Treating Like With Like

Many households have a bottle of Arnica in their medicine cabinets these days, but with more than three thousand homeopathic remedies in the world, there is more to homeopathy than just easing bruises.

The word homeopathy comes from the Greek words 'omio', meaning same, and 'pathos', meaning suffering, reflecting the basic principle behind homeopathic treatments - that like may be cured by like.

Homeopathy works by helping to stimulate the body's own healing processes. This allows the body to gently heal itself. This holistic method of treatment recognises that everyone is different, and so a homeopath needs to know how an ailment is manifesting in the individual.

During an extensive consultation you can expect to be asked about your physical, mental and emotional state, your lifestyle, and other questions that may not seem to be related to your ailment. This helps create a 'word picture' about you. This word picture is then used as the basis in selecting the individual remedy for you.

The remedies used in homeopathy are taken from natural products and are highly diluted to ensure that their effects are gentle. Despite their diluted state, the remedies are more potent, acting faster and more effectively, than earlier concentrated homeopathic compounds.

After taking a remedy, you may experience a healing crisis, when your symptoms become more pronounced and you feel worse before any obvious improvement. Don't worry - this is normal and not uncommon in many complementary therapies. If you have any concerns, contact your practitioner.

The biggest association governing homeopathic practitioners in this country is the New Zealand Homeopathic Society. Members are mainly trained in classical homeopathy, and are required to meet the society's standards.

  • Thanks to homeopath Joan Goddard for her assistance.

The Guardian, March 2 2000