"Traditional" medicine is also known as "Allopathic" medicine. This is the type of medicine that most Americans are used to receiving from M.D.'s, hospitals, urgent care centers, and paying for through insurance companies.
Allopathy focuses on the elimination of the symptoms by any means necessary, even if the allopathic medicine has to eliminate healthy parts of the body in the process. Conventional practitioners often prescribe chemicals that are designed to kill sick and healthy cells alike. Treatments such as radiation, strong drugs, invasive surgery and chemical medications are often used.
In contrast, homeopaths see the body as a holistic system; mind, body, and spirit working together to keep the body healthy and to heal itself when needed. Homeopathic medicine is used to strengthen and heal the physical body, as well as strengthen the mental and emotional health of the individual. The medications work with the body to stimulate the healing process, rather than forcing the body to change physiologically.
Naturopaths work to discover the root cause of illnesses and eliminate them with detoxification, supplements, and food that balances the body for optimal health. They may also use homeopathy, chinese medicine, and body manipulation in their practice. Sometimes naturopaths specialize in one of the modalities they have been introduced to in their training, including homeopathy.
The History of Homeopathy
Homeopathy started with the research of a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Hahnemann initially created the word "homeopathy" (" homoios" is Greek for "similar" and "pathos" means "suffering")
This idea that "similar" "pathos" could be used to treat illness was also described by ancient Greeks such as Hippocrates and Paracelsus and was used by several ancient civilizations, including Native Americans, Indians, Mayans, Chinese, and more. Hahnemann codified the regulation of "Similar" "Pathos" into a systematic clinical science.
At the young age of 24, Hahnemann could write and read advanced scientific material in over 7 languages. He translated over 20 major medical and scientific textbooks and manuscripts into German. He developed into a well-known scientist and pharmacist. He authored a set of books called The Pharmaceutical Lexicon, which was one of the standard texts for pharmacists of his day.
Hahnemann's first remarks regarding the medical applicability of the "Principle of Similars" was in 1789 when he translated a medical textbook by one of the leading doctors of the age, Dr. William Cullen.
Dr. Cullen noted that Peruvian bark was very effective in treating malaria. Hahnemann noticed that after himself taking repeated doses of Peruvian Bark that his body responded with minor but very similar symptoms of the malarial fever. Hahnemann deduced that this natural herb was beneficial in treating malaria because it created symptoms much like those of the condition itself.
Hahnemann invested the next six years to scientifically studying the "Principle of Similars" on himself, his family members, and a tiny but growing group of students.
In 1796 he published his discoveries in Hufeland's Journal, a famous clinical journal in Germany.
At the same time, but independent to Hahnemann, Edward Jenner (in 1798) discovered the value of giving small doses of cowpox to individuals to immunize them for smallpox. While homeopathy does not use the same techniques as immunization, the idea that a "similar" "pathos" could be used to condition ones’ body to fight off disease is comparable.
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy has become a system of natural healthcare that has been used all over the world for over 200 years.
Homeopathy's goal is to boost the body’s unique ability to heal itself —it treats every person as an individual with unique health needs.
A homeopath picks the best natural medicine for each person's particular symptoms, body, and health. The World Health Organization identifies it as the second largest therapeutic system in the world with over thirty million people worldwide using it as a primary medicine.
Homeopaths recognize that the human body knows how to heal itself and that the symptoms of illness are the body taking action to return to health. This recovery is automatic in all living things. The "Principle of Similars" uses natural compounds and medicines to trigger the body's powerful natural healing properties so it can return to optimal performance. The field of homeopathy has created medicines that have been scientifically created using rigorous physical, emotional and psychological studies.
In addition to the principle of "similar pathos" homeopaths know that 'the minimum dosage' should be used a all times to start the recovery process, so the body can take over and drive its own healing process. Holistic medications given in minimum doses, while they do boost the body's healing response do not generate the damaging side effects that are so often the pit-fall of conventional allopathic treatments.
Why is homeopathy so popular?
Homeopathic treatment collaborates with your body's own healing powers to bring about wellness as well as well being. You and your body are treated as the unique and powerful system that you are, not simply as a collection of illness labels.
Homeopathy treats all your symptoms - spiritual, psychological, and physical so that your body can trigger the cure that suits you the best.
How is Homeopathy different from:
-Traditional Chinese Medicine?
