An Integrative Approach: Using homeopathy in health promotion, preventive care, and treatment of acute and chronic illness.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of therapeutic healing quite different from the medical model most Americans grew up with. It is a holistic approach that views the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of human health as intrinsically and inseparably linked together. Illness is seen as an expression of the imbalance of the whole, therefore the whole must be taken into account to find the proper treatment.
There is a common misperception that the words “homeopathy” and “homeopathic” are general terms that refer to herbal and/or other natural medicines; but homeopathy is a specific term. It roughly translates from its Greek origins to “similar sickness,” reflecting the fundamental principle of homeopathy: like cures like. The symptoms a substance will cause in its crude form, it will cure when made into a homeopathic medicine. For example, homeopathically prepared coffee is sometimes given to treat sleeplessness.
Homeopathic medicines, commonly referred to as “remedies,” are precisely made in homeopathic pharmacies. The job of the homeopath is to find the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms to be treated. Most remedies are made from plant, animal and mineral sources and there are over 3,000 remedies to choose from, with more being tested and made available every year.
Homeopathy is widely used all over the world and commonly used by physicians and other medical providers in many European countries. In the U.S., it is practiced by doctors, nurses, naturopaths, lay-practitioners, veterinarians, dentists, and other health care providers.
Homeopathy for health promotion and preventive care for people of all ages
Homeopathy is a gentle yet powerful approach to health promotion and preventive care. Constitutional treatment strengthens the individual’s underlying health.
It is common for homeopathically treated people to have fewer episodes of colds, flu, headaches, sinus infections, and other acute illnesses after treatment. The body is less susceptible to getting sick, and more able to fight off acute illness when it does occur. This is especially beneficial to children, who grow up with strengthened immune systems and less exposure to antibiotics.
Homeopathy for Acute Illness
Homeopathy can be very effective in treating acute illnesses and injuries such as colds, coughs, sore throats, sinus infections, the flu, acute musculoskeletal pain, and pain from traumatic injury, providing a good alternative to antibiotics (when appropriate) and traditional pain medications.
Here at the Center, acute consultation is available in a 30 minute visit. At present, prescribed remedies are not available through Center and will need to be obtained by the client from a local health food store.
Treatment of Chronic Illness
Constitutional treatment can be very effective in treating common chronic complaints such as headaches, menstrual cramps, anxiety, depression, menopausal symptoms, behavioral problems in children, and a whole host of other problems. Results are sometimes immediate and dramatic, but more often are subtle and gradual.
Homeopathic treatment therefore requires patience, but ultimately pays off. If you see a 10% improvement in symptoms per month, for example, after ten months you will be 100% better. (Many people respond more quickly than this.)
Homeopathic treatment requires active engagement on the part of the client in tracking symptoms and paying attention to details not typically monitored in conventional medicine. This includes a wide array of things, from tracking emotional changes and dreams to food cravings, the position you sleep in and how you perspire! All of these details are important to the homeopath in determining the response to the remedy.
The homeopathic “aggravation”
People who undergo homeopathic constitutional treatment may experience a temporary exacerbation of symptoms. This may take the form of an acute illness or a worsening of existing symptoms.
For example, a person may have headaches that are more frequent or more intense than usual, or may become sick with a fever for a few days. Paradoxically, this aggravation is a sign that the remedy is working – the body’s system has been stimulated by the remedy. The aggravation may last anywhere from minutes to weeks, but most commonly lasts from hours to days, and is followed by improvement.
Constitutional treatment: What to expect
The first visit is 1½ hours long. You will talk about the issues that you would like help with – whether physical, emotional and/or mental symptoms (e.g. “brain fog”).
I will then ask you questions to help me understand who you are, what makes you the individual you are. The highly individualized care that homeopathy offers is based on this in-depth intake interview. I then take this information and analyze it, researching the materia medica for the remedy that best matches you from a homeopathic perspective.
Within a week, a remedy will be selected for you. In some cases the remedy may need to be ordered from a homeopathic pharmacy, which can take another 3-7 days. The dosing of the remedy will be determined based on specifics of your homeopathic case. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for 4-6 weeks after starting the remedy. At the follow up we will discuss the effects of the remedy and determine how often to follow up from there. Frequency of follow up visits varies greatly, depending on the individual’s health status and response to treatment. Most typically, follow up visits occur at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year, and then on an as-needed basis.
Our Special Team Approach
At the Center, our homeopathic practitioners have the opportunity to consult with complementary practitioners and medical doctors about your health concerns and the progress you are making. These practitioners are always available to you as well.
We take great pride in our staff's special team consulting approach to the care of our patients, giving you the best that Integrative Medicine has to offer.
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