What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is an alternative medicine practiced all over the world, whether by doctors, naturopaths, or other health professionals.
In this article, you will discover what homeopathy consists of, its principles, its method, the different types of dilution, its effectiveness, its benefits, the course of a homeopathy session, and finally, the training courses that allow you to practice as a homeopath.
Homeopathy comes from the Greek words “homios” which means similar and “pathos” which means disease. It is opposed to allopathy, which treats illnesses through opposites.
This therapeutic technique, which therefore treats diseases similar, was founded 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor. It obeys three fundamental principles described later in this article.
It is a holistic medicine that is interested in the individual as a whole: homeopathic treatment does not only depend on the characteristics of the individual but also on the symptoms. In homeopathy, diseases and symptoms are due to an imbalance in the body, and an attempt by it to regain the initial balance.
The goal of the homeopathic doctor is therefore to rebalance the body in depth and not just to treat the symptoms.
Used by nearly 200 million people worldwide, homeopathy has been officially recognized in France since 1965, when it first appeared in the French Pharmacopoeia.
The main principles of homeopathy
Homeopathy is based on three principles:
- The principle of similarity: This principle, which constitutes the pillar of homeopathy, comes from the adage of Hippocrates “Similia similibus curentur” according to which like cures like. Thus, this means that a substance administered in high doses causing symptoms in a healthy individual would have the ability to cure these same symptoms if they occur in a sick individual when it is administered in small quantities. This principle derives from experimental and clinical observation.
- The law of individuation: In homeopathy, individual characteristics are very important since each individual reacts differently depending on their constitution. It is the sick individual who is treated and not the disease itself.
- The principle of infinitesimal dilution: This principle refers to the way in which the solution is prepared. By diluting toxic substances, the active ingredient is lost. According to Hahnemann, this principle could be found by shaking the solution several times, which would have the effect of energizing the solution and making it curative. Dilution is essential since it makes it possible to ensure the harmlessness of homeopathic medicine.
The homeopathic method
According to homeopathy, the human body has the ability to heal itself. For Hahnemann, it is therefore more useful to find a way to stimulate the body’s self-healing process, rather than to focus on knowing the cause of the disease.
The aim of the homeopath is therefore to trigger this process. For this, he will have to find out about the patient and the nature of his symptoms during the homeopathy consultation.
In homeopathy, two individuals with the same disease will not necessarily be treated with the same homeopathic medicines. Indeed, the homeopath endeavors to adapt homeopathic medicine to the precise characteristics of the expression of the symptom.
Does it works?
The mechanisms of action of homeopathy are not yet explained but many scientific studies have shown their interest in the treatment of certain pathologies without concluding that they are really effective.
However, for some detractors, the extreme dilution of homeopathic medicines does not allow their effects to be superior to those of the placebo effect.
These are based on the calculation of Avogadro’s number which postulates that preparation would no longer contain active substances from the moment it is diluted more than 12 times to 1/100.
If you feel unwell or sick, first consult a doctor or health care professional who can make a diagnosis and offer you the appropriate treatment. Homeopathy does not replace your medical follow-up with your attending physician.
The benefits of homeopathy
Homeopathy to cure a cold
As for the classic cold, there are several homeopathic remedies depending on the disorders present and their characteristics. For example, Nux vomica 5CH is recommended for stuffy nose and sneezing, Cina Maritima 5CH is indicated for an itchy nose, Allium cepa 4CH for runny nose without irritation, etc.
As for hay fever, homeopathy can limit the use of drugs and reduce the symptoms of fever.
homeopathy for weight loss
Some homeopathic medicines could promote weight loss through their action on the cause of overweight on the one hand, and their draining effect on the other.
For example, if overweight is due to snacking, Ignatia Amara 7 CH is indicated while antimonium crudum 9 CH is more recommended if the individual constantly feels the need to eat.
Homeopathy for better sleep
Results from three studies revealed the beneficial effects of homeopathy on participants’ severe insomnia with improved sleep duration, latency, and sleep quality. But these effects were not superior to a placebo effect.
The results of another study showed an increase in sleep time for the homeopathy groups compared to the placebo groups, with an improvement in sleep quality and a reduction in the number of significant awakenings for both groups.
Homeopathy could also help you to:
- Improve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux: A clinical study carried out on a 5-year-old child showed the beneficial effects of homeopathic treatment on vomiting related to gastroesophageal reflux.
- Decrease the symptoms of fibromyalgia: The results of three studies suggest an interest in homeopathy in the reduction of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, even if its effectiveness in this problem is not fully approved by the scientific community.
