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August 18, 2011

Homeopathy 101

I’ve gotten a ton of questions about homeopathy since mentioning it here as part of my psoriasis and stress management. While I’m no expert and can’t diagnose you (so don’t ask!), here’s what I know and what I’ve experienced:

Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Unlike traditional western medicine, it addresses the cause, not the symptoms. Any illness is fair game—from depression to cancer to the common cold (a friend of mine and her kids take immunity drops to avoid getting sick all winter!). Homeopathy also follows the theory that “like cures like.” For example: If the symptoms of your disease are similar to the symptoms of poisoning by golden rod, then golden rod would be your homeopathic remedy. While that may sound counterintuitive, it turns out that giving someone a very small dose of the same substance enhances the body’s normal healing and self-regulatory processes. Homeopathic remedies are always natural, and typically derived from flowers, minerals or herbs. The remedy is diluted, usually in water or alcohol, and taken under the tongue or on the skin where it can be absorbed into the body.

When I became tired of treating my psoriasis symptoms because I instinctively KNEW there was a root cause that I could control, I started seeing Lise Wolff. My first question to her was: If homeopathy is so effective, why isn’t everyone using it? She explained to me that not so many centuries ago homeopathy was the gold standard of medicine. Then man got greedy, institutionalize the industry, and before long medicine became the modernized machine that we know today. Homepathic practices were essentially lost in the re-org. I’m over simplifying the story, of course, but it’s a trend we’ve seen in other areas of life—sustainable and organic farming, for example. I’m overjoyed to see both experiencing a rebirth thanks to increased education and awareness.

The most fascinating part about homeopathy for me is the diagnosis process. Lise spent a good two hours talking to me about my life, my emotional and behavior patterns, and my symptoms. She found a remedy by dropping numerous floral essences and herbal tinctures on my forearm and noting now my body responded to them based on whether my pulse slowed or quickened. It sounds like hocus pocus, but our bodies are so sensitive to these remedies because they recognize the ingredients. There’s a sort of energy exchange that’s impossible to quantify but makes perfect sense if you’ve ever felt connected to nature.

Not only is homeopathy extremely effective, but results can be rapid, complete and permanent. The key is finding the right remedy and that can take time and experimentation. Unlike prescription drugs, homeopathic remedies are not one-size-fits-all. You may need to try several, or different combinations, so plan on being patient. I saw Lise several times over a period of 3–4 months before we landed on something that worked. The floral essence blend, which I took in drop form under my tongue, addressed feelings of uncertainty and were meant to give me calmness and courage—two things I’d been in short supply of most of my life. Also very fitting considering I had just left my job to start a new business. I can’t say that I felt any different—which was definitely preferable to any side effects I may have experienced with a drug—but I knew that something had shifted internally when the psoriasis started to clear up.
In the perfect world, medical doctors and homeopaths would partner on a patient’s care. There’s definitely movement in that direction, but for now it’s going to require us to be proactive about our health. If you’re interested in learning more, this directory will help you find a homepath in your area. I’d love to hear about your experiences!
  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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