"Ailments I see often in practice are, ailments from teething such as the teething cough which is misdiagnosed as bronchitis, eczema, colic, ear infections and gastric reflux. When treating babies, I always recommend seeing the mother as well, as the mother and baby bond is incredibly strong. Also, for mums who have experienced a colicky baby, exhaustion is often felt and they can become rundown from stress and lack of sleep. I also work along with a cranial osteopath and would recommend a cranial treatment to all mums for their children. Both treatments work very well together" (JE, July 2011)
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of treatment where homeopathic remedies are used activate the body’s own natural healing and recovery system, in order to overcome disease and illness and can improve general health and wellbeing.
It is well known even in the medical community that the body heals itself. All the nutrients we take in, exercise, sleep and even our emotions are all kept in balance or homeostasis. Our body runs a tight ship! Homeopaths see this heal ability as the root of illness; if the mechanism is broken then symptoms appear before illness, telling us something is wrong. So these symptoms should not be suppressed but used to identify the cause and remedies to bring the body back into balance.
The reason why this innate mechanism is broken can be for various reasons and it because of this, a homeopath will spend 90 minutes getting to know the patient inside and out to identity the cause of imbalance. We review medical history, lifestyle including diet, nutrition, as well and mental and emotional wellbeing.
How and why did you become a Homeopath? Why did you decide to set up a practice in France?
I always knew I would be a healthcare practitioner. I started my third level education initially with a view to become a doctor or pharmacist and studied science in order to progress on to one of these subjects. However, I come from a family who always aimed to use the least medication as possible; vaccines could not be given to us due to the family medical history and most of my family tended to react badly to medication. For these reasons, we sought alternative and natural approaches to health and so I was introduced to homeopathy. After using remedies successfully on myself and family I decided that pursue a career as a homeopath. I studied and trained in London with many great homeopaths and after 5 years I got my degree and license to practice. I then went to accreditation for one of the national registers in the UK.
6 years ago laws changed in France towards non-medical osteopaths. As my husband is an osteopath, we saw this as an opportunity to move here and set up our own clinic in Mouans-Sartoux. Since then, I have opened a second practice in Antibes and also lecture homeopathic philosophy.
In what ways can Homeopathy be of benefit to pregnant women?
I love working with pregnant women and as their bodies are going through extreme changes and at a very quickly pace, they respond brilliantly to remedies throughout the pregnancy and even for support during labour.
My experience with homeopathy and pregnancy actually started with infertility and seeing how remedies have helped couples who found conceiving difficult. This then lead on to treat pregnant women.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time but occasionally symptoms can make a few weeks uncomfortable. Most mums will know, the first 14 weeks, morning sickness can be a nightmare but is very manageable with homeopathic remedies. Fatigue, insomnia, digestive changes, back pain are a few other symptoms I have treated. Just before and during labour, remedies have been used to turn breech babies and to help regulate contractions. I also see and treat expectant mums for previous chronic illness such as allergies, where medication is contraindicated.
What are the common homeopathic treatments for babies and children?
With all babies and children, their ability to heal is much stronger than us adult. High fevers which are the body’s natural inbuilt anti-bug killer, are mostly exclusively seen in children. It takes a lot of energy to create a fever and most adults simply don’t have it in them any more!
However, even though their bodies are strong their immune systems still need to be cared for, which is not fully developed until the age of 2. These first few years are very important, antibiotics and strong drugs can have lasting effects on a baby’s body. Homeopathy is a safe alternative treatment which can help avoid the overuse of or even unnecessary medication.
Ailments I see often in practice are, ailments from teething such as the teething cough which is misdiagnosed as bronchitis, eczema, colic, ear infections and gastric reflux.
When treating babies, I always recommend seeing the mother as well, as the mother and baby bond is incredibly strong. Also, for mums who have experienced a colicky baby, exhaustion is often felt and they can become rundown from stress and lack of sleep. I also work along with a cranial osteopath and would recommend a cranial treatment to all mums for their children. Both treatments work very well together.
What Homeopathic treatments do you recommend to maintain general health in women?
