Homeopathy is the healing art and science of medicine that has been clinically developed from the principles discovered by Samuel Hahnemann and described in his treatise „The Organon of Medicine‟. The practice of Homeopathy involves the selection and prescription of homeopathic medicines, which through prior testing on healthy individuals in homeopathic provings and from clinical experience, are known to produce similar symptoms to that of the patient. The symptoms from each proving and further clinical verifications are recorded in the homeopathic ‘materia medica’. Homeopathic medicines are prescribed in the minimum dosage required to bring about healing.
The practice of homeopathy involves a detailed case-taking where the patient will relate their present symptoms and past history which has led up to the reason for consulting the homeopath. The homeopath will analyse this information and do a comparison against the homeopathic medicines in the ‘materia medica’. Homeopathic medicines will then be prescribed in an appropriate dosage and frequency of repetition according to the patient’s needs. The patient will return to see the homeopath for follow up appointments to assess the outcome of the initial prescription and any further prescriptions.
History and evolution
Following its discovery over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann a German doctor, the practice of homeopathy spread rapidly throughout the world and has been practised in an increasing number of countries ever since. During the 20th century the advent of much of the new pharmacy and surgical techniques of modern conventional medicine led to a temporary decline in homeopathy’s popularity in many countries. Now it is once again gaining popularity around the world as a complementary and alternative option to conventional medicine for the treatment of many conditions for which conventional medicine only has limited effect.
Field of application
In all European and in other countries homeopathic medicines are widely used by members of the public for the treatment of minor injuries and simple self-limiting ailments in the home.
Homeopathy, when practised by homeopaths and doctors with an additional qualification in homeopathy, is beneficial for patients presenting with a range of conditions for which conventional medicine offers only palliative approaches of ‘symptom control’ or ‘disease management’ e.g. allergic complaints, eczema, asthma, arthritis, mental illness, digestive problems etc.
As with any therapy, homeopathy has certain limitations in which conditions it can treat but it is one of the therapies with the broadest scope in terms of offering benefit for patients who present with many chronic complaints.