What happens at a homeopathic consultation?
Different people react in different ways to the same illness and in order to find the correct remedy I will need to know not only physical symptoms but also as much as possible about you and how your symptoms affect you. After your first consultation, which will take about one hour, I will prescribe a remedy for you. The remedies are made from naturally occurring substances from the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms and have been tried and tested in practice for over 200 years. They rarely cause side effects and you cannot become addicted to them. Only a very minute amount of the active ingredient is used in a specially prepared form. How quickly you will be cured depends very much on what sort of illness you have. A complaint you have had for a long time will not normally disappear overnight, other conditions often improve rapidly. You will usually be asked to come back for a follow-up consultation 2-6 weeks after the first consultation. This and subsequent appointments will last half an hour.
Whether your symptoms are mainly physical or emotional, or a combination of both, you will be asked to give as much information about yourself as possible at the consultation. As well as all the details of your current complaints, your homeopath will ask you to talk about your personality, lifestyle, moods, reactions to different situations, and your relationships, fears and dreams. You will also be asked about your reaction to foods, the environment and the weather. For example: which climate suits you or bothers you most? Do certain climates aggravate your physical symptoms? Do you have allergies? Your homeopath will need to know about your family's medical history as well as your on personal health history. When you talk about your symptoms you need to go into as much detail as you can, starting with the time you first experienced changes in your health. Towards the end of the consultation the homeopath analyses all the information you have given them and tries to find the best remedy for you as an individual, to help stimulate your body to resolve all your current symptoms. You will be prescribed a remedy at the consultation, or else your remedy will be sent to you in the post shortly afterwards, with instructions.
What kinds of illness can be treated?
Homeopathy has much to offer all kinds of health problems, whether there is a long standing illness (mental or physical), a short illness like a cough, cold or injury, or a specific problem such as irritable bowel, menstrual pain, eczema, asthma, depression, anxiety and so on. Many people find that as well as resolving their physical symptoms, their enjoyment of life and energy increases after a successful course of homeopathic treatment.
How long does the treatment take to work?
How long will it take before I notice improvements?
The $64,000 questions! It varies from person to person ... and from condition to condition. When people ask this in a consultation, I'll usually say: 'You may notice very little for up to ten days, but I'd be disappointed if you're not noticing some positive changes before I see you again in a month or so.' If your symptoms change quickly anyway - in response to stress, diet, weather changes - you could well find you improve quickly. If your condition has been around for some time, it is likely to take longer to respond.
How many consultations will I need?
This relates to the previous issue. Usually I'll insist on a first consultation and two follow ups to start the process off. Then we will look at things like: the speed of your progress; your confidence in using the homeopathic system of medicine; the benefit you gain from being able to talk about your problems; the amount of support you prefer ... and so on. We negotiate between what is right for you and AND to ensure I have enough information to monitor progress and make the necessary changes along the way. This will help you gain the best from treatment. It is usual to make adjustments to treatment (change of remedy, change of potency, frequency of dose and so on) over time in response to changes brought about by the remedies.
Homeopathic treatment involves a process in which your body and emotions are encouraged towards finding the best possible level of health for you as an individual. You should normally expect to follow treatment over a series of several visits; one a month is advisable at the beginning of treatment. The length of treatment required depends on the problem and how long you have had it. After seeing your reaction to the first three consultations and prescriptions, your homeopath should be able to formulate a plan for continuing treatment with you. Once the main problem has been resolved, many patients like to come back periodically for preventative treatment.
How long does the prescribed medication last from the intial consultation? Are the follow ups generally a month apart?
I would normally expect to do the first follow-up after 3 -4 weeks, and from then on it depends how well you are responding. The better you are responding the less often I would need to follow-up, so after 3 -4 months you may be well enough to be 'signed off', or we may be doing a follow-up every 6 - 8 weeks.
Do I need a referral from my doctor?
No. Most people come because a friend or relative has been a patient and has recommended me.
Must I stop prescribed drugs?
No. It is easier to see how homeopathy is helping if you remain on any drugs you are taking. As you improve I will discuss decreasing prescribed drugs. If you are taking anything on an 'as needed' basis, you will find yourself using less as the homeopathy takes effect. I will discuss when to decrease prescribed drugs with you as part of the management of your case. However, it is usually best to enlist the support of the doctor (GP or specialist) who prescribed them at that stage. I usually insist that patients have shown significant and stable improvement before this is attempted.
Do remedies have side-effects?
No, they do not. In theory, the medicines can cause symptoms to worsen for a short period of time. This is what homeopaths call an aggravation. In practice, careful selection of the remedy and potency (strength) usually ensures that this is a very mild effect. Most people do not notice this effect.
Must things get worse before they get better?
No. Very few patients notice an aggravation. It is not essential to the success of the treatment. It is always possible to select a remedy and a potency in such a way to avoid this.
I'm sensitive to everything: smells, foods and prescribed drugs. Will I react strongly to homeopathy?
The likelihood is that you will. However, mild doses at infrequent intervals will overcome this problem.
You have to be careful about mixing certain drugs. What about homeopathic medicines?
There are no known problems in taking homeopathic remedies alongside prescribed medicines. Homeopathic medicines are not drugs and do not have the adverse interactions that some drugs do. It is possible for certain drugs block the action of homeopathic remedies. Again, careful prescribing and monitoring usually overcome this problem.
Will I have to change my diet?
Homeopathy relies on the selection of the medicine for its main effect. Remedies are likely to work better if you eat a healthy diet. My general recommendations are to eat wholefoods and fresh fruit and vegetables and to cut down on red meats, refined foods, sugar and foods with lots of additives.
Where can I get more information?
The Society of Homeopaths is the main registering body for classical homeopaths in the United Kingdom. They can be contacted by telephone on 01604 621400. Their website homeopathy-soh includes a number of on-line leaflets which you may find useful.
The British Homeopathic Association is the registering body for medical doctors who have subsequently trained in homeopathy. Their website trusthomeopathy provides some useful information which may be of interest.
If you would like further information, or have a question unanswered by the above, click here to send me an email.
Links to other useful health sites
Holistic therapies are those that view and treat an individual as a whole. This approach differs from the majority of Western Medicine, where the focus generally concentrates on treating specific symptoms. Whilst symptoms are often used in holistic therapy to identify underlying deficiencies, it is the whole person that is the subject of treatment. Through this approach the root cause of the symptoms are addressed in order to prevent their re-occurrence in the future.
If you would like information on other complementary therapies available in the local area, then please visit the Holistic Health Alliance (HHA) website.
The HHA are a group of local complementary health practitioners who have come together to provide information about and to promote complementary therapy.
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