Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
One of my early cases as a student was someone who consulted me for snoring. Her snoring was such an issue that her family consistently complained about it, even others in the house who slept in a separate room.
It was a fairly typical consultation, snoring was the presenting complaint, and yes we have homeopathic medicines that are known to help in snoring. Over 176 of them.
Image (above) shows a screenshot from Complete Dynamics, a repertory. In our work we use different rubrics from the repertory to find a remedy to fit the totality of the case.
Which, whilst helpful, doesn’t narrow the selection down too much. What Hippocrates said is relevant so many times, and I’ll paraphrase here – ‘what’s important is the person who has the disease, not the disease the person has’. So my job here in this case, and every time in clinic, is to understand the person in front of me who has the symptom, the given diagnosis and prescribe to match on that, as well as the symptom they’re coming for help with. Because, as you can see above, snoring can be helped by a number of remedies.
What did I give, the most frequently asked question? Tuberculinum in a 1M potency, as a split dose. Why? Because that fitted her as a whole person. Did it work, the next FAQ? Yes. Others in her house reported far more peaceful nights with much less snoring. Success. And years later the same remedy did great for hot flushes for the same person.
Match the remedy to the person and marvellous things can happen. Homeopathy: it's not just medicine, it's individualised medicine.
According to the World Health Organisation, homeopathy is the second largest system of medicine (second to indigenous herbal medicine). Next week begins Homeopathy Awareness Week, so cue (at least on twitter) some most hilarious anti-homeopathy tweets.
Interestingly last time there was a big anti homeopathy piece on the BBC, I had a record number of enquiries that day, leading me to wonder whether people are doing what I thought I might, if I knew nothing about it but saw the vitriol, the negativity, and investigating below the surface, looking to find something that might work for them.
So next week, Wednesday 10th April, begins Homeopathy Awareness Week. Cue some hilarious sharing by our friends the denialists of, along with other things, their how does homeopathy work website (I'll save you the laughs and tell you their solo page says 'it doesn't'). Simple. Maybe even effective - if it wasn't so wrong. There'll be lots of fun made, lots of sharing of the word with negative tweets etc. But ultimately why?
If it's something that is nothing then why give it the energy?
If it's nothing then why try to ban it?
If it can really do something and needs banning then surely that's curious and we should look to the hundreds of research papers that exist and examine them. Because to no extent are they all supporting a negative point of view.
All that aside, what intrigues me is how effective homeopathy can be when you match the person and what's happening for them with a homeopathic medicine. How things can almost melt away. Sleep can improve, skin clears, negative thoughts go, optimism returns. IBS symptoms lift. Nausea and stomach pains go. Confidence increases. Headaches disappear. I don't want you for a second to think I get to do that straight away - it takes me time. Sometimes great on the first appointment, sometimes takes me to second - or later to really perceive the person so I can match them with a remedy to help. And, actually, it'd be wrong to say I can help everyone. But also show me one system of medicine that can.
Take yesterday for example, I saw someone who I gave a remedy the first time, they had some improvements, we repeated it and nothing much changed. We changed the remedy and the improvements were so much the family forgot there were issues and didn't turn up to their next appointment. As Joe Schwartz points out in Ananda More's Magic Pills film, the homeopath then decides everyone is better and despite the fact the remedies never can help, the homeopath thinks they're a great person.
That couldn't be further from the truth, my version of life is the opposite. Anyway, I got in touch to ask if they'd forgotten, and they apologised lots, we rearranged - and they told me they forgot as things were going so well. Which, ultimately was great to hear. And yes, homeopathy did good, I'm happy about that.
I'll aim to share some short mentions of how homeopathy has helped individuals during the week - that's an area I enjoy doing. If I'm totally honest the heavy scientific research element isn't for me. I love that it's happening, I enjoy hearing about it, but delving deep into studies when I see it working all around me isn't something that I'm keen to spend lots of time doing. I'm more than happy to direct people to various places - to the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) site, to the information on basic research in homeopathy by Iris Bell, PhD, to the collection of information recently compiled by Americans for Homeopathy choice.
