Archive for September 2009
You may have heard of “homeopathy” but you’re not sure what it is. Simply put, “homeopathy” is a system of medicine that treats a condition with highly diluted natural substances that mimic the symptoms of the condition being treated. This concept seems paradoxical to most.
Homeopathy is a difficult concept to grasp. How do you cure someone of an illness by giving them an infinitesimally small concentration of something that can cause the illness? One would think that by giving someone who is sick something that causes what they’re already suffering from would only make the person sicker. But, according to proponents of the science, homeopathy not only works, but is better than conventional medicine, espousing their belief that homeopathy is the way medicine should be, but somewhere along the line the pharmaceutical industry got involved, and natural medicine was abruptly dismissed in favor of chemical laden formulations.
There are actually quite a few homeopathic medicines in your neighborhood pharmacy and health food store. You may not be aware that they’re there, but they are. The FDA requires that homeopathic products put the word “homeopathic” somewhere on the packaging, though sometimes the word can be difficult to find. The easiest way to ascertain whether the product you’re looking at is homeopathic is to read the label on the back and take a look at the ingredients. In homeopathy, all of the ingredients are diluted, so each ingredient in a homeopathic product has the letter “X” after it. So, if one of the ingredients is “Zinc 20X”, that means the product contains Zinc that has been diluted 20 times. One of the most popular cold medicines on the market, “Zicam,” is actually a homeopathic remedy that consists of homeopathic zinc in the form of a nasal gel. Most people that use Zicam don’t even realize that it’s homeopathic.
There are homeopathic remedies available for almost any condition you can think of. Cold, flu, allergy, even bedwetting; there is a homeopathic remedy available for almost every condition (yes, there really is a homeopathic medicine to treat bedwetting, made by Liddell Laboratories in Moraga, CA). Homeopathy is universally recognized as being safe, as the ingredients used are natural substances diluted so many times that there’s almost nothing in the product. Because there is such a small concentration of the ingredients in a homeopathic remedy, many cynics, including the drug companies that make conventional medicine and are afraid of the growing popularity of homeopathy, claim that any improvement in an ill person’s condition experienced after using a homeopathic medicine is purely the result of the placebo effect. And because the FDA does not require that homeopathic products undergo clinical testing before being sold to the public, the detractors feel that homeopathy is a bunch of bologna and that it doesn’t really work. So, who’s telling the truth? Does homeopathy work or not?
In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes. There have been several clinical trials done over the years to test the efficacy of homeopathic products. Liddell Laboratories makes a product called “Vital HGH” which contains homeopathic HGH. Vital HGH is designed to treat the symptoms of aging and/or a rundown condition. In a small clinical trial performed years ago, a group of test subjects who were deficient in human growth hormone, ranging in age from 45 years and up, were given the Vital HGH formulation. The results speak for themselves. During the five month clinical trial, the levels of HGH in the blood increased in every test subject, and more than doubled the average level of HGH.
Homeopathy does work. I speak from personal experience. I used Liddell’s homeopathic remedy to deal with the allergy attacks I was having, and the medicine not only stopped the attacks faster than the Claritin I had been taking, but I began using the Liddell allergy product once a day as a means for preventing the allergies from recurring, and I haven’t had another attack since.
So, why is there a controversy? Well, there’s a public perception that homeopathy is the same thing as holistic healing, where a weird looking guy puts a triangle around your head and tells you to drink mashed tree bark, like George did on Seinfeld to treat his tonsillitis before he turned purple. This is not homeopathy. Homeopathic medicines are carefully formulated and contain tiny amounts of specific natural substances designed to provoke a response in your body that helps your body to fight the condition that the medicine is designed to treat. So, a homeopathic cold medicine would perhaps contain something that stimulates your immune system to more effectively fight a cold virus. It’s a really a very simple concept.
Another reason why homeopathy is taken for granted is because it makes big drug manufacturers nervous that such products might be more effective for treating common illnesses as opposed to the more expensive prescription versions that make the pharmaceutical companies rich. Most homeopathic products are incredibly cheap. A prescribed conventional medicine costs a lot more. If the public began demanding natural, homeopathic remedies for their ailments, drug companies would have to make these kinds of products to stay in business, and then they’re revenues and profits would shrink. Imagine if Pfizer had to stop manufacturing Viagra, which they sell at $20-$30 per pill, and instead make a homeopathic product that would retail for only $20 for a one month supply. This is the pharmaceutical industry’s worst nightmare, and this is why drug companies often spend significant money to debunk claims that homeopathy works, using a wide variety of misinformation tactics to instill a belief in the public that homeopathy is hocus pocus. This simply isn’t true. Homeopathy works, and at a cost that people can afford.
