Homeopathy in Pregnancy and Childbirth: Part 1

June 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm (Comfort Measures, Homeopathy) (, , , )

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer:  I’m not a homeopath, an herbalist, or a medical practitioner of any kind.  I’ve studied some homeopathy, but I refer all my complex homeopathic questions to my homeopath, and I’d recommend that anyone new to homeopathy do the same.

That being said, I’d like to share with you all some information about one of the most gentle and profound healing modalities I’ve found in my explorations into complementary medicine.  My family uses homeopathy as our first line of treatment in all illnesses and injuries, as well as emotional upsets.  I’ve also seen my pregnant and birthing clients use it with great success.  But what is homeopathy?  How safe is it?  How does it work?

Homeopathy is a system of energetic medicine founded on the idea that “like cures like.”  This may not make sense on first glance, so I’ll begin my explanation with a description of homeopathy’s opposite: allopathic medicine.  Most drugs and treatments used in the Western world are allopathic, which literally means “other (than the) illness/suffering”.  The idea is that if you have a condition, you need to treat it with something that will counteract your symptoms.  So if you have a fever, you take a drug that brings fevers down.  If you have a cold, you take drugs that dry up mucus.  If you have pain, you take a drug that blocks your body’s pain receptors. 

Homeopathy looks at healing in a different way.  Illnesses and injuries are seen as energetic disturbances disrupting the body’s normal harmonic functioning.  If you can isolate the particular offending pattern, then you can give a homeopathic remedy with the same energetic pattern, thus canceling out the troubling energy in the body.  This may sound odd, but think back to your high school physics classes:  two waves with the same wavelength and frequency can cancel each other out (check out this link, it’s complicated, but look at the illustration for Constructive and Destructive Interference- the righthand drawing is what I’m talking about).  This theory can be a bit heady, and it can be confusing to see how it applies to the body, but in practice I’ve found that it works amazingly well.

So how do you find the right homeopathic medicine?  This is where a homeopath can come in really handy.  For some common complaints, there are some standard homeopathic remedies you can use.  I’ll discuss those in another article.  But for more complex complaints, one has to research the specific symptoms in a Homeopathic Repertory (I use Murphy’s) and then decide on the right remedy by studying the descriptions of the first few choices in a Materia Medica.  Again, complicated, but fascinating. 

There are many hundreds of homeopathic remedies described in a good Materia Medica.  Each entry lists symptoms for specific body parts, such as Limbs, Head, Stomach, etc, and also lists mental and emotional symptoms associated with the remedy.  But how do we know which symptoms are alleviated by which remedies?  This is where the history of homeopathy is especially intriguing.

In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, a medical doctor named Samuel Hahnemann became frustrated with the rough medical techniques of his day (such as purging and bloodletting).  While doing medical research, he noticed to his curiosity that quinine, the herbal drug used to treat malaria, would cause the symptoms of malaria if a healthy person overdosed with it.  He began experimenting with other herbal remedies and found that many of them, in overdose, caused the same symptoms they were purported to treat.  So he then developed a way of taking virtually any substance from its physical state to a pure energetic state. (watch this video to see how)  Then he and a group of brave souls tested each remedy, taking massive doses (way more than we take when treating a symptom) to induce each remedy’s energetic state in their bodies.  Since they were not already ill, the energetic patterns stayed in their bodies instead of canceling out, and they observed the symptoms the remedies caused and painstakingly recorded each minute detail.  The result: a record of the overall symptom picture of each remedy, which is an invaluable tool in treating illnesses today.  Thank you, Home0pathic Cowboys and Cowgirls!

So how does this work in a real-life illness?  I’ll use myself as an example.  About a week ago, my 20-month-old daugher and I weaned.  For the past week, my breasts remained full of milk, and as the week progressed, my left breast got progressively more sore and I began to have a headache, stomachache, and flu-like symptoms.  I tried massage and sage tea, but they didn’t help.  So I looked up my symptoms in my homeopathy books. I found several remedies that addressed breast pain, and I looked them all up in my Materia Medica (the description of each remedy and its effects).  I found Bryonia, a remedy that described pain that was agonizing on movement, and made better by being still.  It addressed headaches, stomachaches, and breast pain.  Cool made it better.  All of those fit my symptoms, so I began taking the remedy.  Soon after, I fell asleep during my daughter’s  nap (something I don’t usually do anymore), and after I woke, I felt the emotions I’d been holding on to surrounding weaning beginning to surface.  That night I took another dose, and then I slept well and without too much pain, and the beginnings of a fever disappeared.  The next morning, I took a dose again, and some milk released from the affected breast.  All my flulike symptoms disappeared.  By the afternoon, my energy had returned and my breast was feeling much better.

My return to health could be seen as a coincidence, something that would have happened without the homeopathy.  But this is exactly how homeopathy works: it provides a clean slate from which the body’s natural healing responses can resolve the symptoms of illness and injury.  In my case, it definitely stopped a disease process that was rapidly developing into an infection.  And it has worked with similar rapidity in many other cases where my family has used it. 

This has been quite a long post!  Thanks for sticking with me.  In another part to this series, I’ll describe some common remedies that pregnant and birthing women have used, and later I’ll also list some remedies that work great on children.

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