Homeopathic consultations can be a different experience than a visit to a regular physician. This is because a homeopath does a complete case-taking to get a complete picture of a person’s general health and lifestyle, as well as particular symptoms, on the physical, mental and emotional levels. Some symptoms can be so subtle that the patient is not always completely aware of them, and the doctor must spend time getting to know the patient. The initial visit often includes a long questionnaire about a patient’s medical and family history, and then a long interview with the doctor or practioner, who prompts the patient with many questions. Sometimes a homeopathy will use lab tests to establish a patient’s general level of health. The initial interview usually lasts between one to three hours.
The curative process extends beyond the relief of immediate symptoms of illness. Healing may come in many stages, as the practitioner treats layers of symptoms that are remnants of traumas or chronic disease in the patient’s past. Healing starts from the deepest parts of the body to the extremities and from the upper parts of the body to the lower parts, restoring health in stages. Sometimes, the patient may feel worse before feeling better. This is called a healing crisis.
Consultations for acute situations are less extensive than chronic cases. However, the practitioner will need some basic history and information in order to get a good symptom picture for healing. The interview lasts for an average of about thirty minutes.
The purpose of homeopathy is the restoration of the body to homeostasis, or healthy balance, which is its natural state. The symptoms of a disease are regarded as the body’s own defensive attempt to correct its imbalance, rather than as enemies to be defeated. Because a homeopath regards symptoms as positive evidence of the body’s inner intelligence, he or she will prescribe a remedy designed to stimulate this internal curative process, rather than suppress the symptoms.
When prescribing a remedy, homeopaths will match a patient’s symptoms with the proper remedy in a repertory or materia medica that has been compiled throughout the history of homeopathy. Classical homeopaths prescribe only one remedy at a time. However, it is becoming more common, especially in Europe, to use combination formulas of several remedies for the treatment of some combinations of symptoms.