Homeopathy- A closer look at a groundbreaking approach to healing and wellness.
What is homeopathy?
According to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, homeopathy is defined as a system for treating disease based on the administration of minute doses of a drug that in massive amounts produces symptoms in healthy persons similar to those of the disease. The history of homeopathy can be traced back to the 18th century findings of German physician Samuel Christian Hahnemann. Hahnemann first stumbled upon the possibilities of homeopathy after consuming cinchona bark, which at the time was a common remedy for malaria. To Hahnemann's surprise and amusement, the cinchona bark triggered in him a series of symptoms that typically befall a person with malaria. This discovery led Hahnemann to develop both the "principle of similars" and the "principle of dilutions", which are the theories on which modern homeopathy schools base their training.
What are the "principle of similars" and "principle of dilution" theories?
The "principle of similars" theory, sometimes referred to as the "like cures like" theory, is the belief in the body's natural ability to self-medicate through the introduction of a natural substance that when given to healthy people, produces the same symptoms that an afflicted person suffers from. The "principle of dilution" theory, sometimes referred to as the "law of minimum dose" theory, is the belief that remedy substances increase in effectiveness as the dose becomes smaller and more diluted.
Many homeopathic solutions undergo a progression of dilutions whereby the solution is shaken in between dilution steps. This process of shaking the solution is called "potentisation" and is meant to transfer the original substance's healing power and energy
What is homeopathic medicine used to treat?
Homeopathic medicine first began appearing throughout the United States during the 19th century. Since then, homeopathic remedies have been created to promote wellness by preventing and treating disease and ailments including anything from allergies, skin irritations, arthritis, common colds, and addictions to sore muscles, chronic pain, digestion problems, fatigue and even cancer. Unlike conventional medical doctors, homeopathic doctors use a holistic approach towards patient care. Instead of isolating specific symptoms and treating them individually, homeopathy training encourages doctors to spend extensive time with patients and prescribe only one remedy to treat the entire body depending on a patient's genetic background, current health condition, lifestyle activities, body type, eating habits, emotional stability, psychological tendencies, sleep patterns, and mental indicators. This style of treatment is known as the "whole patient, single medicine" method. Remedies are derived from natural materials like plants, animals, and minerals and can come in various forms such as liquid solutions, pills, granules, and creams.
How is homeopathic medicine regulated?
Many individual case studies attest to thee beneficial healing properties of homeopathic solutions. Consequently, most homeopathic medicines are regulated in much the same way as over-the-counter drugs are unless they claim to treat serious diseases, like terminal illnesses. However, since homeopathic remedies often contain no actual active ingredients, they are widely accepted as harmless and are often given to adults and children alike. The two major agencies that currently regulate homeopathy standards in the United States are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States (HPUS).