One of the most often heard homeopathic mantras is “Homeopathy treats the person, not the disease”.
But what does this really mean?
From a medical standpoint, a disease diagnosis is key, because drugs are prescribed to target a particular disease condition – for example, Prilosec for heartburn, Fosamax for osteoporosis, and Ritalin for ADHD.
From a homeopathic standpoint, the disease name is not important. Homeopathy triggers the body’s own healing mechanism and homeopathic remedies are prescribed based on the overall symptom picture.
In an acute case – such as flu, gastroenteritis, or an injury – this picture would include such variables as:
– Energy level – are you more or less tired than usual? Is it worse at any particular time of day?
– Changes in emotional state – are you more weepy, restless, or angry?
– Pace of the illness – did it come on quickly, did it progress rapidly or slowly?
– Any unusual symptoms – e.g. a fever with no thirst, hunger with no desire to eat (These are the most important symptoms for a homeopath, as they help to individualize the case and guide to the best remedy)
An example of this is a case of the flu.
A medical doctor will elicit the common symptoms, such as aching limbs, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose and fatigue, and the prescription will be the same for every patient.
a homeopath will take these symptoms too. but will also want to know how your flu is different from everyone else’s.
So you could have a situation where two members of the same family have contracted the same virus, but one may have felt it coming on for several days, with chilliness, irritability and fatigue, while the other experienced a rapid onset of symptoms with a high temperature, perspiration, restlessness and anxiety. Although the medical diagnosis would be the same, the manifestation of the virus is quite different, and each person would require a different homeopathic remedy.
This is the beauty of homeopathy – that it is unique and personalized for each individual and for each case of illness – but the down side is that homeopathy is not one-size-fits-all, which makes it more complex to practice and not compatible with the double blind trials so popular in the validation of traditional medicine.