Over 200 years of anecdotal evidence and a growing body of clinical evidence shows that homeopathy has a positive effect on health. One of the most comprehensive patient outcome surveys conducted in the UK involved an analysis of over 23,000 outpatient consultations over a six-year period at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital. Of the 6500 patients involved, more than 70% experienced clinical improvement following homeopathic treatment with 50% experiencing major improvement. Many of the patients had previously received mainstream medical intervention and had either failed to respond satisfactorily or had been unable to tolerate the medication prescribed. Eczema, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome were some of the conditions typically seen.
Please see the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital Patient Outcome Survey for more information.
If you would like to know more about the latest homeopathic research, please see the website of the Homeopathic Research Institute and the British Homeopathic Association.
Homeopathic remedies are manufactured by specialist pharmacies. An original substance, typically drawn from a plant, chemical or mineral source, is mixed with water and alcohol and put through a process of repeated dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking). The number of times this process is repeated determines the strength or ‘potency’ of the remedy. At the end of this process the medicine is then added to lactose pillules so that they are easy for the patient to take. Because of the ultra high dilution of the remedies, they are extremely safe and completely devoid of all chemical toxicity.
As yet, science has not been able to explain the mechanism of action of the ultra high dilutions used in homeopathy. However research suggests that the vigorous shaking that homeopathic medicines undergo during the manufacturing process changes the properties of the water that the original substance is dissolved in. Please see the website of the British Homeopathic Association for more information.
What you can expect during the course of your treatment will very much depend on the condition you are seeking treatment for, your general level of health and your ability to respond to remedies – therefore likely prognoses have to be made on an individual basis. In general however, a good response to homeopathic treatment will give you an increased sense of wellbeing followed by a reduction in the frequency and intensity of your symptoms. Sometimes this will have been preceded by a brief aggravation of your symptoms, but in many cases the process is so natural and graceful that it will seem as though you are just ‘getting better’ of your own accord. In simple cases this kind of improvement can often be achieved relatively quickly, however for more chronic, long-standing conditions, these changes will take longer to bring about and will be achieved in a number of steps, rather than in one quick shift to an improved state of health.
Throughout the course of your treatment, whenever you require a new homeopathic prescription, it will often be given as a single one-off dose. This can seem strange at first, especially to those patients who are used to taking a medication prescribed by their GP on a daily basis, but homeopathy acts in a very different way to conventional medicine. Instead of using a chemical to force the body to do something unnatural – an action which has to be repeated in order to maintain the desired effect, homeopathic remedies act as a stimulus to the self-healing mechanism of the body, and once this process has been set into motion it needs be left to proceed of its own accord without further interference, until the next homeopathic remedy is required.
It is very difficult to accurately assess the effects of a homeopathic prescription if a patient is using a number of different treatments at the same time. Therefore in order to give yourself the best chance of benefitting from treatment, I don’t recommend the simultaneous use of any other alternative therapies.
Some substances can act as antidotes to homeopathic treatment, i.e. they nullify or lessen the effects of a homeopathic remedy and greatly hinder the progress of treatment. A good example is coffee, which can cancel the action of a previously prescribed remedy and cause a case to relapse. For this reason I always advise my patients to stop drinking coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) for the duration of their treatment. Most people find that this is a small sacrifice that is worth making for the benefits they receive from treatment.
No, most people contact me directly on the basis of a recommendation from a friend, colleague or family member. However I always recommend that you maintain contact with your GP or specialist throughout the course of your treatment.
Ideally homeopathic remedies are taken alone, but in practice many people who come for treatment are already taking conventional medication. Homeopathy can be used safely alongside conventional drugs and will not interfere with their action. Any change in your use of prescribed medication during the course of your homeopathic treatment will have to be undertaken with the authority and guidance of your prescribing GP. If at any stage of your treatment you are concerned about changes in your symptoms, you should contact myself, and your medical practitioner immediately.
Homeopathy is perfectly safe and has an excellent safety record - over two hundred years of practice, research and trials have proved the safety of this system of medicine. Homeopathic remedies are made from a very small amount of the active ingredient. They are non-toxic and can be used safely by babies, children and the elderly, as well as by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Homeopathic remedies do not have side effects as such, but it is possible for patients to experience a brief aggravation (a worsening of their symptoms) after taking a remedy. This is actually an excellent sign that the correct remedy has been prescribed and that the self-healing mechanism of the body is being stimulated. In my practice I always carefully match both the remedy and the potency (i.e. the strength of the remedy) to each individual patient, so that any potential aggravations will be minimized.
The following organisations provide a wealth of additional information about homeopathy:
The British Homeopathic Association works to make homeopathy available to everyone through providing useful and factual information, and also through supporting education and research.
The European Central Council of Homeopaths represents the professional homeopathic community in Europe.
The International Council for Homeopathy is a platform representing professional homeopaths and the practice of homeopathy around the world.
Homeopathy Action Trust is a membership charity that encourages and supports public understanding of homeopathy, for the benefit of patients, practitioners and students.
The Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) is an innovative international charity created to address the need for high quality scientific research in homeopathy.
Following the successful cure of her son’s autism by homeopathy, Amy Lansky wrote a brilliant, best-selling general introduction to homeopathy – ‘Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy’.