Homeopathy is a non-toxic system of medicine which has proven to be effective in treating both acute and chronic diseases, including many considered to be untreatable. Practiced worldwide for nearly 200 years, it is presently part of the national health care system of many countries, such as England, France, Germany, Sweden, and India, Its long history of safe, low cost results have made homeopathy the treatment of choice for an estimated 500 million people the world over. 

The natural response of a body under stress is to respond and maintain balance. The malfunction viewpoint is the basis of the present form of orthodox medicine and most other therapies. People are seen as complicated machines that break under pressure. Treatment is aimed at stopping the symptoms: aspirin for a fever, decongestants for mucous discharges, medicine to suppress coughs, cortisone to prevent the skin from reacting to poison oak, or Prozac to block anxiety. Common to all of these examples is the belief that the symptoms are not useful or necessary and that these symptoms themselves are the problem, The reasons behind the symptoms are seen as unimportant. These suppressive treatments force an indiscriminate change in the delicately of the organism and frequently result in unexpected, or expected, side-effects. 

Evolving over millions of years, the human organism has had to develop warning, healing, and adapting strategies; when we see any change in the normal functioning of a person (symptoms) we are seeing the outward manifestation of these strategies. All symptoms represent attempts by the organism to release stress, warn of an unhealthy situation, and show areas of needed growth. Homeopathy, recognizing the sophisticated mechanisms the body has available, makes use of these systems to heal from within. We begin with the assumption that although we may not understand the significance of a symptom there is a purpose behind every choice the body makes. Think of cold symptoms: runny nose, sneezing, fever, and cough. One can easily imagine how each of these symptoms are actually ridding the body of the offending organism and that by suppressing these symptoms this process will be inhibited. Homeopaths support the body by giving remedies that strengthen it in the direction that it has chosen to heal. · 

To illustrate this philosophy, let's imagine the body as a pressure cooker; In our analogy the water in the pot is the body's constitutional strength; that ability of a person's reserves of strength to get them through stressful and unhealthy situations without damage. The flame under the pot is stress, poor lifestyle, pollution, etc. - anything that is an unhealthy influence. The steam represents symptoms -an unusual event that is a change from normal; noisy, annoying, and not understood unless one looks at what is happening below the pot. 

We can try different corrective approaches. We can simply plug up the holes from which the steam is escaping. This is very effective, works quickly, and does not take a great deal of understanding of the :whole situation. Unfortunately, the causes of the steam are not affected-the high level of flame and the small amount of water in the reservoir -and the pressure builds and eventually, after a period of apparent calm, a new, larger outlet is forced open with even more steam. A viewer focusing on the individual outlets of steam will not notice the relationship and still believe that this is an entirely new problem. Since the previous form of treatment appeared so effective, the new outlet would also be plugged. 

 

Another approach is to reduce the flame. By eating nutritious food, fasting, avoiding allergens, exercising, living in a healthy environment, learning attitudes and strategies to deal more effectively with conflict, exploring and releasing old emotional pain, etc., the level of heat decreases, less water boils, and less steam is produced. These changes are always useful and lead to greater health and are often the avenue through which growth occurs. However, the lives of some weakened people would have to become extremely limited to avoid all forms of possible stressors, allergies, etc. 

Homeopathy focuses on adding water to the pot. The level of the reservoir is dependent on the amount of health one inherits and past stressful (steam-releasing) events. By adding more water to the reservoir even an large amount of flame causes little steam. This has the advantage of expanding the range of activities and lifestyles that a person can safely explore. Using this approach people find that their health improves over the years; each illness that does occur is milder than the one that preceded it. 

To accomplish this, homeopaths listen to all of the details of a person's main problem, then examine problems in other areas. The specific details of the main problem limit the choice of remedies down to a handful with the actual remedy being confirmed by symptoms in the mental, emotional, and general areas. Although symptoms in various systems seem dissimilar, all symptoms are part of a person's defense mechanism and are related. It is analogous to lightning and thunder. They seem to be very different phenomenon occurring at different times, from seemingly different directions, and in very different forms, yet are expressions of the same process. 

Since homeopathic remedies are chosen mostly through an interview process it is important for patients to think deeply about their symptoms before being seen. It is helpful to think of symptoms as being unique to you and describing them as though no one has ever experienced them in exactly the same way. Some questions that are good to ask yourself are: where, when, what makes better/ worse (position, temperature, menses, bowel movements, etc.), other symptoms that occur at the same time, onset, character of pain, and radiation of pain. Remedies are chosen on an individual basis from the peculiar symptoms, not by orthodox diagnoses. 

Homeopathic remedies are made from over 1500 natural plant, animal, and mineral products. The remedies are prepared in pharmacies by a special process of dilution and succussion that increases their potency. Because the remedies are extremely dilute they cause no side effects and are perfectly safe. Remedies act by 

stimulating the immune and other restorative systems. Because the person is actually stimulated to heal themselves, anything that any body can heal or throw off is possible to cure homeopathically. It is not uncommon that immediately after a correct remedy some symptoms will briefly flare-up, and in fact this is usually a sign of a remedy beginning to act. In acute cases ~ere is a rapid improvement without a flare-up. If the remedy is incorrect nothing will happen. Remedies are usually given in one dose and often the remedy will not need repeating for months or years. Illnesses that have taken a long time to develop or have been treated with many other therapies are slower to treat and may require a series of remedies to bring about a lasting cure. 

Until the person has been symptom-free for some time monthly follow-up is very important; often future prescriptions are based on the effects of a previous remedy. 

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