If you spoke to a non-believer about homeopathy I don't think you would have much chance of convincing them that it works. Before I started researching it, I thought it couldn't work either. But now, I feel it has a lot to offer.
The problem is that homeopathy is portrayed as a sort of mystical therapy. You take things that are poisonous and perhaps dangerous and dilute them in a special way till there is nothing of the original substance left. Then you use it to treat real illness and expect us to believe it works.
You've got to agree it sounds a little suspect. Newspapers quote "the one molecule in a swimming pool of water" to back it up. But, when you really look into it with an open mind, things change.
You can give homeopathic remedies to animals and children, and they get better. How could they understand what is going on? And, there are thousands of healthy people out there who have been treated and cured by taking homeopathic remedies. They can't all be mistaken.
Now you know it works, a trip to your local pharmacy, supermarket or drug store will reveal some of the products that are crossing the divide from CAM to conventional use.
For instance, Arnica cream is great for swelling and bruising, and relieving pain after injury. Calendula ointment treats sunburn. While Calendula cream is great for minor cuts and scrapes.
The reason there are not many homeopathic remedies for general use is that much of homeopathy rests with you. Professional homeopaths base their treatments on you being different from me and everyone else too. They tailor treatment to the unique you. They record what you feel, when symptoms change for the better or worse, and so on.
For example, you and I might have a headache, but mine is at the front of my head, is worse when I stand up and is a dull pain, while yours is at the side, worse if you lie down and a sharp pain. Both are headaches, but they are basically different, and need different remedies from the homeopathic spectrum.
One great advantage of homeopathy is that the remedies seldom cause side effects. So you can use it with as well as instead of conventional treatment, or in combination with other complementary therapies.
Just occasionally, a remedy can make things worse. It could be the wrong thing for you, or it could be because you are especially sensitive. In both cases stop treatment and get some help.
You shouldn't blunder into homeopathy without careful consideration. Over-the-counter homeopathy is all right for minor and acute problems, but treatment for severe or chronic conditions benefit from the input of a qualified homeopath.
Many pharmacies and the like stock a range of homeopathic remedies, but you need some advice to get the right strength, when and how to take it, how much to take and how you will know if it is working. So ask first.
Homeopathy has had success where other therapies have failed. I remember one doctor who singularly failed to help his asthmatic son deal with his condition. As a last resort he consulted a homeopath. The treatment turned his son's health around, and on the way converted the doctor to homeopathy.
All kinds of condition respond to homeopathic treatment. So, don't be put off by gibes about "there's nothing in it but water". Homeopathy can and does help many people.
By James Brunton BSc, MSc
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