About Homeopathy

(Excerpts from“Homeopathy Today”, a publication of the National Center for Homeopathy)

What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is an increasingly popular system of natural medicine, based on the principle that any substance that can cause illness can also be a cure. Two centuries old, its practice has enjoyed wide popularity among millions of individuals looking for safe and effective ways to treat illness, as well as to improve their health.
Homeopathy is based on the principle of “like cures like” - that is, if a substance can cause symptoms of disease in a healthy person then it can cure a sick person suffering from similar symptoms. For example, everyone knows that chopping an onion makes your eyes sting and water and your nose run and burn. A homeopathic preparation of the humble onion, allium cepa, may be used to cure patients with a cold or hayfever if they too have stinging, watery eyes and a runny, burning nose.

How does the concept of homeopathy differ from that of conventional medicine?
The homeopath regards symptoms as the body’s healthy attempt to restore itself to balance. That is why a homeopath will choose a remedy that supports the symptoms - rather than opposing them or suppressing them as in conventional medicine. In conventional medicine, the cold or hayfever sufferer is given an anti-histamine to dry up the runny nose and watery eyes artificially. Unpleasant side effects like sleepiness and constipation often result. With the correct homeopathic remedy, however, there are no side effects and a person is restored to health naturally with an attendant sense of well-being.
Homeopathy recognizes that each person manifests his or her “dis-ease” in a unique and slightly different way. That is why two people with the same disease will not necessarily receive the same homeopathic remedy. A cold sufferer with a stopped up nose and dry eyes would receive a different remedy than the one with a runny nose and watering eyes. Unlike the “one size fits all” approach to prescribing often used in conventional medicine, a homeopath chooses a remedy that matches the unique symptom profile of the individual.
Conventional medicine seeks to control illness through the regular use of medications; if the medicine is withdrawn, the person’s symptoms return. For example, the daily use of drugs for asthma (or any chronic disease for that matter) alleviates the symptoms but does not cure the underlying problem.
In homeopathy the ideal is that a person needs just enough of the homeopathic remedy to stimulate their healing response. In other words, homeopathy seeks to cure a person so that they do not need any medications - homeopathic or otherwise.

What is homeopathy’s history?
The principles of homeopathy were formulated by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843). Hahnemann found the conventional medical therapies of his time to be ineffective and harmful, and discovered in homeopathy, a means to help patients without side effects. Homeopathy spread quickly throughout Europe and the rest of the world including the United States. It has a 200-year history of safety and effectiveness.

What is “classical” homeopathy?
Over the last 200 years many definitions of “classical” homeopathy have been used. At the core of nearly all of these definitions are the following key elements:
The Law of Similars: matching the symptoms of a medicine tested on healthy humans to the individual seeking treatment.
The Minimum Dose: determining the least amount of medicine needed to effect the needed change.
Totality of Symptoms: matching the complete symptoms profile of the patient to the symptom profile of the remedy.
Single Remedy: administration of one remedy at a time.

Who practices Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is practiced by a wide variety of health-care practitioners including medical doctors, osteopaths, naturopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nurse midwives, podiatrists, and professional homeopaths.
Individual states regulate the practice of homeopathy, and each state’s laws and requirements for practice are different. In most cases, homeopathy can be employed legally by any health professional whose license entitles them to prescribe medicines, such as MDs, DOs, NDs, etc. In addition, three states specifically license the practice of homeopathy for medical and osteopathic physicians: Arizona, Connecticut, and Nevada. Two of these states, Arizona and Nevada, also allow the practice of homeopathy by registered Homeopathic Medical Assistants, under the auspices of a licensed MD or DO.
Since 2000, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and California have adopted legislation that allows unlicensed complementary and alternative health practitioners (including unlicensed homeopaths ) the freedom to practice as long as they give full disclosure of their training and background. Efforts are underway in many other states to adopt similar legislation, and it is expected that more states will pass such laws in the near future.

What kind of homeopathic certification is available?
Practitioners may be certified by one of several certifying organizations based on their medical professional status and/ (or) their homeopathic education. Such certification attests that a practitioner has met certain criteria and developed a certain level of expertise in homeopathic practice.