What is the approach of Natural Health and Homeopathy? Here is a simple explanation that I hope you will find helpful if you are using or considering homeopathy – with a book recommendation for further reading!
The body keeps us in best balance
Although we don’t usually stop to think about it, our body is constantly working: responding and adjusting from moment to moment to keep itself in best balance (homeostasis).
We take for granted the constant processes which regulate heartbeat, temperature, digestion and respiration … they run in the background – but we are more aware of other signals of adjustment. For example, suppose we breathe in some dust or eat contaminated food, the body will produce a coughing reflex or vomiting to expel the unwanted substance from our body. A threat to itself is recognised, and symptoms are produced to deal with the problem and restore balance again.
The body has intelligent design and acts as a whole entity to protect itself.
And what about larger impacts upon the body? A literal impact of falling off a ladder and breaking an arm will immediately cause huge pain, bruising, emotional shock and confusion as the person’s life is impacted in a moment. The pain serves to stop the person using their arm to prevent further damage, make them rest and recuperate while long-term healing starts. Miraculously, the body is able to repair itself over the next few months.
Again, symptoms are serving a purpose and are the signs of healing in progress.
Homeopaths and other natural health practitioners recognise that the body is a vital and dynamic organism that rallies its forces in order to protect itself and to maintain best balance. When there is an impact upon the body, the body reacts:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” – Isaac Newton
Larger impacts cause larger reactions. Sally has a bitter argument with her best friend who then refuses to speak to her again. This causes Sally a huge mixture of feelings – she is angry, shocked, feels wronged, then a few days later she still finds herself going through the event over and over again. What was said? What could have been different? She is still affected the next week when she feels grief at losing her friend and is working out what she could do to make things right.
Sally’s experience shows what is happening when the body is affected on the emotional level: what has
happened takes over her mind and emotions as the impact works through and she tries to make sense of things. Normal life has been suspended but, eventually, Sally feels okay and is able to talk to her friend about what happened. The body is again, restoring balance, working its way back to homeostasis.
Protecting the most important organs
The aim of the body is to maintain life and in doing so it protects the organs, systems and functions that are most vital: the brain, mind and wellbeing, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the endrocrine system and so on. Typically it will try to express symptoms in organs where toxins can be eliminated directly like the digestive system and the skin.
Toxins and stress
It’s important to know the role that toxins play in how well we can be. In simple terms toxins are substances and stresses that the body must eliminate in order to operate at its best. Toxins are a part of everyday life including the by-products of normal metabolism and foreign substances that are taken in.
In health, the body deals with the accumulation of toxins in the body very efficiently through excretion, urination, perspiration and respiration. An emotional toxin could be grief, an injustice, a shock – a feeling that needs to be processed and released to bring balance.
We are living in a fast-paced world full of environmental pollutants and modern emotional and psychological stresses that all bombard and impact our being every day and it is getting more and more difficult to eliminate all the toxins we need to.
When the body cannot eliminate or process a toxin then it must produce additional means to do so, perhaps sneezing, vomiting, fever, sweating, respiratory mucus, coughing or in the case of an emotional impact, crying, shouting, understanding a problem etc. These are uncomfortable symptoms and the more the toxic load, the more the body is stressed beyond its normal limits and will attempt to re-balance by producing increasingly uncomfortable symptoms to try to resolve the problem. (“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”) The symptoms are serving a purpose and working hard.
An acute illness is one that affects us for a short time, we respond with symptoms and then get better (or we die!). The illness may be a cold, a headache, an earache, tonsilitis, flu…
Let’s consider what is happening when we develop flu symptoms. From the body’s point of view it must eliminate the virus, toxins or foreign bodies and it produces symptoms in order to do so: a raised temperature makes the body an inhospitable place; sweating and shivering, nasal discharge, coughing… all make sure that toxins are eliminated. This happens when the body is stressed beyond its normal limits and the symptoms arise as a reaction to a problem or impact to the whole system. The body goes into a different state while it is finding balance again, making sure that the person rests for the duration while cure is taking place.
There is a lot of fear around being ill and we (quite naturally) want or need to make alarming symptoms go away. We know that symptoms themselves can overwhelm the system if our vital energy cannot cope, for example a whooping cough or a snake bite may put life in danger. This is where instinct and common sense helps us make good judgements about when to quell symptoms or give the body extra support.
What is happening when we look at symptoms that are persistent or “stuck”: recurrent headaches, cystitis, diarrhoea, asthma or eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, hay fever, sleeplessness, anxiety…?
When its usual attempts of producing acute symptoms to complete a process of elimination fail and keep failing, then the body has no option but to change its strategy of healing, and this will be chronic, permanent symptoms that try to deal with the problem. For example, if vomiting and diarrhoea are frequently prevented from expelling toxins from the digestive system, the body may eventually adapt to
producing permanent, mild nausea and loose stools. Symptoms have now become permanent – or chronic.
Suppressing the body’s healing
We do many things to stop symptoms expressing and thus create chronic illness: we bottle up our emotions, we use, ingest and inhale many chemicals in our daily lives, we eat unhealthy diets, we live in an ever more- complicated world which causes us almost constant stress… and we reach for drugs that stop symptoms working.
Anything that prevents the body from completing a process of eliminating toxins can cause a worse level of health in the long-run and we see that “suppression” has taken place: symptoms have become chronic and the overall health of the person has worsened. This is a big subject and for more detail and explanation I refer you to the recommended book at the end of this article.
The more that symptoms are suppressed, the deeper the illness becomes. We see this in individuals and also observe that as society “advances”, deeper and deeper illness is accumulated – through inherited unresolved illness, suppression, environmental impacts. The body will make every attempt to keep damage away from its most important organs and systems, keeping chronic symptoms on the skin, the stomach, the lungs… if it can. Unfortunately we are now seeing very serious, chronic illness that affects the nervous and immune systems, hearts, brain and mind: problems with mental health and well-being is central to a meaningful, purpose-driven life and is, sadly, being seen in younger and younger people.
How does homeopathy help?
Importantly, homeopathy works with the body’s healing ability, stimulating it dynamically to speed its symptoms to complete their job. Homeopathy uses highly diluted and prepared nano-doses of natural substances that when matched with the person’s whole symptom picture and level of health stimulate the vital response of the body.
The homeopath looks at what is going on in the whole organism and also considers each person as a unique individual. The correct homeopathic medicine encourages more rapid and effective healing in acute situations, and in chronic illness, enables it to move beyond its stuck state, back to health over time. We see that people gain a better sense of well-being and energy; symptoms disappear or are ameliorated. The homeopath may also discuss additional ways in which the body can be supported, for example by changing a frequent stressful situation, looking at eating habits or introducing ways of relaxing.
Homeopaths assess progress through observing how people react according to fundamental Laws and Principles of natural health. For example, someone who has come for treatment of their chronic tiredness and a history of migraine headaches and eczema as a child may first gain some energy and ability to cope with life, then later, headaches will fade and finally a skin eruption will show that dis-ease is expressing on the surface now. If this happens, the homeopath will know that the body is dealing with all the symptoms that have occurred in this person’s health history, allowing processes to complete in the reverse order in which they appeared, eventually achieving best health.
Perhaps, if we remember one thing from this explanation, it should be to understand that when we are ill, the symptoms are not the illness itself but the body’s reaction to a deeper problem and its attempt to heal. If we know this, then we are able to support the body in what it is trying to do rather than suppress the reaction.
Think of homeopathy for any symptoms that are not resolving, that are causing you suffering, affecting your life or that are stuck. Choose homeopathy to support your health.
For a much more detailed overview and explanation of what the body is doing in health and dis-ease, I thoroughly recommend reading:
The Science of Health and Healing by Trevor Gunn.