Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine introduced and developed by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, at the end of the 18th century. Recognizing that the whole person-mind, body, spirit-is affected when there is illness, homeopathy seeks to treat that whole person. Homeopathic medicines, or ‘remedies’, stimulate the body’s self-regulating mechanisms to initiate the healing process.
Homeopathy derives its name from the Greek, homoeo=’similar’, and pathos=’suffering’. Through research and practice Hahnemann verified cure through the use of the Law of Similars. Each person shows symptoms of the body/mind/spirit when they are sick. This law proposes that a substance that can produce disease in a healthy person is used to elicit a healing response in someone presenting with a similar disease. The homeopathic remedy is matched to the symptom picture of the person, with particular attention paid to those symptoms which are unique to the individual.
Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances such as plants, minerals, animals etc. and they are manufactured unlike any other medicine. Through a process of serial dilution a very dilute extract is made. With every step of dilution the remedy is vigorously shaken-succussed. This process of succussion is designed to arouse the dynamic nature of the medicine. The homeopath administers the smallest possible dose so as to maximize beneficial effects and minimize side effects. Repetition of dose is determined by the individual’s response to the remedy.
Remedies can be given alone or in combination and are usually administered orally though they can be applied topically as well. The frequency of dosing depends on the severity and acuteness of the problem. More acute problems, like those requiring first aid, can be dosed as often as every 5-15 minutes. Less sudden and less severe illness can be dosed less frequently, such as hourly, 2-3 times a day or every other day. Chronic symptoms are often treated with a remedy or remedies that are given once every two weeks or monthly.