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Classical Homeopathic Medicine
In this practice, Rachelle. S. Bradley, ND
specializes in homeopathy (pronounced:
ho"me-opíah-the) and often uses nutritional and herbal
supplementation to augment the deep healing action of the
correct homeopathic remedy. Contrary to some peopleís
impressions, homeopathy is not a generic term for holistic,
alternative or natural medicine. And homeopathic remedies have no
similarity to herbal or nutritional supplements - homeopathy is
a distinctly different system of healing with its own rules of
application and its own specially prepared natural medicines.
In addition, many people mix-up the terms "naturopathy"
and "homeopathy." Dr. Bradley is both a naturopath and
a homeopath. This is because of training as a naturopathic
physician and a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.). Dr.
Bradley also has board certification in homeopathy by the Council
for Homeopathic Certification (CCH).
As a naturopathic physician, Dr. Bradley went through a
pre-medical undergraduate education and then four years of
graduate-level, in-residence medical training at an accredited
naturopathic medical college. This training included the full
spectrum of conventional basic and clinical medical sciences.
But more importantly, it included training in the many natural
therapies such as nutrition, herbal medicine, counseling,
homeopathy, hydrotherapy, manipulation, physical medicine and
acupuncture. Therefore, homeopathy is one of many types of
natural therapy a naturopath may use to help someone recover
their health. In addition to the basic training in homeopathy
that all naturopathic medical students receive, Dr Bradley specialized
in homeopathy and did the residency in homeopathy, and thus, is a
naturopath who specializes in homeopathy.
Any type of health care practitioner that specialized in
homeopathy would also be called a homeopath (i.e. a M.D., D.O.,
D.C., P.A., R.N., etc.). However, they could not also be a
naturopath unless they had also graduated from a naturopathic
medical college. In addition, in some communities there are also
"lay" homeopaths. These are people who practice
homeopathy but do not have training in one of the various
recognized medical professions. A lay homeopath could also be
called a "professional homeopath" if they had taken
extensive training in homeopathic medicine from a serious
Homeopathy is not new or "new age." The medical
physician and chemist Samuel Hahnemann discovered it over 200
years ago. This was during the "heroic" age of
medicine, in which the heroism was entirely on the part of the
patient. The sick were bled, blistered, and purged with toxic
doses of mercury and other dangerous minerals and plants, and
Hahnemann became convinced that instead of curing people
physicians were killing them.
Hahnemann gave up medicine to become a translator of medical
texts and wrote on pharmacological subjects. It was while he was
translating an English materia medica (book of medicines) into
German that Hahnemann became interested in the authorís
description of cinchona bark, a natural source of quinine that
comes from a South American tree and used to treat malaria.
To discover the effects of the cinchona bark Hahnemann took
the medicine over a period of weeks. To his surprise he
developed symptoms that were identical to those of malaria. He
concluded that the cure for malaria produced the same symptoms
as the disease. He went on to test dozens of substances on
himself, his large family, and his fellow physicians. These
earliest examples of clinical trials on human subjects (called
"provings") became the founding information on which
homeopathic remedies are still prescribed. In 1810, he published
the results of his experiments announcing his new theories of
treatment and diagnosis. He also created two new medical terms:
homeopathy, which means cure by similars, and allopathy,
treatment by opposites (i.e. conventional medicine).
Homeopathy was introduced into the United States in 1825 and
rapidly became widely accepted by well-educated and wealthy
Americans. Its initial acceptance was due to its success in the
treatment of the cholera and yellow fever epidemics of the 19th
century. Homeopathy expanded so quickly that in 1844 homeopathic
medical doctors organized the first national medical society,
the American Institute of Homeopathy. In large part due to
homeopathyís success, a rival medical society was formed in
1846 called the American Medical Association (AMA). One of its
expressed purposes was to stop homeopathy.
