Heading to the airport at 2:15am to catch a 6am international flight is one way to start an interesting adventure. Partly due to the excitement and partly to be alert when I arrived at the airport, I did not sleep that last night in Montreal. I was appeased by the very large spider inhabiting the top of one of the check-in kiosks on the way through the entrance to the baggage check. For me seeing a spider is usually a good sign I am doing something right. Nicole Préault who has been on many previous missions was there early but I arrived at 3am due to the infamous Montreal road construction that rerouted my taxi through the city rather than around it on the highways. My being late was not such an issue however and as we waited in the baggage check-in line we realized the Delta staff were all very late and only arrived a bit before 4am.
Our green HTSF t-shirts garnered attention and we started some conversations while waiting in line, and at least we were at the front of the line as it grew longer and longer over that early hour. It was certainly refreshing to run into a couple of women who already knew what homeopathy is, having used it before and who were interested in learning more about our volunteer medical mission and where we were going. Nicole explained what TSF (Terre Sans Frontière) does and how they are different than organizations like Doctors Without Borders since HTSF (Homéopathes de Terre Sans Frontière) works directly for the local people rather than just with local doctors and other professionals. She also explained that it is also possible for us to provide training to non-medical volunteers who can then use the homeopathic remedies when we are not in Honduras during missions.
When asked what we do exactly, we responded that we volunteer giving first line health care directly to the rural people. I had learned that the most common health issues in Honduras are often diabetes and heart disease. Nicole who has been many times before explained that we can also see issues related to violence, including domestic violence. Our new acquaintance seemed confused as to how homeopathy may help in this case and we explained that, as well as for physical traumas from violence, we can also help with emotional issues such as grief and loss, trauma related to sexual abuse, and problems of alcoholism. Homeopathy can be a one stop for all that ails you, which is why it is so advantageous for this kind of humanitarian medical mission. ...
Read the rest of this post and more about this mission on the main blog.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that heals by “energy” rather than chemicals.
Sugar pills, pellets, and water are used as carriers to transfer energetic information to the body to stimulate a healing response.
While sugar pills are a convenient and delicious way to do this, a mild and temporary worsening of symptoms (an aggravation) may occur if given when not needed, too frequently, or to a person who is highly sensitive to homeopathic remedies. This aggravation is not harmful and settles when you stop giving the remedy.
Aggravations in sensitive people are avoided by giving smaller than normal doses, something that is easily done if the pill is first dissolved in water. The most surprising thing is that its energetic effects are not halved or quartered when this is done – as would be expected with a conventional, chemical medicine – but just ‘softened’ so it is less likely to aggravate; and it still works just as well for those who are not over-sensitive.
Another benefit of turning your pills into liquids is that their potency can be altered before each dose, by succussion, so that each dose works at a slightly deeper level than the previous dose. (Succussion is hitting the base of the bottle on the palm of your hand firmly. This potentises the remedy slightly so that each dose works at a slightly different level and so is less likely to aggravate.)
In addition, because each pill can be turned into literally hundreds of liquid doses it is an easy way to extend the life of your remedies while saving a little money.
So how exactly do you do it? Here are the instructions:
Using a Cup to Turn Your Pill (Pellet) into a Liquid Remedy
Choose the remedy that most closely matches your symptoms.
Drop one pill of the remedy into approximately ¼ cup of water and gently stir until dissolved.
Before each dose, briskly agitate the liquid with a spoon for 5 seconds. This mimics succussion and potentises the remedy slightly so that it works more deeply and is less likely to aggravate (ie., temporarily worsen the symptoms).
Dose according to the intensity of your symptoms, either as advised in How Often Should I Take a Dose of My Remedy, or by your homeopath. A dose is generally one small sip, or a teaspoon amount from the cup. Babies or small animals can be given a smaller amount but this is not essential – they will do just as well with a teaspoon dose if it is not too much liquid for them.
Keep the remedy away from light by covering it with a saucer between doses. Your remedy will be fine to use in this manner for one or two days – plenty of time to treat an acute complaint.
Using a Bottle to Turn Your Pill (Pellet) into a Liquid Remedy
Fill a 20-30ml dropper bottle two thirds full of water. (The remaining air space provides room for the remedy to be agitated during succussion.)
Label the bottle with the remedy name, potency, and date of preparation.
Drop one pill into the bottle and gently “swish” to dissolve. It is now ready to use.
Succuss the bottle five times before each dose.
Dose according to the intensity of your symptoms, either as advised in How Often Should I Take a Dose of My Remedy or by your homeopath. One dose is 5-7 drops, or about a ¼ of a dropper. Again, the amount is not critical, and babies or small animals can be given less.
1. Because the bottle does not contain a preservative to stop the growth of mould and bacteria, store your remedy in the refrigerator and replace it at monthly intervals. If you would like to use your liquid remedies for much longer, brandy can be added – its alcohol content will act as a preservative. Just add 1/3 of brandy to 2/3 of water. Your liquid remedies are now safe to be stored at room temperature for twelve months or more.
2. Homeopathic pills (pillules, gobules, pellets) are made from sucrose or lactose and will dissolve fully in the water. If you have purchased homeopathic tablets instead of pills, binding and bulking material mixed with the sucrose or lactose will not dissolve but settle as a powder at the bottom of the cup or bottle. This is perfectly safe – just ignore it and use the liquid.
Appreciating the homeopathic process
So, you have decided to try homeopathy after being referred by a friend or reading an amazing article that convinced you it might work. You are ready to book an appointment with a homeopath about your issue of say chronic anxiety and the more immediate problem of burn out and fatigue rather than taking medications, asking for stress leave, risking the flow of your career, and maybe upsetting your relationships in the process. With curiosity and an open mind, hopefully anyways, you would like to see what homeopathy can do instead.