As noted above, homeopathy is a distinct practice and treatment based upon the "Principle of Similars"
It is a unique method of treatment that uses mostly natural medicines to stimulate the body’s own healing responses.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, holistic nutrition, and naturopathy are not the same thing as homeopathy. They are often grouped under the overall label of “Natural” or "Naturopathic" medicine.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is comprised of four core methods of treatment. These are:
Tongue and Pulse diagnosis.
It is a 3000-year-old medical practice and is often considered one of the primary "alternative medicine" therapies.
TCM doctors observe the pulse and tongue of the person to find out about their overall constitution and determine the proper treatment. They also observe the person's emotional, energetic, and physical signs to make holistic diagnosis.
Once the diagnosis is made the TCM doctor will employ one of the acupuncture, nutrition, and/or Chinese herbs to treat the body as a whole system so that the whole system can be healed and run properly.
Acupuncture uses fine needles inserted at specific points into the skin and body. This not a type of "injection" and no substances are injected into the body. The needles cause little to no pain and often patients get great relief from the insertion of the needles.
Acupuncture is effective in treating many acute and chronic conditions. In fact it has been shown so effective that modern American insurance companies recognize it is much more cost effective and health effective than many types of opioids and they pay for the treatments because it is much less then treating the long term affects of pain killing drugs.
According to TCM, acupuncture works because it helps the flow of Chi (or Qi, pronounced "Chee"). The Chi is an energetic part of the body that gives us life and energy. Western science has found that endorphins are stimulated by acupuncture, which in turn are the bodies natural pain-killer. This causes general relaxation, regulates the internal physical system, and relieves pain.-
TCM is similar to homeopathy in that it treats the body as a whole to diagnose long-term solutions for integrated healing.
What is the difference between Homeopaths and Nutritionists?
As stated above, homeopaths always adhere to the "Principle of Similars" by stimulating the body's vital force to heal itself by mimicking similar symptoms. Nutritionists are quite different.
Holistic Nutritionists use healthy food to reduce stress and create a balanced life. They make recommendations for your diet to use whole foods and they use scientific research to understand your current nutritional status. Their testing can discover such things as low levels of protein, B12, iron, fatty acids, and more. They will look at liver tests and digestive data to see where your body is functioning well and where it could use some support. They may even test your blood cells so they can make a nutritional food recommendation specialized for your body, and fix any emerging health issues before they show up as disease.
What's the Difference between Homeopathy and Naturopathy?
Many people think naturopathy and homeopathy are the same thing. It is most accurate to describe homeopathy as a specific TYPE of natural medicine, with its own philosophy and methods.
Naturopathy describes an over all field of medicine. In many states, including California, there are both licensed and non-licensed naturopaths. Naturopaths are likely to use multiple treatment types. For example a naturopath might use physical adjustments, muscle testing, massage, iridology, nutrition and homeopathy in his or her practice. He or she might use one or more of those treatments on any given patient. Naturopathy has come to refer to the general field of natural medicine.
Naturopaths have come to be thought of as the "General Practitioners" of natural therapy. When they use homeopathic medicines in their practice, they often only treat acute ailments and may refer their patients to a homeopathic specialist for help with more chronic issues, much as a family doctor might refer a patient to an infectious disease specialist.
Over all, both practices are based on creating an environment of healing which will prevent disease whenever possible, and provide an environment for the body to heal itself when it is sick.
On the other hand, homeopaths specialize in the single system of medicine which uses the "Similar Principle" to treat the specific conditions which their patients face.
You can consult with a homeopath to discover the pattern of your body’s condition and symptoms. Your homeopath will do an in-depth investigation to discover the nature of your current condition and its unique expression and course of development. No two bodies or minds are alike and your homeopath will develop a homeopathic medicine treatment that is tailored 100% to your body and your health.
For example two patients both with indigestion may receive different homeopathic medications based on their body’s expression and needs.
The Homeopathic Preparations
Homeopathic medicines are typically dispensed in a standardized form and the methods of manufacture are licensed by the FDA. The Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the US is a compendium of the specific methods used in the manufacture of each homeopathic medication, which are followed carefully be the various manufacturing laboratories in the US. They are usually dispensed in small pills or drops from a medicine dropper. The medicines have been carefully calibrated and measured from the original form to be best suited to your body. Homeopathic medicines are diluted and pounded to both make them more gentle and to add more of the healing power of each substance.
The Future of Healthcare
Alternative medicine brings a great deal of choice and non-toxic treatment options to our communities. The emergence of these treatments has brought huge benefits to our health. It's important to understand where the different treatment methods fit in the overall picture of your health, and which ones are right for you.
It's important to know which ones have specific treatments tailored to your body and which ones are more of an overarching environment in which your health can improve.