What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy the word is derived from the Greek homoios meaning “like” and patheia meaning “suffering”. It is a powerful system of medicine that works with the body instead of against it to help bring the patient back into a state of health and balance. It is possible with homeopathy to not only resolve symptoms, but in many cases to exact a permanent cure. A major goal of homeopathy is to leave the body in better condition than it was prior to treatment.
This is very different from conventional medicine or Allopathy which is derived from the Greek allos meaning “other” and patheia meaning “suffering” and uses drugs to control and suppress symptoms.
How is Homeopathy different that Allopathy?
As stated above, homeopathy works with the body to help bring back balance and health. The basic ideas behind this are that symptoms rather than being something bad needing to be suppressed, are the body’s way of trying to get back to balance or “homeostasis”. Therefore, extremely dilute substances that would cause similar signs in a healthy patient are administered to gently nudge these symptoms and get the body to “retaliate” and strive harder for balance. Think of it as like a push on a swing that then swings back harder.
Allopathy, on the other hand, consists of using antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antacids, anti-nausea, anti-etc. to suppress symptoms without actually curing anything. In some instances, the body will get back into some type of balance despite all of this. However, in many cases, suppressing the body’s natural response to disease can result in the disease going deeper. An example would be a patient seen for itching and allergies treated with steroids and antibiotics who 1-2 years later develops epileptic seizures or hormonal problems.
Is Homeopathy safe?
Yes, homeopathy is absolutely safe and can even be used during pregnancy, nursing, and in very young patients. Since the remedies are so dilute, there is no risk of any type of toxicity.
Can Homeopathy be used along with conventional medications/herbs/acupuncture/etc?
This is a complex issue and the answer is both yes and no. Sometimes conventional medications may interfere with the action of the homeopathic. Some herbs, especially highly aromatic ones such as ginger, turmeric, and frankincense may also interfere. At this time, we are not certain about this, but the doctor may advise you to stop herbs for a period of time to ensure they will not interfere with the remedy prescribed for your pet. It is also not known for certain whether or not acupuncture interferes with homeopathy, but it is likely best to temporarily stop treatments while determining if a remedy will work. Homeopathy seems to work especially well alongside with chiropractic care and rehabilitation therapy/manual therapy both of which are offered at The Holistic Veterinary Center.
How often will I need to administer a remedy to my pet?
The beauty of homeopathy, especially for cats whom are difficult to medicate, is that remedies need to be given fairly infrequently, sometimes only 1-3 times total. For acute (sudden, short duration) diseases and injuries the remedy may only need to be given a few times and then stopped. For chronic (long-term, ongoing) health problems the remedy may need to be given 3-6 times total and then repeated periodically for “maintenance”.
More about Homeopathy
- Goal is to cure – Homeopathy strives to cure your pet’s illness rather than just palliating (making symptoms go away with no cure) or suppressing it. A curative remedy allows the body to completely rebalance and then maintain health without further treatment. Sometimes, due to a patient’s age, previous conventional treatment, environmental factors, or low vitality, a curative response may not be possible. In these cases, the doctor will talk with you about the possibility of palliative care.
- Homeopathy is NOT . . .
- A quick and easy fix for chronic health conditions.Homeopathy requires time and patience while supporting the individual pet through his/her unique pace of healing. In order to regain health, the body must systematically clear layer by layer of the disease state. This may require periodic changing of the remedy depending on what signs your pet is experiencing.
- Symptom-free healing. Homeopathy allows the body to heal THROUGH symptom expression. Since symptoms are the body’s natural way of trying to regain balance, homeopathy helps the body to express these symptoms. With conventional drugs, designed solely to alleviate symptoms, one of three scenarios occurs: 1) The drug stops the symptom long enough and the body is strong enough to rebalance on its own. This means that when the drug is stopped the symptom does not return. 2) The drug stops the symptom, but the body is not strong enough to rebalance on its own so the symptom returns shortly after the drug is stopped. This happens very frequently with allergies. 3) The drug stops the symptoms, but the patient is very weak which allows the disease to move deeper into the body and a new, more serious disease state develops. This may be a contributing factor in certain cases of cancer.
