Homeopaths are holistic healers who practice a 200-year-old system of medicine
based on the principle of similars. Those are substances that can cure symptoms
similar to those they produce.
This medical theory suggests that illness is caused primarily by an imbalance
in a person's energy system. Illness is not simply from outside causes. Homeopathic
practitioners look for a single homeopathic medicine to treat the whole person
-- mind, body and emotions.
There are two distinct groups known as homeopathic practitioners. One group
consists of lay practitioners -- people who have learned homeopathy through
self-study and courses, but aren't necessarily licensed.
The other group is medical professionals who practice homeopathy as a specialty.
This includes medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, chiropractors, naturopaths,
nurses, licensed acupuncturists, podiatrists and veterinarians.
Some years ago, homeopathy was considered alternative medicine. Today,
attitudes are changing and it's considered a complementary medicine, a treatment
to be used in conjunction with traditional medicine.
Monica Miller is the spokesperson for the National Center for Homeopathy.
She notes that in Europe, there are more practitioners of homeopathy and other
alternative therapies than there are general practitioners. That trend could
move across the Atlantic to North America.
Homeopaths interview patients, then study the information they have collected
and prescribe a remedy. Homeopathic remedies are recognized as drugs by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Most homeopathic medicines are made from plants, with some coming from
mineral and animal sources. The medicines are considered safe because they
are non-toxic and used in small doses. Homeopathic medicines are available
over the counter in most drug and health food stores.
Most homeopaths work in quiet, comfortable offices. Most are self-employed
and work 30 to 50 hours per week.