Sometimes known as the 'way of similars', the principle of homeopathy is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance which is known to induce the condition. For example, it was originally discovered that taking regular doses of quinine caused malaria-like symptoms; therefore, quinine should be used to cure malaria. Similarly, an old wives' tale advocates rubbing chilblains with snow, or using stinging nettles to treat swollen joints. Medicines prepared homeopathically stimulate the body's own healing mechanism. Homeopathy has many devotees, notably the Royal Family.
Developed in Germany in the 18th century, homeopathy is based on the notion that 'like cures like', first acknowledged by Hippocrates, 'the father of medicine' in the 5th century BC. It is said that the body's 'vital force', which maintains health, is jeopardised under stress, resulting in illness. Symptoms of ill health are signs that the body is using its natural ability of self-healing. Homeopathic treatment augments and stimulates this process.
What to Expect
A homeopath needs to know about you, the person, before treatment. Many aspects of your life contribute to your state of health. In addition to your medical history, the practitioner will want to know about your lifestyle and your general activity level. They are interested in even quite bizarre symptoms which may hold a key to your eventual remedy. Your homeopathic remedy will be usually in the form of tablets, and sometimes powders. Sometimes patients experience a worsening of the condition, before amelioration. This is good! - it shows the right remedy was choosen, although your homeopath may adjust the dilution. Homeopathic medicines cause no side effects and you cannot become addicted to them.
Training & Colleges
Medical doctors often take courses in homeopathy. Non medical homoepaths usually will have completed a three-year, full-time course and a year in supervised practice.
National Center for Homeopathy (NCH)
801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 306
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(877) 624-0613 (703) 548-7790 fax: (703) 548-7792
The NCH is an information organization which provides information to the public on homeopathy via a monthly subscription magazine (geared for the general public), summer classes on classical homeopathy (to developing professionals), and a phone hotline. They have an annual conference each year in which they present two tracks of seminars: one for the the general public, and one for professionals.
North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH)
1122 East Pike Street, Suite 1122
Seattle, WA 98122
fax (206) 329-5684
NASH is the professional organization for homeopaths in the US and Canada. Becoming a registered member (RS Hom) requires completion of the CHC exam, and at least two years of experience in private practice. NASH focuses on issues related to the development of homeopathy as a profession in North America. This includes, for example, homeopathic education, malpractice insurance for homeopaths, insurance coverage/wellness programs that cover some of the cost of homeopathic care, and legislation related to the practice of homeopathy.
Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC)
P.O. Box 460190
San Francisco, CA 94146
The CHC is a board of homeopathic professionals that offers certification to professional classical homeopaths. To quality for the certification exam, homeopaths must first complete at least 500 hours of formal education (or complete a mentor-ship program, or some combination of both - see the CHC application for details), completion of Physiology, Anatomy, Clinical Diagnosis, and CPR, at least two years of practice experience, and a write-up of five cases they have treated for at least six months. The exam itself is seven hours and includes case analysis, materia medica, repertory, homeopathic philosophy, and clinical judgement (e.g. when to send the client to the emergency room, or back to their MD for further testing). CHC certification does not take the place of licensing, but it does ensure that the individual receiving the certification has received some minimum level of education and experience.
Website directory for homeopaths in North America
(professionals, ND's, MD's, etc)
Society of Homeopaths
2, Artizan Road,
tel: 01305 265 873
This is the largest society for non-medical professional homeopaths
UK Homeopathic Medical Association
6, Livingstone Road,
tel:01474 560 336
Faculty of Homeopathy & British Homeopathic Association
15, Clerkenwell Close
tel 0207566 7810
fax 020 7566 7815
This is the association for medically qualified practitioners and is regulated by the GMC.