What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is probably one of naturopathic medicine’s most controversial modalities.

Although it goes against virtually everything we are taught about medicine in our Western society, it can be a powerful healing tool.  Our wonderful second year professor, Dr. Nadia Bakir, regales our homeopathy class with amazing stories about miraculous cures she achieved using homeopathy. Here are some of the key characteristics about this healing modality.

Homeopathy is an Energetic medicine.  It follows the premise that, as living beings on this earth, we’re all connected to a larger energy field.  This field dictates how we feel and how our bodies respond to outside stressors.  The energy of the homeopathic remedy sends a message to the cells of our body and stimulates them to respond to the disease that is present.  Mental symptoms are always given priority when choosing the correct remedy; the patient’s attitude and outlook towards their condition are more important in choosing a remedy than the actual condition itself, making homeopathy a highly individualized therapy.

During a homeopathic intake, the homeopathic or naturopathic doctor gathers detailed information about the energetic state of the patient and then matches that information with a remedy based on the Law of Similars: “like cures like”.  For example, a patient with hay fever, characterized by watery eyes and a runny nose, may be given a remedy made from onion.  When you cut into an onion your eyes water and your nose begins to run. The Law of Similars indicates that the remedy be given based on the symptoms it creates in a healthy individual.  In a diseased individual, the remedy mimics the disease symptoms, providing the body with information about the patient’s disease state.  This alerts the body to the presence of the disease and stimulates vitality, making the organism stronger and enabling it to fight the pathology.

Remedies are safe and gentle.  Any noted side effects are healing responses as the body begins to respond to the disease that is affecting it.  The symptoms are not toxic or dangerous (many manifest on the skin as the disease begins to clear, for example, a skin rash) and are only temporary.  A homeopathic remedy can be given in the same dose to an infant as to an adult.  Pregnant women can also safely take a homeopathic remedy.

Remedies can be made from anything; plant parts, animal parts, such as snake venom, minerals and “imponderables” (such as a remedy made from the energy of the North Star).  The substances used to make a remedy are highly diluted to create a solution that some argue doesn’t actually contain any molecules of the original substance at all.  This is probably the most controversial aspect of homeopathy because it goes against our medical notions about how pharmacology works.  We are used to the understanding that a certain concentration of a medicine enters the body and activates cell receptors, creating a physiological response.  In homeopathy, however, the diluted remedy carries the “information” from the substance used to create it and imparts that information to our body on an energetic level.  Therefore, in homeopathy, the amount of substance present in the remedy is not pharmacologically relevant.

In homeopathy, a cure means that the body is removed from all susceptibility of recurrence of disease.  To better understand this, let’s look at a common problem in our society: obesity.

Typically, when a patient is overweight, a naturopathic doctor (or any other doctor for that matter) will prescribe a change in diet and an exercise program.  This all makes sense if we consider the cause of obesity to be an excess of calories.  Based on this assumption, reducing caloric intake, improving nutrition and increasing caloric expenditure (through exercise) are all sensible recommendations and should be followed.

However, in homeopathy, even if the patient loses weight, we would not consider this to be “curing” them of their disease state (consider a yo-yo dieter who puts the weight back on right after losing it).

In order to fully cure the person, a detailed homeopathic interview or  intake, which includes very personal, in-depth questions about physical symptoms, dreams, emotions and the mental state of the patient, as well as what their condition/symptoms means to them (do they feel protected by their weight?  Does it make them feel heavy or lethargic?  Do they feel the need to take up more space in the world? Etc.) is essential.

According to homeopathy, obesity is only a symptom of the person’s diseased state, which is an outer expression of an inner energetic state.  In order to fully remove the disease, not just address the symptoms, the patient must be given a remedy that matches the specific manifestations of all aspects of their energetic state, especially their mental and emotional condition.

Having a homeopathic intake done at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic (RSNC, the teaching clinic at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine) was a very interesting experience for me.  My intern asked me probing questions concerning aspects of my life and personality that I hadn’t even considered before.  I realized where my thought processes stopped regarding certain areas of my life.  When I began to answer my intern’s questions, things came out of my mouth that sounded foreign to me at first.  However, I knew that, because they had come out of my mouth, they must be true on some level.

It’s not possible for patients to simply Google the symptoms that they want to address and take a remedy based on only treating those symptoms.  In order for homeopathy to properly “cure” the individual, one must go to a practiced homeopathic or naturopathic doctor, receive a full intake and take the remedy prescribed, based on the overall energetic state that they present with.

*This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or condition.  Please consult a naturopathic or homeopathic doctor for a complete assessment and treatment plan. 

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