No longer a parts based system, but a whole human being approachThe first thing to remember is that homeopathy is going to be very different than seeing a conventional doctor or a GP. Get out of that mindset that you can only bring one problem or issue to each visit. While a doctor may address you as segmented parts containing diseases and symptoms to fix, a homeopath is going to want to spend more time going over all the symptoms around your issue. They see you as a whole that needs some fine tuning, not a nervous system or a gallbladder that needs to be repaired, removed or replaced.
Also a doctor usually works with the short-term results, so if the symptoms can be altered or reduced quickly, then the person is considered better and all is well. The homeopath is looking at your long-term health, and so giving medications that alter or suppress a symptom without first looking into the original underlying reason for the anxiety or the fatigue is considered a risky short cut. A short cut that can lead to side effects from medications, a need for long term medicine use, or further health complications down the road. The better approach is to address the whole person, and to see that the treatment leads to the best possible long-term outcome for that person. The concept of wholeness is further explained in this article by Judyann McNamara, What is True Healing.
Chronic illnesses may be a reality but the idea that we have to feel worse over time is just not true. We can feel better and be healthier, and adapting and adjusting as we go is something homeopathy has the capacity to help us with.
A collaborative and self-responsible relationship of healthAnother major mindset that needs to change is the relationship between the patient and the practitioner. Going to the doctor we have become used to presenting our problem, being questioned briefly, being examined, getting some tests done, and then we go home and wait for the prescription or referral to a specialist. This is easy from the patient's point of view, yet it is also passive. You don't have to do anything other than show up, and then continue to show up for follow up appointments when they are scheduled. A homeopath will want to see you for the initial consultation, and maybe a second time to clarify their direction in selecting a remedy or support. Then, once you are given the suggestion, they would like you to stay in touch! They actually prefer if you give them feed back on how you are doing and what is happening.
This is the only way the homeopath can know what to do next, or what to do in the case you are struggling with the healing process. Your process and experience are going to be different from another person's, even if you came in with the same issue of chronic anxiety and burnout, so to follow a predefined protocol or therapy is not the optimal for each individual. The homeopath understands how significant the process back to health is for you, and by collaborating with you and following your needs, they can offer the best possible support and tools for you.
This is difficult to accept perhaps, but a homeopath wants to work with you, to hear from you and to know how you are doing.
Self rated health outcomes over generic test resultsUnlike conventional medicine where it is the test result that directs the treatment process, homeopaths prefer to use the self rated health scores of each person. Researchers have found that Self Rated Health tests show the best indicators of overall morbidity (rate of disease) and mortality rates. How many times have you wanted to go to the doctor but you don't because you already know what they will say, "Your test results are inconclusive so I have to conclude that there is nothing wrong with you!" This is an unfortunate development of the current medical system and why the hospitals and clinics are seeing so many patients with pathological diseases such as coronary artery disease, cancer, or arthritis. If they had been able to seek treatment when they first felt something was off ... maybe the functional changes in their body systems could have been avoided and they would have been able to adapt and stay healthier, and avoided the need for medications and for painful, expensive and complex treatments later on.
A homeopath is going to work with you at any stage of the disease process, and the earlier the better for everyone. They trust that you know your own state of health and that you also know when you need support and tools for regaining your health. Think about a space ship that at the start of journey is only a fraction off its course to Saturn, many years later and it has little chance of even seeing Saturn! The earlier the course is corrected, the better chance the ship has to reach its destination.
This leads to self responsibility in health. Sounds daunting perhaps, but think about it. You are the one responsible for your health and healing. Not a doctor, or GP, or a blood test, or a specialist. You. Feels good somehow doesn't it to consider it this way?
An open, accepting space to tell it how it isSince the homeopath is looking at the whole of you, you can pretty much talk about any odd, seemingly unconnected, unusual thing that you want or feel like bringing up. It is distracting to the doctor, they want to stay on point and to keep things symptom related to the part being discussed. Homeopaths on the other hand have been trained to sit in discomfort, to be ok with feeling confused as to the what the patient is describing, and to not judge the person for whatever they may have experienced. It is all part of the homeopathic system of case taking. There is also a fundamental trust that everyone has the ability to heal already within them, even if at the moment it is latent. You are not coming to be fixed, but for tools and support, basically a get-unstuck-agent that will put you back on the road to good health and help you on your path.
Unlike a doctor that takes charge of the treatment process, a homeopath is merely the one to objectively fit together the presenting symptoms to see how they express the whole, like seeing a large unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Then they pattern match what they see in that puzzle image to what remedy or other suggestion can help you the most.
And get it out of your mind that a remedy is going to take over the healing for you. It is just a tool that helps stimulate the body to heal itself, as the body would be able to do naturally before it got stuck, and does all the time when we are healthy. We don't pay attention while we feel great, but what is happening to bring about that great feeling? It is essentially the countless natural and internal processes at work keeping us alive and whole. The body is an amazing phenomenon if we stop to ponder it!
What can you do to get the most out of homeopathy?
The global or whole person action of homeopathy means that when we take a remedy or support we may suddenly feel inspired to eat better, to go to the gym, to buy that house we always dreamed of, or to drop the procrastination that is holding us back, to reach out to friends, or to see our loved ones with greater appreciation. Remember, it is the whole of you that has the potential to improve! And the main complaint that brought you to see a homeopath, the anxiety and burnout, that too improves. And if it does not completely disappear, you can see it differently and discover ways to improve it, whereas before it was stuck, and there was only one possible, off course outcome. I encourage you to get the most of what homeopathy can offer! And to appreciate the journey back to health.
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