By Arfa Ahmad Dip. Hom, (PHSH) DCHR. (CMIR)
Post my second delivery, I experienced a case of postpartum haemorrhage. I had a considerable amount of blood transfusion, but my situation was deteriorating quite fast. My husband still recalls that gut-wrenching moment when the doctors told him I was dying and that there was very little they could do. As the last resort, my sister sought the advice of an eminent homeopath who prescribed several homeopathic medicines for me. As I was in intensive care, the nurses kept a watchful eye on me. They never allowed my family to medicate me themselves. Nevertheless, my sister decided to give me the prescribed homeopathic medicine by telling the doctors she was only administering ‘holy water’ to me. Gradually, my situation began to improve, leaving the doctors astonished with my recovery. I continued the homeopathic course and it was the positive effects it left on my body that inspired me to pursue the study of homeopathy and the rest is, well, history! I have come a long way from being treated to treating patients with homeopathy. Over the years, I have treated hundreds of people and witnessed a tremendous change in the lives of many as a result of homeopathic treatment. Although there are a handful of patients who have reported feeling better after a single dosage, homeopathic medicine usually displays remarkable results only after six months to a year’s treatment. Homeopathy, thus, in most cases, works a bit differently in comparison to other forms of medicine. Homeopathic treatment needs to be administered for a minimum period of three months before one can reap its full benefits.
What is Homeopathy?Let’s start with how those small white pills are in-fact processed, making them more than mere ‘sugar pills’. Homeopathic medicines are prepared from various sources of flora, fauna, and minerals, which are diluted and shaken to form small pills or tablets. Often confused to be just ‘sugar pills’ or ‘placebo’, these ultra-high diluted medicines have remarkable abilities to cure several diseases. Further, homeopathy also believes in the principle, ‘like cures like’, which is to state that when a substance is consumed in small amounts, it has the ability to cure the symptoms caused by the same substance in large volumes. This is the real reason why homeopathic tablets have scientifically non-traceable portions of medicine (a huge criticism among the know-hows of Science). Another unique aspect of homeopathy lies in the manner of consultation. Homeopathic practitioners often give out questionnaires to new patients to fill up. Alongside, several aspects of a patient’s emotional, mental, and spiritual status are taken into consideration before the right medicine is prescribed. This helps in a thorough understanding of each individual’s symptoms and ailments, thus treating one individual’s specific ailments as opposed to labeling that individual into a collection of diseases.
Criticism against HomeopathyThese unique aspects of homeopathy have become the very essence of criticism against this form of medicine. Despite its success over the years, homeopathic critics are usually quick to dismiss this system of alternative medicine as pseudoscience. The ‘placebo’ effect of homeopathy is the most common criticism that this alternative medicine has received over the years. Although homeopathy does not strictly adhere to the principles of science in the manner we understand it in today’s world, homeopathic treatments have displaced several positive results right from the 18th century. Just because homeopathy fails to adhere to the systematic order of medical science, and fails to make much sense to the critics or to the public, it doesn’t mean this form of medicine has no authenticity. The below-mentioned research findings of homeopathic treatment is proof enough of its success:
Research Findings and StatisticsThe British Homeopathic Association (BHA) has disclosed a list of homeopathic research papers and reports that provide sufficient evidence towards the treatment of homeopathy. Asthma was one area of study that was conducted by researchers. A clinical trial was conducted on 28 patients in Glasgow for a period of eight weeks. The study revealed that the group administered with homeopathic treatment displayed a far better respiratory function and bronchial reactivity. This study thus strengthened the evidence that homeopathic treatment does far more than a placebo (University Department of Medicine, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, UK). Homeopathic treatment was also extended to patients who suffered from mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Conducted on a group of 60 patients over a period of four months in a hospital in Boston, USA, the study revealed that the patients treated with homeopathy displayed tremendous improvements on certain brain tests in comparison to the patients administered with placebo (Harvard University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA). Homeopathic studies have also been conducted on patients suffering from allergic skin reactions, bronchitis, childhood diarrhea, and many other ailments over nations across the globe such as USA, UK, European regions, Africa, amongst others. According to Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), over 200 million people worldwide avail the benefits of homeopathy. Of these, India alone houses over 100 million homeopathic users. As for the west, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 6 million people in the US use homeopathy, 100 million European Union citizens use homeopathy for child and health care, and about 6 million people in the UK reap the benefits from this field of medicine.
How does Homeopathy work?A close look at the various studies on homeopathy reveals that homeopathic treatment is always administered in comparison to placebo. This is mainly due to the fact that homeopathic potencies are so extremely dilute that one cannot trace any substance in it. This is the prime reason many critics claim homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo. And yet, it works; surprisingly, on plants and babies too! Thus, the next question that naturally arises is, how then does homeopathy work? In order to understand this, let’s have a look at the human health. There are widely two views on human health: a) diseases always effect a part of the body (for instance, asthma is a disease of the lung) b) one body part alone cannot be treated without understanding the whole system. Homeopathic medicine takes into consideration the second view, with an added extension. The first idea of homeopathy is the belief that you cannot get a long term solution unless you address the basic problem that lies within the whole organism. This is called the idea of ‘Holism’. Take asthma or colitis for instance. Asthma is a disease of the lung where the immune system becomes hyperactive. Similar is the case with colitis, where a digestive disease has a direct correlation with the immune system. Thus, while the basic problem is respiratory and digestive, the central problem lies within the body controlling mechanism – the immune system. The second idea of homeopathy is that each individual has his own specific state of disease. Thus, we need to study the patient thoroughly; understand his sensitive points, his reaction to heat and cold, his preference in food and drink, his ability to think, perceive, and react. This thorough assessment will then help pick out the exact remedy meant for that individual patient. This, in turn, stimulates his own healing mechanism and provides a long term solution.
Modern Medicine vs HomeopathyModern medicines often claim that 70% of all diseases are caused by stress, commonly referred to as psychosomatic. While various medications are provided to beat the effects of stress, the cause of stress is often relied on age-old practices like yoga, leaving modern medicine handicapped! Homeopathy, thus, goes a step beyond modern medicine and asks the question that is of prime importance — What is stress? Stress does not occur from a particular situation, but instead, is solely dependent on how an individual perceives and reacts to reality. Stress, thus, is extremely individualistic. And when a homeopath tries to understand the patient, he also attempts to understand the individual’s perception of reality; a concept modern science has failed to successfully understand! To conclude, homeopathy is a 200-year-old practice and is persistent up until the 21st century solely due to its positive outcomes. Thus, keeping in mind the results from various studies conducted around the world, the statements of many who administer homeopathic treatment, and the testimonials from millions of patients who reap the benefits of this treatment, I would urge critics to try homeopathy. Although science cannot, as of yet, prove how homeopathy works, these several cases of homeopathic wonders cannot and should not be shunned away!