Homeopathy is based on the idea of treating ‘like with like’. Medicines which can produce an illness matching the one from which the patient is suffering are prescribed, aiming to stimulate the body’s own healing.
Other key features of homeopathy include holism, constitution, idiosyncrasy and the use of the minimum dose.
Holism: sometimes described as ‘treating the person, not the disease’. Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, sleep patterns and state of mind all help build up a complete picture.
Constitution: the type of person, including build, personality, general physical features, for instance tendency to feel the heat or the cold.
Idiosyncrasy: what is unusual or atypical about you or the health problem from which you are suffering.
Minimum dose: Homeopathic medicines range from concentrated tinctures to extremely dilute medicines, some so dilute that the original substance has been completely diluted out. It is thought that the water and alcohol mixture in which the dilutions are made retain a ‘memory’ of the substance.
Although it has a wide range of uses, homeopathy is not an exclusive alternative, and is not the right treatment for every complaint. It can be used alone or to complement other treatments, for instance symptoms of, or side effects of treatments for cancer. In any case it is best integrated with other treatments so that everybody involved in the patient’s care communicates and works together.
Homeopathy is generally very safe. It is non-addictive and has no dangerous side effects. Homeopathy is safe to use for babies, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.