You should continue to use the conventional medicines. They are needed and necessary and sometimes homeopathy doesn’t work for each and every individual. But, next time you go to the pharmacy, take a look at some of the homeopathic brands on the shelf and give them a try. For common ailments that aren’t life threatening, homeopathy is probably a cheaper and effective alternative.
To find relief and help, my first port of call was to my General Practitioner who was most unsympathetic, implying that three young children, moving house and working were bound to have a detrimental effect on my health and the combination of stresses had ‘chosen’ to manifest in the form of migraine. When I asked for suggestions for relief, anti-depressants were offered as the ‘best course of action’. The GP also intimated that in time the migraines would probably disappear; if not a hysterectomy may be the answer!
I wasn’t asked if any other family members had similar problems. Nor was I warned about the possible side-effects of the anti-depressants, including the potential of becoming addicted. The whole visit was over within five minutes, I left the surgery reluctantly clutching a prescription. Hopefully this was an atypical experience, and GPs these days are more sympathetic.
I decided to carry out research into the side effects these anti-depressant drugs could induce. I was horrified to find that the symptoms I suffered, headache, nausea, difficulty concentrating etc. could be further aggravated, and there were other potential side effects such as sexual dysfunction, hair loss and abdominal pain. My immediate instinct was to throw the prescription away; in no way did I want all those chemicals inside me, potentially doing untold long term damage to my body. Neither did I want a hysterectomy, as my migraines did not coincide with monthly hormonal changes.
After alternative advice from family and friends to change my diet, cut out all known triggers such as cheese, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and have more sleep, I decided to look into complementary therapies and a friend recommended me to try homeopathy. The use of homeopaths was not as widely known as it is today and many people inferred that their practices were somewhat dubious.
Unperturbed and determined to find someone to help me I used the local telephone directory to seek out registered homeopaths, finally arranging an initial consultation with the one who seemed the most genuinely interested and concerned with my plight during our introductory telephone conversation.
The first thing the homeopath explained to me was the ‘like-for-like’ homeopathic philosophy. She was not at all offended or alarmed by my questions about her training and qualifications, the answers to which were most reassuring.
My life and medical history were discussed in depth, including family history of migraine and my sister’s epilepsy and the thoughts I had that my headaches were an indication of me developing the same, which terrified me. We also discussed my present and past emotional states and the holistic approach to finding suitable relief.
During the consultation I explained that my migraine usually started at the back of the head and spread predominantly to the right temple, accompanied by a pounding, throbbing pain and was worsened by light, noise, jarring and cold hands and feet. From this and careful questioning about other life and family factors, the homeopath concluded that Belladonna would be beneficial for me.
She told me that Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade. I was somewhat alarmed by this and expressed my concerns over using such a toxic and sometimes fatal plant. The homeopath carefully explained that the doses of Belladonna that I would be taking were very diluted but confirmed that it should only be used when prescribed by a qualified practitioner, and should NEVER be used as a self-help measure, for example picking it from the wild.
As an aside, Belladonna means ‘beautiful eyes’ in Italian and preparations of it were used in days gone-by to dilate the pupils and make women appear more alluring and sexy.
Although that was a fascinating snippet of information, I was even more interested to hear that Belladonna has been a beneficial remedy for over 500 years. I was relieved to learn that atropine, derived from Belladonna, is an ingredient of some over-the-counter cough medicines.
My homeopath explained that should Belladonna not be beneficial there were other homeopathic remedies such as Sanguinarine, which is used to treat migraines with similar symptoms but accompanied by vomiting, which rarely happened in my case. Therefore it was agreed that Belladonna be prescribed initially.
The recommended dose, for me, was 3 tablets each morning and 3 at night for 5 days. She then asked me to come back for assessment within a week. She also advised me to exclude cheese, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol for the time being, while keeping a headache diary to enable triggers to be identified and discussed during future consultations.
