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Tutorial 16 – What to Expect (Part B)

This tutorial continues on from Part A of ‘What to Expect From Your First Prescription’. Once you have taken your first dose of a homeopathic remedy, one of the following seven things will happen:

  • A curative response – your symptoms get better and go away.
  • A similar aggravation – your symptoms first worsen and then improve.
  • A dissimilar aggravation – new symptoms appear for a short time but your old ones stay the same.
  • Accessory symptoms – your symptoms improve but in the process a new one appears for a short period.
  • Return of old symptoms – your existing symptoms improve but in the process, old symptoms from the past return for a short period.
  • A surrogate discharge or eruption appears for a short time while deeper improvement takes place.
  • Absolutely nothing happens.

Points 1, 2 and 3 are discussed in full at Tutorial 15. We now follow on with:

4. Accessory Symptoms – Your Symptoms Improve But in the Process a New One Appears for a Short Period.

What this means

The remedy only partly matched your symptoms. While it was close enough to trigger an improvement, there was enough difference (and sensitivity) for you to feel one or more of its other effects.


Sometimes a remedy will produce new symptoms while improving those of your original problem. These are called accessory symptoms. They occur when the remedy is only partly similar to your existing problem; the similar part of the remedy makes you feel better while the dissimilar produces a mild dissimilar aggravation. An example of an accessory symptom would be an itchy scalp triggered during homeopathic treatment for rheumatoid arthrititis.

What to do

Notify your homeopath. As long as the accessory symptom is not troublesome, your practitioner will probably choose to continue your treatment knowing that the symptom will disappear once the remedy is no longer needed. Until then, your homeopath may prescribe your remedy in a gentler form to minimise any inconvenience from the accessory symptom.

If the accessory symptom is intense or unpleasant your homeopath will stop treatment and prescribe a new remedy based on the remaining symptoms, including the new accessory ones. This combination will point to a better matching remedy. If the accessory symptom is very unpleasant, your homeopath can antidote it.

5. Return of Old Symptoms – Your Existing Symptoms Improve but in the Process, Old Symptoms From the Past Return for a Short Period.

What it means

The remedy was correct and you are experiencing a positive phenomenon known as “return of old symptoms” – deep healing is taking place.


A “return of old symptoms” indicates the remedy is not only healing the current problem but also working backwards through your past health problems that are lying, suppressed, at the energetic level of your body (read Tutorial 9 for more information about suppression). Most people are unaware of this deep energetic healing taking place; they only notice that their immediate problems improve. Some do experience a breakthrough effect of this healing as one by one, past problems return to the surface as the remedy removes the effects of suppression. When old symptoms do return, they are usually mild and short-lived, eventually disappearing never to be seen again. (This phenomenon and a case example is discussed more fully in Tutorial 11 – Return of Old Symptoms.)

What to do

Notify your homeopath. They will encourage you to note the symptoms and the order in which they return to confirm it is a “return of old symptoms” effect rather than an aggravation (see Part A of this article for more information on aggravations). If you are experiencing a “return of old symptoms”, you should also be feeling well and healthy in spite of the returning symptoms. Whatever you do, don’t suppress them again in the mistaken belief your health has taken a turn for the worse. Instead, be happy, for deep healing is taking place and the outcome will be good!

6. A Surrogate Eruption or Discharge Appears for a Short Time While Deeper Improvement Takes Place.

What it means

The remedy was correct. The energetic imbalance that underpinned your ill-health is now being relieved through a surface “vent” as you heal at a deeper level.


The human body will always try to “externalise” its health problems (push them to the outside) to protect inner organs essential to life such as the heart and lungs (see Tutorial 10 on Direction of Cure for more information). Sadly, the treatments we routinely use to manage these surface symptoms often drive the imbalance inwards where it affects more important organs (see Tutorial 9 for more information on suppression). When true healing takes place, our vitality may produce a surrogate discharge or eruption on the surface of our body to drain the energetic imbalance away from deeper organs. For example, a skin boil may appear and discharge during treatment as a person with a heart complaint improves at this deeper and more important level.

What to do

Notify your homeopath who, once again, will encourage you to monitor changes in your overall health. If this surface symptom is a substitute for a deeper problem rather than a dissimilar aggravation, let it continue as it will disappear of its own accord with improved health. Whatever you do, don’t suppress it or you will reverse the healing process and lose whatever gains you have made.

7. Absolutely Nothing Happens

What it means

Obviously, you are not getting better. In this situation, either:

  • The remedy is correct but you are “insensitive” and failing to respond to it, or,
  • The wrong remedy has been prescribed


Just as some people are sensitive to particular remedies, or to remedies in general, others can be “insensitive”. This does not mean they are hard-hearted or unfeeling – just a little slower than average in responding to well chosen remedies. If this is your experience, you will need increased doses of your remedy and a faster rate of repetition before improvement will occur.

More commonly, a lack of response indicates a poorly chosen remedy. If the remedy does not match your symptoms and if you are not overly sensitive to it, nothing will happen during a course of treatment.

What to do

If your homeopath suspects you are insensitive to your remedy, he or she will either increase the size of your dose, increase the frequency with which you take it, change its potency, or do all three. They may also ask you to increase the number of succussions (vigorous shaking hits given to the bottle before each dose) to make it energetically stronger (see Tutorial 3 on Potentisation of more information). These simple changes are more than enough to deal with the most insensitive of people. With ongoing treatment, both hypo and hypersensitive states should move closer to what is considered normal responsiveness to a remedy.

On the other hand, if you did not respond to the remedy because it was the wrong one for your symptoms, your homeopath will retake your “symptom picture” and make a new prescription. Homeopathic treatment takes “two to tango” so it is important to know you can make a significant difference to the outcome of your treatment. First, if you are living in Australia, check that the Australian Register of Homeopaths (AROH) or the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA) has registered your practitioner. Registration with either of these two organisations means they have met the minimum standard of training considered necessary for practice.

Next, identify which practitioners can apply what they have learnt by reading Tutorial 13 – Finding a Good Homeopath. Finally, be aware that your homeopath will base their prescription on what you tell them and on what they observe during the consultation. To make this information as complete as possible, please read Tutorial 14 – That First Appointment. Remember, because homeopathy treats “diseased” people rather than diseases, your odd and unusual symptoms are more important for choosing the correct remedy than the common ones most with the same complaint would experience – so do tell your homeopath about them.

In Conclusion

Homeopathy is an amazing system of medicine with all the necessary checks and balances to guide both patient and practitioner on their journey to improved health. Used with skill and wisdom, it triggers deep healing, strengthens vitality, creates immunity, and improves resistance to future disease. It is God’s gift to a suffering humanity, waiting for us to take advantage of it.


  1. Homeopathy: an Introduction
  2. Tutorial 1 – The Law of Similars
  3. Tutorial 2 – Law of Similars Discovered
  4. Tutorial 3 – Potentisation
  5. Tutorial 4 – Three Scales of Potency
  6. Tutorial 5 – Benefits of Potentisation
  7. Tutorial 6 – Provings
  8. Tutorial 7 – The Vital Force
  9. Tutorial 8 – Potentised Remedies and the Vital Force
  10. Tutorial 9 – Palliation, Supression or Cure?
  11. Tutorial 10 – Direction of Cure
  12. Tutorial 11 – Return of Old Symptoms
  13. Tutorial 12 – Homeopathy and Other Medicinal Therapies
  14. Tutorial 13 – Finding a Good Homeopath
  15. Tutorial 14 – That First Appointment
  16. Tutorial 15 – What to Expect (Part A)
  17. Tutorial 16 – What to Expect (Part B)

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