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!
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.
Especially when you're telling the truth.
It feels so utterly corrupt and so not 2019. 1984 perhaps. I keep hearing that quoted and feel a lack in my literary education. However I'm not sure if reading it would help. It feels a little bleak. Like a train going full steam ahead but not asking questions. Yes to everything offered but not looking at why we're getting sicker. And anything might help? Shut them up straight away.
So this week there's been a BBC flurry driven by an anti-homeopathy campaigner, which feels to be escalating. I've removed certain qualifications from my website, and a page and a couple of blogs so am not at risk of attack.
2019? At risk of attack for my profession. Yes. True sadly. But I'd not be the first. Colleagues have, in the past, had death treats. Which feels so crazy to be doing this work and getting such flak for it.
Likely at some point I may not even be able to say 'homeopathy may help...' which feels wishy washy anyway. I've not been 'allowed' to say 'cure' for a long time. Homeopathy has helped me loads so I'd ask if it's helped you, please keep talking about it.
To finish I'll leave you with Camilla Sherr for a tiny insight into how it is at times being a homeopath. I'm especially feeling this today. There's another short clip on the Magic Pills Facebook page here where she talks about how amazing it is. That's for balance here. And it is. It's truly remarkable work. It's not easy but it is the most satisfying, incredible thing to work with and see. Here's Camilla. Feeling it today.
I don't know why but sometimes you see a run of a certain thing (ha no puns intended here) in clinic and it seems to have been around poo - or lack of which has been the bigger issue.
Researching our natural frequency - apparently anything between three times a day to three times a week is considered normal. It seems from chatting to people recently, those going three times a week would rather it be more frequent - and have been relieved when perhaps the frequency has increased.
Over the last few weeks I've seen issues with urging to go - non-existent to improved, frequency of going improved and chatted with others about issues around this outside of work. I'm amazed really how little we go at times - how little we talk about it and how embarrassed we are at times when we do.
Surely it's a fact of life, like death - and it's going to happen so we may as well not shy away from it? One of the great things I love about my clinic space is that anything can be expressed, and without judgement. So yes, we chat about poo too. Or death. Or anything really.
Homeopathic medicines can be so helpful in this area - post surgery constipation I've seen improve several times (and just recently post surgical bladder incontinence resolved beautifully with a couple of doses of Pulsatilla). Remedies that have been helpful to me in the last few weeks include but are not limited to: Agaricus, Bovista, Carbo Veg, Mag Mur, Nux Vomica, Opium. All as homeopathic medicines - and many with one dose or a couple of repeated doses. I've seen great benefits with others too - Calc Carb for example - where the symptoms fit can be wonderful.
Where the symptoms fit is the key phrase. Constipation in my repertory has 890 remedies that have the feature listed in them. So yes it narrows it down out of the 4000 available homeopathic medicines - but not so much. We need more details. Constipation alternating with diarrhoea has just 158. So if that's the issue it's a little more refined already. We have medicines for constipation worse for chill, constipation after laxatives, worse different times of day and much more.
It's important for us to know who you are too. My best successes in clinic I would say are those in whom I can perceive the person who has the dis-ease as well as understanding the dis-ease, and I'm able to prescribe a remedy that fits it all. Then I'm likely to see longer lasting effects.
There is of course action you can take into your own hands:
But if you've checked off all that, if you still can't poo and it's a regular thing, get everything checked out by a GP or medical professional - and if there's nothing 'wrong' going on - head out to see the homeopath and see what we can do for you. It's amazing how many people we manage to help who've been through 'all the options' and come as a last ditch attempt to us - and find relief.
www.findahomeopath.org to find someone near you or feel free to get in touch with me to find out more about working with me. I'm currently (it's now March 2019 in case you're reading this lots later) making appointments for new clients May '19 onwards.
I was reading Brené recently (if you need to ask Brené who I need to direct you to her work another time), and she was talking about falling into a pattern of being smaller, saying less so we don't get hurt. It struck me that's what homeopaths have been forced to do, with the ASA 'rulings' (more on the ASA if you're interested - they're a whole different thing than they make out to be) and skeptic attacks, which continue today.
So we can't say the c-word (nope, not the same word I was asked about yesterday from a new school education), we aren't supposed to talk about conditions, we're allowed to say in a wishy washy way that homeopathy might possibly maybe help here or there people to feel better a little bit. Perhaps.
I waver on what we're best to tell people sometimes. Are we best to talk about the crazy, outlandish, never believe it unless you were there cases (obviously and of course with permission), or are we best to talk about a cough here, a sniffle there, some period pain (which can of course be crippling for some so no minor feat when that improves with homeopathy). Are we best to talk about the life changing potential, people discovering their purpose on the earth (any Organon fans will be proud of my paragraph 9 interweaving there)? I'd love some discussion.
