When we visit a doctor, we invariably go with a symptom or symptoms that we want relief for. The doctor will consider the symptoms in question and do his best to relieve them.
Homeopaths and other holistic practitioners look at symptoms as a message from our body that something isn’t right somewhere, and so we look beyond the problematic symptom to discover why our body has produced it – and then we try to relieve that problem so that the body can sort itself out, removing the symptom as it has no longer has need of it.
If you think that sounds too simplistic or idealistic, consider a situation we all understand. A stressful day at work or at home with noisy children might cause a headache. We take a painkiller, the pain disappears, and we hope that the following day is less stressful so we don’t end up with another headache. What if there were another way and it didn’t involve giving up work or getting rid of the children?
Good news – there is! Homeopathy looks at why that particular stress produced a symptom (because let’s face it, you probably didn’t always get a headache in that situation. When the job was new you possibly thrived on the problems it produced, and as a young child you didn’t even notice the noise).
Now, a headache from stress is a simple problem we can all empathise with – but if you could apply that theory to any other symptom – eczema, asthma, depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia ….. (the list goes on), then couldn’t it be life changing for you?
A homeopath asks many questions to discover the real problem behind the symptom. We do take the symptoms or diagnosis into account, but we are also interested in you, why that symptom, and why now? What other problems have you had? How did you deal with them?
For example, many years ago a young man came to see me. His symptoms started as soon as he left home to go on a mission for his church for 2 years. He talked about his family and I perceived that his symptom started because he left his family and missed them, and suddenly had to be independent. I prescribed a remedy and it did nothing! I was baffled and dug deeper, asking him something I should of course have asked before. What was so difficult about going on a mission for you? Without pause he said, ‘I was going to teach something I was so passionate about in a language I hardly knew – it was such a huge responsibility’. I had completely misunderstood. Yes, he did miss his family when he was away but that wasn’t the real problem, the real problem for him was this huge sense of responsibility, duty and inadequacy. Thankfully I was then able to prescribe a remedy which actually helped.
Once you’ve talked for an hour or so with your homeopath you are given a remedy. What can you expect next?
An improvement. This is the outcome we’d all love to see of course – an improvement in all or some symptoms. Our ideal is that cure is ‘rapid, gentle and permanent’ and I see that many times, especially with children. Sadly, in adults with a history of medication, chronic pathology and difficult situations in life, cure is often step by step, needing repeats of the same remedy or different remedies along the way. As a homeopath I’m happy if someone is always going in a good direction, improving with each visit, even if it’s not as fast as we might have hoped for.
An aggravation. This is a temporary worsening of the symptoms you already have and is considered a good sign by a homeopath because it is almost always followed by a marked improvement. It often means the dose you’ve been given is a little strong for you, or that your body is going into overdrive as it sorts the problem out. If it lasts you need to contact your homeopath again for help.
Proving symptoms. This is where you get a new symptom. (Named this because homeopathic remedies are tested or ‘proved’ on healthy people to discover the symptoms they produce – as they are also the symptoms they will also cure). If the remedy is also doing good and the proving symptom is mild, this may not be a problem. I, for example, typically get ‘proving dreams’ if I take a remedy that’s not perfect for me. I know if a dream I’ve had shortly after taking a new remedy is not typical for me, and on occasion I’ve looked up an odd dream to discover it is a feature of the remedy I’ve just taken. Unless you continue to take many doses of an incorrect remedy the proving symptom will be mild and temporary. A homeopath can determine what to do if you get a proving symptom.
Detoxification symptoms. This is more difficult to deal with but is very good for you and should lead to the relief you’ve been looking for. This can be anything such as a fever, runny nose, diarrhoea, acne, crying – anything that brings the problem from inside, out. I’ve found this relatively rare, but if it happens try to just go with it and be kind to yourself and get plenty of rest and fluids and if it continues contact your homeopath for help. You may need another remedy to help with the detox in the short term.
Absolutely nothing. Sometimes (such as in my example above) the remedy can be so far off it does nothing. Always consider though that sometimes a remedy takes time to work or that you may need a stronger dose – but occasionally we just need to accept we’ve been wrong and try again.
Finally, when you’ve had a remedy and it’s helped so much – but then you start to get worse again. What should you do and why did it stop working?
Homeopathic remedies don’t just work on the day or days you take them, some are fast acting and run out quickly, others act very slowly and may act for months before you need to take another dose. Repeating the dose you had before is almost always the best thing to try first if that helped a lot, but there is danger in repeating it too soon, so again, this should be done with the guidance of a homeopath. If the remedy wasn’t really perfect it may not help much on the second dose so a homeopath then needs to decide whether to give a stronger dose of the same remedy or look for a slightly different remedy. Sometimes I’ve found that somebody gives me indications for more than one remedy, so on their first visit I give what I believe is the best choice for then and when they return the other remedy is now more indicated and I give that. Often I see patients over a few years who do well on only 3 or 4 remedies given at different times over and over again depending on what they need at the time.
If you would like to find out how homeopathy can help you please call me on 01626 201107 for a free mini consultation or book in. I’d love to hear from you.