An interview with a homeopathic practitioner will be likely longer than a conventional medical consultation, and often involves a series of follow-up visits several weeks apart, especially if a long-term condition is being treated. This allows the progress of an ailment to be carefully monitored and subtle changes noted. At the initial appointment, a person's current state of health and previous medical history will form the basis of a complete health, personality, and lifestyle profile as the foundation of homeopathic prescription.
Homeopaths believe that a person's state of health reflects the level of their inner vitality at the time, and that good health is defined as freedom from illness combined with general physical and emotional well-being. Homeopaths also consider that certain health problems develop from an acquired or inherited "root," and that a person has a tendency to become ill in a particular way—his or her susceptibility (see page 18). According to homeopathic theory, illness results from imbalances in body systems, which have a great capacity for self-healing. This can be stimulated and nurtured by homeopathic treatment.
When taking a homeopathic remedy, observe the following "rules" in order to ensure that it has the best chance of working effectively.
• Do not eat for 30 minutes before taking a homeopathic remedy, so that it enters the system on its own.
• Do not eat for 30 minutes after taking a remedy so as not to inhibit absorption.
• Avoid strong foods and drinks, such as spicy foods and alcohol, that affect body systems, or consume them only in moderation. Some, such as coffee, may actually counteract the remedy.
• Avoid using strong substances, such as household cleaning products, that might have a poisoning effect on the body.
• Avoid medicinal substances and certain products, such as some essential oils, so that a remedy can get to work on its own. If in doubt, consult your homeopathic practitioner.
• Do not touch or handle a remedy; use a clean, dry spoon to drop it into the mouth. If tablets are touched or dropped, they should not be returned to the container.
• Store homeopathic remedies properly (see page 271). Make sure that the tops are securely in place before storage.
Homeopathy presupposes that the human body is always adjusting positively to maintain a healthy balance (see page 18), and has a compulsion to flourish. If that balance is threatened—from outside or within—the body tries to reestablish it, and symptoms of an ailment are manifested as it does so. Symptoms develop as the body responds to the stress of illness, and a person's physical and mental resources are temporarily redeployed in order to deal with the illness.
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