Homeopathy is a great way to support your overall well-being, not only because it is suitable from birth, but because it has little or no side-effects and is therefore suitable during pregnancy, labour and while breast-feeding. I will always encourage you to seek the advice of your healthcare professional and GP, bearing in mind that homeopathy is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside conventional treatment.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole, taking into account symptoms expressed on an emotional level, as well as on a physical level. Symptoms are seen as an expression of a deeper lying imbalance, whether on the emotional or physical plane. Treatment is tailored to the individual him-/her-self. This can be constitutional treatment or in some cases, acute treatment for acute ailments. There are some remedies which can be used on an acute basis, like Arnica montana for injuries, but a consultation with a homeopath is always advised.
Homeopathy is based on the principle that “like cures like” – i.e. a substance that produces certain symptoms when taken in large doses will actually treat those very symptoms when given in small doses.
Discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, in the 18th Century, it has been used extensively for the last 200 years. Hahnemann discovered that Cinchona bark caused malaria like symptoms of sweating, fevers and shivering in a healthy subject, but that when given to a patient suffering from malaria, the symptoms were relieved. Other examples include coffee, which when consumed can cause irritability and sleeplessness, whereas in its homeopathic form can help to alleviate these symptoms. Allium cepa (red onion) can also be used to alleviate hayfever-like symptoms of streaming eyes and a runny sore nose.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, 1755 – 1843.
Hahnemann discovered that by diluting the substances (and succussing them, i.e. vigorously shaking them), harmful side-effects of the remedy were removed. As yet, science has not been able to explain the mechanism of action of ultra-high dilutions in the body, but laboratory experiments have repeatedly demonstrated that homeopathically prepared substances cause biological effects. One theory is that during the production of a homeopathic medicine, the dilution and succussion processes cause an interaction between the original material (e.g. a plant such as Arnica) and the water and alcohol it is mixed with. This creates tiny new structures (nanostructures) which are the ‘active ingredient’ and remain present even when the sample has been diluted many, many times. (Please refer to the Links section of the website to read about some of the research that has been done so far).
It is estimated that 5.75 million people in the UK use complementary therapies (not just Homeopathy). Homeopathy is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the second largest therapeutic health system in use in the world. Homeopathy has been available on the NHS since 1948. In Bristol, you were once able to ask for a referral to the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital http://www.uhbristol.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/your-hospitals/bristol-homeopathic-hospital/, which has now become The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine . The doctors there also run regular training courses at the Penny Brohn Centre in Pill. These are for homeopathic practitioners and students.