By Carrie Stearns, P.D. Hom.
As I write, it is a beautiful, bright spring morning. We are already in the heart of spring here in Ithaca. The daffodils are at their peak and tulips are just around the corner from blooming, with the lilacs not far behind. I have spent my morning drinking tea, reading poetry and periodically checking in (via my computer) on a pair of nesting herons at Sapsucker Woods, all while thinking of writing this article for the GreenLeaf about my work as a homeopath.
Homeopathy and spring actually have a lot in common. Spring is a time of renewal, and homeopathic medicine holds great potential for deep and lasting renewal of health. Spring is full of energy and possibility, born out of a time of darkness and stillness. Homeopathy is energetic medicine made from nature (plants, animals and minerals) that stimulates the body to transform symptoms of illness into health. The darkness and stillness of winter is a very real metaphor for illness. In my work as a homeopath I approach healing with the idea that illness offers us opportunities through which we can discover places in need of change that then can bring about greater health.
Homeopathy works with the body to stimulate healing through our own energetic defense system (or vital force). Symptoms are seen as the language of the body expressing itself so that it might attain a depth of health that allows one to live one's true purpose.
This approach to healing represents a key difference between western medicine and homeopathy. In western medicine, symptoms are usually viewed as problems to be stopped, and often there is no connection made between various symptoms. We go to a variety of different doctors to treat different problems, and then are given a wide array of medications aimed at each specific symptom.
As a homeopath I seek to elicit detail about and understanding of all the symptoms that present themselves and then prescribe a remedy that fits that picture as a whole. When a homeopathic remedy can match the symptom picture (we call this resonance), it is able to stimulate the body toward a healing response. There can be quite dramatic results right away, especially in cases of acute illness (like an earache or headache), or the process can be deeper and more subtle, with long-term symptoms resolving over time. When the body is encouraged, and allowed, to work toward healing from within, it naturally leads one to a greater sense of wellbeing. For me as a practitioner this is very gratifying — much like watching the amazing force of life coming into bloom in the spring.
Because homeopathy works with the body there is really nothing it cannot potentially address. In my practice I have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of health issues, often with successful results. Here are a few areas I commonly see: children with chronic respiratory problems, children and adults dealing with issues of anxiety and depression, women at all stages of life dealing with hormonal issues, people recovering from physical and/or emotional trauma and people dealing with illness related to grief. I have also ventured into supportive care for people undergoing conventional cancer treatment. In these cases I have had the opportunity to see how much homeopathy can work alongside western medicine to support the body and to boost quality of life. I also get to treat complications of various colds and flus, whooping cough, and Lyme disease and provide supportive care for people following surgery.
While I strive toward homeopathy's potential to take healing to a deep level, I also recognize that I can't actually know in any given case where the process is meant to go. One of the beautiful things to me about homeopathy is that it involves listening with an objective mind and open heart. To work with the body is to let it lead. To listen deeply is to hear the "why" underneath one's physical and emotional expressions. When we allow and listen, when space is given to our pain, healing naturally finds its way. When the days get long and the sun brings back its warmth, the bulbs break ground, the birds make nests and the trees grow leaves. Within the darkness of illness lies the potential for greater health.
Carrie Stearns, P.D. Hom., practices classical homeopathy at the Padma Center for Natural Therapies in Ithaca, NY. She will be giving a class at GreenStar on May 9 at 7 pm called Homeopathic Medicine and Women's Health. To register, sign up at GreenStar's Customer Service Desk or call 607.273.9392. Carrie holds a practitioner diploma from the School of Homeopathy in Devon, England. In addition to her homeopathic studies, she has participated in the spiritual study of the Diamond Approach and the practice of mindfulness meditation, which she seeks to bring into her healing practice. She is available for consults at her office in Ithaca as well remotely via Skype. Visit Carrie's site to learn more about her practice.
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