About Homeopathy

What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a system of holistic medicine which safely and gently encourages the body to heal itself. It is natural, non-toxic and not addictive. It is therefore suitable for adults, children of all ages and is safe to use during pregnancy.

Homeopathic remedies come from a variety of sources including plants and minerals. The substances are finely ground down and highly diluted.

Homeopathy works on the principal of treating like with like and is so named from the Greek words for ‘same’ homeo and ‘illness’ pathos.

A brief history of homeopathy

The principles of homeopathy have been evident in medical science for hundreds of years. However, the true founder of homeopathy was a German physicist Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century. Hahnemann was disillusioned by the somewhat barbaric medical practises of the time, such as bloodletting and inspired by a text he was translating went on to experiment with treating patients with substances that produced similar symptoms to those the patients were suffering with. For example, when you chop an onion it may cause the majority of people to have itchy, runny eyes. Therefore, for the person with hay-fever or a cold who exhibit those same symptoms, the homeopathic remedy, Allium Cepa, made from red onion, would be the appropriate treatment.

What to expect when you visit a homeopath

The initial consultation may last up to an hour and thirty minutes, follow up appointments will be shorter, lasting up to forty-five minutes. There is no one set remedy for each ailment. For example, there is not a standard remedy for headaches, nor is a remedy such as arnica useful only for bumps and bruises, but may prove effective in a wide variety of conditions. I may also recommend herbal tinctures and Bach Flower Essences. Homeopathy is holistic and tailored to each individual so the consultation may include variety of questions about your past and present health, mental and emotional symptoms and even your food likes and dislikes. You will also be asked about your parents’ and grandparents’ medical history. This information is vital in helping to identify the best indicated remedy for you.

Recent research

A study performed in 2008 compared a commonly used painkiller, Diclofenac, with arnica on 88 patients after bunion-removal surgery. Both approaches performed equally well in treating the post-operative symptoms, there were far fewer side effects with the arnica.
Efficacy of Arnica Montana D4 for healing of wounds after hallux valgus surgery compared to diclofenac. J Altern Comp Med 2008;14(1):17-25.

A randomised controlled trial in 2005 demonstrated that the general health of patients using a homeopathic menopause treatment improved significantly.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11:21-27.

In 2000, research showed that homeopathy had a positive effect on the heat of skin during a randomised, double-blind clinical trial into the treatment of radiodermatitis (skin reactions during breast cancer radiotherapy).
British Homeopathic Journal, 89:8-12.

A randomised controlled trial comparing topical piroxicam gel with a homeopathic gel concluded that the homeopathic gel was at least as effective as the NSAID gel for osteoarthritis of the knee and would be recommended as useful treatment for osteoarthritis.
Rheumatology, 39:714-719.

Dogs which were treated with individualised homeopathic remedies for atopic dermatitis showed a significant improvement against the placebo group.
Veterinary record 2009;164:364-370.

Some statistics

In 2007 49% of women and 28% of men have used complementary medicine and would use it again in the future.
Mintel 2007

70% of GP practices refer patients to homeopaths.
The Guardian, 2005

In a study comparing conventional medicine with homeopathy in the treatment of children with eczema over a period 12 months the conclusion was that both therapy groups improved similarly regarding perception of eczema symptoms (assessed by patients or parents) and disease-related quality of life.
Science Direct, 2006