Why Homeopathy Gets a Bad Rap
Homeopathy has many detractors. In this article I want to express some ideas regarding why homeopathy gets such a bad rap in the mainstream medical community. Searching on terms like "does homeopathy work" and "is homeopathy based in science" will yield you some interesting results - many of them negative - and this puts lots of people off trying Homeopathy. Homeopathy has been called pseudoscience and supposedly debunked in many studies. However, for those who have been successfully treated with Homeopathy by a professionally trained and competent Homeopath following the protocols of Classical Homeopathy, the results are undeniably positive. Many people have been willing to go against the main stream narrative and give Homeopathy a try. In return, many of them have experienced outstanding health improvements that were not possible using traditional medical practices.
The gold standard of modern medicine is the randomized controlled trial. This is a scientific experiment in which a group of people suffering the same illness are randomly given a drug or a placebo. If the drug helps more than the placebo then the results are tabulated in favor of the drug. Most of the so-called scientific studies debunking Homeopathy have used this type of trial, called an RCT. The problem is that Homeopathy does not lend itself to RCTs. Homeopathy is an individually prescribed form of medicine. There is no one size fits all. If you come in with a headache, there is not just one medicine that will work to alleviate your headache. A Homeopath will ask you a series of questions, and may take up to two hours or so talking with you before prescribing. Your remedy will then be prescribed uniquely to you and will not work when your best friend gets a headache because it was prescribed to your constitution and not to theirs. I once watched a YouTube video of a guy who took an entire bottle of "homeopathic sleeping pills" and did not fall asleep. This was his way of debunking Homeopathy. The problem is there is no such thing as a homeopathic sleeping pill. I don't know where he found his bottle of sleeping pills but in Classical Homeopathy there is no such thing as a homeopathic sleeping pill. There are only individual prescriptions carefully chosen according to all of the symptoms and characteristics with which you present constitutionally, including whether you run hot or cold, whether you prefer sunshine or rain and whether you like bananas, eggs or potatoes best. This is because Homeopathy is a medicine that is matched to your energetic signature, not to your disease. We actually don't even care what you call your disease. You can all it Alzheimers, Epstein Barr Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis or any other name. What we do care about is what the symptoms are that you personally experience along with the individual characteristics that make you who you are: where is it hurting? Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you suffer from gastro-intestinal issues? Are you afraid of spiders? Are you afraid of heights? We do look at general symptoms of course but always in the light of how they affect you as an individual. This is why, when a remedy is well chosen, it works to correct all of the imbalances in you, including mentally, emotionally and physically. Homeopathy does not work on a superficial level to suppress symptoms. Instead it addresses the whole being on a deep level, correcting the underlying cause of the imbalance that is make you feel less than your best.
I heard of an RCT study that was used to test Homeopathy for women going through menopause. The study concluded that Homeopathy does not work for menopausal symptoms. After exploring the details of the study, it was found that they selected 9 remedies. All the women were given Lachesis and some were given remedies from among the other 8. Now Lachesis does have a good reputation for helping with menopausal symptoms in some cases and is often indicated. Lachesis helps with many other symptoms too and it is often prescribed to treat men as well as women for a variety of other health issues. But it is by no means the de facto "menopause" remedy and no Homeopath has ever claimed that it helps every woman experiencing menopausal symptoms. In fact, the illustration below shows that Lachesis is one of 918 remedies in the Materia Medica that comes up for the following three symptoms:
Absence of periods
How to determine which of the 918 remedies is suitable for any given woman is just one of the things I learned when I underwent 4 years of training at the School of Homeopathy and18 months of supervised practice during which every case I took was carefully evaluated by an experienced Homeopath. Reducing Homeopathic prescribing to a collection of 9 remedies is truly doing an injustice to the whole system of Homeopathic medicine. And yet, this study was released as a scientific, peer-reviewed study debunking Homeopathy.
In my own practice I have helped many women overcome menopausal symptoms, prescribing remedies that have reduced or eliminated hot flashes, allowed my client to sleep through the night, feel less irritable and experience a return to higher levels of energy. One day I may run into to a case of Lachesis for menopause but so far in my practice, no-one I have treated for menopause has required it. I have prescribed it for other things. The Materia Medica refers to the body of proven remedies, along with their indications for use. The Materia Medica is made up of many books and is growing every day. There are some 3,500 remedies constituting the Materia Medica and there are some 3,000 or more remedies in the pipeline that have not yet made it into the Materia Medica. We cannot say that nine of these remedies are good for menopause or that such and such a remedy will help you sleep. A patient's case taken correctly by an experienced, classically trained Homeopath, may indicate any one of the entire body of remedies contained within the Materia Medica. This is why it is so difficult to use Randomized Controlled Trials. Trials involving Homeopathy can only ever be effective when treatments are individually prescribed.
Another reason many people determine that Homeopathy doesn't work is due to what I call the "supermarket approach to Homeopathy." That is, natural food stores such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sprouts and others sell Homeopathic formulas that are described as being good for certain ailments. Some of these are formulated and sold as remedies for the common cold, allergies, pain etc. Often these formulas contain a collection of remedies that are commonly known to work for certain conditions. The theory is that one of the remedies in the formula might work for a given individual. And some times that will work, but often times however, it doesn't work. Single remedies are sold over the counter and advertised as helping with just one or two conditions. For example, Arsenic Album 30C is sold as a remedy for food poisoning while Nux Vomica 30C is listed as a remedy for heartburn or hangover. In fact, Nux Vomica may work for food poisoning and Arsenicum may work for anxiety or a skin rash. Many people try these homeopathic remedies and conclude that Homeopathy doesn't work. But it's not Homeopathy that is not working, it is that the selected remedy is not suited to your constitution. A professional Homeopath will help you determine the best remedy for your hangover, your food poisoning or your anxiety. Chances are it will be neither of the over-the-counter remedies. In general I am very grateful to companies like Boiron and Hylands for bringing Homeopathy into stores and making it easily available. They are reputable companies and are trying hard to get natural remedies out to the public. I often prescribe their remedies for my clients but only when well indicated for the whole person. So there is a double-edged sword here and while it is helpful to have easy access to so many wonderful Homeopathic remedies, it has also contributed to a misconception about Homeopathy in cases where the remedy does not work as advertised, which it often won't for reasons I have explained in this article.
At Phosphora Homeopathy, I follow sound Homeopathic principles as set forth by the founder of Classical Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, and his followers James Tyler Kent and Constantine Herring. I combine these with proven strategies for finding the correct remedy taught by modern homeopaths who have earned international acclaim such as Professor George Vithoulkas and Dr. Rajan Sankaran with whom I have studied. In my practice I have helped clients reduce and eliminate medications, avoid unnecessary and expensive surgeries, sleep peacefully at night and lose stubborn weight that would not respond to changes in diet. I can't convince you in words. You won't know until you try. Yes, it does cost money and no, Homeopathy is not covered by insurance, but it can bring about positive and enduring changes to your health and that, for many people, is priceless.
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Mary Fielder holds an Advanced Diploma in Classical Homeopathy from the School of Homeopathy in the UK and is registered with the North American Society of Homeopaths.
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