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					and charge between about £25 and                           Further information
£75 for the initial consultation, less                        Homeopathic Trust and Faculty of
for follow-up sessions. There are,                            Homeopathy
however, some doctors and a few other                           020 7566 7800
health professionals (such as nurses,                         www.trusthomeopathy.org
pharmacists and midwives) who practise                        Society of Homeopaths                                    Homeopathy
in the NHS. There are also five                                 01604 621400
homeopathic hospitals within the NHS.                         www.homeopathy-soh.org.uk
                                                                                                                       Homeopathy is a complementary therapy that treats illnesses
                                                                                                                       with very dilute preparations, called remedies, made from
                                                                                                                       plant, mineral, metal and insect sources. It's not known
                                                                                                                       scientifically how homeopathy works, and there is not a
                                                                                                                       conclusive body of evidence that it does. But homeopaths
                                                                                                                       believe that the remedies stimulate the bodies' own healing
                                                                                                                       powers, which they call the 'vital force'.


                                                                                                                      What is homeopathy                           in the 18th century by Dr Samuel
                                                                                                                       The word homeopathy is a combination        Hahnemann after he discovered that
                                                                                                                       of two Greek words - 'homeo', which         small amounts of cinchona bark, the
                                                                                                                       means similar, and 'pathos', which          treatment for malaria, caused malaria-
                                                                                                                       means suffering. A traditional spelling –   like fevers when he took it while
                                                                                                                       homoeopathy – is often simplified           healthy. Hahnemann was disillusioned
                                                                                                                       to homeopathy.                              with the medical treatments used at the
                                                                                                                                                                   time such as the use of the poisons
                                                                                                                       Homeopathy is based on the principle        arsenic and mercury, and painful but
                                                                                                                       that 'like cures like', meaning that in     unproven procedures such as
                                                                                                                       order to treat a given disorder, a          bloodletting and purging. He went on
                                                                                                                       remedy is used that would produce the       to test other substances on himself and
                                                                                                                       same symptoms in a healthy person.          healthy friends, recording the sort of
                                                                                                                       For example, the poisonous plant            symptoms they caused and, so he
                                                                                                                       deadly nightshade, also known as            believed, could therefore cure.
                                                                                                                       Belladonna, causes a throbbing
This factsheet is based on reputable sources of medical evidence and has been reviewed by BUPA doctors. For more       headache, high temperature and bright       Next, Hahnemann developed a way
details of references and sources, please see our website. The content is intended for general information only and
does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.                                    red face. So, the homeopathic remedy        of making very dilute preparations
                                                                                                                       Belladonna is given to people who are       from these substances. First, a 'mother
                                                                                                                       feverish and have a sudden throbbing        tincture' of a substance was made
                                                                                                                       headache. Homeopathy was developed          by soaking it in alcohol for several

                                    Published by BUPA’s Health Information Team, January 2003
  weeks and straining off the resulting        symptoms of a disease but is holistic,        is possible to say which conditions         at least 10 minutes afterwards. Some
  liquid. Then he used some of this            taking into account the person's mind,        homeopathic remedies can                    homeopaths warn against using any
  mother tincture to make the final            body and spirit. Because of this,             definitely help.                            strong tasting or smelling substances
  remedy by diluting and vigorously            homeopaths treat almost any disorder                                                      like toothpaste, peppermint, alcohol,
  shaking (succussing) it in water over        except for mechanical problems such as      What happens at a consultation?               spicy foods or essential oils because
  and over again. The same basic               damaged joints or severe physical injury.     An initial consultation with a              they believe these to cancel out the
  process is still used to make                Serious acute or life-threatening events      homeopath generally takes 1-2               effects of a remedy. For acute
  homeopathic remedies.                        such as a heart attack, stroke, diabetic      hours, during which you will be asked       conditions, only one dose of a
                                               coma, epileptic seizure or asthma attack      detailed questions about your general       remedy may be needed, while
  The resulting remedy often doesn't
                                               should not be treated with                    health, lifestyle, emotional state,         chronic conditions may need to be
  contain even one molecule of the
                                               homeopathy.                                   medical and family history, and likes       treated for many months, involving
  original substance, and orthodox
                                                                                             and dislikes. Further consultations         several consultations and multiple
  science suggests that this would render      People consult homeopaths for many
                                                                                             are shorter than the first, as the          different remedies.
  the remedy inactive. But homeopaths          chronic conditions such as arthritis,
  claim that diluting and succussing a         eczema, migraine, digestive disorders,        homeopath will already have your
                                                                                             background information.                   Side effects and risks?
  remedy in this way actually makes it         period problems, menopausal
  more effective, as if the vigorous           symptoms, and allergies, as well as                                                       In general, homeopathy appears
                                                                                             Homeopathic practice
  shaking transfers energy into the water      emotional problems like depression and                                                    to be safe, probably because the
                                                                                             Many homeopaths practice what is            active ingredients of homeopathic
  and imprints a memory of the starting        anxiety. Many people also self-treat
                                                                                             called classical homeopathy, which          remedies are present in such low
  material onto it. Homeopaths call this       minor ailments like colds and
                                                                                             claims to identify the ideal remedy         concentrations. However, some
  potentisation and the remedies can           headaches with low-potency
                                                                                             for a person's individual make-up or        homeopaths report that after a
  come in different potencies depending        homeopathic remedies bought from a
                                                                                             constitution. In classical homeopathy,      remedy has been taken symptoms
  on the number of times they are              pharmacy or health food shop.
                                                                                             diseases aren't diagnosed in the same       sometimes get worse for a short
  diluted. Common potencies, in order of
                                                                                             way as in conventional medicine. In         period of time before getting better.
  increasing dilution are 6c, 12c, 30c and   Does it work?
                                                                                             fact, the remedy chosen is also the         This is known as a 'healing' reaction
  200c. The remedies based on the least        While some scientific studies of              diagnosis. Other homeopaths practice        and is said to be a necessary part of
  amount of dilution – known as lower          homeopathy suggest that it is more            'complex homeopathy' and prescribe a        the healing process.
  potencies have less powerful and             than twice as effective as placebo            combination of remedies, rather than
  shorter lasting effects.                     (dummy treatment), many doctors are           just one. Lastly, there are homeopaths
                                               highly sceptical about the claims made                                                  Finding a qualified practitioner
  As well as tinctures, homeopathic                                                          who prescribe on the basis of a
                                               for it. Sceptics argue that any                                                           Unlike medicine, nursing and
  remedies are available as sugar-based                                                      conventional medical diagnosis or
                                               effectiveness is due to the therapeutic                                                   osteopathy, there is no statutory
  tablets, pills, granules and powders to                                                    according to symptoms only. These
                                               value of a lengthy consultation and the                                                   regulation of homeopaths. This limits
  be taken by mouth, and some also                                                           also tend to be conventionally
                                               placebo effect of the remedy - the                                                        the control and legal redress available
  come as creams or ointments to be                                                          trained doctors.
                                               expectation by the patient and                                                            to patients and explains why most
  applied directly to the skin.
                                               professional that a treatment, even one                                                   medical insurers will not cover
                                                                                           Taking homeophathic remedies
                                               that has no active ingredient,                                                            homeopathic treatment except when
What it’s used for                                                                           Homeopathic remedies should be taken
                                               is effective.                                                                             given by a qualified doctor.
  Most homeopaths claim that                                                                 at least 30 minutes after a meal and no
  homeopathy doesn't just treat the            More research is needed before it             food or drink should be consumed for        Most homeopaths work privately

				
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