- Reduce side effects of cancer treatment: A review published in 2009 sought to show that homeopathy could lead to a reduction in chemotherapy-induced inflammation of the mouth, as well as a reduction in hyperpigmentation and skin heat induced by radiotherapy.
- Relieve children suffering from diarrhea: Homeopathy would have positive effects on the duration of diarrhea compared to placebo treatment.
- Contribute to the postoperative restoration of bowel functions: Homeopathy reduces the time required for bowel contractions to return to normal, compared to placebo treatment.
- Relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis: Some homeopathic preparations are effective and have an analgesic effect. Despite everything, this efficiency is not superior to conventional drugs. Homeopathy may prove to be a useful treatment for osteoarthritis, but further studies are needed to be sure.
- Reduce the time of infection of the flu: A homeopathic treatment, Oscillococcinum, would reduce the time of infection of the flu, without being effective in prevention.
- Reduce symptoms of chronic asthma: Only one study has shown that homeopathy may help reduce the severity of asthma symptoms compared to placebo treatment.
- Relieve dental pain following surgery: In some cases, homeopathy would reduce the pain associated with dental extractions.
- Prevent headaches and migraines: A study showed the beneficial effects of homeopathy on headaches and migraines compared to a placebo. This made it possible to reduce the participants’ consumption of analgesics, as well as the frequency, intensity, and duration of their ailments.
- Improve symptoms of depression and anxiety: Homeopathy may have positive effects on symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Reduce symptoms of menopause: Homeopathy could potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and anxiety in postmenopausal women, but also improve their quality of life.
- Relieve premenstrual syndrome: A clinical trial showed that homeopathy could reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome compared to a placebo.
- Reduce the symptoms of patients with HIV: Two scientific studies have shown positive results of homeopathy on the number of T lymphocytes, the percentage of body fat, and the symptoms of stress in individuals with HIV.
- Improve symptoms of eczema: Two studies carried out on 253 children showed the positive effects of homeopathy on the symptoms of eczema. These effects are the same as those of usual care.
The different homeopathy dilutions
The active substance can be a vegetable, animal, or mineral. First, it macerates in a liquid medium composed of water and ethyl alcohol.
It is then filtered to obtain a mother tincture. Then comes the dilution phase which can be carried out according to the Hahnemannian method or the Korsakovian method.
The Hahnemannian method consists of carrying out successive dilutions at 1/100 (1 CH). Thus, 1% of the mother tincture is poured into 99% alcohol. During the process of dynamization, the solution obtained is shaken strongly 100 times, which gives a solution diluted to one hundredth (1 CH).
In order to obtain other solutions with a different dilution, a drop of the 1CH solution is taken and the same process is carried out as before by pouring it into 99% alcohol, and shaking it 100 times, which gives a solution diluted at 2 CH and so on for dilutions at 3 CH, 4 CH, etc.
The Korsakovian method consists of preparing the solution in a single bottle, always from a drop of mother tincture poured into 99% alcohol.
Except that here, the bottle is emptied after dynamization, and what remains on the walls corresponds to a drop of the first preparation to which 99% alcohol is added, which constitutes the first korsakovian, named 1K. The process is repeated to obtain other types of dilutions.
The diluted extract is presented in the form of granules, tablets, or drops.
There are three types of dilutions: The more the patient presents symptoms similar to the pathogenesis of the homeopathic medicine, the more the solution will have to be diluted.
- Low dilutions: from 1 to 5 CH. Their use can be frequent and long-lasting.
- Average dilutions: from 6 to 9 CH. These make it possible to rebalance physiological functions. They can be used for a few weeks.
- High dilutions from 10 to 30 CH. These do not have to be used frequently, they act in depth and in a lasting way.
In general, it is recommended to space out the doses if there is an improvement in the symptoms.
How is the homeopathy consultation going?
The consultation in homeopathy is medical since, in France, only health professionals have the right to prescribe homeopathic medicines. It takes place in two phases: observation and interrogation.
The doctor will, first of all, observe his patient and study him precisely in order to draw up his homeopathic profile according to which he can make his prescriptions.
He will then carry out a precise interrogation during which he will ask a certain number of questions in order to find out about the disorders, their intensity, their periodicity, when and how they manifest themselves, etc.
He will also learn about the history of the individual, his lifestyle, and his family history.
Depending on all the elements collected, he will be able to make his prescription and advise the individual of additional examinations if necessary. As a general rule, the consultation lasts at least half an hour.
Train in homeopathy
Training in homeopathy is mainly intended for health or paramedical professionals (pharmacists, doctors, midwives, nurses, osteopaths, veterinarians, etc.).
Image Credit: Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay