Last night, I had the pleasure of going to Cornerstone Cohousing Village in Cambridge, Mass for a fundraising dinner for the upcoming film, Just One Drop, about the history and effectiveness of homeopathy in the US and around the world. This really excited me both as a doctor using homeopathy and as a former skeptic.
My background is in biochemistry, so when I started learning about homeopathy in naturopathic medical school, I was...well...more than skeptic. I literally thought the classes were a waste of time. I just couldn't wrap my scientific brain around the fact that something that has been diluted so much that there was no molecular trace of it could possibly be an effective medical treatment. Then again, I wasn't aware of the power of energetic medicine yet, either. As the years went on in school, I still sort of glossed over using homeopathy as a treatment once I started my clinical rotations. It wasn't until one day, in one of our low-income clinics in the Portland-Metro area that I really woke up to the possibilities of homeopathy as a valid treatment modality.
It was the end of a long day of an even longer week and I was struggling to keep my brain from being totally fried when our last set of patients arrived. I almost flinched when I saw the screaming toddler and young mother come in..."please, don't be me, please, don't be me," I kept saying in my head. Sure enough, I was the student physician assigned to the case. I spoke with the mom for about 10 minutes and something just clicked. All of the symptoms she was describing fit one of the few homeopathics that I had floating around in my cluttered med student brain. I quickly took the child's temperature and called my attending physician in to be sure. She was just as shocked as I was that I was recommending a homeopathic remedy. I went to our modest closet of donated remedies and sure enough, the remedy was there. I put the pellets under the child's tongue and continued my physical exam under the close eye of my attending. Before I was even done with the exam, the child stopped crying. I thought perhaps it was the warmth of my otoscope as I looked into her tiny ears, or that in fact, her eardrum had burst and she had finally gotten relief. After checking twice, and having my attending check, her eardrums were fully intact. Her fever had decreased minutes after the remedy was given. She was even giggling by the time the appointment was over and her mother was checking out. I couldn't believe it. My attending came over and patted me on the back and said, "welcome to the power of homeopathy."
After that experience, I was curious. And perplexed. And still, a little skeptic. But how could the placebo effect affect such a small child who had no idea what we were doing? Even if it was a "placebo effect," as so many skeptics refer to homeopathy, the child was better, which was the point, right? And why do people poo-poo homeopathy saying it's "just placebo" when there is so much research that placebo is in fact a valid theory? I was even more confused. My biochemistry brain was slowly unraveling as I was learning more and more about different types of energetic medicine. By the time I became a resident, I was doing rotations with Dr. Dickson Thom, a guru in the naturopathic profession who uses a form of homeopathy called biotherapeutic drainage. I was hooked. And still a little confused. But I was now seeing hugely complex cases like cancer, Lyme disease, Parkinson's and autism have such positive responses to homeopathy. So much so, that I currently use it as a primary treatment modality in my current practice.
Homeopathy is just like anything else - it works for some, but not all. It also requires a knowledgeable homeopath to find the right remedy (or remedies). You can get what are called "aggravations" as your body is trying to heal, but technically, there are no side effects. The point is, it is a valid treatment modality that should be taken seriously. It may not be the right treatment for some, but it has worked well with many others and for hundreds of years.
OK, so I digressed a bit...back to the film. I just wanted to give you a little background as to why I am so excited about this movie coming out - so people can see the power and history of homeopathy and the place it has in today's mangled health care system. If you are a fan of homeopathy at all, I urge you to donate as much as you can (even if it's just $1, or lending your home to a fundraising dinner) so this movie can be finished and shown to the masses. I fully support the filmmaker, Laurel Chitan, and applaud her for using her talent and passion to bring these stories to life. I had such an amazing time seeing old friends and meeting new ones - Nancy Frederick, RS Hom. (NA), CCH and Jane Frederick. Please join me in donating to this cause. Even if you can't donate money at this time, please spread the word.