I continued visiting the homeopath on a weekly basis for several months, all the while continuing to take daily doses of Belladonna which were gradually reduced. The homeopath always made the visits productive and as she found out more and more about me, my life-style and triggers, she noticed that I have a tendency to clench my jaw and grind my back teeth when subjected to topics of discussion that were upsetting or made me angry. She advised me always to sleep with my mouth slightly ajar to prevent muscle tension. I still try to remember to do this, if I feel stressed, and even as I go to sleep. The improvements in the severity, intensity and frequency of my migraines were astounding and gradually they disappeared.
I strongly recommend that anyone who suffers from migraine attacks should consult with a homeopath as I’m sure they will find the experience and their professionalism as ‘life-changing’ as I have.
To repeat: Belladonna is another name for deadly night-shade, and should NEVER be self-administered. Use it ONLY under the supervision of a registered and qualified practitioner.
Find Homeopathy Schools in the United States and Canada. Once you’ve decided to pursue your education in the field of homeopathy, there are several homeopathy schools from which to choose. It is vital that you carefully review all course objectives, financial aid programs (if applicable) and course duration. While some homeopathy schools offer certification programs; others may extend diploma programs. Some homeopathy schools may even offer PhD programs in homeopathic medicine as well (This option is typically available to candidates who have successfully fulfilled all graduate requirements and have completed all postgraduate courses, which can possibly be applied toward the PhD program).
Students who elect to sign up in homeopathy schools will discover the remarkable history, principles and philosophy surrounding homeopathy. Once enrolled in one of many homeopathy schools, students will find out that this alternative form of medicine was introduced to the Western world in the early 19th century and is based on the Law of Similars (“like cures like”) and Hering’s Law of Cure and the Organon. Part of the curriculum extended in homeopathy schools may include but is not limited to homeopathic pharmacy, medication techniques, medicine classification and other relative topics of study.
Because homeopathy is different from conventional medicine, students of homeopathy schools will begin to understand how this form of medicine works to stimulate natural self-healing. Advanced courses offered through homeopathy schools may also consist of clinical training, dental homeopathic studies, advanced pharmacy studies, postgraduate studies and even veterinary homeopathy.
Though homeopathy schools vary in course curriculums, students can generally expect to learn that while conventional medicine tries to control illness, homeopathy attempts to cure it. In today’s society, homeopathy is a welcome alternative to mainstream medicine; and is quickly gaining popularity. This is just one of the many reasons why students may feel compelled to sign up for one of several homeopathy schools.
To learn more about the benefits of homeopathic medicine or to locate homeopathy schools near you, feel free to peruse our healing arts schools and holistic health practitioners’ directories.
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Homeopathy is a natural healing method based on the principle of “like cures like.” This means symptoms are treated with an extremely diluted dose of whatever it is that might have caused the ailment in the first place. The doses of medicine are so diluted; there might not be any active elements of the original solution remaining in the actual medicine when treating the person with the disorder.
This leads to the next point, that homeopathy works on the energetic level, not the physical level. Homeopathy treatments influence the energy system of the patient (for want of a better word). The method impacts the whole person physically, emotionally, and mentally. It views a disorder as an imbalance in a person’s chi, or life force energy, and acts to stimulate the body’s own natural inner healing ability, bringing it back into balance.
In this way, homeopathy is much like acupuncture. This is another difficult to explain healing method that focuses on the body’s energy system and restoring balance. Acupuncture and homeopathy both have a physical component, but the healing cannot be explained in terms of physical, chemical reactions.
A German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, who sought an alternative to the brutal healing methods practiced at the time, originated homeopathy in the late 1700′s. Homeopathy was very well established in the US in the 1800′s and beyond. Homeopathic hospitals were common and the method was taught in medical schools. So it was quite popular, as well as sanctioned, in the US until about the 1930′s. This diminished with the rise in power of the American Medical Association, among other issues.
Homeopathy is still quite popular and practiced widely around the world, especially in Europe and India. Hundreds of millions of people access homeopathy every year for healing.
Homeopathic remedies can be used to treat just about any combination of symptoms or injuries. They are also used for over all wellness and prevention. Single medicines contain only one active ingredient and are intended to treat a very specific condition. A series of detailed questions about a person’s physical, mental, and emotional status is used to identify the best individual remedy.
There are also combined medicines that treat a variety of concerns. These have a number of active ingredients. Arnica cream is a popular example of this. It is used for treating muscle soreness and injuries.
