Important Information To Guide You Along The Way
Patients who are beginning homeopathic treatment often have many questions regarding their therapy and the steps that will help them regain health or freedom from discomfort. Some of the most commonly asked questions are included here to guide you through your experience with homeopathy.
What is the goal of homeopathic treatment?
Our goal is to help you attain a level of health that includes not only symptomatic relief, but also a sense of well-being and freedom. The homeopathic remedy initiates a spontaneous process of healing in the body.
I have heard of people using homeopathic remedies for house-hold injuries and minor ailments. How is homeopathy useful in these circumstances?
There are three levels of homeopathic therapy:
Homeopathic remedies can be extremely effective in the treatment of common household injuries from falls, bruises, minor burns, bee stings and spider bites, skin reactions (such as diaper rash and poison oak) and infant teething. First-aid remedies, when correctly chosen, can act quickly and safely but please call the office before administering homeopathic remedies at home, because remedies for acute conditions can alter or impair the effect of your individualized constitutional remedy.
Homeopathy can be useful in treating acute health problems-- conditions where the symptoms will eventually disappear on their own without treatment. Examples include coughs, stomach flu, and sports injuries. Again, it is very important to call your homeopath if you have sustained an injury that you believe should be treated with homeopathy or other therapeutic methods.
Homeopathy is particularly effective in the treatment of long term health problems - for example, cases of recurrent ear infections in children. Although a child might obtain antibiotic therapy for an acute ear infection, the problem can recur frequently, leading to a general state of impaired health. In such a case, homeopathy can be used to strengthen the system to prevent future infections. In cases of chronic diseases or symptoms that persist for a long time or recur over many years, constitutional homeopathy provides a therapy that can address the underlying cause of the illness and help reorganize the defense system.
What happens during a homeopathic interview?
To get to know you as a complete human being, it's important for us to ask you an extensive range of questions. For example, we will need to have a complete understanding of your state of health: physical, mental, and emotional. We will need to know about your energy level and how your environment affects your well-being. Only when we have a clear picture of you and your limitations can we suggest the correct remedy for your symptoms.
Do homeopaths suggest lifestyle changes?
Not as a rule. For the homeopath to find out if a particular homeopathic remedy is taking effect, it's important to keep other variables at a constant -- at least as first. However, after successful homeopathic treatment, you might find that you naturally want to make other healthful changes in you life. If, at any point, there exist "obstacles to treatment" that are preventing your progress to greater health, the homeopath will certainly discuss these with you.
Do I need to believe in homeopathy for it to work?
Homeopathy is not a placebo treatment. In fact, infants are often treated, and there are homeopathic veterinarians. All that you need to do is work with your homeopath in a committed and cooperative way. Here's how you can help:
- Be clear and complete about your symptoms, as often as possible.
- Be observant. As you start taking your remedy, keep a weekly journal and note any general or specific changes that occur. Bring it with you to your follow-up visits.
- Be candid about actions that might affect your treatment. If you take or do something that is on the "off-limits" list ( such as drinking coffee ), tell us about it so we can discuss it.
- Be committed and patient. Your full participation is essential to improve your well-being. Remember, good things don't necessarily happen overnight.
- Be open with your homeopath. We're here to serve you and to help you to greater health. If you have any concerns or questions, share them.
Will I receive my remedy at the time of the consultation?
The remedy is available at the time of the first visit. If not, it might be mailed from a homeopathic pharmacy after the initial intensive interview after three working days.
Should I also see and M.D.?
Homeopathic practitioners, myself included, work in cooperation with licensed physicians. We are a complement to traditional health care a do not stand in opposition to it. The use of drugs such as antibiotics and corticosteroids can antidote the homeopathic remedy. For this reason, we suggest that you phone this office when there are symptoms that might suggest a need for this kind of medical intervention. After you have seen your medical doctor, we might suggest alternative therapies when appropriate.
We recommend that your maintain your relationship with your medical doctor, for routine and emergency situations. For example, we recommend that you see your physician for the following:
- the physical diagnosis of any condition that might develop during the course of homeopathic treatment of any preexisting condition.
- routine examinations and check-ups, including well-baby or child check-ups.
- in the case of emergency of trauma, use the emergency room at your nearest hospital.
In the case of health problems that are not medical emergencies we encourage you to phone. We will help evaluate the situation to determine if there is a homeopathic solution to the problem.
What about acute problems?
Always contact your M.D. if your symptoms are severe. For homeopathic treatment of acute problems, we generally suggest that you wait two to three days to see if the problem resolved itself on its own. Although homeopathic therapy can be used to treat simple colds and flu, once your under constitutional homeopathic care, your body should be able to handle these small infections by itself without additional intervention. A viral infection can be compared to small fires that take place naturally in the forest. If we artificially prevent all of the fires in a forested area, eventually there will be so much undergrowth that the health and longevity of the forest will be compromised. The small fires that take place naturally have a cleansing and renewing effect on the forest. The common colds and small viruses that occur in all of us stimulate our immune response and can often herald a new level of increased health. It is important that the immune system has the chance to fight and rally in the case of viral infections in order that it become stronger, and one to two colds per year is considered to be an appropriate challenge to exercise the immune capabilities. Many people report that they feel stronger and healthier after successfully fighting off a viral illness. This is especially true if the underlying constitutional reserves are being encouraged with homeopathic treatment. In case of traumatic injuries, take the appropriate emergency steps and then contact our office.
