Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Is Homeopathy, How It Works

Homeopathy, also spelt ‘ homoeopathy’ or called ‘ homeopathics’, has been around since the 18th century. The name is derived from two Greek words: "homoios", meaning similar, and "pathos", meaning disease or suffering. It was a German, Dr. Samuel Christian Frederic Hahnemann (1755 — 1843), who founded and established the fundamental principles of the science and art of Homeopathy. Since then, homeopathy has snaked its way to the rest of the world.

For Malaysia, homeopathy arrived on its shores during World War II: brought over by the Indians through the British Army. But little was known about it. Then in the mid-1950s, Dr. Burhanuddin Al Helmy was among the first to introduce homeopathy to the country as well as set-up the Homeopathic Medical Association of Malaysia.

Today, the popularity of Homeopathy according to A British Journalist, Allison Nadel says in Malaysian Airline magazine January 1996 , " Dr Nik Omar written hundreds of articles on homeopathy and alternative mediicne in local and international magazines. He is an active member of International Homeopathic Community. Both his collegues and his rivals acknowledge his tremendous energy. All recognise that he, more than anyone, is responsible for raising the medicine's profile in Malaysia."

To date, homeopathy influence is so wide that it is purported to be the second most widely used system of medicine in the world. This form of medicine is particularly popular in Germany (of course), France, England, Greece, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.

What is Homeopathy?

But what is homeopathy? Essentially, it is a system that attempts to stimulate the body to heal itself. Unlike conventional drugs (allopathic medicine) which are prescribed to control or suppress the symptoms, homeopathic medicine, which stems from various natural sources such as plants, minerals and even animals, are administered in extremely small doses to stimulate the natural defenses of the sick person to initiate the healing process. When consumed, the homeopathic drug will exacerbate the condition before the patient can improve and recover from the ailment.

Homeopathy basically follows a system of medicine based on three principles:
• Like Cures Like — for example, if your flu symptoms are akin to that of mercury poisoning, then mercury would be used as your homeopathic remedy.
• Minimal Dose — the remedy consumed is in an extremely dilute dosage: for example, one part of mercury to roughly 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.
• The Single Remedy — irrespective of how many symptoms you may be suffering from, only one remedy is consumed to cure all those symptoms.

Actually, even some conventional medical treatments utilize homeopathic-like treatments such as antidotes and vaccines. Even the use of radiation to treat cancer patients is a form of homeopathic-like treatment as radiation itself causes cancer. Another example is using Ritalin — an amphetamine-like drug which normally causes hyperactivity — for hyperactive children.

Each Person is Different

However, unlike conventional medicine where one drug is prescribed for a set of symptoms in all patients, homeopathic treatment goes by the individual. Take for example the common cold with its myriad of effects. The same cold virus actually causes different symptoms and in varying degrees in different people. And under conventional methods, a set of drugs is prescribed to control and suppress the symptoms.

However, with homeopathy, each individual with the same strain of the cold virus requires different remedies due to the different make-up of individuals. For this reason, each person has to be assessed closely by homeopathic practitioners to ascertain which remedy works best for them. These practitioners would interview the patient extensively to discover the totality of his/her physical, emotional and mental symptoms that are being experienced before prescribing any remedy. Thus, different remedies will be given to different people with the same viral infection.

Homeopathic Popularity

Since being discovered by Dr. Hahnemann in the 18th century, this alternative system of medicine has gained much popularity and this success is catalyzed by several reasons:

• Effectiveness
— when the right remedy is taken, the results can be rapid, complete and permanent.
• Safety
— the remedies are of natural sources, thus, even babies and pregnant women can take homeopathic drugs without experiencing any adverse side effects. Plus, homeopathic remedies can be consumed alongside other medication without the danger of any side effects.

• Naturalness
— the concoction of homeopathic remedies use natural ingredients.
• Harmony
— instead of controlling and suppressing the symptoms which is what conventional drugs do, homeopathic remedies work in synchronization with the patients’ immune system to battle the ailment.

• Non-Addictive
— homeopathic remedies are not addictive and once relief is felt, the patient should stop taking them.
• Holistic
— homeopathy is a holistic treatment where all the symptoms are treated as one, which means it focuses on and treats the cause of the illness and not the symptoms.

The Unknown Factors

However, nothing is perfect and to every up side there is, most often than not, a downside. The same applies to homeopathic treatment. The shortcomings of homeopathic treatment are related to:
• Time
— as there is no standard homeopathic remedy for a particular ailment and the particular remedy required has to match your particular ailment, it thus takes time and patience to find the right treatment. The homeopathic practitioner has to first know certain facts to the onset of the ailment, your state of mind and other related symptoms and such before getting down to the right remedy.

• Surgery
— in some instances, the ailment requires more than just homeopathic treatment; surgical intervention is imminent. Nevertheless, homeopathic remedies can still assist the patient’s recovery following surgery.

• Immediate Treatment
— there are certain illness that necessitates immediate action in order to save the patient’s life such as cases of asthma where breathing is significantly impaired, meningitis which calls for immediate antibiotic treatment to prevent possible brain damage, or even death, and such.
• Environment Change
— in some cases, the ailment is a result of overexposure to environmental stresses (toxins, environment), most likely from the work place. Here, homeopathic treatment will only temporary relieve the patient of his/her symptoms until there is a change in the environment, away from the cause of the symptoms.
• Nutritional & Lifestyle Change
— sometimes, all a person needs is certain vitamins or change in lifestyle. While homeopathic remedies can assist in better absorption of the required nutrients, the symptoms will still persist if the nutrient is not consumed in the first place.
• Unresponsive
— there are also those people who, for some unknown reason, do not respond to homeopathic medicine at all. And to this, there has yet to be any breakthrough…yet.

Practitioners in KL & Selangor

In Malaysia, the headquarters for homeopathic practitioners is the Homeopathic College & Hospital in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. Nevertheless, scattered around the country are a number of qualified homeopathic practitioners. Specifically for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, below are some of the practitioners to visit or get in touch with for further information regarding homeopathy

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