Frequently Asked Questions - Homeopathy
How does the concept of homeopathy differ from that of conventional medicine? The homeopath regards symptoms as the body's healthy attempt to restore itself to balance. That is why a homeopath will choose a remedy that supports the symptoms-rather than opposing them or suppressing them as in conventional medicine. In conventional medicine, the cold or hayfever sufferer is given an antihistamine to dry up the runny nose and watery eyes artificially. Unpleasant side effects like sleepiness and constipation often result. With the correct homeopathic remedy, however, there are no side effects and a person is restored to health naturally with an attendant sense of well-being.
Homeopathy recognizes that each person manifests his or her dis-ease in a unique and slightly different way. That is why two people with the same disease will not necessarily receive the same homeopathic remedy. A cold sufferer with a stopped up nose and dry eyes would receive a different remedy than the one with a runny nose and watering eyes. Unlike the "one size fits all" approach to prescribing often used in conventional medicine, a homeopath chooses a remedy that matches the unique symptom profile of the individual.
Conventional medicine seeks to control illness through the regular use of medications; if the medicine is withdrawn, the person's symptoms return. For example, the daily use of drugs for asthma (or any chronic disease for that matter) alleviates the symptoms but does not cure the underlying problem.
In homeopathy the ideal is that a person needs just enough homeopathic remedy to stimulate their healing response. In other words, homeopathy seeks to cure a person so that they do not need any medications-- homeopathic or otherwise.
What is homeopathy's history? The principal's of homeopathy were formulated by the German physician Samual Hahnemann (1755-1843). Hahnemann found the conventional medical therapies of his time to be ineffective and harmful, and discovered, in homeopathy, a means to help patients without side effects. Homeopathy spread quickly throughout Europe and the rest of the world including the United States. It has a 200-year history of safely and effectiveness.
What are combination remedies? Some homeopathic products combine several different homeopathic medicines, each of which is known to be helpful for a certain condition, in the hope that the combination will contain the medicine needed by any individual with that condition. For example, a combination product for earaches might contain the five most frequently prescribed homeopathic remedies for earaches. These combination remedies are often safely and effectively used for simple acute conditions; however, they do not constitute classical homeopathy.
Tell me more about homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines are made according to a book of standards called the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). The HPUS contains all of the information necessary for the proper identification of the raw materials used to make homeopathic medicines, as well as techniques for their manufacture and quality control. Homeopathic medicines are considered to be drugs under the U.S. federal law, and the Food and Drug administration regulates the manufacture, marketing, and sales of all homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines are derived from botanical (plant), mineral, and some animal sources. The process of preparing a crude substance and making it into a homeopathic medicine has two fundamental elements:
· Dilution of the substance in measured steps (serial dilution)
· Vigorous shaking or succussion of the preparation at each step.
Are homeopathic medicines safe? Because of the minute doses used in homeopathy, the medicines are non-toxic. When properly administered, the medicines are completely safe for everyone including pregnant women, newborns, children, and adults through the senior years. Many veterinarians use homeopathy the treatment of animals. There are no known or suspected contraindications or drug interaction between homeopathic and conventional medications.
Where may homeopathic medicines be purchased? Most homeopathic medicines are available over-the-counter and can be purchased from natural food stores, many corner drug stores, or directly from the manufacturers or homeopathic pharmacies.
Are homeopathic medicines expensive? Homeopathic medicines are much less expensive than conventional medicines, costing on average $4-$7 per bottle. Sometimes only a single dose of medicine is needed to effect a return to health. The medicines have extended shelf life and each medicine may be indicated for several different conditions.
When do I need to go to a professional homeopath? Consumers can learn to treat simple first-aid and acute conditions effectively with the aid of homeopathic self-care books or by attending homeopathic classes, but serious, chronic conditions should always be treated by an experienced homeopathic practitioner.
What happens during a homeopathic consultation and what does it cost? The first visit with a homeopath usually lasts one to two hours. During the visit, the homeopath will review the medical history and attempt to elicit a full picture of the patient's symptoms - mental, emotional, and physical. A homeopathic medicine will be chosen to match the patient's symptoms profile. Scheduling of follow-up visits will vary depending on the needs of the patient and the practitioner's philosophy; intervals of four to six weeks are typical. Follow-up visit normally lasts 30-60 minutes. The cost of a first visit to a homeopath varies and typically ranges from $150-$500 depending on the skills and experience of the practitioner.
Will my health insurance cover a homeopathic consultation? Your health insurance may cover part or all of your visits to a homeopathic practitioner depending on your practitioner's health-care license or certification qualifications and their participation with your insurance plan.
To best serve the public in the education of homeopathy, the above information is provided from the 2003 Resource Guide of Homeopathy Today pages 8-9, FAQ's. Permission for use has been granted from the National Center of Homeopathy (NCH). For more information please call NCH toll-free (877) 624-0613, or www.homeopathic.org.
©2003-2010 Denise Duda Dox, N.D., All Rights Reserved.