I was so happy to hear a medical homeopath recently say that they tell people homeopathy can cure diseases that [in their experience] conventional medicine can't**. As their first sentence describing it. 'You say the c-word' I said in awe? 'I love that.' And I do. Since when did we get so scared we can't speak our truth anymore?
How's about we start to share our experiences (feel free to share them as comments on this blog, to your friends and family, as Facebook replies and comments or in the supermarket). All the stories, from the cough to the chronic colitis and all the way in-between. The remarkable, the everyday, the lifesaving, the life changing. What were your 'no s*** Sherlock, this stuff works' moments, your amazed, incredulous and stunned times, and your plain old 'oh that pain went and I didn't need an operation after all (I love when a client comes back and tells me that)' moments.
** As mentioned before in this blog, I think conventional medicine is incredible, life saving and wouldn't want to be without it. In acute medical interventions I think it's utterly phenomenal. In more chronic conditions - asthma, hayfever, eczema, chronic fatigue, IBS, depression, diabetes it appears to create something akin to customers. No one seems to get better-better, just managed. This isn't to say there's not a time and a place for your steroids, antidepressants, more to say that long term use isn't looking like a successful cure, whereas homeopathy has a long history of helping in many of these conditions.
Logging onto twitter this morning, as some of the work I do is around the positive communication of homeopathy with, well, anyone who is interested, I sorted through the good, the bad and the ugly. Retweeting some of the good, generally I ignore the bad and the ugly though like to have some awareness of the balance.
This morning though, it may be because I was working late and then was woken early - it seems the cat had got shut into a cupboard last night - I assumed she was out having fun - oops - I am feeling less tolerant.
For homeopath friends, in case you find it useful - I usually have a bless and block attitude*. They can't know what they don't know, and most of them, I believe think they're doing the right thing (I'll not start on the ones who appear to be paid to do what they're doing and destroying lives in the process for now). But today, enough.
Here's a selection below of this morning's joy:
What I realised straight after my mental grumble was how grateful I am that we have films such as Magic Pills (and last year I also hosted Just One Drop) that we can begin to redress the balance with. If this is what people are hearing, reading, all the time, why wouldn't they look strangely at you when you say you're a homeopath?
I've done a U-turn from being worried someone might criticise what I do, to welcoming the opportunity to discuss it. There is SO much mis-information out there. So much is spread by mainstream media - to be honest it makes me question everything that we're told. I see what they say about what I see happening in front of me with my own eyes, and wonder how it can be distorted so much. Are we just being manipulated about everything? I hope not but fear the truth may be being maligned about much. I am glad to offer my view, having experienced it, for myself, for others, and very effectively so.
Bored of the BS too? I'd suggest you might consider putting on an information event, attending a wellbeing fair, share positive information about homeopathy wherever you can - or think about (perhaps just do it!) putting on a screening of Magic Pills or Just One Drop for your community. I hosted the films in a community cinema near where I live, most recently Magic Pills at the start of June 2018, and on Saturday I will be sharing my first Magic Pills screening at home with friends and friends I've not met yet (or met only briefly). My plan is to do another in October/November time for others who wanted to come to either June or Saturday's showing that hadn't been able to make it along.
I'm excited about sharing it. And there'll be cake.
Cake disclaimer - it may be this banoffee nut butter ice cream cake, or this one not the berry one pictured. Or it might be. Can't decide. Anyway, at least I know what the film will be. It'll be great. I am in huge admiration of the work Ananda More has created here, and each time I watch it I spot more cleverness. It's definitely a watch it 2-3 times to really appreciate it kind of a film. Though the first time I was impressed, further watching has impressed me even more.
www.magicpillsmovie.com/host-screening if you'd like to host your own film event. I strongly recommend it - so much that I've nearly shown it twice (will be aiming for three after Saturday!).
* My bless and block method was largely influenced by Pierre Pradervand's. It's probably worth you reading it more than me explaining it - it's been so very helpful to me getting through trickier times, and to many clients that I've suggested it to.
I had this question recently and it's inspired me to write a few words (I hope just a few as I want to write about yesterday's seminar too and I've honestly got loads to sort today... can't just sit and write all day. Though I think I would quite like to. Anyway...).
I am likely to always say yes to this question. If there's a query at all, I think it's worth checking it out. I am not here to diagnose, to treat a specific complaint (though many a time a specific complaint may go away), and it's important to me that I work as a part of a team. I am not a doctor, nor have I medical training. We shared some classes with medics at uni doing my degree but it was not a medical degree. I don't do everything. I do homeopathy. I do removal of obstacles to cure where I can. I do lifestyle advice. I do common sense. But I do not diagnose. I do not have the fancy amazing equipment that is available with the health service. Or any idea of how to use it. So go, get a diagnosis, take an informed choice. Research. Decide. And I'll happily help where I can with what I can do.
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
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition