.
Remedies come in four main forms: liquids, pills, tables and powders. It is very important that you do not bring homeopathic medicines in contact with metal – if necessary make sure you use a plastic spoon! Have minimal contact with the substance and do not eat, drink or brush your teeth for 20 minutes before or after taking a remedy. Make sure to keep the caps tightly closed and away from fragrant products.
Homeopathic remedies that are sold over-the-counter are generally for less acute conditions…such as Arnica for muscle aches and pains. Another favorite of mine is Calendula Ointment, which is helpful for bruises, burns and abrasions. Another product you will find on my list of favorites is VertigoHeel by Heel, Inc., which I have found to be very helpful in relieving symptoms of dizziness/vertigo.
To find a homeopath in your community you can visit The National Center for Homeopathy website at: http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org