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).

What should I look for in homeopathy schools?

As the field of homeopathic medicine continues to grow in popularity, students will begin to find greater access to homeopathy schools in the coming decade. Perhaps the best resources for locating homeopathic training programs across the country are the Council on Homeopathic Education and the North American Network of Homeopathic Educators.

Right now there are approximately thirty homeopathic schools and programs in the United States that offer various levels (beginner, advanced, professional) of homeopathic education and training. Ultimately, most homeopaths eventually earn a degree in homeopathy but there are non-degree programs that will allow new students to acquire the clinical and didactic hours needed to

What are some prerequisites for homeopathic schools?

Admission into homeopathy schools and programs is largely dependent on the level of education provided to the students. Some schools only provide students with general introductory homeopathy courses that do not result in a degree, certificate, or diploma. These kinds of schools are usually open to the general public and do not require any prerequisite courses or prior training in order to enroll.

On the other hand, some homeopathic schools offer programs that result in awards such as a Diploma in Homeotherapeutics, Diploma in Homeopathy, Doctor of Homeopathic Medicine Degree, and a Homeopathic Practitioner Certificate. Unlike programs that only provide documented education and clinical training hours, these homeopathic programs often require applicants to hold a baccalaureate degree in a liberal arts or life science major. In addition, these advanced programs may also ask students to finish coursework in subjects like anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, physics, and psychology prior to applying.

What educational coursework and clinical training is found in homeopathic schools?

Homeopathy schools and programs usually begin with a general introduction into the field of homeopathy, the history of homeopathic medicine, homeopathic practices and principles, material medica, and homeotherapeutics. From there, homeopathy programs usually delve into the different types of remedies, preparation techniques, recognizing symptoms, and homeopathic law and ethics. Next, students learn how to evaluate, analyze, and manage individual case studies. Coursework can come in a variety of different forms such as classroom instruction, directed readings, independent study projects, case study research, community service, lectures, online activities, discussions, tutorials, and videos.

After spending the majority of the program learning homeopathic theory, most schools incorporate an applied clinical training component at the end on the program. Clinical training is often considered just as important as academic coursework because it prepares students to effectively interact with patients in a professional environment using the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom. Mentorships, internships, observation of live cases, and volunteering positions are all customary ways that homeopathic medicine schools provide clinical training to students.

Where are homeopathic schools and programs located?

Homeopathic training programs are springing up all over the country in places like natural health institutes, homeopathic colleges, college-prep schools, career academies, private universities, research institutes, homeopathy centers, online schools, and medical colleges. Presently, the only two homeopathic schools that are accredited by the Council on Homeopathic Education (CHE) are found in Phoenix, Arizona and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

There are also two beginning-level homeopathic training programs in Novi, Michigan and Alexandria, Virginia and an advanced-level program in Phoenix, Arizona that are certified by the CHE. However, there are literally dozens of other homeopathic training programs offered in states like Delaware, Georgia, California, Washington, New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, Connecticut, and Texas.

Is homeopathic training available online?

Not all states in the country have on-site homeopathic education and training programs available to local students. Yet, this fact should definitely not discourage anyone that wants to gain an education in homeopathic medicine because online and distance learning programs in homeopathy are just as prevalent and widely available as on-campus schools.

This untraditional approach to education is actually gaining in popularity because it eradicates the need to commute or relocate to a particular school. This option is ideal for students that can only complete education through the convenience of home due to conflicting work schedules, geographic location, family obligations, and transportation issues. Also, unlike students that are restricted to only a few campus-based homeopathic programs, online and distance learning students have the ability to pick and

What kinds of online homeopathy programs are available?

First, if a student finds an onsite homeopathy program that they are interested in but cannot physically attend, they are encouraged to contact the program director or school and ask if the program is available through distance learning or online education because many homeopathy schools throughout the country do offer this option.

There are essentially two different kinds of online and distance learning homeopathy programs: ones that award graduates with diplomas, certificates, and degrees in homeopathy, and ones that only award documented education and training hours in homeopathy. The latter often, but not always, strive to qualify students for national certification by the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC). When students are choosing an online homeopathic program they are also usually given the option of full-time or part-time class schedules.

What kinds of homeopathic courses are available?

Prior to entering a homeopathy training program, students are advised to complete suggested courses like word processing, biomedical ethics, public health, philosophy of science, immunology, microbiology, and algebra in preparation of homeopathy-specific coursework. On-campus and online homeopathic programs hold similar coursework requirements in subjects such as the law of similars, dilution preparation, homeopathic history and developments, patient care for homeopaths, case studies, homeopathic remedies, and toxicology.

Typical homeopathy courses found in some programs include: Pediatric Homeopathy, Repertory, Homeotherapeutics, Miasmas and Chronic Diseases, Homeopathic First Aid and Acute Prescribing, Principles of Research Design, Comparing Conventional and Alternative Medicine, Remedy Groupings and Natural History.

Although online homeopathy courses are a great way for students to earn academic achievements in homeopathy, some of these programs do not include clinical training with the required curriculum. In these situations, students are advised to seek homeopathic practical training through outside training providers like alternative and complementary medicine centers.

Where can homeopaths find training opportunities?

Successful homeopaths prove competency by completing formal education and training programs in homeopathy. Medical colleges, career development schools, institutes of higher education, degree programs, professional associations, distance learning programs, and online homeopathy courses are all great education and training providers for aspiring homeopaths. Some of the most trusted resources for information on homeopathic education and training include the National Center for Homeopathy (NCO), the Council on Homeopathic Education (CHE), and the North American Network of Homeopathic Educators (NANHE).

