Being healthy is much more than being disease or symptom free. It is a state of wellbeing that incorporates the mental, emotional and physical state of an individual. We feel good, in control and most importantly in balance. When our bodies are physically in good health, we are flexible, strong and have an abundant store of energy should we need to draw on it. Being emotionally healthy allows us to be in touch with and express our feelings in order to form and sustain rewarding relationships. Optimum mental health encompasses clear thinking, adequate problem solving skills, the ability to formulate ideas and make decisions easily. Illness, no matter what part of our body it directly or indirectly affects, limits and restricts our personal freedom, however, at the same time it heightens our awareness of something in need of attention. It gives us insight about our weakness and time to reflect on how we live our lives and cope with stress.
The aspiration to be well and healthy is a positive standpoint. Our approach to ill-health and the treatment we choose requires much thought. By exploring options and finding alternatives that build health and ultimately prevent disease, is of far greater benefit to our long-term wellbeing than a short-term suppression of the symptoms alone. As a Natural therapist and more specifically a Homeopath, I can tell you that it is the cause of ill-health, the reason we are affected by it in the first place that is of upmost importance. Health problems may have psychological or physiological origins. An unresolved emotional issue can affect a person’s physical health and conversely, if a person has biochemical deficiencies or imbalances, it can affect their mental outlook. By suppressing or treating the condition or affected part alone does not lead to its eradication. Each condition manifests differently in each individual who suffers with it and without paying attention to these differences and addressing the underlying reasons for it, permanent wellness is not possible.
If you are unfamiliar with Homeopathy and its origins, I will give you a brief history and explanation. Homeopathy is a model of medicine, which was developed by German physician and chemist Dr. Samuel Hahnemann more than 200 years ago. This makes it a relatively new system of healing in comparison to other wholistic modalities, however its practice and principals are parallel to ancient healing theories, such as those derived from Hippocrates. Homeopathy is based on the principal of treating “like with like”, or treating illness with substances that produce the same symptoms exhibited by the person who is ill. Homeopathic treatment acts as a catalyst, stimulating the body’s reaction to illness (symptoms) as it endeavours to overcome it, rather than suppressing this reaction.
Homeopathy is used by millions of people throughout the world and its effectiveness has been clearly established. According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Homeopathy is the 2nd most widely used medical modality in the world after Traditional Chinese Medicine. The British Royal Family are avid supporters of Homeopathy, with the Queen reportedly never going anywhere without the Homeopathic remedy Belladonna, which she uses to alleviate her allergies.
If you have been to a Homeopath before, or are familiar with the philosophy and principals of Homeopathy, you will understand that Homeopathic medicines are prescribed and work completely differently to any other type of medicine available. When it comes to treating chronic or long term illness, there is not one remedy for a particular condition. Say 10 people went to a Homeopath for their asthma for example. It would be unlikely that any of these people would get the same medicine, each person would probably be prescribed something different. Unlike conventional medicine or Naturopathy for example, there is not a few specific drugs or supplements that are given for a specific condition. Homeopathy takes everything about the individual into consideration, not just the presenting complaint. We look at lifestyle issues such as sleep, appetite, thirst etc as well as your temperament, health and family history. It is how your condition manifests differently in you, how it effects you as a whole, that leads to the correct medicine and prescription.
With this said, relief from acute (short-term) conditions or first-aid situations are treated somewhat differently, especially when you have a kit or a few remedies of your own, that allow you to self-prescribe. Of the thousands of Homeopathic medicines available, there are some remedies that are well known for their affinity or sphere of action within certain systems of the body, or for relief of a particular condition. Arnica for example, is one of these, in fact it is probably the most specific (as opposed to individualised) medicine Homeopaths have. Its ability in reliving the after-effects of accidents (falls, blows, cuts, grazes etc.), especially when bruising is involved is simply amazing. My son once had a rather nasty fall (as toddlers do) and I immediately reached for the old faithful Arnica. It was quite impressive to see this rather large “egg” almost vanish before my eyes, with no further pain, discolouration or bruising. Although such a quick recovery does not always occur, it is often times the case that healing is far more rapid than if it were if treated with another type of medicine, or simply left untreated.
Homeopathy is a wonderful form of medicine for all people of all ages. It is however particularly effective for women in their childbearing years as well as for infants and children, because there is no risk of adverse reactions when prescribed correctly. The side-effects of conventional drugs causes much anxiety for pregnant and lactating women, who often suffer the complaints of pregnancy and labour in order to avoid this, rather than seek help. Now days, many parents are questioning the treatment they once choose for their children and are now using natural methods of healing for their children and themselves when they become ill. My colleagues and I love nothing more than working with children who have been bought to our clinics and who have been treated naturally all their lives because they are so easy to treat. They are normally in such good health and have not been suppressed or adversely affected by other treatments, that the acute condition is a relatively minor and easily treated. I am personally so grateful that I was a Homeopath before I became a Mother. My son is a perfect example of a healthy, happy 2 year old, who has been relatively illness free since he was born. On the rare occasion he has a cold or the like, it is quickly nipped in the bud and he does not suffer from the “illness – medication, different illness, different medication” merry-go-round that many little ones endure. Equally rewarding is helping families on the other extreme, who come to us as a “last resort” and find long-lasting relief without relying on a constant and relentless supply of pills and creams to keep the symptoms at bay. So many children now days seem to have one bout of ill health after another, the more they are suppressed the more severely and frequently they suffer.
There are far too many children’s ailments that can be successful treated with Homeopathy to list individually. They range from the common symptoms associated with difficult and delayed teething, feeding difficulties (from attachment problems in breast-fed babies to colic, reflux etc.), to nappy rash, colds and flu’s and first-aid injuries. Chronic conditions such as behavioural and learning difficulties, bed-wetting, illnesses such as asthma, eczema, and common childhood diseases such as mumps, measles and chicken-pox have also been effectively treated.
The aim of this article is not only to introduce you to Homeopathy but to encourage you to explore the healthcare alternatives available to you and your family. As with the patients I see in my clinic, I want to empower you to help yourself, as your health and that of your children, is ultimately your in your hands and you are responsible for it no matter which modality you choose to assist with it in times of need. I want people to think twice before using or giving antibiotics for coughs and colds or aspirin for a fever for example. Orthodox medicine certainly has its place, but it should be used only when necessary so that your children in particular, grow to be healthy, vital and strong enough to embrace all the challenges life has to offer them.