(Ok, it’s a lot of text but you can’t say it isn’t informative!)
Where did homeopathy come from?
Homeopathy, based upon the work of Samuel Hahnemann, and 18th-century German physician, is both science and art. It is founded by the principle “like is cured by like”. Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the traditional medical practices of his day (leeching, bloodletting, etc) and began to search for a safer, more natural, alternative approach. His breakthrough came when he questioned the use of Peruvian bark as the treatment for malaria. He decided to take the remedy to disprove it and, much to his surprise, the Peruvian bark caused malaria symptoms without actually causing the disease. He tested numerous drugs and found that the substance he was testing caused specific symptoms that closely mirrored the disease itself.
In his experiments, Hahnemann discovered that his medicines were often too strong, and could actually harm patients with serious symptoms. To minimize these side effects, he began diluting the medications to the point at which they were no longer dangerous. To his surprise, the properties of causing the symptoms were maintained in the diluted medicine, and in certain instances, the more diluted the remedy, the more potent it became. Hahnemann perfected this new medical system, which he termed Homeopathy, and based its principles on two distinct properties:
- Like could heal like
- The more diluted the remedy, the more potent it becomes
In making the correlation that a cure could be achieved if the medicine produces the same symptoms as the disease, Hahnemann also redefined symptoms, theorizing that they were merely a manifestation of the activation of the body’s natural defense and immune system. He believed symptoms should be encouraged as part of the process of letting the body cure itself.
Hahnemann set up an entirely new standard for assessing his patients. He would look at their entire physical and psychological makeup in determining which remedy to use. For example, a patient with a skin disorder who was shy and withdrawn would get a different remedy than another person with the same skin problem who was outgoing and aggressive. His assessment was based upon the whole person, and he matched the remedy (or “medication”) as closely as possible to what he determined was the patient’s makeup and condition. And it worked with extreme success!
What are homeopathic remedies?
In homeopathy, highly diluted mixtures of plant, animal or mineral substances are administered to the patient. Since these remedies are designed to cause the symptoms of the disease they are intended to cure, they are actually working with the body’s own innate processes. This process is unlike the use of standard medications, which are designed to either block or cover up symptoms. In contrast, a homeopathic treatment is designed to stimulate the innate healing power of the body so that all systems are functioning at their optimum levels.
The symptoms of the sick patient are thus the most important guide to the choice of the correct remedy. Classical homeopaths view the patient as having one disease that is showing several symptoms. If the selected remedy is correct, it will cause a healthy patient to react with all the symptoms of the disease. This automatically boosts the body’s natural defenses, resulting in healing.
How do homeopathic remedies work in my pet’s body?
Each animal is an individual and may react differently to a specific homeopathic remedy. In most instances, the reaction to the remedy is a gentle process during which some symptoms may get worse at first, then improve, followed by a gradual healing of the condition.
As mentioned above, the classical use of homeopathy relies on a specific set of symptoms and circumstances occurring in the animal’s body. These are the very symptoms that result from the body’s inherent defense. The suppression of these symptoms usually will inhibit the body in its healing process.
For example, suppose that an animal has an upper respiratory infection with a nasal discharge. From the homeopathic point of view, the discharge is proper and beneficial to the body’s efforts to heal itself. If this animal is given an antihistamine and an antibiotic, which dries and removes the inflammation in the mucous membranes, these medications will stop the process of the body ridding itself of these wastes. So, instead of focusing on the suppression or removal of symptoms, the homeopathic approach is to support and augment the immune system and the cleansing effect of the eliminative processes so the body moves itself toward healing.