Homeopathy: a beginner's guide

There are over 3,000 registered homeopaths in the UK, and demand for their services is increasing. However, despite a number of celebrity followers, including David Beckham, Richard Branson, and the Queen herself, many of us are still unaware of homeopathy’s potential in treating both acute and chronic conditions.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a form of complementary medicine based on the principle of treating ‘like with like’ – a small dose of a substance can treat the symptoms that would occur following a large dose of that substance. For example, too much caffeine causes sleeplessness, so a homeopath would treat the symptoms of sleeplessness with a tiny amount of caffeine.

Homeopathic treatments are usually made of minerals or plants that have been highly diluted in alcohol and water and vigorously shaken (known as succussion). This is then used to form pilules or tablets, but some treatments are liquids, creams, or powders.

As homeopathic medicines contain only a small amount of the active ingredient, they are very safe, and can be used for babies as well as pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. They can even be used for animals.

What can homeopathy treat?

Homeopathy can treat a range of conditions, and works well when complemented with conventional medicine.

Common conditions that homeopaths regularly treat are:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopausal symptoms

A study conducted by the UK’s three homeopathic hospitals found that 70% of patients reported a positive outcome after treatment.

What can I expect from my homeopath?

Like a conventional doctor, a homeopathic doctor will ask you about your symptoms in order to form a diagnosis. However, they will also ask you about your lifestyle, such as your diet and sleep patterns. This helps them to determine the strength and type of prescription you need.

Your initial consultation may take up to an hour, with follow-up sessions lasting about 30 minutes, but this can vary depending on your practitioner.

Just make sure that you are ready to explain your symptoms and lifestyle to your homeopath, so that they can make the best decisions for your treatment.

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