Homoeopathy is a holistic system of medicine. It aims to promote healing responses to diseases by administering specially prepared substances that mimic the symptoms of those diseases in healthy people.
Modern homoeopathy was founded in the 18th century by a German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann and is now used worldwide, with a 200 year history of clinical experience. It is recognised by the World Health Organization as a valid form of healthcare.
The word homoeopathy is derived from the Greek words homoios meaning 'similar', and pathos meaning 'suffering'.
The cornerstone of homoeopathic philosophy is the 'Law of Similars'. This law or principle is based on a long held belief as far back as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, and other ancient healers such as Paracelsus, that substances that produce symptoms in a healthy individual can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person. Thus homoeopathic treatment is believed to stimulate the body's ability to fight infection and susceptibility to disease.
Homoeopathic medicines are made from a variety of sources, such as plants, animals and minerals. They are prepared according to strict guidelines set out in international pharmacopoeias, and under the control of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Homoeopathic medicines are considered to be safe and free from serious adverse reactions since they are highly diluted.
How do homoeopathic medicines work?
Frequently the dilution is so great that no chemical trace of the original substance remains but, if no chemical trace remains, how do the remedies work?
There is abundant proof that the remedies do work but homoeopaths and scientists have yet to discover exactly why they work.
A precise answer is likely to be found outside the chemistry laboratory in the field of physics, especially electro-magnetism. The process of dilution and succussion apparently imprints the characteristic energy pattern, or blueprint, of the original substance onto the water in which is diluted. This may be likened to the transmission of television signals, where the original scene is converted into an electro-magnetic energy pattern (a signal) which can then be broadcasted to your receiver.
A homoeopathic remedy acts as a signal which energises or stimulates the body's self-healing powers, mobilising the defence system and working on the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the body.
Conditions commonly treated
Homoeopathy aims to treat the whole person, taking into account personality, lifestyle and hereditary factors as well as the history of the disease. Since all patients are unique, homoeopathic medicines are prescribed to treat patients as individuals. For example, headaches in different patients would each be treated with different medicines, according to the patient's individual symptoms.
What to expect during treatment
Healing takes place in different ways and reactions to medicine vary. Sometimes there is an immediate improvement. Sometimes healing begins with an increased feeling of well being, even though symptoms initially remain. In some cases, old symptoms recur as part of the healing process. Occasionally there is a temporary worsening of the symptoms prior to improvement. However, there are no toxic side effects from homoeopathic medicines.