Homeopathy is an over 200 year old natural form of medicine used by more than 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes, if taken in large amounts.
The holistic nature of homeopathy means each person is treated as a unique individual and their body, mind, spirit and emotions are all considered in the management and prevention of disease. Taking all these factors into account Dr Suppelt will select the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health to stimulate their own healing ability.
Homeopathic medicines are safe to use and rarely cause side-effects. This means, when used appropriately under the guidance of a qualified homeopathic doctor, they can be taken by people of all ages, including babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
What does homeopathic treatment involve?
Homeopathic doctors work in the same way as other conventional doctors. History taking, examination and investigations are all important in establishing the diagnosis. However, as well as asking about your symptoms, a homeopathic doctor will be interested in you as an individual and the unique way in which your symptoms affect you.
The homeopathic consultation
Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, temperament, personality, sleep patterns and medical history help the doctor to form a complete picture of you. This picture will be matched to the symptoms of your illness in order to prescribe a particular type and strength of homeopathic medicine.
Your first appointment will take up to an hour, with follow-up appointments lasting up to 30 minutes.
Preparing for your appointment
To get the most out of a consultation, it is helpful to make some notes beforehand and to think through all the issues that are affecting your health. A timeline of any illnesses, emotional and physical traumas can be extremely helpful.
At the end of the consultation you will be given one or several remedies and you will be advised on how often to take the medicine. Homeopathy is usually taken in pill or tablet form, but is also available as a liquid or powder. You may also be prescribed a homeopathic gel or cream for topical use.
Is homeopathy safe?
Safe and effective
Homeopathy is perfectly safe. This is because homeopathic medicines are made from a very small amount of the active ingredient. Two hundred years of practice, research and trials have proved the safety of this gentle system of medicine for both people and animals.
Gentle and non-addictive
Unlike some conventional drugs, homeopathic medicines are non-addictive and have no dangerous side-effects. Homeopathy is safe to use for babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, who are under the supervision of a homeopathic doctor.
Members of the Faculty of Homeopathy are doctors and other statutorily registered healthcare professionals bound to act within the competence of their profession and their level of training and qualification in homeopathy. This means that a homeopathic medicine would not be prescribed when, for example, a conventional treatment is actually the better option for a patient.
Homeopathy cannot replace all other forms of healthcare, but can be used as the first treatment option in a wide range of conditions. It can also be used in a complementary way in other situations, for example, to support good recovery after operations.
Homeopathy doesn’t interfere with conventional medicine and should be seen as a complementary treatment, not as an alternative.
The best of both worlds
Despite the differences in approach, homeopathic and conventional treatments can work very well alongside each other. Consulting a medical doctor trained in homeopathy allows you to receive the best of both worlds, with the most effective treatments being tailored just for you.
Where homeopathy helps
Homeopathic doctors often see patients with long-term, chronic problems, many of which have failed to respond to conventional medicine, such as arthritis, asthma, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, eczema and irritable bowel syndrome.
However, as a system of medicine homeopathy is designed to treat the whole person and can therefore be considered in almost any situation where a person’s health is depleted. It can also be very useful in the treatment of minor ailments, from cuts and bruises to coughs and colds. A medical doctor trained in homeopathy will know when it is most effective to use homeopathic medicine, conventional medicine or a combination of both.
History of homeopathy
Homeopathy is based on the principle that ‘like cures like’ – in other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes, if it was taken in large amounts.
This idea dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC), who also thought that symptoms specific to an individual should be taken into account before making a diagnosis. This is also an important principle of homeopathy, where an individual’s unique symptoms are important in distinguishing the correct medicine.
The idea of like curing like was not to re-emerge in any great way until a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) came to devise the system of medicine that we know as homeopathy.
Hahnemann trained in medicine and chemistry. Working as a doctor in the late 18th century, he was dissatisfied with the conventional medical practices of his day. Blood-letting, purging and giving patients large doses of toxic materials such as arsenic and lead were commonplace. Hahnemann disagreed with these harsh methods.
He was investigating the effects of various medicinal substances on himself and other healthy volunteers when he deduced that an illness could be treated with a very small amount of a substance that, in larger quantities, could cause that illness.
To avoid harmful effects from normal doses of the substances, he diluted each medicine until he reached the greatest dilution that would still produce a response. These experiments were called provings and led him to observe and describe the basic principles of homeopathic medicine.
Since then many great homeopaths from all over the world have further developed the study and system of homeopathy. Today we have a wide-ranging knowledge with over 5000 homeopathic medicines at our disposal.
The growing demand for homeopathy
Homeopathy has been integrated into the healthcare systems of many European countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal.
In India homeopathy is one of the most popular forms of medicine. Today in India there are over 200,000 registered homeopathic practitioners, 215 homeopathic hospitals and 7,000 homeopathic dispensaries.
The evidence base
Randomised controlled trials
Patient outcome studies
Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, 2005
In 2005, the largest service evaluation of homeopathic treatment reported that 70% of 6,500 follow-up patients experienced improvement in their health. Eczema, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome – difficult chronic problems suffered by many people – all improved. Download full paper
Five-hospital study, 2008
The most recent hospitals outcome study confirms the findings of earlier studies. A total of 1,602 patients were seen at follow-up appointments in all five UK NHS homeopathic hospitals during one month in 2007. The study found that eczema is currently the most common referral to homeopathy by NHS doctors. Other commonly treated complaints were chronic fatigue, menopausal disorder and osteoarthritis. Download full paper
Homeopathy enjoys a high level of support from politicians. In 2007, 206 MPs signed an Early Day Motion welcoming the contribution of homeopathy to NHS healthcare.
David Beckham, Twiggy, Roger Daltrey, Caprice, Susan Hampshire, Tina Turner, Louise Jameson, Gaby Roslin, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Nadia Sawalha, Richard Branson, Debra Stephenson and Meera Syal, Debbie Moore, Annabelle Croft, Jo Wood, MPs Peter Hain and David Tredinnick, Dr Craig Bellamy, Alice Barlow, Stacey Dooley, Janet Lee Grace, Charlotte Jackson, Louise Hazel, Michelle Collins, Arlene Philipps as well as HM The Queen and HRH Prince Charles are all users of homeopathy.
- Global TGI Barometer, January 2008; Issue 33.
- Complementary Medicines – UK, Mintel April 2007
- ECHAMP’s Facts & Figures, 2nd Ed, 2007.