Women’s bodies are very complex, far more so than a man’s body, and go through many changes throughout life. Stress has a greater effect on a woman’s body. Many of the modern diseases are seen more so in women than in men, examples are auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia and MS. It is for this reason women need to eat well, take care of their bodies and learn relaxation techniques.
The main areas, which attract a woman to homeopathy, are the effective treatments of hormonal disorders, infertility and aid for menopausal symptoms. Many women after experiencing effects from over use of painkillers ask me whether I can do anything for painful periods for either themselves or their teenage daughters. Using remedies offers relief both from the effects of the painkillers but more importantly for period pains.
Unfortunately modern medicine can only offer the contraceptive pill as a treatment for period problems. Some side effects, which women may not be aware of, from the pill are migraines, sleep disorders and elevated cholesterol. Many women are now seeing the secondary effects of prolonged use and want an alternative or treatment in order to help detox the pill out of their system. This is a double edged sword for women suffering from endocrine disorders such as endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Often the only treatment available is the pill. When time comes to trying for a baby, women are confused and many times depressed as they feel they have no options and little hope of conceiving. Many women are unaware that they have options with homeopathy and nutrition.
Later in life, the menopause can have a huge effect on a woman not just physically but also emotionally. Menopause is a very natural phase in a woman’s life which can be often treated like a medical disorder. Many women although unaware actually suffer from a phase of depression when their periods stop. This coupled with sometimes very strong symptoms of hot flushes and sleep derangement can be a very challenging time. How strong a woman’s symptoms, often depends on hereditary factors and, from my experience, on liver health. My tip to women coming up towards menopause is to eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, like never before, and drink plenty of water. This will help their transition. Remedies really are a great tool helping to make these symptoms pass quicker and swifter.
In what circumstances do you think Homeopathy is a better alternative than conventional medicine?
I am an advocate of integrated medicine and feel that CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) therapists and doctors need to work closely together. Both systems have very different views of health and the body but potentially work very well together. The medical profession and medication aims to manage symptoms but in general the actual cause of the disease is not addressed. Toxins, mineral and vitamin deficiencies are rarely addressed an example of this is the increase of selenium deficiency. Due to over farming, our grains hold very little minerals seeing previous generations. Selenium was mostly found in bread and is used by the body for fertility issues and for thyroid gland to produce thyroxine. These two conditions are on the increase in recent years although many doctors do not test for this simple mineral deficiency.
Homeopathy aims not only to address the patient’s current state of health but to improve your overall general wellbeing leading to increased energy and vitality. This increase energy, which many patients describe as a sense of increased motivation, leads to a significant improvement in immune function. Homeopathy also targets the cause of ill health in patients, whether symptoms arise from physical stress i.e. night workers, over toxicity, emotional stress or accidents, all of these can be address with homeopathy.
Although the most important advantage of homeopathic remedies are that they are safe, non-toxic and so not of any harm to the body making it useful tool for people of all ages.
In which circumstances do you believe that conventional medicine should take precedence over homeopathic treatments?
I always recommend patients to get a full diagnosis even after they have started remedies I have prescribes. With prolonged intense symptoms during acute illness such as infection and a high fever, I recommend the mother looks into conventional treatment. I can also tell if a child has the “energy” to recover purely from remedies. A child with a good vitality will respond quicker and more effectively to remedies than a child who has been very much weakened from continual illness and or poor diet or over medication. In such instances, I recommend homeopathy alongside conventional medicine in order to strengthen the immune system and so preventing such intense illnesses in the future.
With some mums who would like to treat their children completely naturally, the decision to use conventional medicine can be disappointing but as I previously mentioned, I advise integrated treatment and am happy to work alongside a patient’s family doctor. The idea is to limit the use of medication such as antibiotics, for the instances where they are necessary and so their effect will be greater and more efficient for example not to cause secondary discomfort due to antibiotic.
Some mothers choose not to have vaccinations for their children, do you endorse this? Are their homeopathic alternatives to prevent the onset of common childhood diseases?
