Elaine Watson


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Frequently asked questions

The ASA does not allow me to say what homeopathy is so I have to leave you to find that out somewhere else too! However, I do think it is important to understand that homeopathy is one of several natural therapies which is ancient and treats the whole person and doesn’t ‘pick off’ individual symptoms in the way that conventional medicine does. What I am allowed to say is that with an ever-growing number of people seeking a natural way of treating their health, homeopathy can be used alongside conventional medicine and has a mounting evidence base to support it.

Hippocrates, 460-375 bce the ‘Father of Medicine’ believed that effective treatment relied on considering the patient as a whole. Diet, sleep, work and exercise were all seen as important factors that could play a role in producing - and reversing - the imbalance in humours that was believed to result in illness. Diseases were allowed to run their natural course with treatment restricted mainly to the careful use of specific herbal medicines. For centuries healing the sick followed either the path of similars, (herbalism with plant signatures, vitalism and homeopathy) or the path of opposites (allopathy) until the advent of modern medicines such as antibiotics less than 100 years ago.
The founder of modern homeopathy was an eighteenth century German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, who was so appalled by the practises of his day (bloodletting, the use of massive doses of mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals which more often than not killed the patient), that he set out to find a healing approach that was safe, gentle and effective. He believed that the body could be stimulated with minute doses of medicine to encourage its natural healing process and thus even very diluted poisons could be effective and the patients would rally. Today, homeopathic remedies are regulated in the UK by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (HMRA) which is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care responsible for ensuring that medicines are acceptably safe.
A Nobel Prize awaits the person who can answer that question! But I think we are getting closer to an answer. A ground breaking landmark conference ‘New Horizons in Water Science: Evidence for Homeopathy?’ which took place in London in 2018, (www.thesciencetheevidence.co.uk) heard from two Nobel Prize Laureates and other distinguished international scientists, medics and and homeopaths about the current scientific research into ultrahigh dilutions, nanotechnology and the unique properties of water.

