Homeopathy looks at symptoms in a completely different way to conventional medicine. When the body is invaded by a pathogen such as a bacteria or virus, our immune system starts a very clever multi layered response process. Firstly, it tries to protect us from the invading pathogen; and then once that defense has been breached, it mobilizes numerous defenses to eliminate the invader. Some invasions are minimal causing a mild skirmish such as a minor head cold; whereas others are full blown battles producing strong and uncomfortable symptomology.
So what are symptoms and why are they there?
Imagine that your immune system is your own internal army or battle force that will use clever tactics to maintain your health. If you eat some bad fish and get food ‘poisoning’, you have inadvertently introduced a bacteria or virusinto your system that is potentially harmful. The first thing the body will do is try and eliminate the invader from the body by causing you to vomit. Once this is underway the body may add diarrhea to its arsenal of weapons just to ensure that everything is expelled. Uncomfortable symptoms for you yes, but very clever all the same.
So that’s a homeopathic perspective on purely physical symptoms, how about a physical symptom that is secondary to an emotional or mental one? Imagine you have a large and very important exam ahead of you, or you have to give a presentation on which your future career depends. This would make most of us feel the emotional symptom of anxiety. But many of us too would find ourselves wanting to visit the bathroom more often to either urinate or to pass a loose stool. Our palms may be sweaty and our chest might feel tight. We may have light headedness or breathlessness.
There is nothing clinically wrong with us but our body is very capable of producing a myriad of symptoms that are a direct result of our emotional or mental state. So you can see that to the homeopath, ALL symptoms are expressions of the imbalance your body is experiencing, whether from an invading pathogen, or from your emotional inner state.
So how does Homeopathy use these symptoms to prescribe?
Homeopaths take all the symptoms the person is experiencing on physical, mental and emotional levels, and sees how they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle….to build up a complete picture of the whole person. Some symptoms are generic (such as feeling nauseous when you have food ‘poisoning’), and others are particular to the patient (such as a ‘floating’ sensation when they lie down). It is the particular or individual symptoms that the homeopath is most interested in and which will give the homeopath clues to the most effective homeopathic medicine.
Another key element of a case are the things which make a patient’s symptoms better or worse. If you have a headache, is it better for lying down or worse? Does it ameliorate in fresh air? When you eat does your sore throat feel better, but once you stop, feel just as bad again? Do hot drinks aggravate the pain, but cold ones soothe it? These factors are called MODALITIES and are very useful when trying to determine which remedy to give. This is how YOU can use this information yourself. Here are some simple home prescribing guidelines:
- Take a full case with physical, mental and emotional symptoms
- Find out the modalities….what makes the patient’s symptom better or worse?
- Did anything happen just before the onset of the illness (this is causation and more about that in another article!)
When you have these three parts of the case you can put them together to arrive at your prescription.
© Sam Adkins 2009
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This article was brought to you by Sam Adkins The Homeopathic Coachwho teaches families about healthy living and natural remedies using homeopathic medicine. An internationally renowned expert, her helpful articles are regularly syndicated online. She publishes the ezine Homeopathy@Home to provide free Homeopathic tips, tools and resources to educate and inspire you to use Homeopathy at home.www.thehomeopathiccoach.com