Treating Skin Problems with Homeopathy
Our skin is the largest organ in the body, covering about two square metres in total. Skin plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing by not only protecting us as the outermost barrier and regulating our body temperature, but also reflecting how healthy we are on the inside.
Skin ailments like eczema, rashes and acnes can be difficult to treat. Antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids are often prescribed by medical doctors in conventional medicine to manage skin complaints. They may help in the short term, but can become ineffective over time or less well tolerated. Eczema patients are worried about the long-term effects of using strong topical corticosteroid cream, which can cause atrophy or thinning of the top layer of the skin.
More people are now turning to homeopathy, a complementary therapy that can be used to help with many dermatological ailments for all the family.
“In Hong Kong, there is a great interest in holistic healthcare and skin complaints are one of the, if not the most common, problems that patients seek homeopathic consultations for,” says Registered HomeopathMina Weight. Mina recently joined IMI, where Homeopaths Graeme Bradshaw and Dr Benita Perch (ND) also practice.
How Does Homeopathy Work?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine created in 1796 by German physician and chemist Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of “like cures like.” He discovered that quinine bark, a conventional medicine for malaria, produced the same malarial fevers it could cure when it was taken by someone who was well. He experimented with other plants and found that a substance which has the power to cause certain symptoms in a healthy person, will, in a minute dose, cure a sick person of those same symptoms.
The foundation of homeopathy is that illness occurs when imbalance in the body exists. The homeopathic philosophy recognizes that each person is unique and there are layers to be unpeeled. This is why homeopathy treatments do more than simply suppressing the symptoms in isolation and look at the patient holistically.
“Homeopathy involves a deeper enquiry into the person, their individual reaction and particular symptoms as well an assessment of the family history, previous illnesses, and health challenges,” explains Graeme Bradshaw.
The basic nature of the body-mind and history allows the homeopath to determine the main indications of the disturbance to the vital force and to use the constitutional treatments to stimulate a recovery or rebalancing of the individual’s vital force. Remedies are then chosen according to the patient’s unique constitution.
There have been high-quality randomized clinical trials that demonstrate homeopathy as a clinically effective therapy.
Homeopathy for Skin Ailments
The Society of Homeopaths, a professional body in the United Kingdom, is organizing the 14th Homeopathy Awareness Week from 14 to 21 June, 2014. This year’s campaign will be raising awareness of how Homeopathy can be used to help relieve skin ailments, from eczema, rashes to acnes.
Homeopathy can be very effective in instances where conventional medicine is not, or when there are significant side effects. Take eczema for example, although conventional treatments can save lives in acute flare-up and infections, they mainly address only the symptoms. Patients usually are given topical steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs for the skin. The root causes and imbalances in the body are not addresses.
“In natural medicine, we believe in the self-healing power of the body,” says Dr Perch, “we want to identify and address the root causes, harmonize and re-balance the body with homeopathic remedies so the body can heal itself.”
“As a professional Homeopath, I do not necessarily prescribe topical creams or even homeopathic medicines directed towards skin conditions alone, but instead I will spend a great deal of time exploring all aspects of an individual looking at how the body is functioning as a whole, including the impact of physical and emotional stress on the skin,” explains Mina.
Randomised controlled trials provide positive evidence for homeopathy in both seborrhoeic dermatitis and radiotherapy-induced dermatitis. In addition, a study of 118 eczema patients published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal reported that homeopathy was as effective as standard conventional treatments in the short-term and more effective than them in the longer term1.
Outcomes studies conducted in the United Kingdom at the National Health Services (NHS) homeopathic hospitals provide additional important evidence from patients themselves: in a survey of over 6,500 consecutive patients conducted over a six year period at Bristol.
Homeopathic Hospital, 82% of under-16s with eczema reported a clinical improvement. On average, 70% of patients report an improvement after homeopathic treatment at the hospitals, for a diverse range of conditions2.