The vaccine issue is a big question, a lot of homeopaths are asked. The issue is around the substances used to preserve vaccines, their effects on our bodies as well as the nature of the immunity acquired through vaccines, i.e. in nature we would not have more than one virus at a time. However I am pro- informed choice. I recommend parents read into all the literature there is discussing vaccines, talk to their pediatrician and make a decision they are comfortable with. On my website I provide links to sites with all the information parents may need.
Homeopathy is fantastic in helping a patient body dealing with childhood illness. As I mentioned a lot of issues which scare a mum regarding her children are part of the natural immune response. For example, fever, is a sign your child’s body is working properly. Prolonged fever of intermittent fever is not so, I always encourage mother to stay in contact with me. I also recommend mothers for both vaccinated and unvaccinated children to educate themselves on symptoms for all childhood illnesses. When illnesses such as mumps, or chicken pox are caught early they can be managed very quickly.
How is Homeopathy regarded in France? How much as it grown over the last say, 10-15 years? Is the practice of Homeopathy more advanced in France than in the UK, where you trained? Is Homeopathy regulated in France? If so, what is the body?
Homeopath has a deep history in France. It started a developed in Germany over 200 years ago by a Germany doctor Samuel Hahnemann.
Hahnemann later in is life moved to France and homeopathy was embraced by French culture. Since then, it has great developed greatly over the past two hundred years all over the world. There are various prescribing methods including classical, practical and complex homeopathy. Being trained in London, I received training in all methods and knowing when to apply which method comes with clinical training and experience.
There is a huge difference between homeopathy, here in France, to the UK. Although I may be biased, I feel that homeopathy here is very limited in its uses due to the difference in training, prescribing methods and potency availability.
The first difference between the two countries is the strengths of remedies available. Remedies come in CH form for example 15CH and 7CH or DH, 3DH or 6DH and both are different strengths. Remedies become “stronger” in homeopathic terms as the number becomes higher, for example 30CH is very weak compared to 10M or 10,000CH. What potency to choose differs with each patient and the aim is to match the strength of the potency to the strength of the symptoms presenting. However in France remedies are only available up to 30CH, and generally 7 or 9CH are the most widely available.
France has a tradition of poly-pharmacy, prescribing remedy combinations repeating over a period of time. This fashion of prescribing was introduced in the 1940’s by homeopath Leon Vannier. Later unicast or classical prescribing was introduced by Pierre Schmidt in the 1050’s and this method of training was until recently taught, although poly-pharmacy is still the main method of prescribing in France. Although poly-pharmacy does have its place in homeopathic prescribing it does not suit every patient and is a less holistic way of seeing a patient. Remedies are given based on various symptoms and the analysis into why a patient is experiencing these symptoms is absent.
I also feel that the training involved in homeopath in France greatly influences the style of homeopathy. In France, once trained as a medical doctor, after 6 years you can then chose to specialize in homeopathy and training can last from 6 months until 2 years. Training in English speaking countries where professional non-medical homeopathy is recognized lasts 4-5 years and all aspects of health including integrating into conventional medicine is included. Where I trained I followed a 4 year licensed program and clinical training. To be a professional homeopath, as well as all the homeopathic philosophy, physiology, pathogenesis, nutrition and counseling are all included. I then went on to a further year to receive a science degree in homeopathy and clinical research. Being a trained homeopath, I have an increased understanding of holistic treatment and aim to treat the person not the disease. Medical doctors are disease orientated and this could affect their approach to homeopathic prescribing. Although I cannot say this is so with every homeopathic doctor.
For homeopaths that are not considered to be medically trained, there are various registers in Europe including the European Council for Classical Homeopathy, which work with organisations in most European countries to bring homeopathy together and unify the profession and standard of training.
Unfortunately as homeopathy in France is governed by the medical council, they are not involved in this register.
If people are interested in getting in touch with you, how should they go about it?
I am available to patients by both phone and email on firstname.lastname@example.org or 06 27 09 68 57. If a person would like to contact me they could find all my contact details and addresses on my new website which is soon to be finished and online, www.vie4vitality.com. On my site people can find my blog and this, along with my facebook profile Antibes Practice, I update my patients and friends on recent health studies and advice on how to treat and heal the body naturally.