Homeopathy: What is it?
There is often much confusion about the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath, and you'll probably hear these terms used interchangeably. Let's talk about the unique part that homeopathy plays in integrative health care.
Homeopathy is actually a branch of medicine all its own apart from naturopathy. However, naturopathic doctors, medical doctors, and many other types of health care providers can become trained in the art of homeopathy and prescribe this type of medicine for patients. There are also homeopathic practitioners who go to school specifically for this and have a practice entirely based on homeopathy.
Homeopathy is a gentle but powerful medicine that helps spark the body's innate healing potential. While it may seem "new" in today's health care arena, it's actually been around for hundreds of years and is used all around the world to treat both chronic and acute conditions. Believe it or not, there was a time in the U.S. when homeopathy was used just as often as any other type of medicine if not more so. Let's take a look at what homeopathy can do for your health.
In this issue:
- The Personality of Health
- Treating the Whole Body
- A Snapshot in Time
- Homeopathy Intake
- Summer Inspiration: "What Plateaus Can Teach Us"
- Opt in (or out) of newsletter / Link to past issues
The Personality of Health
Homeopathy digs deeper beneath textbook definitions of symptoms to look at who is going through the symptoms.
Imagine two different people who first catch, and then are trying to recover from a cold. Does the course of sickness look the same in each of them, even after catching the same bug in the same environment? One person may have sneezing fits while the other has a raw and inflamed sore throat. Conventional medicine has its place in providing antibiotics where needed, but that subtle difference in symptoms is not covered by pharmaceutical drugs. Each person is unique in who they are, and so is their health.
That's where homeopathy can come in. It looks not only at the specific symptom you are dealing with, but also how the personality of the symptom matches your overall constitution as a person. Each homeopathic remedy is designed to treat not just a sore throat, for example, but the kind of sore throat and other symptoms that match the individual experiencing them.
Is homeopathy used only for acute symptoms like colds? Nope, it expertly gets at the root of chronic conditions as well, which we'll cover next.
Treating the Whole Body
Homeopathy has a unique ability to treat chronic health issues that can often be resistant to other types of therapies. How? Built into this medicine is the recognition that illness has both a physical and mental component to it. By addressing not only how the body is feeling in terms of pain or discomfort, but also how we're feeling in general through life's challenges, homeopathy treats the whole person.
Chronic health issues aren't born overnight, and instead they tend to take root over months or even years of accumulated stress, work overload, heavy expectations, and lifestyle imbalances. The body wants to heal from these factors naturally, but it seldom gets a chance to rest and recover. That's where homeopathy can help.
Homeopathic remedies help spark the body's innate healing potential by boosting the immune system, strengthening the body's response to stress, improving energy, naturally balancing hormones, and increasing vitality. The philosophy behind it can be summed up as "Like cures like." By taking a remedy whose properties match the types of symptoms that are surfacing, and your unique personality, the body is encouraged to restore balance to the organ systems.
Both the body and mind benefit as this balance is restored. But what if a symptom has been around for a while, and it appears differently now than it did when it first started? Could just one remedy fit the full picture of symptoms? Next, we'll talk about homeopathy's ability to treat symptoms depending on where they're at, and what you're going through at the time.
A Snapshot in Time
At each point along the course of a symptom, its characteristics may change. A symptom that at first felt better from a warm compress can eventually stop responding to it. Anxiety that is initially felt in certain environments or situations can later surface in completely different ones. While pharmaceuticals and supplements have important uses in health care, they can't always address how symptoms change over time and treat them from where they (and you) are at.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole, and it has a fluid nature in how it treats the body. It takes a snapshot in time of your symptoms and circumstances and addresses the "big picture" of health imbalance. It is also a versatile therapy as it can safely be used alongside pharmaceutical drugs and other treatments like supplements or acupuncture.
There is typically one remedy that will be most handy for each person, however at different times other remedies can be very helpful too. None of us are static in who we are, and as we learn and grow over the years, different sides of personality and health can come out. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in health. Homeopathy moves with these changes and helps unblock the obstacles to health that are present at the time.
Each homeopathic remedy is made from a small amount of natural plant or mineral source, and you take it as a tiny sugar-flavored pill. The typical instructions are to dissolve the pills under the tongue a few times a day until the course of treatment (single tube) is finished. A remedy can be re-dosed when needed, and also a different remedy may be prescribed at subsequent visits. Read on to learn about the structure of homeopathic intakes.
During a homeopathic intake, I want to find out as much as I can about the symptoms that are occurring, a patient's unique habits and preferences, and the connection between the mind and body in the overall picture of health symptoms. A homeopathic remedy often addresses more than just one symptom, and it shines in treating multiple symptoms that may be clustering together. These include symptoms related to both physical and mental health.
Questions are designed to be open-ended, without a right or wrong answer. This is often a refreshing aspect to the homeopathic style of interviewing as opposed to typical medical intakes. Any information that helps paint how your typical day unfolds can be helpful in a homeopathic intake.
After an intake, I use the information provided to choose a remedy that best fits the totality (or big picture) of health for each person. While taking the remedy, it can be helpful to check in with yourself in terms of symptoms and how you're feeling. You may even notice changes in how you react to different situations, ones that may have felt more flustering before.
Take advantage of the homeopathy special at the end of the newsletter and come in for a consultation! For more information, you can also learn about homeopathy by visiting this page.
What Plateaus Can Teach Us
Have you ever started recovering from a symptom, only to discover that it has become worse a month later? Or, have you ever tried learning a new skill and felt excited at first, only to feel discouraged about your abilities after a few weeks? This initial progress, followed by a period of (seemingly) no change is called a plateau.
In his book "Mastery," George Leonard talks about how plateaus are where the real learning often takes place, even if we can't see it. Nothing can be a solid upward progression, whether it's related to health, sports, education, parenting, work, or anything else you're striving for. When those stretches of "nothing" seem to lie in front of you, or maybe you even feel like you're taking two steps backward, stick with it anyway. Important stuff is happening, and once a plateau has run its course, you'll most likely see that you've come further than you realized in the direction you wanted to go.
A plateau can be frustrating for sure, but when you don't give up, you give yourself the opportunity to keep learning. Instead of picturing a plateau as flat, look at it as a hill instead. You will get to the top and over to the other side as long as you keep at it. Which areas can you keep practicing in that have recently hit a plateau?
Get $30 applied toward your next in-office homeopathy consultation, either first intake or return (normally $210 first/$120 return). Expires: August 31, 2015.
Thank you for reading the Summer 2015 issue of the Inner Balance Health & Inspiration Newsletter. Have a great month!
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