Recommended Resources for additional reading:
Homeopathy, Beyond Flat Earth Medicine by Timothy Dooley – a short, easy to read book by a homeopath who is also an M.D. but chooses to practice homeopathy
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy website: http://theavh.org/
The Pitcairn Institute for Veterinary Homeopathy website: http://pivh.org/what-is-homeopathy/ – an explanation that is easy to understand by Dr. Richard Pitcairn, the foremost expert in veterinary homeopathy
Homeopathy for Everyone website: http://hpathy.com/scientific-research/recent-advances-in-nanoparticle-research-in-homeopathy/print/ – a new and progressive explanation for how homeopathy works
Please also watch our free YouTube webinar on homeopathy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnVAaUjB5X8
Things to know now that you have chosen homeopathy for your pet
- Obstacles to cure – While homeopathy is a powerful healing modality, a healthy foundation and lifestyle are essential to achieving a cure. Obstacles to cure may include: an unhealthy diet, nutritional deficiencies, emotional stress, lack of exercise, strong chemicals or fragrances used in the home, lack of companionship, dirty or toxic environment, among other things. It is our goal to help you remove all obstacles BEFORE homeopathic care is initiated so that a cure can be achieved for your pet.
- Change only one variable at a time – After a remedy is given, we assume that any change in your pet’s symptom picture is attributed to the remedy. Therefore, it is critical to only change one variable at a time. For example, we never want to change the diet and give a remedy at the same time or use a chemical flea treatment and a remedy at the same time. If a reaction or adverse symptom occurs we will not know what caused it. If you need to make a change in your pet’s diet or supplements or if you need to give your pet a drug or treatment, please check with the doctor first.
- Choosing a homeopathic remedy – Since every individual responds to illness and disease differently homeopathic doctors do not use “set protocols” for a specific disease or symptom. In most cases this would be ineffective because many remedies share similar symptoms with very specific differences. For instance, the remedy Aconitum is often used for fear and anxiety. However, depending on which repertory (book of symptoms) is used there are over 100 remedies that have fear and anxiety as a symptom. Aconitum may only be the ideal remedy in 1% of cases. This is why the doctor will need to ask specific questions to help her choose the best remedy for your pet. After the information is gathered, the research is conducted using various books on symptoms and remedies and the suspected ideal remedy is chosen. Since so many remedies are similar, it is possible that the first remedy chosen may not be the ideal one. This is why re-evaluation either in the clinic or by phone consultation is so important when using homeopathy.
- Administering the homeopathic remedy – remedies come in small, white pellets, sometimes as small as sand grains. They are absorbed across the gums, tongue, or cheek and do not need to be swallowed.
- Pellets – tap the pellets into the bottom of the envelope. Open the envelope or tear it in half and separate the edges bending it into a U shape. Pour the pellets into the side or front of your pet’s mouth. Hold their mouth closed if possible for 3-5 seconds.
- Misfire – if the pellets do not get into your pet’s mouth, repeat the procedure. You will not “overdose” your pet by giving a second dose. As long as some pellets get in the remedy will be absorbed.
- Observing response to a remedy
- This is the MOST important part of a successful homeopathic treatment. You must report to the doctor what has changed since the remedy was given. What has improved? What has worsened? What is new? What is different?
- Counter Action – After a remedy is given to a patient, the body begins responding which is called a counter action. This is frequently observed as the current symptoms worsening for a brief period. With acute conditions this may be within a few hours of the remedy, but with chronic conditions is typically 2-5 days of when the remedy is administered. It is important to monitor for this reaction as it confirms the remedy is correct.
- If the remedy is correct – the body will slowly begin healing after the counter action. The body heals from the inside outward. This means that internal problems such as high liver values or other organ issues will typically improve prior to more outward issues such as skin symptoms. It is also possible that you will see an improvement in the general wellbeing of your pet prior to seeing physical improvement, i.e. increased energy, being more sociable, etc.
- If the remedy is not correct – you will observe one of the following:
- Nothing will change or your pet’s symptoms will continue to get worse BEYOND a few days after the remedy
- The symptom picture will change or become more well-defined. For example, itching will be more intense every afternoon or vomiting will consistently happen 1 hour after eating. This type of response is very important as it guides the doctor to the next remedy prescription.
- When symptoms become more intense
- In general, there are three potential reasons for symptoms to intensify:
- As previously discussed, the body may be appropriately responding to the remedy which is referred to as “counter action”.
- The remedy has “worn off” and is no longer influencing the healing process which can indicate that it is time to repeat the dose.
- The disease process is progressing which may indicate that a new remedy is needed.
- In general, there are three potential reasons for symptoms to intensify: