I recently spent an extraordinary week in Redondo Beach, California where more than 500 medical doctors, veterinarians, dentists, naturopaths, and homeopaths from around the world convened at the World Congress of Homeopaths. They came together to discuss advances in homeopathic treatments and remedies and the integration of medicine. More than 50 workshops were conducted to discuss homeopathic treatments for anything from ADHD, Autism, and Vaccinations to Dementia, Depression, and Cancer.
The session began with Dr Martin Chaplin, who discussed the physics behind the controversial concept of dilution and its role in homeopathic pharmacy. It was both challenging and inspiring, to see that homeopathic remedies might be measured and understood through the theories of quantum physics. Dr. Chaplin believes that it is truly a matter of time before quantum physics explains homeopathy and how it works.
The next session was an exploration of the Organon of Medical Art, the work of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, who is known as the ‘father of contemporary homeopathy.’ What most struck me from the lecture was the pure courage and determination of Dr. Hahnemann, who in the 18th Century proved the basic theory of homeopathy of ‘let like be cured with like’. Due to an accidental poisoning with quinine, he observed similar symptoms as those of his patients with malaria. He then gave the quinine in small quantities to these patients, and noted that their symptoms were improving, and far beyond the average recovery rates of malaria at the time. This observation began a lifetime quest of clinical observation with further homeopathic remedies, and culminated in a philosophy that was to be the foundation of homeopathic theory and practice – as documented in the 6 Editions of the Organon of Medical Art.
Dr Richard Moskowitz then spoke about the controversial issue around vaccinations and several commonly prescribed drugs in his seminar ‘A Homeopath Looks at the Medical System.’ This was a compelling discussion of the potential long-term side effects of many drugs and the rising numbers of auto-immune disorders, allergies, ADHD, Autism, and many other conditions. Lectures ended with open forum questions and often a dialog between the speaker(s) and the audience. Although the participants were passionate at times, these exchanges were often a healthy dialog that was honest and respectful on all sides.
The following day began with Dr Paul Herscu, an international homeopath, lecturer and founder of the New England School of Homeopathy in Connecticut. Dr. Herscu spoke about his life-long work with children and the growing evidence in the effectiveness of homeopathy in treating ADHD and Autism. Clinical trials reveal that homeopathy can provide safe and gentle treatments in not only physical symptoms around these afflications, but also support emotional and behavioural symptoms that affect learning and development. Because so much of my work is with children, I came away with several resources in both ADHD and Autism as it is an area I would like to explore further in my practice.
Later that day David Warkentin spoke about the unusual or peculiar symptoms in homeopathy that often lead to better remedy selections. He had some very amusing examples of unusual symptoms of babies who eat chalk or bite their toenails, for example, as being sometimes the symptoms that lead to a remedy that is most homeopathic or similar to that individual. Later I attended a lecture on new treatments for allergies, asthma and depression. Dr. Vangelis Zafeifou from Greece gave an inspiring talk on the potential of homeopathy in supporting patients with life changes, from parenthood to mid-life and then into the aging process.
The following day was spent discussing more remedies in the support of Autism and ADHD, as homeopathic remedies are playing an increasing role in treating children where conventional medicines are either ineffective or inappropriate, or in cases where the child needs further support. Other areas, such as the growth of homeopathy in veterinary care for animals, were also taken up in various panel discussions. I met a veterinarian from San Francisco who was attending the conference to expand her own skills in homeopathy for treating her animal patients. In practice she has found remedies to be very effective with cats and dogs for conditions from skin rashes to behavioural problems around fear or hyperactivity. She believes that homeopathic veterinarians will be in great demand in the next decade.
The final day was perhaps my favourite as it began with Dr Todd Rowe giving an assessment of the health of the homeopathic community in the United States. His statistics from more than 2,000 homeopaths and patients revealed some of the underlying issues that surround both the affordability and access to homeopathic care throughout the country. The detailed quality of the survey provides valuable insights for professional organizations, training facilities, practitioners and medical doctors to embrace the necessary changes for homeopathy to continue growing into the next decade. Peggy Chipkin, homeopath and author, gave a lovely insight into practice and again how big an impact homeopathic treatment can have on an individual in all areas of his or her life. She spoke of Gandhi’s infamous statement that homeopathy is ‘the only complete system of medicine.’
The conference concluded with Dr. Wayne Jonas who spoke about the increasing need to quantify homeopathic trials through a conventional context with several new studies that do just that. He said that we are on the ‘cusp of something great’ in terms of the growing consciousness of health and wellness, and homeopathy has an important role in that movement. He ended with a video of some of the humanitarian work being done by Jeremy Sherr in his work in Africa around AID’s related symptoms. This was a meaningful and hopeful way to conclude the week-long conference.
I came home feeling inspired about the brilliant work being done by homeopaths around the world, and by the growing number of conventional doctors, veterinarians, and dentists who are training and using homeopathy in their practices. I would agree with Dr Jonas that we truly are on the fringe of a major awakening to the possibility of a mind-body connection in relation to health and wellness. I met a paediatrician from New Jersey who was finishing her 4 years of training in homeopathic medicine with the hope of having more tools to help her patients; she believes that her conventional training is filled with limitations. There is so much to be hopeful about…