I'm fortunate to have attended two of the HRI's conferences and see the seriousness of the research, see the amazing potential if anyone decided to stop sticking their head in the sand and read it (clearly lots of people are but the loudest denialists seem convinced to stick to their story despite plenty of evidence to the contrary). I'd also recommend anyone goes to at least one of these events during their homeopathic career. The next one is in London in June. It's awe-inspiring, confirms that it certainly, damn well does work, and gives you plenty of awareness of the scope of projects happening around the world. If you have the chance, go.
One thing I am looking forward to next week is that the word homeopathy will be out there more in the media. I often ponder that if I were a reasonably intelligent person who knew nothing about homeopathy, I would become curious. Why so much vitriol? What is this all about? And I'd likely investigate beyond the bluff and actually stumble across something that could help me. I'm glad I did many years ago - when there were still people telling me it couldn't work and it wouldn't. It turned it out did and does.
Homeopathy is often somewhere people turn for a last resort option – once the conventional medical options have run out. Many of the 6500 patients in the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital study had been through referrals to specialists and not been helped, so sought help with homeopathy.* More than 70% of these follow-up patients recorded clinical improvement following homeopathic treatment.
Commonly seen conditions by homeopaths in practice include headaches, migraines, IBS, anxiety and depression, help with coughs and colds and help with menopausal symptoms. Where these are long standing conditions, consultation with medical professionals is always advised, however sometimes there is no option, or the drugs are not a route people wish to use. In clinic I'm a big fan of integrating - I'm happy to be on your team but I'd like a medical professional on there too to do the diagnosis, if any tests are necessary and to check there's nothing sinister going on.
I'm also a fan of individualised homeopathic treatment - not because that's what I work with, more that that's where I see the best results in my practice. That said, I used a Helios Homeopathy kit for years before I became a homeopath - and was pleased by the results. It's definitely accessible to everyone, and with a little practice you can be doing some great home prescribing for friends and family in acute, self limiting situations.
Here we mention four homeopathic medicines that may be useful in each of the conditions above and an indication for their usage. The Homeopathy UK app is a good place to go for more information around each remedy – see if it matches the symptoms you’re experiencing and go from there.
In acute use, a homeopathic medicine in the 30c potency is a good place to start. Take one remedy and if symptoms are alleviated then wait. Repeat if symptoms return. If no response after 30-60 minutes repeat with one more tablet. If you’ve done that 3 times with the remedy it’s likely that you’re taking the wrong medicine for you. Re- look at symptoms or consult a practitioner.
Headaches and migraine:
Belladonna – sudden, bursting, pulsating head pain. May be worse from exercise.
Bryonia – tearing, right sided headaches. Worse from any movement.
Natrum Muriaticum – headaches may come on from sunshine and tension headaches, as if head is in a vice.
Nux Vomica – splitting hangover, nausea and irritability.
Remember to drink lots of fluid and take what Dr Rangan Chatterjee calls ‘movement snacks’ – too much sitting at a desk in front of your computer won’t help keep headaches away.
Arsenicum Album – stomach cramps, worse for cold drinks and food.
Argentum Nitricum – nausea and bloating alongside nerves and anxiety.
Carbo Veg – often useful in older people, may be cramps, bloating with much burping and flatulence
Sulphur – cramps worse from touch, with appetite increased around 11am in particular.
Again, drink plenty of water – our digestive system needs water to function properly – and get moving; it’s vital to our digestive health to exercise.
Where anxiety is acute homeopathic first aid may help, where it is a longer standing issue, consulting a homeopath is advisable.
Aconite - to think of in panic, rapid onset anxiety, sudden, intense panic attacks.
Argentum Nitricum - apprehension and nervousness particularly when thinking about events in the future. Often sugar cravings may be present.
Gelsemium - Performance anxiety, may feel paralysed, shaky and want to hide away.
Phosphorus – Many fears and anxieties, especially when alone. Always feel better in company. Sociable and friendly types who are sensitive.
Cold and flu symptoms:
Aconite – first signs of coughs/cold, especially after a chill.
Eupatorium – very thirsty, sore muscles and bones
Natrum Muriaticum – nose streaming, often clear but profuse, prefers to be alone.
Pulsatilla – thick yellow green catarrh in nose, ears may feel or be blocked. Often worse at night.
Calc Carb – can take on too many responsibilities and feel overwhelmed by them, often responsible, hardworking and reliable types. Hot flushes, head and neck sweats.
Pulsatilla – gentle, sensitive and emotional types who may be moved to tears easily. Irregular or painful periods may be helped.
