Homeopathy: a holistic approach
European citizens increasingly recognise the benefits of a holistic approach to care, where the practitioner views them as a whole, rather than a clinical condition or a set of symptoms and takes the time to listen. From a holistic perspective, the patient is considered as unique, requiring individual assessment and treatment. As an integrated entity, including the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and any other aspects of the total person. Individuals are seen as living systems that are self-healing, self-renewing, homeostatic and adaptive. Health is not merely the absence of disease/illness, but the ability of a system, e.g. cell, organism, family, society to respond adaptively to a wide range of environmental challenges. Disease is considered as a result of an off-balance state of the whole individual (mind and body) rather than a local disturbance.
Homeopathy looks beyond the labels of disease to cure their causes rather than merely their symptoms and it stimulates the body’s own natural healing powers to bring health, vitality and well-being. It does not treat superficially by just driving away the symptoms but heals the patient from within. It uses medicines that cover the disturbance of the whole person rather than giving different medicines for different afflicted parts of the body. Patients often report improvement in overall energy, mood, quality of sleep, and digestion, and the disappearance of other symptoms apparently unrelated to the condition being treated with homeopathy.
Homeopathic doctors relate individual patterns of responding to environmental influences, infectious agents and potential stressors to specific homeopathic medicines that can remedy these susceptibility patterns. Skilled homeopathic prescribing requires that the characteristics of the chosen medicine should be as similar as possible to the characteristics of the illness in the patient. The more detailed the understanding of the symptom nuances of the patient, the more accurate the prescription. Thus, homeopathy is highly individualised and based upon a holistic assessment. As well as the patient’s actual complaint and conventional diagnosis, the following factors may play an important part in medicine selection, especially in chronic disease: the patient’s constitution, emotional and mental make-up, the way the patient responds to physical, emotional and mental influences/stress in his/her life, the patient’s personality, temperament, genetic predispositions and any strong family history of particular diseases.
Homeopathy: a complete system of medicine
Homeopathic medicines are aimed at improving the level of health by stimulating the self-regulatory mechanism. Improving the level of health implies reducing any disease process as well as the susceptibility to illness and disease. That means that it is not limited to certain diseases but is universally applicable to all kinds of diseases. It can often be used as a first option in certain medical conditions, keeping more costly and potentially toxic treatment as a second option. In addition, it can offer therapeutic options where conventional treatments have failed or where conventional treatments do not exist for the problem, where they are contraindicated or not tolerated. In many disorders homeopathy should be a first choice treatment instead of a last resort.
In many cases of chronic disease homeopathic treatment can achieve results which would be considered impossible with conventional treatment. The therapeutic possibilities, however, depend on how much irreversible damage has, or has not, occurred, and on the extent to which the organism is able to recover. If the distortion is too great, the damage too severe, the disease highly infectious or life-threatening, the condition becomes more suitable for the stronger methods of conventional, allopathic medicine. Limitations are specific surgical indications, deficiency diseases and very serious diseases in which gross anatomical changes have evolved. However, in incurable stages of a disease homeopathic treatment may relieve a patient to a large extent.
In injuries and accidents, homeopathic treatment can be of immense value. Homeopathy can even help if surgery is necessary. Homeopathic medicines can be given both pre-operatively and post-operatively to speed up healing and to counteract any effects of anxiety, shock and anaesthetics. In general, patients treated with homeopathy make a much more rapid post-operative recovery than patients who have not had this treatment.
Homeopathy: an effective treatment
Homeopathic treatment is an effective method of healing – in both acute and chronic conditions, as claimed by millions of patients and thousands of homeopathic doctors. It may even offer long lasting to permanent cure, treating the disease from its roots, for most of the ailments. The body of clinical evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy continues to accumulate. Several research studies have shown overall that three quarters of the chronically ill patients reported that they felt ‘moderately better’ or ‘much better’. A number of rigorous clinical trials have shown homeopathy superior to placebo; others have shown it to have effects similar to conventional treatments.
Homeopathy is an effective alternative to antibiotics in infectious diseases, producing no toxic side effects and bringing about rapid recovery. Viral infections are also very well treated with homeopathy. In addition, homeopathy is effective for a variety of complaints occurring in children, including behavioural problems. Other medical conditions successfully treated are: skin diseases such as acne, boils, eczema, psoriasis, warts; musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, bursitis and fibromyalgia; allergies, frequent infections; tension headache and migraine; heartburn, gastritis, constipation, intestinal conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease; frequent colds, sinusitis, tonsillitis, cough, asthma and respiratory infections; emotional conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia; menstrual disorders, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, hot flushes; morning sickness, labour induction, labour pain, lactation problems, breast inflammation (mastitis); coronary dysfunctions, liver disorders, Ménière’s disease. There are many other conditions besides those listed where homeopathy is found to be effective.
Homeopathy: a safe treatment
Homeopathy is safe. Unlike other medication, homeopathic medicines are non-toxic and harmless and do not have any adverse side effects. Patients unable to use conventional prescription drugs due to side effects can often safely use homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines are natural, prepared from minute amounts of herbs, minerals and animal products. Their quality and safety are assured by the national medicine agencies based on European Union legislation and European Pharmacopoeia requirements. They are suitable for pregnant women, infants and children without worrying about the dosage.
Many childhood ailments could be very effectively and quickly treated with homeopathy without producing any side effects whatsoever. Unlike antibiotics and other such medicines, homeopathic pills do not hamper digestion, or lower the body’s resistance. Neither do they cause any allergies nor cause any damage, even if taken over a long period. There is no toxicity, no addiction, no dependency, no withdrawal. Millions of people use it to help themselves, their families and their pets without any dangerous physical repercussions.
Homeopathy: a low-cost treatment
Homeopathic medicines are much less expensive than conventional prescription drugs, because they are generic, non-patented and non-patentable medicinal substances, produced at low costs. On average, homeopathic medicines cost less than €1 per day in acute conditions and a few cents per day (sometimes a fraction of a cent) in chronic conditions.
Since homeopathic doctors need to obtain a large amount of information from their patients, a longer consultation time is required. This means that consultations are more expensive than usual GP consultations. The overall costs of a homeopathic treatment may therefore be comparable to that of conventional treatment. In the long run, however, homeopathy saves money. Under proper homeopathic treatment not only the person’s immediate complaints improve, but also his/her susceptibility to disease decreases as there is a general improvement in health and thus less need for medical consultations. So the cumulative costs are very low.
The long-term gain has been demonstrated by several research studies. They show that patients who were treated with homeopathy used fewer medications, had better health, fewer days off sick, fewer visits to medical specialists, less time in the hospital than patients of conventional physicians. Moreover, there are no costs associated with complications due to adverse medication effects. In other words, homeopathy may offer significant cost savings to public health bodies, and to the economy more widely.