|What is Homeopathy|
Homeopathy is a system of medicine which aims to restore health by harnessing the bodys own natural tendency to heal. It is used in the treatment of a range of health problems such as migraines, respiratory problems, menstrual imbalance, digestive complaints, repeated infections, insomnia, anxiety, behavioural problems, grief, shock and the effects of other traumas. It has a particular view of health and disease , it treats the cause not the symptoms, it works on the principle of like treats like and its medicines are known as potentised remedies. What does all that mean? Read on .
Health and disease
Have you ever considered what it is to be really healthy? A common definition for health suggests that it is the absence of disease you are healthy when you have no disease or ailments. Perhaps this sounds a bit too negative for some people, as it focuses on disease rather than health, and anyway, how many people do you know that havent got at least some minor ailment?
A modified version of this definition is that it is the absence of illness. This makes the difference between illness and disease on the basis that how you feel is an important part of being healthy. You can feel ill without any apparent symptoms of disease and you can have an ailment whilst not feeling ill or unable to function normally. For instance someone might have a slight cold but shrug it off, plough through it and get on with life regardless. Is this person ill? Are they diseased? Are they healthy?
The World Health Organisation tried to define health in a way that is as broad and positive as possible. They define health as a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of disease and infirmity. This brings together the ideas of wellbeing, social aspects and the idea that health is not just about illness or disease.
In homeopathy a person is seen as healthy when they are free to respond to lifes changing demands in an appropriate and creative manner. What this means is that health is seen as a fluid, dynamic, thing which is not just about the individual but about how that individual interacts and responds to their environment. It also means that we are healthy when our natural creativity is free to be expressed.
The body and mind naturally tend towards a state of health and they are constantly trying to maintain a functional balance. A simple example of this sort of balance can be seen if you go out into cold weather and get goose bumps. That is the body constricting areas of the skin responsible for heat maintenance as it tries to conserve body heat. If you instead go out into hot weather the skin begins to sweat, which acts to cool you down. So this demonstrates how the healthy body responds appropriately to it's environment - and by 'environment' we mean all things that interact with the person, including for instance what we eat, our social interactions, accidents, emotional stimulants and the things we learn.
Problems arise when this natural
tendency for maintaining balance is hindered in some way.
As a result there is deep internal tension, so the body
or mind struggles to resolve the tension and restore
balance. This struggle is a state of
dis-ease. It is trying its best to return to
a state of dynamic balance but is struggling and this
struggling results in a number of symptoms becoming
evident to the outside world.
|Treat the cause not the symptoms|
homeopathy the symptoms are just that symptoms of
the problem rather than the problem itself. The aim is to
remove the cause so that the body can restore natural
balance and get on with the process of healing itself.
Any one causal factor will give off a range of symptoms at the physical, mental and emotional levels and these will be specific to each individual. For instance imagine two people who feel they have caught a flu that is going round. They may report the following symptoms:
same flu results in subtly different symptoms
in different people. Furthermore flu, like most if not
all conditions, is not only a physical problem but
affects the mental and emotional reactions as well.
|Treat like with like|
|If we take the flu
example again, it seems fairly logical that since
different people react differently to the same flu virus,
the actual cause of the problems we see in symptoms is
not just because of the virus but actually has something
to do with the way the body interacts with that virus. So
considering the fact that people react in an individual
way, homeopaths will give different homeopathic remedies
to different people. In choosing the remedy, the
homeopath aims to treat like with like. When
we say like with like, we dont mean
treat flu with a flu virus. We are looking to treat the
weakness that causes the symptoms with something that
could potentially cause similar symptoms in a healthy
person when it is in a non diluted state.
Like with like in
homeopathy refers to giving a potentised remedy (see
below for a description of this) which matches the
symptoms of the sick person.
potentised remedies are given in the form of pills,
powders or liquid drops. These remedies are made by
taking a substance and diluting it with either lactose
(milk sugar) or alcohol depending on what is appropriate
to the material, usually 1 part substance to 99 parts
solvent. This is then succussed which means
vigorously shaken for a set number of succussions. Once
it has gone through this process it is classified as a 1C potency. The process is repeated with one
part of the 1C to 99 parts of solvent and it becomes 2C. Repeating this process again and again
takes the remedy potency up to typical values of 30C, 200C and 1M (1,000C).
remedy in this way means that a potentially strong
substance can be administered in a very gentle way, thus
minimising side effects.
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