What is homeopathy?


How can I be- this cute?
Barked: Tue Jul 10, '07 10:46pm PST 
I wrote this post as a message to the group when it first started. However, it looks like it can't be found in the message archives anymore. I'm reposting it here so that those newer to the group can read it. Feel free to respond/ask questions if you want to. smile


So now I'll explain what homeopathy is. You should also check out Wikipedia's article on homeopathy, as it's very informative:


The first principle of homeopathy is "like cures like". Literally, homeopathy means "similar disease". This is in contrast to allopathy, which means "opposite disease". According to allopathic principles (which is what traditional vets follow), a disease can be cured by giving medicines that are contrary to the symptoms of the disease. For example, a laxative can "cure" a person with constipation. Homeopathy, on the other hand, goes on the principle of "like cures like", meaning that a remedy is given that would cause similar symptoms as the disease in a healthy person. These symptoms are determined by "provings", which involve healthy people taking the remedies and then recording their symptoms (physical, emotional, mental, etc.). Thousands of remedies have been proven over the years (homeopathy was "founded" in the early 1800's by Samuel Hahnemann).

The second principle of homeopathy, particularly classical homeopathy, is the idea of a single remedy. That is, there is one single remedy that fits the entire disease picture of a person (or animal) at a given time (this remedy can change as the disease picture changes). Keep in mind that a disease picture is -everything- the person thinks and feels. Even things like whether they prefer cold or warm areas can be important.

The third principle of homeopathy is the minimal dose. That is, the smallest dose that is effective should be used.

The fourth principle of homeopathy involves using a "potentized" remedy. This means that the remedy is diluted, often past the point where any atoms of the original substance are left in the remedy. The diluted remedy is also "succussed", which is a type of shaking that releases the energy of the substance into the dilutant (water and/or alcohol). This is one of the most controversial parts of homeopathy...how can a substance do anything if it's no longer present? No one knows for sure the science behind it, but it has been suggested that the water molecules pick up the energy of the substance and basically hold it. It's probably something that we'll learn more about over time, as quantum science progresses. Those who have used homeopathy know that it works (and the placebo effect doesn't apply if it's working in animals too, which it is), so that's what's most important.

I mentioned above the term "classical homeopathy". There aren't many homeopaths out there who practice true classical homeopathy, which is the type of homeopathy taught and used by Hahnemann, the founder. Many use what's referred to as "clinical homeopathy", which is more mechanical in its approach. For example, sometimes the same remedy will be given to every pet with a vaccine reaction (Thuja is a big one for this). However, it's important, when treating chronic disease, that the -entire- symptom picture of an animal is taken into account before a remedy is prescribed. The name of the disease does not matter in homeopathy, which is one of the huge advantages it has over allopathy.

As an example of this, if you and a family member both get a cold, you most likely are both infected by the same virus strain. However, it's also likely that you will have slightly different symptoms. Maybe you will be thirsty, but your family member won't be. Or your throat will be really sore and dry, and theirs is full of phlegm. These things are important when choosing the appropriate homeopathic remedy.

Treating acute and first aid situations can be easily learned, as the symptom pictures are very clear and precise. However, chronic disease often involves many layers of problems. Only an experienced homeopath should be treating chronic disease.

Oh, that brings me to another point: the laws of cure. These laws state:

1. As a cure occurs, symptoms move from the innermost organs of the body to the outermost--that is, from the most vital organs to the least (the skin).
2. As a cure occurs, symptoms move from above to below, or from head to feet. Again, this is like the first law in that the symptoms move from the most vital parts to the least vital.
3. As a cure occurs, symptoms that have been suppressed in the past often reappear in the reverse order that they originally occurred. For example, if a skin condition was treated with antibiotics, then as the cure of the chronic disease occurs, the skin condition may temporarily reappear. This is a -good- sign, since the body is basically pushing the disease out of the body.

In relation to this, treating things allopathically can often result in suppression of the symptoms, and not a cure. Sure, a steroid may make a dog less itchy, but that's not a cure--that's just suppressing the symptoms. According to homeopathy, this is dangerous because it pushes the disease deeper into the body--closer to more vital organs. This can result in worse problems later on.

That brings me to another point: a homeopathic remedy does not work via chemical reactions, like a drug. It works on the energy of the body: often called the "life force" or "vital force". The life force is not spiritual or religious by any means, but is instead the energy that gives your body life. It is the difference between a living, breathing body and a dead one.

When you give the life force a picture of the disease that it currently has (remember, you are using a remedy with similar symptoms to the disease), it uses the energy in the remedy to cure the disease itself. It's basically like giving the body a map and directions. In this way, the body actually cures itself--this is the only way to truly cure, according to homeopathic principles.

If you give the body a remedy that does not match the symptoms of the disease, new symptoms may appear. This is why it's important to have chronic disease treated by an experienced homeopath. Homeopathic remedies are not toxic (there's no physical substance left to make them toxic), but the side effects can be unpleasant or even dangerous if the remedies are not given correctly.

And a quick note on "holistic" vs. homeopathy: the term "holistic" is very general, and usually just means that drugs aren't used, or are used minimally. Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine, but most holistic medicine is -not- homeopathy. In fact, much of holistic medicine (such as herbalism) uses allopathic principles, just with natural substances instead of drugs.

I think I hit the main points with this. Hopefully it wasn't too long! I'm by no means an expert, but I've been doing lots of learning. Homeopathy is something that takes time to understand--I know it did for me. It's a very different way of looking at things than we're used to. But once it "clicks", it really does make sense.
Mocha Bear- (Mokie),- VGG, KPA,

CEO of Rewarding- Behaviors Dog- Training
Barked: Thu Jul 12, '07 5:19pm PST 
Fudge, I feel like I'm learning so much so quickly, largely thanks to you.

What a wonderful post. Thank you!