Column: Nature’s Presence
By Marcie Martinez, Founder of NaturesPresence.Net
Nature’s Presence is a column that shares its name with my web site and gives a nod first to nature’s presence all around us and, second, to the gifts (presents) that nature has given us for optimal health. Expect to read about various concepts relating to natural healing and tips for looking to nature to enjoy whole health and well being. For a more detailed look into natural healing concepts you may find my blog at http://naturespresence.net. I created this column in the hopes of “getting back to our roots” as well as helping others find ultimate health in this crazy world of pharmaceuticals and fast food. Here’s to your health!
Disclaimer: The information in this column is intended for informational and educational purposes only. If you require medical attention it is imperative that you seek medical advice from a competent practitioner.
INTRODUCTION TO HOMEOPATHY
A few weeks ago at a local bible study the priest was discussing the Last Rites. He was emphasizing how necessary it is to get the Last Rites before death and that calling a priest after a person passes away is useless. He then went on to talk about a near-death experience he’d had several years ago when he contracted a bacterial infection from contaminated water. Apparently he was the only person in the community to contract such an infection, which entered through an open wound in his leg while he was showering.
The priest, who chuckles when discussing even the most serious topics, was chuckling while recounting how he was given the Last Rites more than once during this time, as he was very sick and nothing being used to clear the infection was working, including the strongest antibiotics. Even as close to death as he found himself, the only remedy that brought him back to the living, and he is fairly healthy right now I might add, was a homeopathic remedy called oscillococcinum. This remedy has the active ingredient called “Anas barbariae” and can be found in most drug stores.
A German physician by the name of Samuel Hahnemann coined the term homeopathy, which comes from the root words homoios meaning “similar” and pathos meaning “suffering”. This name reflects the theory that “like cures like,” meaning that the medicine for treating the disease is the same substance that would cause the very same symptoms as the disease itself. The term for conventional medicine, in which doctors use substances that cause symptoms different than those caused by the disease, is allopathy – allo meaning other.
Homeopathic remedies contain very diluted concentrations of certain medicines, which actually cause the same symptoms as the disease. The more diluted a medicine the more potent the medicine, which seems counterintuitive to conventional treatments. The idea behind homeopathy is that patients are treated as a whole and not on a symptom-by-symptom basis. The patient, rather than the disease, is treated. Numerous homeopathic medicines exist, each of which cause a slew of symptoms. The key to effective homeopathy is to pinpoint which medicine would cause, and thus cure, the whole person based on all of his symptoms combined.
Although homeopathy is not in great use today, its efficacy is just as pertinent now as it was when it was first “discovered.” In fact many doctors “discovered” homeopathy but Dr. Hahnemann is credited with its scientific development by identifying numerous medicines based on the various symptoms they cause. What is not well known about this method of natural treatment is that, early on throughout world and even in America, homeopathy was used widely among medical doctors. Today only a few naturopathic doctors and even fewer medical doctors understand how homeopathy works.
Homeopathy can be used not only on humans but on pets as well, as I have found it very effective in treating my little dog. With regards to humans, it is said that homeopathy should be the first line of defense in the treatment of most issues and only if it does not work should a patient undergo any other type of treatment. It is well rooted in science, is non-toxic, and at the turn of the twentieth century many physicians were aware of this. The practice has been swept under the carpet, much like many other beneficial practices, due to money and politics. A great place to start to understand homeopathy and its benefits is the book Homeopathy, Beyond Flat Earth Medicine by Timothy R. Dooley, N.D., M.D., which was recommended to me by my homeopathic veterinarian.
There are certain conditions where homeopaths recommend conventional treatment, such as in those with imminent life-threatening illness or infection where time is of the essence but generally people achieve great success at curing life-long problems using homeopathy. The medicines come from a variety of sources, including bacteria, plants, and even animals. Each medicine is highly diluted from amounts that would cause the very same array of symptoms as the illness. The number of symptoms can range from just a couple to very many. They could include physical symptoms as well as behavioral “symptoms” such as anger, anxiety or depression. For example, an individual who suffers from asthma, frequent colds, easy bruising, bi-polar disorder, certain food or pollen allergies, as well as yet additional symptoms could be cured of all symptoms simultaneously using one remedy.
The beauty of homeopathy is that practitioners do not necessarily need to physically “see” the patient. They can treat the patient just with the patient’s own description of symptoms. This means it is imperative for the patient to be completely open and honest about everything going on in his or her life. The benefit to this is that one could find a homeopath anywhere in the world and consult over the phone with excellent results. It is important to read reviews on homeopaths and determine whether or not the practitioner is a true homeopath or just dabbles in the practice. Finding a reputable homeopath could mean the difference between spending a great deal of money on various treatments that do not work or minimizing costs using a one-time remedy. Generally speaking homeopathy is not an expensive treatment method. Remedies cost just a few dollars at the health food store. Those who are willing to study and attempt “self-treatment” could try a homeopathic home kit, along with the Materia Medica and would likely have success with no unwanted side effects.