|FINDING THE RIGHT HOMEOPATH
Just as you would try to find the best
nephrologist in your area, so, too, must you be prepared
for a bit of legwork in finding the right homeopath. The
relationship between patient and practitioner is very
close in homeopathy, so you want to find someone you can
trust, who has integrity, and who is a skilled homeopath.
You are not likely to find someone experienced in treating
IgA Nephropathy – homeopaths, unlike nephrologists, do
not specialize in particular diseases or areas of the
body. But you should be looking for someone with a good
track record in treating complex immunologically mediated
diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, rheumatoid
arthritis, Graves’ disease (or other endocrine
disorders), fibromyalgia, etc.
- Personal recommendations
from other people in your area who have been
successfully treated by homeopathy, particularly for
complex chronic conditions. Ask people you know and
trust what they like about their homeopath and whether
they have any reservations
- NCH Affiliated Study Groups are
one of the best sources of referrals from people
knowledgeable about homeopathy. Both lay and
professional homeopaths get together in these groups to
learn more about homeopathy (a never-ending process!).
If there is a group in your area, go to a meeting. If
you can’t make it to a meeting, call the study group
leader and ask his or her advice. If there is no study
group in your area, call an NCH member listed in the
directory and see if they have any recommendations.
Membership and study group directories are available
online at www.homeopathic.org.
- Local health centers, natural food
stores, or libraries may
have information available on area homeopaths or host
introductory talks by homeopaths. Many cities and
certain regions of the country have free papers
dedicated to health and healing that carry
advertisements for or articles by homeopaths.
- Your primary care doctor or a trusted
complementary health care practitioner
may be able to recommend a homeopath.
- Online directories
are increasingly popular ways of finding homeopaths or
alternative health care practitioners. See Links
to Homeopathic Organizations for Referrals.
- The Yellow Pages
are probably the least reliable way to find a homeopath,
but if this is the only means you have, then use the
following questions to evaluate the homeopath’s
What to ask a prospective homeopath
Before making an appointment to
see a homeopath, you should ask about their credentials,
how long they’ve been practicing, and how they describe
the particular kind of homeopathy they do. Ask questions
that address your special needs and concerns, such as
whether they’ve treated patients with IgA Nephropathy or
other renal diseases. The receptionist may be able to
answer your questions; if not, it is acceptable to ask for
a brief conversation with the homeopath. (This may tell
you all you need to know about how accessible the
homeopath is.) Remember, this is time to get answers from
the homeopath, not to discuss your case.
- Where did you train? How long have
you been in practice? Some
people will feel comfortable consulting a newly
qualified practitioner, but others prefer someone with
more experience, particularly for serious issues. If the
practitioner is relatively new, ask if he or she has a
mentor or someone more experienced with whom to work on
more difficult cases.
- Are you certified and with whom?Certification
by a bona fide certifying organization is a "seal
of approval" by the homeopathic community and
assurance of a minimal level of competence. Not all
practitioners, even some very good ones, are certified,
- Can you describe the kind of
homeopathy you practice? You
want to know if the practitioner is a classical
homeopath who prescribes a single remedy at a time and
avoids combination remedies. You also want to know what
method the practitioner uses to select the remedy.
Classical homeopaths rely on an extensive intake
interview and medical history; they do not use
electronic measuring devices, muscle testing, dowsing,
or other "non-classical" methods.
- Do you have a background or training
in any other medical discipline?
Some homeopaths trained originally as MDs, nurses,
acupuncturists, counselors, etc. You may feel more
comfortable with a homeopath who is knowledgeable about
renal pathology and physiology and who can liaise easily
with your nephrologist or other doctors.
- What proportion of your practice is
homeopathic? Some homeopaths
combine homeopathy with other health care modalities,
such as conventional medicine or acupuncture. Medical
doctors who dabble in homeopathy are more likely to rely
on conventional medicine than professional homeopaths
who practice homeopathy exclusively and are more
comfortable using it in crises.
- Do you have any experience treating
complaints of my type?
Again, treatment experience may be hard to find in the
case of IgA Nephropathy, but the practitioner should
have a good "track record" in treating renal
disease or immunologically-mediated disorders.
- What do you charge?
Fees vary depending on the length of visits, experience
of the practitioner, and where they work. The fees of
complementary practitioners who work from home are
likely to be lower than those working out of a clinic.
If you are on a pension or have a low income, ask if the
practitioner has a sliding scale of fees or allows
patients to pay over time.
- Will insurance cover my visit?
While some companies may pay part of the fees,
particularly if the homeopath is also a medical or
chiropractic doctor, most companies will not. While
paying these fees out of pocket may seem daunting,
remember that if you get your health back it works out
to considerably less than the cost of dialysis, or
anti-rejection medications, or time lost from work.
- How often will I need to see you?
Some homeopaths insist on a monthly commitment or
bimonthly follow-up visits. Some will ask that you
return in a month or six weeks, then, if you are doing
well, ask you to return again in six months. A lot
depends not only on the practitioner’s style but also
on the severity of your case.
- Will you be available if I have an
emergency? If you have an
injury or acute illness between scheduled visits, will
the homeopath treat you. This question is more likely to
be important to parents when the patient is their child.
Kids rarely fall ill during office hours – will the
homeopath be available in the evenings or on weekends?
- Can you cure me?
Steer clear of any practitioners who say they can cure
you. They may feel they can, but it is not ethical to
guarantee a cure.
Listen to your gut feelings during this
conversation and ask yourself whether this is someone you
can work with, someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Some people will want a warm and caring approach, while
others prefer a slightly different practitioner who is not
going to be too probing. Some, especially teens and the
elderly, may want a practitioner closer to their own age.
A rough rule of thumb in homeopathy is
that it takes two years for the body to cure a chronic
condition. Please remember that healing is a process:
don’t give up after a visit or two if you don’t get
immediate results, especially if you have been ill for
awhile. This is not to say that you should keep seeing a
practitioner if you feel there is no rapport between you,
or if you have lost hope. But you should give your
homeopath at least six months to help you.
Your homeopath should explain to you
that a homeopathic cure often involves the temporary
return of old symptoms. A proper "direction of
cure" in homeopathy also involves the movement of
symptoms from the inside out – that is, from the vital
core of the body to the periphery – and from the top
down. You may need to persevere to obtain the full benefit
of homeopathy, but it eases the journey to understand what
the route to healing looks like.
[Adapted from "Finding the Right
Homeopath for You," Homeopathy Today, February