Homeopathy is a system of holistic medicine. It works via resonance. Its practice is guided by ‘the law of similars’. In action, it is actually a prescription that causes a reaction in the patient, and it is this reaction that can be curative. The prescribing method is what makes the medicine homeopathic.
In India there are 300,000 working homeopaths, and 250,000 of these are medical doctors with at least five years of clinical training behind them. Homeopathic training is comprehensive, experiential and complex.
For me, homeopathy proved itself in the field in 1998 when I was a North Face sponsored athlete and embarking on a solo 350-mile foot crossing of the entire Indian Himalayas. Needing specialised medical kit to support the expedition I knew that there would be no chance of outside support or helicopter evacuation if I encountered problems. Speaking with army doctors with solid Himalayan experience, it was recommended that I took a comprehensive set of homeopathic medicines with me, along with broad-spectrum antibiotics and altitude-specific medicines.
The homeopathic medicine turned out to be invaluable. I could manage daily issues such as inflammation and exhaustion much better, and I didn’t need strong drugs such as Diamox for altitude sickness as the homeopathy proved to be very effective. I didn’t know until some time later that at the same time that I was crossing the Himalayas, the first ever disabled ascent of Everest was also taking place, and this was also supported with homeopathy by Dr Mary Shackelton from the USA. Two years later, in 2000, Dr Shackelton carried out a placebo-controlled, single-blinded, non-randomized study with homeopathic coca during an ascent to Everest base camp and found that it significantly reduced the effects of altitude on trekkers in the experimental group when compared with placebo. Link to paper.
How does it work?
There are many hypotheses to explains how potentised remedies can cause a curative reaction in the patient, but as yet we have no accepted scientific mechanism to explain this. Homoeopathy isn’t alone in this regard, however, as there are many medical procedures also used every day that have no agreed scientific explanation on their mechanism of action. General anaesthesia is one of them. So although we don’t currently know just how homeopathy works, millions of people across the globe find that it works for them, and contrary to what you may read, there is a wealth of scientific evidence to support homeopathy. Numerous studies have also been carried out on the effect of extremely low dilutions when used not just in people but also in-vitro, and these they clearly show the capability of high-diluted homeopathic medicines to modulate gene expression in cell cultures. Link to example paper.
In Ireland the medicines are strictly regulated by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (formerly known as the Irish Medicines Board), and the medicines are prepared by dedicated homeopathic pharmacies, such as Helios in the UK, and Remedia in Austria.
Homeopaths have around 5,500 possible remedies to differentiate between to find the ones that will stimulate your own healing response.