Experiential and observational results in the patients themselves are not sufficient to satisfy our sceptical critics. In truth many pharmaceuticals ‘work’ but no one knows why! Indeed many things ‘work’ but no one really knows how or why!
The ASA does not allow me to say what homeopathy can be used for but again this information is readily available on the internet and has been published in books, medical journals and magazines. Homeopathy is being used increasingly by doctors, dentists, midwives and many other healthcare professionals because of an increasing understanding of the therapeutic benefits and in response to growing public demand. Vets also find it a valuable addition to the range of treatments available for animals in their care. Homeopathy is a realistic and affordable medical modality which could be beneficially employed in the cash-starved NHS. It was included in the NHS when it was established in 1948. In 2017 the current government made it far more difficult to access on the NHS. However an integrated approach to healthcare promises to be effective and comparatively cheap.
Over 30 million people in Europe routinely use homeopathic remedies and in many countries such as India and Brazil it is as popular as conventional medicine, if not more so. It has been effectively used in appalling situations in areas which have been ravaged by hurricanes and tsunamis such as Haiti and also in war zones such as Bosnia and Croatia. There are many homeopathy projects in Africa effectively helping HIV positive patients in disease-stricken areas such as Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Botswana.
In a nutshell a homeopathic remedy is a specially prepared medicine (often called a remedy) which has an effect similar to most of your symptoms and characteristics. Homeopathic remedies are derived from a variety of natural materials, including plants and minerals, snake venom and other venoms and are prepared in licensed laboratories under strict quality control. They are given in many forms including tablet, liquid, granule or powder and at several potencies. The effect of the medicinal substance has been tested historically on a group of healthy human volunteers in what we call a ‘proving’ to elicit the characteristic healing properties of the substance. Proving symptoms are carefully recorded in homeopathic repertories and materia medicas for use by all practising homeopaths. You may see these huge tomes on the desk when you have a consultation with your homeopath or you will see they use a homeopathy computer program to research your symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies are made by a series of dilutions and with succussion, (vigorous tapping or shaking). For example, a 6c potency remedy means that the substance has undergone six steps in a series of dilutions, where each step involves taking one part of the remedy and diluting it in 99 parts of alcohol/ water mixture and shaking it a prescribed number of times. If the remedy is made from an insoluble material it is ground to a fine powder (trituration) until it can be dissolved in the same way.
Over the counter (OTC) remedies tend to come in 6c and 30c potencies. These are considered safe for the public to use as first aid treatments and are a very good way to introduce and appreciate the effectiveness of homeopathy. A professional homeopath will be able to look at your case in more detail and prescribe from a wider range of remedies at different potencies, based on your individual situation. A fascinating, but as yet unexplained, characteristic of homeopathic remedies is that the more dilute a remedy, the more effective it is. For example, a remedy diluted 30 times by a factor of 100 (potency 30c) is much more potent than a 6c remedy (diluted 6 times by a factor of a 100), even though it contains less of the original substance. This counter intuitive effect is one of the difficulties to explain to non-scientists but it is well understood by physicists.(see the reference above to the conference in London 2018)
Remedies should generally be taken half an hour before or after eating or drinking. They should not be handled directly if possible but popped on or under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. As with many conventional medicines, homeopathic remedies are usually made on lactose tablets so we advise people with lactose intolerance to be aware of this and ask for an alternative. All remedies are also available on sucrose.
Medicines should be kept in their original container away from direct light and strong smelling substances such as disinfectants, perfume or aromatherapy oils. Spilled tablets or pills should be thrown away.
Homeopathic remedies are widely available and can be found in good pharmacies, health food stores and online as well as from the homeopathic pharmacies (see link).
No. Most homeopathic remedies can be safely taken along with other medicines, but it is always advisable to check with the prescriber before mixing medicines. It could be very dangerous to stop a medicine from your doctor which you have been using for some time and no homeopath would ever advise you to do this. The remedies will not usually interfere with your other drugs, but you should always consult your doctor before use when taking other medications. Pregnant women should consult their doctor or homeopath before using homeopathic remedies but because of their high dilution factor homeopathic remedies are very useful in pregnancy when other medicines may be harmful. There are several remedies which women may use for morning sickness or at the birth and for breast feeding problems. You will find specific details in numerous articles on line.
The first consultation is a conversation which lasts between 1-2 hours and you’ll be asked questions about your physical, mental and emotional health, lifestyle, preferences and fears. To discover how best to help, the homeopath will want to know not only about your illness but also about you. How you are affected by environmental factors such as temperature and the weather, the kinds of food that you eat or the food you avoid, your moods and feelings, and your medical history will all help to establish a complete picture of you as a person. The homeopath then relates the description of your current symptoms to all this background knowledge in order to prescribe the correct remedy at the right potency. Choice of remedy is therefore based on you and your condition, not just on your symptoms. A follow-up visit after about 4 weeks is the normal procedure and this is important to check how you have responded to the treatment. A good outcome at follow up often means that no further medication is required at that time. Homeopaths work with the smallest possible medicinal stimulus to restore health. This is very different from conventional medicine and many patients are therefore surprised at how little medicine they are given. Benefits should be obvious within a few days but it’s not unusual to feel slightly worse for a short time before you feel better. This is known as ‘the healing crisis’ and is a sign that the body is trying to rebalance and heal. However, homeopathy is intended to be rapid and gentle so there is no place for protracted stoicism! (And I say that as a Scot!) Having said all that, homeopathy is not a quick fix or sticking plaster for some condition which has affected you for years. Recovery unravels at a pace that your body can manage and reveals itself in many ways- perhaps as an increase in creativity or an increase in energy levels accompanied by satisfactory sleep.
Many Private Medical Insurance Companies cover homeopathy. Please check individual polices with the provider.

Please note: These questions and answers are not intended to be a substitute to advice from a qualified homeopath or homeopathic doctor. If any symptoms persist, you should always consult your GP. Homeopathy can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine but please ensure both your homeopath and your GP are aware of the drugs and remedies you are taking. GPs have access to primary care modalities which may be essential.

Homeopathy Research

The Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) is devoted to ensuring that the published research in homeopathy is of the very highest standard. Biennial international conferences are held with prestigious speakers from all over the world. The next HRI conference will be in London from 14-16th June 2019. Their website is an excellent resource for enquiries into research in homeopathy. www.hri-research.org

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Green Hill
10, Deane Close
Stogumber, TA4 3TE

01984 656960