So what is Homeopathy?
Many people are interested in it, some are vehemently opposed to it, some swear by it. But what is it?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that was first discovered by Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago. Homeopathy works by finding a remedy that best fits the persons symptom picture. That symptom picture not only relates to the physical or mental symptoms the person is experiencing, but also how they experience them, and what type of person they are.
We are all a big old mix of emotions and feelings, and life experiences, and the way one person deals with, experiences, or feels a symptom, may be vastly different to another person.
Each remedy has a symptom picture which is determined by a rigorous testing procedure called proving. The word proving is less like the English meaning of establishing the existence or truth of something, but more related to the German verb Prüfen, which means to test or examine. A test group of people is selected or come forward and each participant is given either the remedy or a placebo.
The remedy used is given in varying potencies (strengths) and each participant has to diarize what happens to them over the following days or weeks, in minute detail. That means every emotion, every feeling, every change, even down to thoughts. Only the person leading the proving knows who has been given what, and participants are not allowed to speak to each other. At the end of the proving, all the diaries are collated and a symptom picture is formed by comparing and compiling the information. (Jeremy Sherr has done lots of work on modern day provings. Check out this Video of him on Homeopathy Plus)
Samuel Hahnemann spent his life time proving remedies and many of the remedies used today are the ones he spent months and years perfecting.
So, I hear you ask, how are the remedies made?
Well, this is where people start to get a little wonky about Homeopathy.
Homeopathic remedies are usually made through a process of trituration and/or succussion. A small amount of the raw substance or source material, (plant, mineral or animal etc) is placed in a mortar with lactose and is ground for one hour. (don’t worry, these days it’s not done by hand. Check out Helios.co.uk for how they do it in the modern world)
After one hour, more lactose is added and it’s ground again for another hour. More lactose, another hour, and now we have a 3C potency. C stands for centesimal so 3C is 1 part source material to 300 parts lactose. (stop yawning !) After that, most homeopathic pharmacies go on to dilute and succuss (what? click the word for a link to what that is) a small amount of this 3C substance with water and alcohol to get to the higher potencies. (i.e. 30C, 200C etc) You can see why they don’t do it by hand anymore. 10M potencies took forever! (it’s more complicated than that and depends on what substance it is as to what process is followed, but you get the idea)
But wait, I’m a genius and I know that once you get to Avogadro’s number, there no actual molecule of the original substance left!
And you’re right! But here’s where the opposition gets their undergarments in a knot. When working with a 30C potency, which is the most commonly used potency as it’s in most kits you can buy, we are in the realms of energy. Now, the opponents of Homeopathy will by now either be jumping up and down in rage or scoffing and walking away, but anyone who has ever been affected by anything vibrational will know that energy is everything. (Think; knowing who’s about to call when the phone rings, that feeling that you’re being watched, that feeling that something bad is going to happen before it does)
The substance that has been ground and bashed and diluted and jiggled, at this point, although not containing any physical molecules, (which aren’t really physical, but that’s for another post, maybe) hold the energy or energetic profile of that original substance.
Yeah yeah, sure, but isn’t it all just placebo?
The placebo effect, or basically putting it, the belief that it’s going to work, plays a massive role in anyone’s recovery and should never be down played. And not only in Homeopathy, but in any form of medicine. Lots of research has been done into the placebo effect in mainstream healthcare and no one can detract from the fact that belief is half the marathon.
However, time after time, year after year, again and again (you get the picture) homeopathy has successfully treated not only grown-up humans with loads of weird preconceived ideas, beliefs and philosophies, but also babies, children, animals, and even plants (yep, homeopathy for plants is a thing – and another post?) Now, if you are of the persuasion that a herd of cattle believe their ringworm will get better because Old McDonald put some Thuja 12C in his cows’ water trough, I’ll have a pint of what you’re having.
Check out the Homeopathic Research Institute to see the latest in Homeopathic Research.
So what does the Homeopath do?
Check out my FAQs for what happens in a homeopathic consultation, but basically the homeopath will ask lots of questions about your symptoms, about you, about your medical history, your family’s medical history, and many more above, below and in between. Depending on the answers you give, a remedy will be selected which bests matches you, the individual, as well as your symptoms, and the therapeutic process begins. There are no definites on how long it takes to see changes, but your homeopath will work out a treatment plan with you and work WITH you every step of the way.
Interested? Why not book yourself in for a free 15 minute consultation