A Short Introduction
Homeopathy is a distinct system of understanding and treating disease. It employs minute amounts of substances, guided by a holistic philosophy, to gently stimulate healing.
Let the Story Explain
Homeopathy originated in Germany in the late 1700’s as a reaction to the crude and dangerous methods of medicine in practice in Europe at the time. The administration of crude doses of such poisons as mercury and arsenic, as well as frequent purgings and blood lettings, were common practices of the day.
A conscientious young physician in Leipzig, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, realized that he was doing more harm than good with such “cures.” He made the decision to leave the practice of medicine. Being fluent in a number of languages, he turned to translating medical texts. There he came across the ancient concept that “likes can cure likes”. He began to explore the possible truth in this concept by investigating whether there was a correspondence between medicines that were currently successful in treating a disease and the disease itself. He found that in such cases the successful medicine, if taken by a healthy person in a non-lethal but toxic dose, could produce a symptom picture very similar to the disease state that medicine was being used to treat.
This concept, that like can cure like, became the basis of the new system. Dr. Hahnemann called the system “homeopathy” to reflect this principle of treatment that is similar (“homeo”) to the disease (“pathy”).
Over the years Dr. Hahnemann, and an expanding number of sympathetic physicians, conducted research into a wide variety of medicines. They also experimented with the question of dosage. They sought to find the gentlest, rather than the most “heroic,” dose that would assist healing. They began to understand that if a medicine were prescribed using homeopathic principles and accurately individualized to the specific state of each patient, very small doses were all that were needed to stimulate the person toward healing. This became the principle of the minimum dose.
Such research has continued until today. In the 200 years since Dr. Hahnemann’s first investigations, homeopathy has spread throughout the world. A growing number of physicians, veterinarians, midwives, mental health workers and lay people are using homeopathy.
What to expect in the consultation room
Dr. Elliott has been studying homeopathy since 1973. It is the reason he chose to become a naturopathic physician. At the time the only school in the Uninted States that was integrating homeopathy into the day-to-day practice of medicine was the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR. Dr. Elliott’s approach to health and disease is guided by his strong affinity for homeopathy.
Dr, Hahnemann taught that there are four tasks of a physician:
The first task involves creating a space of time and trust where a patient can fully tell the story of their illness. It may also involve a discussion of personal and family history, current stresses, physical exam, lab tests (cholesterol, liver function tests etc.), imaging studies (CT, MRI, ultrasound etc.), and referral to specialists for specialized diagnostic workup. In this task, Dr. Elliott tries to understand a person on all of the levels of a human being. This assessment is often experienced as a refreshing change from the usual hurried “physical.”
Traditionally, the second step involves choosing a specific homeopathic medicine. Since there are many ways to stimulate healing, it may also involve classical naturopathic approaches such as dietary and clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, exercise, counseling, prayer and/or meditation, etc. It may also involve referral to a practitioner of another healing modality.
The third task is to discover and begin to remove obstructions to a person’s healing. These might include making efforts towards reducing an excessively stressful lifestyle, working to transform an unhealthy personal or occupational relationship, confronting and finding help to end an addiction, making efforts to change a diet that is contributing to disease etc.
The last task involves the necessity of nourishing and stimulating healing gently. It also involves the effort to work as a team to find what will realistically be effective in any particular situation.
Our goal is not to practice a particular type of medicine. It is to reduce suffering, to effectively increase your physical, emotional and mental freedom so that you can pursue the true purpose of your life.
© 2017 Andrew Elliott, N.D.