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The Drug Rocket vs the Homeopathic Sail

An image of a sailing boat to represent the metaphor of homeopathy being a gentle and hands on approach to health care.What’s the difference between homeopathy and conventional medicine (or allopathy)? Here’s a metaphor that might help: conventional medicine is a rocket, while homeopathy is a sail.

Allopathy relies on often harsh, interventionist drug-based regimes to restore a patient to health. Consider antiviral medication, which attempts to defeat pathogens by inhibiting protease or blocking nucleotides in a developing virus rather than treating the underlying weakness that allowed the pathogen to take hold.

This oppositional approach to treatment is rather like strapping yourself to a rocket, and shooting yourself into the sky. It’s easy – just light the fuse – and you’ll certainly go somewhere. But it might not be where you want to go, and you’ll likely find the journey to be an uncomfortable one!

By comparison, homeopathy is like spreading a sail to catch the wind. It’s safer, but far more hands-on. Your heading and bearing needs to be considered. Fine adjustments need to be made as the wind changes. Occasionally, you might even drift away from the target. The skill of the mariner setting the sail is the critical factor – a skilled sailor can take you where you need to go, while a poor one will leave you becalmed.

Homeopaths believe that the body has a natural ability to “center” itself. You just need to unfurl the sail and set it correctly to return from sickness to health. A skilled practitioner can help you do this.

Homeopathy’s beguiling complexity can be seen in the Case Reports section. Consider the case of Madeleine (not her real name), who suffered from sinusitus.

Madeleine’s beautiful soprano voice had been enjoyed by thousands, but for the past seven years she had been plagued by sinusitis. The constant collection of mucus over her vocal chords had ruined her voice and every month or two she would succumb to throbbing pains in the centre of her forehead and around her eyes and nose, which could last from days to weeks.

Madeleine was prescribed Sepia, with initial success. But she was a sensitive individual, and one day her remedy stopped working.

Then, without warning, everything had gone wrong. Over a few days she had gone from feeling happy and confident to “dark” and irritable. In spite of taking another dose of her remedy, her sinuses had become blocked and infected and her back was a lot tighter, causing her to wake at night from the discomfort.

Investigation soon revealed that Madeleine was taking an additional supplement that also contained Sepia, hence she was dosing too often. When this was corrected, improvement continued.

Or consider a dog who was suffering from eczema. A homeopath prescribed her Psorinum.

Within a week Molly’s behavior had improved dramatically. She once again wanted the company of her family and even came inside the house when invited – something she would not previously do. Molly’s confidence was also improving but, most dramatic of all, her missing hair had almost fully regrown within three weeks. She no longer smelt and to everyone’s surprise, she had begun to bark – something that she had never, ever done before!

But after about six months, a different remedy was required.

For many months, Molly did well with an occasional dose of the remedy but, approximately six months later, her owners realised that it was no longer helping. They brought Molly back to the clinic for an assessment. At this time she was prescribed Baryta carbonica, a remedy that matched her emerging symptoms of jitteriness with other dogs and an appetite for warm food; its a remedy often used to finish the good work that Psorinum begins. I’m pleased to report that three weeks later her owners phoned to tell me that Mollie had bounced back to perfect health.

As you can see, healing is often a gradual process: one marked by turns and adjustments rather than a straight line toward the target but trimming and setting that homeopathic sail can get you there.

A note about the metaphor: although homeopathy might be likened to a sail, this doesn’t imply that it’s weaker or less effective. Sails are extremely powerful – the only question is how and when you deploy them and where. We might someday use sails to explore the stars, but in the present, here on earth, we can use them to steer our frail and injured bodies back to health.