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A story of two homeopaths
...and how cats played a part in their decisions to study homeopathy.
Homeopathy attracts people from a wide range of clinical disciplines. Doctors, nurses, vets, podiatrists and dentists have all found that homeopathy can enhance their healing skills and bring relief to suffering where conventional medicine has been unsuccessful. But the reasons why people decide to train in homeopathy can be as different as the people themselves. Two new members of the BHA’s sister organisation, the Faculty of Homeopathy, who attained qualifications in homeopathy in 2010, illustrate this point only too well.
The Kenya connection
Radiographer Julia Williams decided to learn more about homeopathy when she was working in Kenya, thousands of miles from her home in Wales. She had travelled to the West African country with her friend of many years Dr Noel Thomas. Julia met Dr Thomas when she was working as a radiographer at the Maesteg Community Hospital in 1997. It was local GP and Faculty qualified homeopath, Dr Thomas, who was responsible for first getting Julia interested in homeopathy when he gave her a book to read called Samuel and Melanie Hahnemann: The Love Story.
Despite her new interest, it was many years later, when Julia was in Africa, before she finally decided to study homeopathy more seriously. In March and October 2009, Julia had accompanied Dr Thomas to work at a school of homeopathy in Kwale, a small town in Coast Province, Kenya. Relaxing with friends and colleagues at the end of the day, Julia flippantly challenged the homeopaths present to cure her of her life-long phobia of cats. The homeopaths eagerly took up the challenge and began asking a series of questions covering all aspects of Julia’s life.
“At first the questions appeared to be quite light hearted,” says Julia. “But gradually they became more probing and I could feel myself starting to get emotional. They were really getting down to the bare bones of the deep-seated reasons for my irrational fear.”
This incident had a profound impact on Julia and on returning to Britain she enrolled on the next homeopathy course in London. She has since taken and passed the LFHom (Licenced Associate of Faculty of Homeopathy) exam becoming the first radiographer to attain this qualification since 2002.
To attain the LFHom, Julia had to learn the core principles and concepts of homeopathy. This includes displaying an understanding of the historical and philosophical background to the development of homeopathic medicine, as well as the current scientific evidence. Her knowledge of homeopathic pharmacy and the materia medica was also tested, along with her consultation and case analysis skills.
“Although I wasn’t able to use homeopathy in my work as a radiographer, as I’ve recently retired from the NHS after 40 years’ service I’ve volunteered my services to Imaging in Developing Countries, a special interest group that promotes the advancement of medical imaging in poorer parts of the world,” says Julia. “I may be going to Malawi or Botswana where I hope to get the opportunity to use my homeopathic skills along with my skills as a radiographer.”
Cats also played a part in Catherine Tiphanie’s introduction to homeopathy. Catherine is an osteopath and about ten years ago one of her regular patients attended an appointment in a very distressed state. The patient explained that her cat was seriously ill and having had all the orthodox veterinary treatments and investigations, the vet had just told her there was nothing more he could do for her pet.
“I’d heard of a vet based about 50 miles from Aberdeen who also practised homeopathy, and suggested she may be worth a visit before giving up all hope,” says Catherine. “When I next saw the patient she was delighted to tell me of the cat’s miraculous response to the homeopathic treatment. The cat survived another eight years, reaching the ripe old age of 18.”
The following year Catherine had reason to take her cat to the same vet, June Third-Carter, who qualified Faculty of Homeopathy. The two women subsequently became friends which led to Catherine starting her training in homeopathy on the LFHom course at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital in autumn 2003. Seven years later she was awarded the MFHom, gaining full membership of the Faculty of Homeopathy.
Osteopathy and homeopathy
Today homeopathy plays an important part in the integrated approach to treating a wide range of neuromusculoskeletal complaints at the Broomhill Clinic in Aberdeen, where Catherine practises conventional (manipulative) osteopathy, cranio-sacral osteopathy, Western medical acupuncture and homeopathy.
“The majority of my adult cases involve chronic complaints with previous investigations and often a history of failed treatments resulting in the long-term use of painkillers,” she says. “Osteopathic case assessment involves identifying the maintaining features within a case of chronic pain and discussing the management of these with the patient. Homeopathy can be useful in this respect.”
At present homeopathy use varies from 5% – 15% of the cases seen every week at the clinic and is prescribed to help patients manage various conditions including:
- Anxiety and stress which can aggravate symptoms
- Sleep problems related to pain and stress, and the influence of sleep deprivation on the neuromusculoskeletal symptoms
- Musculoskeletal symptoms relative to hormonal changes e.g. at menopause or following cessation of HRT
- Extensive musculoskeletal symptoms in conditions such as ME and fibromyalgia; or following infections; or after treatments such as chemotherapy
Although the reasons why statutory regulated medical professionals decide to train as homeopaths vary greatly, once qualified they believe passionately that their ability to help their patients to better health has been increased through studying homeopathy. This is without doubt good news for patients everywhere.
If you have any interesting stories about homeopathy or homeopaths, please contact John Burry at email@example.com