Homeopathy dates back to the 18th century and was established by a German doctor called Samuel Hahnemann. Homeopathy is based on a number of different principles; these include:
- Like cures like: this principle revolves around the notion that a substance that causes negative symptoms in a healthy person can be used as a cure for the same symptoms displayed by a person that is ill.
- Potentisation: this is based on the belief that the more you dilute a substance, the more it will have power to treat symptoms it might otherwise have caused.
- Succession and proving: succession refers to the preparation of the solution; this involves diluting and shaking the substance a certain number of times. Proving is the process of trialling the solution and then recording the results.
What is homeopathy used for?
Homeopathy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions; homeopaths believe it can be used to treat any condition where the body has the potential to cure itself. Many homeopaths work in conjunction with medical professionals rather than as an alternative to traditional medicine. Examples of conditions that can be treated by homeopaths include:
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic back and neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Hormone related problems (including premenstrual cramps, endometriosis)
- Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety
- Muscular aches and pains
Homeopathy should not be used to treat serious injuries or health conditions; examples of these include:
- Heart attacks
- Asthma attacks
- Broken bones
- Epileptic seizures
Homeopathy should also not be used as an alternative to vaccinations.
Does homeopathy work?
Many scientists and medical experts believe that homeopathy works only as a placebo; however, some believe homeopathy can be effective in some cases. Most experts agree that more research is needed in this area.
Is homeopathy available on the NHS?
The NHS does offer some homeopathic services; you can find details of practitioners in your area by consulting your local Primary Care Trust or looking on the NHS website. Many patients choose to visit a private homeopath; you can find links to relevant organisations on the NHS website.