How can a small dosage of a remedy have a long-lasting effect on my system?
Homeopathy works on a catalytic principle: a small dosage of a remedy triggers a systemic response in the patient, but instead of effecting a chemical change, per se, it works to strengthen you on a more subtle level, so that your body is brought back into balance. This natural balance, once re-established, helps you to gain strength and resist disease. (For more specific information, see our reading list.)
What will interfere with the effectiveness of a remedy?
Coffee and camphor products are two major interfering factors. Recreational drugs are also incompatible with homeopathic treatment. If you are considering any additional therapies, talk with your homeopath first. Please see "How to Keep Your Remedy Working" on this site; this section lists the "treatment blockers".
Can an incorrect remedy be given? If so, what are the effects?
Homeopaths attempt to be completely accurate when prescribing a remedy but, just as in allopathic medicine, at times there may be a period of trial and error until the optimum remedy is Determined. Fortunately, in homeopathic medicine, side effects are uncommon. If the wrong remedy is given, what generally happens is that either nothing changes or else the symptom picture becomes clearer so that the correct remedy becomes more obvious.
How can I measure improvement?
Homeopathic medicine has developed a sophisticated system for evaluating the success of individual cases: "Laws and Principles of Cure." You should be primarily concerned with how you feel. Have your symptoms cleared up? Has your energy level improved? What about your physical stamina and your mental and emotional health? It's even possible that one aspect of your health may seem worse when your overall situation is actually improving. Remember, homeopathy treats you as a complete system, not just a collection of symptoms to be treated.
The importance of follow-up visits -- should I come back after I'm feeling better?
The four-to six-week follow-up visit is very important. After that, regular checkups at two-to-three-month intervals are strongly advised during the course of homeopathic treatment. The follow-up visits provide critical information that enables the homeopath to evaluate the action of the remedy. Although you might be feeling much better, in the absence of symptoms the homeopath will be able to obtain important information that will help determine the best course of therapy for your case. Through follow-up, we can determine if the remedy is working correctly, when the patient needs an additional dose of the remedy, and if a different remedy is needed later on.
Follow-up visits provide a road map for the healing process. Most people experience periods of feeling better and worse on the road to greater health. Your homeopath can help decipher the meaning of these ups and downs in terms of your unfolding into health and independence. It is through this consistent observation that the homeopath will know when to repeat or change your remedy and insure continued progress toward strengthening your immune response.
This ongoing care ensures that the deeper changes can take place in general health, in the immune response, and in the mental and emotional realms. This also serves as preventative health care.
How long does treatment usually take?
Ideally, a small number of homeopathic treatments will restabilize the system and make further care unnecessary. However, most people seem to need more time in treatment, especially in complex and chronic cases. The time it takes for each individual to fully respond to homeopathic therapy is varied. Treatment is geared to each unique person and will depend on the depth of the disease and the strength of their immune system.
How long does treatment take in chronic cases?
In complex cases, homeopathic treatment is like peeling away the layers of an onion. As we go through life, we build up layers of symptoms in response to stress. These layers can be patiently "peeled" away, through the use of homeopathic remedies. Sometimes, as old symptoms are removed, even earlier sets of symptoms emerge, to be treated in turn. As a result, in long-term treatment of deeply in-grained problems, the process will be gradual and we will work together frequently.
How many appointments will be necessary?
In the first six months to two years, visits will be more frequent but will likely taper off as your become healthier. To work with you most effectively and to evaluate your progress, follow-ups are recommended every four to 12 weeks.
If a remedy has a positive effect, even in a complex case, you might not need another interview for two to three months. Once your system has been balanced, in fact, this state can last for a long time -- even years. If and when another "layer" of symptomology re-emerges, then treatment can be reinstated.
What if my symptoms seem to come back?
If you've had a positive response to a remedy and then a relapse seems to occur, we often recommend that you wait two to three weeks to let your system rebalance itself. However, if symptoms come on very strongly, notify our office and/or your M.D. at once. If rebalancing does not occur after the two-to-three-week waiting period, a repeat dosage of the remedy might be necessary and you should make an appointment to come in.
How can I learn more about Homeopathy?
For more information about the tradition of homeopathic healing , we suggest reading the following introductory books. If you have additional questions or would like more advanced knowledge, please feel free to ask.
- Homeopathy: Medicine of the New Man, George Vithoulkas, MIH
- The Complete Book of Homeopathy, Michael Weiner, Ph.D. and Karen Goss
More Advanced Introductory Books
- Ananda Zaren: Materia Medica, Volumes I and II: Core Elements in the Materia Medica of the Mind, Ananda Zaren
- The Science of Homeopathy, George Vithoulkas, MIH
- Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, James Tyler Kent, M.D.
- Homeopathic Science & Modern Medicine: The Physics of Healing with Microdoses, Harris L. Coulter, Ph.D.
The History of Homeopathy
- Divided Legacy, Harris L. Coulter, Ph.D.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR REMEDY WORKING