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It seems like not many people in the Washington, D.C. area are familiar with naturopathic medicine however many more are familiar with the term homeopathic medicine.
When I tell people that I am a naturopathic doctor many people turn to me and say, "Oh, so you are a homeopath or homeopathic doctor." I am always surprised that people know the term homeopathy.
I do use homeopathy as one of many tools to treat patients in my practice. I often ask the person what does the word "homeopathy" mean to them?
They usually give me an answer about practicing natural medicine or natural living. While that definition is technically true because homeopathic remedies are based on plant, mineral or animal sources, it is not really a good definition.
Homeopathy is actually a very specific system that requires a very well-trained practitioner and very lengthy visits to get the correct remedy for a patient’s health challenge. Homeopathy can treat physical, mental or emotional issues if administered correctly to the patient. If the incorrect remedy is administered the person will not notice any affect.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine the term homeopathy comes from the Greek words "homeo", meaning "similar", and "pathos", meaning "suffering" or "disease". So the definition of homeopathy means to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances, known as homeopathic remedies.
The system of homeopathy was developed by Dr. Samuel Christian Hahnemann at the end of the 18th century in Germany. Hahnemann based homeopathy on two basic principles: the Law of Similars and Law of the Minimum Dose.
The Law of Similars posits that disease states can be cured in a sick person by substances that create the symptoms of the disease in a health person.
The Law of the Minimum Dose states that the lower the dose, the more effective the therapy, because a small dose will stimulate the body's innate ability to heal itself.