Typically, homeopathic medicines are considered to be safe, have no side effects, and can be used in conjunction with mainstream treatments. Locating a homeopathic provider is easier and easier with the growth of the alternative health community in the US in recent years. The remedies themselves can easily be found at all health food type stores.
A couple of concerns about homeopathy can also be raised. Sometimes when using a homeopathic medicine, the symptoms can seem to get worse before they get better. This has been attributed to the body recreating symptoms in reaction to receiving a treatment containing the elements that cause the illness.
Also, there is no confirmed scientific proof that homeopathy actually works to cure people. This is a concern for the skeptics. Many studies conclude that health benefits of homeopathy are due to the placebo effect. In other words, it’s all in their heads and has nothing to do with medicine. Some will then say this affirms the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s supposed to work this way on the energetic level.
Homeopathy is very different from conventional western medicine. It has many advocates and many skeptics. By some it is seen as a medicine of the future as we grow in understanding of the human energy system and all the avenues through which healing can occur. In the meantime, the reach of homeopathy is expanding and it satisfies an ever growing number of people’s desire for natural healing.
Find Homeopathy Courses in the United States and Canada. Homeopathy courses are excellent for students who desire to gain an education in natural and alternative medicines. Once you’ve chosen to pursue this academic path, you can anticipate an enlightening and revealing education in how homeopathy works and its long-standing history.
Depending in which one of several homeopathy courses students opt to enroll, one can safely assume that s/he will acquire a great deal of training in repertory, homeopathic terminology, case analyses, therapeutics, material medica, philosophy, and much more. While a number of homeopathy courses are designed for basic instruction in homeotherapeutics, other homeopathy courses are more comprehensive and will lead to certification in classical homeopathy.
Students enrolled in homeopathy courses will learn about the Laws of Similars, and how to use a patient’s own natural healing response with homeopathic remedies derived from animals, plants, chemicals and minerals. More serious candidates may elect to participate in advanced, in-depth homeopathy courses that provide both clinical experience and hands-on training. For the most part, students must have already attained a minimal of 500 classroom hours to advance to more comprehensive homeopathy courses. In advanced homeopathy courses, students will acquire additional instruction about various pathologies and homeopathic treatments thereof; they will also learn about case analyses, homeopathy remedy, dosage and potency.
In some cases, certified homeopathic practitioners may wish to take supplementary homeopathy courses as part of their continuing education to stay abreast of innovative skills and techniques that can help maintain a professional practice.
Overall, homeopathy courses teach individuals how to use common remedies to help the body heal itself. Through careful analyses, adequate prescription and dosage, future practitioners can become an essential part of the growing, alternative medicine community.
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It started with Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic about a decade ago and the founder Dr Mukesh Batra is the man who has transformed the image of Homeopathy at least in India. Once it was seen as poor man’s medicine but after the transformation, Homeopathy as offered by Dr Batra and the like is an expensive treatment that claims to cure holistically by natural substance a myriad of illnesses including incurable diseases like hair loss and rheumatoid arthritis. Now a few others have joined the band wagon and the notables are Bakson’s Homeopathy and Dr Health who all enjoy an enviable advantage of being able to openly advertise in main stream media for cure of diseases which is not allowed for the conventional medicine system.
This discriminatory and highly questionable policy of our government and regulators has definitely helped the five star homeopathy clinics to gain market share and turn out to be big businesses for their promoters. We all know despite tremendous advancement in medicine many of the common diseases and conditions are yet not curable and only can be treated to some extent but when someone claims to cure them through some holistic system and natural substance the appeal is huge and that’s why people flock to these clinics hoping against hope that some cure might be there in the knowledge of these self proclaimed prodigal doctors which can change the lives of the affected people.
It is not surprising that these super specialty homeopathy clinics always target the diseases and conditions that are very common in incidence like hair loss yet having very limited treatment success in scientific medicine system. You can clearly see the hype if you closely look at their advertisements. You will see the scramble between these competing homeopathy clinics to claim who has the India’s first trichologist (another bad science) as if only the person who studies a science first can have all the knowledge.
