One of the things we love most about homeopathy is that it’s not a “one size fits all” method of healing. Most of us who know homeopathy know, there are no “headache” remedies, no “PMS” remedies, no “cough” remedies, but simply the remedy that the person who has any of these problems needs. Homeopathy is prescribed for the person, not the disease. I like to tell patients that if I have five people coming to see me for headaches this week, I can be almost sure they will each get a different remedy. This fact is often shocking to those new to homeopathy, because they’re used to mainstream medicine and its treatment of disease, not the individual.
Once we understand this, we understand that the homeopath’s job is not so simple. If there is no “headache” remedy, how exactly do we find the remedy for the person before us with a headache? The answer is that we hunt for the unique (or “strange, rare and peculiar”) symptoms that describe the headache itself as well as the person with the headache. And that hunt is so much easier when the patient is observant and aware of the most useful information to report.
I thought it would be great to give some instruction on this, so if at any point you need an acute prescription from your practitioner, you will be well prepared!
So, whether it be a headache, a sore throat, a fever, ear pain, a gastro, the most important things to observe are: 1. what makes that pain (or symptom) better, and what makes it worse, and 2. what else is going on with you that is different than how you usually are, now that you are sick….?
Let me illustrate this with an example.
Carol sent me an email saying that she had a terrible sore throat and asking if I could call her. My schedule was very full that day and I wrote back to do the following tests on herself to be able to have the answers for when I called her later in the evening. Being an old patient, she knew exactly what information to have ready for my call.
She was to test what made the sore throat pain better, and what made it worse. That involved testing out: drinking, eating, swallowing only saliva, and noting what affect all of these had on the pain. When it came to drinking, how was the throat pain with cold water compared to warm water? She was also to test whether being out in the cold air had an effect, and to observe her throat pain in a warm room. She also observed whether talking, laughing, coughing, etc. made any difference in the pain. I also asked her to note whether there was any pattern to the pain, thinking about time of day (night, morning, etc.), the description of the pain, and if it was more on one side or the other. I asked her to notice whether the pain radiated anywhere (i.e., her ear).
When we were finally able to talk, she had an abundance of information about what affected the pain. Then I asked her some general questions: about her thirst compared to her normal level, whether she was more chilly or warm than usual, sweaty or not, how her mood was, if she wanted to be alone or was feeling weepy, etc. I asked her what was different about her in general versus her normal healthy self since she had become sick.
My job is like that of a detective—to ask enough questions that elicit answers that will point to a remedy. I fish around and dig around in corners, trying to see what’s exaggerated or peculiar. The more the symptoms are exaggerated or unusual, the easier to find the remedy.
When we say that homeopathy is a medicine of the individual, what we mean is how you manifest symptoms of the illness leads to the remedy that will trigger your body to heal it.
So, when working with your homeopath, know that the quality of the input (your observations about what affects your symptoms for the better and the worse) greatly affects the quality of the prescription. Next time you reach out to your homeopath—do some tests on yourself first to get a head start on the answers!
As with any medical condition, consult with your physician if you have any concerns about the severity of an illness as it may first require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. is an exceptional homeopath who provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a regular column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet.You can follow her on Facebook as well.