Lachesis – profuse periods, hot flushes with palpitations, headaches and hot sweats. Often talkative types and may help those who’ve never felt well since the beginning of their menopause.
Sepia – may have mood-swings, feel weepy, worn out and exhausted.
Any questions, get in touch - I'm aware these are only short descriptions, and I could have gone on for days. But sometimes less is more.
Find a homeopath: www.findahomeopath.org
It seems there's an attempt to gag us as homeopaths. The current inflammatory word appears to be autism. Well, as you'd know if you read this blog regularly, we don't treat conditions, we work with people. I guess as people we like to label things - I have x, y, z etc, and the conventional medical world appears to rely on labels to a greater extent. Which is where I think homeopathy can be so great. We can work alongside the conventional medics (see my latest blog of a doctors experience of homeopathy - and, counter to what the press would have you know, there are medics who are very happy to work with homeopaths, or have studied homeopathy themselves), we can be aware of the label and work with the individual.
As ever: It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has. – Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC)
And we work with this so strongly. In constitutional (whole person) treatment there is no this for that approach to it. Yes in more acute homeopathy we know arnica for bruising, belladonna for fevers, chamomila for teething. However, it could also be bellis-perennis for bruising, pulsatilla for fevers and nux vomica for the teething. Where the symptoms fit.
There is no fixed medicine. It's about the person the disease* has.
There are several videos I've recently found really inspirational. I'd like to share them here, in honour of the day. Each remedy used will be different, as each person has been treated as, well a person. As it should be.
* I prefer to think of disease as dis-ease. It may be occasional headaches, epilepsy, migraines, depression, whatever the label is - the body may not be as healthy as it could be and that dis-ease is something we hope to ease with homeopathic treatment. To live more in a state of health. We all have different starting points.
Lastly having mentioned the media, I think something that's been ignored too much recently is that the evidence supporting homeopathy is growing, both the clinical trials element and the lab work. A colleague, Stephan Baumgartner is demonstrating the effects of homeopathic medicines on plants and many more around the world are seeing glimpses into either how homeopathy may work, or seeing the evidence it can be used successfully in trials, as well as the growing accounts of people's successes working with it. Have a look at the Homeopathy Research Institute website if you'd like a starting point to discover more.
My experience of homeopathy with Emma Colley 2019
As a doctor, I realize how our conventional training does not really embrace complementary treatments that have been so inherent in treating people over the centuries. We are now living in a climate where a ‘treatments worth’ only seems to be legitimate if proven with a clinical trials sponsored by a variety sources. The irony for me is that homeopaths were the first to create these trials to prove their remedies did work, but this seems to have been largely ignored with trials now testing the validity of pharmaceuticals.
I am a GP, and have undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Pharmacology. I am currently very fortunate to be studying the art of holistic medicine in the form of a Masters level Diploma in Integrative medicine at the National centre of Integrative medicine where we look to combine conventional medicine with complementary and traditional medicine, looking at an individual not just from the physical realm as we are often trained to do as doctors but addressing their mind, body and emotions. I have been fascinated by the wealth of complementary treatments out there and learning about them all in a scientific way has been no short of phenomenal. In particular my experience of homeopathy has been quite remarkable with significantly positive effects on my wellbeing. Discovered by Samuel Hahnemann and based on the principle ‘like cures like’ using a minimum dose, homeopathy is the second most commonly used medicine in the world as stated by WHO and is used by 200 million people worldwide.
I met Emma Colley at one of our Integrative medicine training days in Bristol. An experienced homeopath of many years, she lives on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I was impressed by her empathy and thoroughness in taking a full history, and really understanding my past so she could move forward with me in terms of selecting the best remedy to match my current life situation. Aware of my propensity to easily burn myself out and ‘do too much for others’ she was able to provide an incredibly bespoke homeopathic remedy, from a place of ‘feeling overwhelmed by my mind’ to a place where I felt calmer and happier, improving my fatigue and sleep. Her remedies worked gently with no side effects and the feeling of wellbeing became obviously pertinent over the weeks. She continues to have follow-up consultations with me every 6 weeks and is able to offer me Face time appointments to save time travelling. I feel Emma is extremely supportive and really helps nurture my resilience. Thank you Emma for your amazing input.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition