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Prevention

Human nature is such that it is always easier - and probably always will be - to take a pill than to change a way of life. Most people want quick solutions. They want health with the minimum of fuss and effort. They don't want to worry about the food they eat, the air they breathe, the neighbourhood they live in, and so on. And while there are professionals to provide the quick solution, who is to say that such people are less healthy than those who worry interminably about saturated fats, additives, nitrates, fluoridation, toxic metals, ozone depletion, radiation, and so on? In this modern world of ours, driven by short-term profit rather than thought for the future, there is indeed a lot to worry about in terms of the nutritional, environmental, and cultural hazards of living in Britain today. The trick is to strike a balance between constructive worry and neurotic worry. There are many small changes in lifestyle which are practical and affordable; try these first, feel the benefits, and then larger changes may be possible.

If you suspect that something in your environment may be upsetting you, but are afraid that you are making a fuss about nothing, discuss it with your homeopathic physician. He or she will either be able to deal with it himself or herself or will suggest further action if necessary.

The Preventive Role of Homeopathy

At the deepest level, homeopathy is preventive in intent. Homeopathic remedies do not wade in and 'zap' offending organisms, leaving the immune system less able to cope than before. Quite the opposite. They nudge the immune system - not only the white cell populations of the body but also the mental and emotional states which keep those populations healthy - into greater responsiveness and readiness so that disease is kept away or prevented from recurring. In fact, homeopaths are trained to look for diseases before they happen. When a homeopath prescribes constitutionally, he or she is prescribing not only for the present ailment but for tendencies which have not yet manifested themselves as medically recognized ailments.

The foetus in the womb can be treated homeopathically to minimize imbalances inherited from the mother and father. Homeopathic treatment of childhood ailments lessens the risk of the latent weaknesses they cause being activated in later life - infants and children, with their newly minted immune systems, respond excellently to homeopathic treatment. Homeopathic immunization against the graver diseases of childhood is not usually offered unless a child is particularly at risk; most homeopaths prefer to take the route of boosting general resistance to disease. There is little evidence that homeopathic immunizations are effective and there is some anecdotal evidence that they may not be.

In adults, prompt homeopathic treatment of minor illnesses can often prevent persistent, and sometimes serious, complaints developing in later life. At all points in the cycle of development, birth, growth and maturity, subtle symptoms of constitutional weakness can be picked up by careful homeopathic analysis and treated before they burgeon into chronic and entrenched disease.

Unfortunately, no one has yet invented a way of trying out homeopathic and orthodox remedies on the same person and comparing their effects over a lifetime, but the following hypothetical case history shows how a homeopathic physician might approach a case of late-onset asthma.

At nine months old, the future Mrs X develops eczema; the ointment used to treat it leaves her skin very dry. Apart from dry skin and constipation, she is a generally healthy child. At the age of 14, she has a bad fall from a horse. A year later she develops hay fever, which turns into allergic rhinitis (a runny nose all year round). Skin tests show that she is allergic to house dust mites, grasses and horses. Desensitizing injections clear up her runny nose but leave her feeling unwell for some time afterwards.

In the early 20s she is underweight and suffers from an almost continuous post nasal drip (catarrh dripping down the back of the throat). In her late twenties she marries and has two children, both full-term, healthy babies. Apart from dry skin, constipation, occasional nosebleeds and irregular periods, she feels reasonably well throughout her 30s. In her early 40s, she loses two people very close to her, her mother and eldest son. Shortly afterwards, she develops asthma.

She consults a homeopathic physician for the first time. High potency Natrum mur is prescribed to help her through the grieving process, and she is advised to cut down on salt and carbohydrates. A month later, the asthma has all but disappeared, but she continues to suffer from dry skin, constipation, and catarrh at the back of the throat; if anything, she reports, her throat feels worse than before; and she also feels chilly and irritable, and has had several boils. Hepar sulph. is prescribed. This clears up the boils and the catarrh, but the runny nose remains. Allium and Arnica clear up the runny nose; Sulphur clears up the dry skin and the constipation. At this juncture the eczema she had as a very young child reappears. Since there is a family history of tuberculosis and allergies, she is given Tuberculinum; this clears up the eczema. She continues in good health, visiting the homeopath at infrequent intervals, until the age of 75 when she dies of pneumonia.

The homeopathic treatment involves a peeling away of layers of illness, removing symptoms in the reverse order in which they appeared, each time reaching further back into the chain of cause and effect.

There is little doubt that predispositions to certain groups of ailments run in families. Mrs X's Achilles heel, so to speak, was her respiratory tract. Had she been treated homeopathically from childhood onwards, this vulnerability might have been dispelled. Even from the age of 45 onwards, homeopathic health care prolonged her life and enhanced her quality of life.

Unlike many other modes of 'health care' which swing into action once health has broken down, homeopathy is based upon helping the organism to resist breakdown.

Finally

We could spend our entire lives worrying about avoiding hazards and preventing ill-health; briefly, the most important things to remember are:

  1. Stress is part of the modern world: try and find a way of coping with.
  2. Eat healthily, breathe properly, take plenty of exercise, especially in fresh air and maintain good posture.
  3. Try to avoid contamination of your body and environment.
  4. Treat ill-health by homeopathic means as much as possible: do not resort automatically to orthodox medicine.
  5. Interestingly, recent scientific evidence favours the idea that people may actually benefit from small amounts of environmental and radiation damage because they may make the body resistant to further harm, a clear vindication of the homeopathic principle if ever there was one.
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