“Short cuts make long delays.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’d like to share with you a story that has become rather commonplace in my practice, one that is an example of an alarming situation many of my homeopathic colleagues face. (I have changed the name of the character in this story to protect her privacy.)
Meet Diane, a 43-year-old woman who came to me about a year ago with a laundry list of symptoms, but worse than that, a laundry list of remedies she has been on (many of which she takes daily) for the past 18 months. Diane’s symptoms, although complex, aren’t as overwhelming and painstaking as the sorting out process that we underwent when she first came to me. Diane’s initial complaints were:
Hypothyroid, hair loss, weight gain, history of yeast infections, digestive complaints, eczema, debilitating depression.
This is a long list, indeed, but to learn that Diane took an interest in self-studying and prescribing remedies to herself, rather than have her case taken by a certified homeopathy, was even more alarming. When Diane entered my practice, she was on 8 remedies that she self-prescribed herself! Many of these remedies she took twice a day, as her online classes had taught her.
Before we go into the issues that can result from self-prescribing or taking multiple remedies at one time, it is important to note that for acute situations, (ailments and complaints that are short-lasting) homeopathy is often successfully employed by self-taught individuals, and this is generally accepted since detrimental effects are far less likely to occur. Many parents have effectively used homeopathy to address teething, cold and flu symptoms, ear aches and other common acute childhood ailments. However, when it comes to chronic, long-term issues, take caution when gathering information from blogs or online materials and forums; chronic cases are often more complex and require a consult with a certified homeopath.
There are many reasons why classically trained homeopaths recommend against taking more than one remedy at a time. The conundrum in Diane’s case was not so much the symptom picture that was presenting, but the significant amount of energy required to educate her on why taking more than one remedy at a time could potentially delay the healing process. It took several conversations for her to finally grasp that the way she was using homeopathy previously was more of an allopathic approach and didn’t follow the same set of guidelines that classical homeopaths are trained to evaluate cases and progress with.
Let’s examine some of the issues that arise with allopathic homeopathy. For starters, sorting out a case like Diane’s requires patience that most individuals drawn to the practice of multiple remedy taking frankly aren’t often very excited about. The homeopath needs not only to take the case, but to sort out whether any of the remedies being taken are helping or causing issues. It is essential to identify any potential aggravations occurring, as well as any healing crises that may be caused by one of the many remedies.
From Homeopath, George Vithoulkas’ The Science of Homeopathy, “The practice of giving combinations of remedies obviously violates all of the fundamental laws of homeopathy—and common sense as well…Such practice can only create complete chaos, and indeed some of the most pitiable cases in homeopathic practice are those who have undergone years of such chaotic treatment. The defense mechanism of such patients is so disturbed that it is often completely impossible to restore their health to even the level prior to such prescribing, let alone bring about a cure.”
I say all of this because it has become regular practice for some homeopaths to prescribe multiple remedies, or for students of such homeopaths to take matters into their own hands and self-prescribe multiple remedies, only to realize many months into this practice, as Diane did, that they are not making appropriate gains in their healing, or worse, that they are being detrimentally affected. Still others find that they are dependent upon their daily intake of remedies to feel normal, pointing to the remedies acting suppressively.
When enlisting the help of a classical homeopath, it is essential that people who have taken multiple remedies in the past realize that their treatment will look very different compared to what they were used to, as only one remedy will be given at a time. The case will need to be reexamined after the initial remedy prescription and a new remedy is often selected at that time. It is often necessary that a client wait a period of time after going off their multiple-remedy schedule before starting their constitutional remedy.
What is often thought to be the inexpensive and quick route to healing with homeopathy has become something that many are finding is quite the opposite: a painstakingly long route to regaining health that can often require long-term care from a classically trained homeopath. Before you are deluded into allopathic homeopathy, that can have detrimental effects to overall vitality, consider making an appointment with a classical homeopath to determine if homeopathy is right for you.