Not only do these organizations provide directories of homeopathic education and training programs and courses across the country, they also announce current conferences, seminars, study groups, discussion forums, and continuing education activities. Some of these organizations also offer provide educational materials like books, audio tapes, software, professional kits, products,

In what areas are homeopaths typically trained?

The North American Network of Homeopathic Educators suggests that all homeopaths acquire training in three major aspects: health sciences, homeopathy, and practitioner development. In terms of health sciences, homeopaths are encouraged to complete studies in common medical treatments and side effects, anatomy, signs and symptoms of disease, pathology, and physiology.

Next, homeopaths should participate in homeopathic training in non conventional facets like materia medica, philosophy, and analysis and therapeutics along with practical homeopathic training in clinical case work and management.

Finally, homeopaths need to become acquainted with occupational expectations through practitioner development training. Through practitioner development training, homeopaths should learn about the importance of listening and perception skills, effective client assessment and interaction, legal and ethical aspects of homeopathy, professional roles and boundaries, client and business management techniques, and new developments in research.

What is the Council for Homeopathic Education?

The Council for Homeopathic Education (CHE) was established in 1982 in an effort to create educational standards for professionals practicing homeopathy throughout North America and to accredit homeopathy schools that instruct in homeopathy. According to the CHE, homeopathy training should consist of a combination of self-study, formal education, and clinical supervision. In an attempt to set forth education guidelines for homeopaths, the CHE developed a list of competencies believed necessary to accurately prescribe homeopathic remedies and evaluate the consequent reactions of those remedies. All homeopathic professionals should be knowledgeable in the following areas of homeopathy: history of healing, homeopathic philosophy, principals of homeopathy, homeopathic solution provings, material medica, repertory, case taking, case analysis, and case management.

Are homeopaths held to training and education standards?

As of yet, the field of homeopathy is not held to federal licensing standards, this is partially because most homeopathic remedies contain little to no active ingredients. If a remedy does contain an active ingredient, this ingredient is always a natural ingredient that is considered safe in small amounts. The only states that currently offer professional licenses for homeopathic physicians are Nevada, Arizona, and Connecticut. These states only allow medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy to obtain licenses as homeopathic physicians. Admittedly, most homeopathic practitioners are also licensed medical professionals (nurses, therapists, physicians), but they don't necessarily have to be. It is the responsibility of consumers, patients, and clients of homeopaths to conduct individual research regarding a homeopath's education and level of training.

Why should homeopaths earn homeopathic certification?

Since homeopaths are not typically required to become licensed or registered, many homeopaths choose to become certified because it is one of the few nationally recognized ways of establishing and conveying a level of professional aptitude. Although voluntary, certification is quickly becoming an occupational standard that most patients, consumers, and employers look for when choosing a homeopath.

Homeopaths that earn certification are also added to a national directory that patients commonly refer to when selecting a practitioner, which greatly helps to attract business and build clientele. In addition, certification will qualify homeopaths to become eligible for memberships into professional associations like the North American Society of Homeopaths.

Where can homeopaths get certified?

The Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC) is one the primary general certification agencies for homeopaths in the United States and has been in operation since 1991. Other major certification agencies include the American Board Homeotherapeutics (ABHt) and the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (HANP). Homeopaths that are interested in becoming certified should contact each individual agency and inquire about specific eligibility requirements, examination schedules, application processes, certification fees, and continuing education obligations as these factors may vary between agencies.

What are the eligibility requirements for homeopathic certification by the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC)?

Many homeopaths decide to get certified through the CHC because unlike other certification agencies, the CHC does not require candidates to be licensed or registered medical physicians. There are a few ways that homeopaths can qualify for CHC

What kinds of continuing education requirements are needed to maintain homeopathic certification?

All certified homeopathic professionals must complete a specific number of hours in homeopathic education on an annual or tri-annual basis depending on through which agency certification was granted. For instance, the Council for Homeopathic Certification requires the fulfillment of twenty continuing education units (CEUs) each year.

The American Board of Homeotherapeutics, which administers medical and osteopathic physicians with a diplomat specialty certification, must earn thirty hours of continuing education credits every three years.

The Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians offers specialty certification for naturopathic physicians and follows the CHC guidelines regarding continuing education requirements.

How can certified homeopaths earn continuing education credits?

There are numerous ways that homeopaths can acquire continuing education credits. The CHC suggests the following continuing education activities: attendance at homeopathic conferences and seminars, post-graduate homeopathic training, providing homeopathic education, giving professional presentations, acting as a supervisor or mentor to homeopathic students, writing a published review for a homeopathic book, writing a published article for a professional journal, writing a published homeopathic book or manual, and conducting homeopathic research.

There are many ways that homeopaths can increase their current salary earnings. For instance, those with nationally recognized homeopathic certification tend to attract more clientele and become attractive to potential employers, thus commanding higher salaries. Another way to boost salary expectations is by continuing to show commitment to homeopathic education by earning a degree in homeopathic medicine through an accredited post-secondary program. Likewise, homeopaths that gain advanced training in conventional medicine widen their scope of practice and increase their ability to work in both traditional and alternative medical and health care settings which can positively impact salaries and wages. Lastly, homeopaths that show flexibility in relocation often have greater opportunities to locate higher paying positions.

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