By the beginning of this century 15-20% of all M.D.s in
America were homeopaths. However, the political successes of the
AMA, the progress of conventional medicine, and sectarian
divisions among homeopaths themselves were all weakening the
movement. Homeopathic medical schools began to close; of the 22
colleges operating in 1900, only six remained in 1918. In 1940
the last homeopathic medical school in America, Hahnemann
Medical College in Philadelphia, converted completely to
allopathic/conventional medicine. Even to this day in America,
the only medical schools that offer homeopathic training are the
naturopathic medical colleges.
is only in America that homeopathy seems like a new idea. In
other parts of the world homeopathy never suffered the same
decline as here. In fact, homeopathy enjoys extensive popularity
in Europe and many other parts of the world. In addition,
considerable favorable research has been published in European
conventional medical journals.
Three important principles of homeopathy were formulated by
Homeopathy, like all truly natural approaches to health care,
seeks to stimulate the innate healing power of the individual so
that all physiological and healing systems function at their
best. As the body/mindís healing mechanisms are stimulated and
strengthened, the whole person moves toward an optimal level of
general health, he or she begins to feel better, and the
localized symptoms improve.
- The Law of Similars. A homeopathic remedy is given
which is capable of causing, in a healthy person, symptoms
similar to those of the individual who is ill. Thus the
homeopathic interview is the best way to learn about the
patient, and the patientís subjective experience of his or
her illness is the most important guide to the choice of the
- The Minimum Dose. Homeopathic remedies are most
commonly made from simple natural substances such as a plant
or mineral. A special dilution and succussion (i.e. shaking)
process prepares these so that as little of the original
material as possible is employed. This is called the minimum
dose. Because of the very low material doses used and since
the remedy is chosen to fit a specific individual, they are
completely non-toxic and accidental poisonings are
- The Single Remedy. The homeopath views a personís
health status as a condition of the entire individual rather
than in terms of the presence or absence of isolated
symptoms. Therefore, one homeopathic remedy needs to be
selected that matches the whole individual and best
corresponds to that personís total state at that
particular point in time (i.e. the "totality of
symptoms"). Each homeopathic remedy is made from an
unique natural substance and each has its own individual
characteristics on which it is prescribed.
"Classical" homeopathy is one of the most effective
health care systems for achieving this. Classical homeopathy is
the traditional way homeopathy has been practiced for 200 years.
While it requires the most training, the best understanding of
the patient, and is the most time-intensive, it is also the most
successful at helping people fully recover their health. This is
because the whole person is treated instead of just the
different component parts. Therefore, the homeopathic remedy
does not directly treat a symptom or condition. Instead, it
initiates the process by which the personís whole system (body
and mind) heals itself.
Essential to effective homeopathic care is the interview and
history. Selection of the correct homeopathic remedy depends
entirely on the very thorough understanding of the whole person
gained through this interview process. The homeopath takes into
account all of the patientís specific symptoms, as well as his
or her mental/emotional well-being and personality.
practitioners use homeopathic remedies without the training
required to practice it classically.
These people are well intended but use shortcuts to make
up for this lack of training (i.e. ďmuscle testingĒ or
machines/computers). While there are many antidotal claims made
for these new alternatives to traditional homeopathy, it does
not appear that they are capable of leading to a permanent or
complete cure of the whole person. This is probably because the
whole person is not being treated with the one homeopathic
remedy he or she needs, but instead many homeopathic remedies
are give at a time, frequently changing them with each visit.
homeopathy is used to simulate the whole organism to heal
itself, not just treat the disease, most people, whatever their
diagnosis, can benefit from homeopathic care. Homeopathy helps
people who have a wide variety of acute and chronic problems
including infectious disease, allergies, gynecological
difficulties, digestive problems, and so on. It is important to
realize that there are no specific remedies for specific
problems. Everybody experiences their disease differently and
therefore needs different remedies. For example, if ten people
diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were treated, each is likely
to receive a different homeopathic remedy.
Homeopathy also helps to prevent future health problems by
increasing the individualís strength and resistance. While
well prescribed homeopathy can sometimes appear miraculous; it
must not be seen as a substitute for good health habits. In the
long run health depends in good measure on eating well and
exercising adequately, getting enough rest, dealing effectively
with stress and enjoying oneís endeavors.