The author has some first hand knowledge about the treatment procedure of Dr Batra’s clinic which raises eyebrows about the genuineness and ethical dimension of the business. If you happen to see a doctor in these clinics you will not be given a prescription and you have to buy the medicines only from them. It sounds very strange but it is true that whether you go for hay fever, eczema, headache or hair loss all the treatment will cost at least few thousands and the same treatment period which is generally one year.
But you need not develop a bias from one incident or an individual experience; there are hundreds of reviews written in product review sites and blogs, which you may read, and find out that many of the actual recipients of treatment in these clinics, have openly questioned the claim and efficacy of this form of medicine. Also there are news in press about raids in Dr Batra’s clinics and recovery of spurious drugs and medicines. So all these put together do not paint a good picture of these marketing oriented homeopathy clinics.
Let us also not forget the fact that the very foundation of homeopathy is yet to be backed by any credible scientific evidence. In most countries including India it is not covered under any insurance scheme and there is strong suspicion in public about the claim of homeopathic water and its healing property.
Despite all this it is highly unfortunate that the Indian consumers are made to fall prey to some unfounded alternative medicine system just because these companies have money and are allowed to advertise in way that is completely illegal otherwise. The holistic way of treatment is highly questionable and so also its natural cure claim but one thing is very clear that super specialty Homeopathy is selling fast in this country of ever increasing affluent middle class who do not have problem to pay a big sum of money if someone can make them feel better and give hope.
I have not seen any study conducted in a scientific way by these clinics which support their tall claims but they are minting money in the name of cure. Also I don’t see any reason why the doctors of these clinics can’t issue a prescription if they consider it be a branch of medicine and not a para science. Many of these questions continue to be unanswered and there is an uncomfortable silence but it does not matter as the repackaged Homeopathy has turned out to be a big money spinner lately.
Homeopathy has had its fair share of critics over the past few years. an American illusionist, James Randi, offered money to anyone who could prove, under laboratory conditions, that homeopathic remedies cured ailments. No-one has risen to the challenge. However that does not make it irrelevant. The new controversy about the efficacy of alternative, or complementary, medicine proves this is a subject where strongly-held opinion is prevalent.
Homeopathy has been around for some 200 years, the founder was a German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) who had great success in treating epidemics of scarlet fever Villages treated with his prophylactics entirely escaped dreaded epidemics, including the plague.
What Homeopathy also seems to be weighed down with is the anomaly that Homeopathic remedies don’t contain any remedy at all. Many people seem to believe that Homeopathy was similar to Herbalism The fact is that Homeopaths take a substance and dilute it over and over again, until there isn’t a single molecule left.
The Journal of the American Institute for homeopathy in May 1921 reported the success of the homeopathic approach in the flu epidemic. A Dr McCann, from Dayton, Ohio reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2 per cent while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05 per cent.
The eminent’s caught up in the furor amongst others are Michael Baum, a professor of surgery urging that NHS funds should be used for conventional treatments. Prince Charles arguing that alternative medicine should be given a bigger role and further adding fuel to the fire, Dr David Reilly, lead consultant at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital (GHH) dismissing the letter writers as elderly scientific gentleman damning what they do not understand.
The testing regime also is not as rigorous as for chemical based treatments because the side effects are, at worst, mild compared with the potential impact of new drugs. That is why these are significantly assessed for potential contra-indications. Homeopathic remedies are cheaper to produce and many of the ingredients are not patented. What should be good for patients and the National Health Service is not necessarily good for the big drug companies who depend on licensed drugs for their profits.
The cost is minimal in the context of the multi-billion-pound health budget. In relative terms, so cheap, that it is possibly an obstacle to wider availability. But homeopathy should not be an either-or option, on cost grounds or as an alternative to other courses of treatment. The GHH treats patients suffering from, among other illnesses, cancer and depression. If homeopathy works and benefits patients (as it clearly does), we should be sufficiently open-minded and content to support it as a complementary treatment in tandem with conventional medicine.
Furthermore when on the 8th December 2003 the worldwide vice president for Glaxo SmithKline said that the the vast majority of drugs – more than 90% – only work in 30% or 50% of the people they are prescribed for. Alarming perhaps, but surprising? A spokesman for the Association of The British Pharmaceutical Industry (trade association for companies in the UK producing prescription medicines) at the time was also quoted as saying that they often did not know why and conceded that the answer very likely lay ‘in a persons genetic make up’, so quite clearly conventional medicine does not have all the answers. Another key issue is also the active participation of the patient.