Constitutional Homeopathy for the “Whole” Family

A primer of homeopathy for the beginner, by Lia Bello, founder of the Homeopathic Nurses Association

Wouldn’t it be nice if the common problems that arise in your family every year just didn’t happen this year? In this scenario sinus infections, recurrent colds, prolonged flu‘s, hayfever, stomach aches, indigestion, headaches, menstrual cramps, strep throats, bronchitis, ear infections and the tendencies toward other health problems and diseases, like asthma and allergies would take a year (or more) off and have the option of staying away. Is this really possible? Well, yes, I’ve seen it happen for some of my patients and I have experienced it for myself. I’ve seen my children go for extended periods of time with nary a sniffle though they were around many other children and it was wintertime. How can this be? It sounds like the people who are lucky enough to experience this optimum state of health have somehow strengthened their immune systems (or are being protected by an angel). What has happened? These people have entered into a healing relationship with a homeopathic practitioner and are reaping the benefits of constitutional treatment.

In my 22 years of study and clinical experience using diet, nutrition, chelation, yoga, herbs, stress reduction, massage, allopathy, homeopathy and other “energy medicines”, I have seen many people improve their health dramatically. Each was led to the healing modality which best suited them and each was motivated to keep looking and investigating his body’s healing reactions. Homeopathic constitutional treatment is the most deeply preventive and curative medicine I have come across, rivaled only by acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Ideally all homeopathic prescribing is so individualized that the whole person is taken into account; their body type, temperament, desires and aversions, mental and emotional and even spiritual story of symptoms is heard and analyzed before the similar remedy is chosen. Most acute homeopathic remedy prescribing is not so deeply thought out and the remedy is “spent” in balancing the current illness. The constitutional interview and time spent researching can easily approach 3-5 hours of work for a professional homeopath and can be well worth the time and effort. The chosen remedy is usually given when the patient is not experiencing an acute flare-up of symptoms.

A story to illustrate the depth and wisdom that the body can access when when the vital force, though off-balance, comes under the influence of the similar remedy, follows.  Jeremy, age 5, was brought in for homeopathic treatment after his mother had been told by their pediatrician, that Jeremy would need bilateral tympanostomy, “tubes in the ear”, to prevent otitis media, since continuous use (daily for 6 months) of prophylactic antibiotics had not stopped his recurrent ear infections which sometimes led to a pussy discharge from the ear. The doctor also told her that Jeremy would need to begin cortisone nose spray for his stuffy nose and recurrent sinus infections and that he would need to have his hearing evaluated since there was chronic fluid behind the eardrum.  Jeremy’s father had a history of childhood ear infections and allergies, asthma and eczema. Jeremy was a thin, active child with pale face and blue eyes. He was a mouth breather and coughed weakly every few minutes. He was quite shy in the office though his mother described him as extremely stubborn, but never mischievous or mean. His mother linked his stubbornness to his extreme sensitivity to seemingly trivial things. One bothersome habit of his was to complain over and over that his shoe was hurting him if the seam on the toe of his sock was not just right. She shared that he was in a gifted program at school but he had complained that he was picked on, even by younger children. When I examined Jeremy I found swollen lymph glands in the throat area and small pea sized hardened nodules along the base of the skull behind the ears. His eardrums looked whitish , thick and moist and were not able to move when tested with a puff of air. His tonsils were enlarged and on his face, chest and abdomen his skin was kind of transparent; I could see the veins underneath easily.

Though the problem of chronic ear infections in younger children is common, each child’s treatment is different and based on the “whole person”. The picture I saw here was the mineral remedy Silicea and I gave Jeremy a dose of 200c. It took another hour of homeopathic education and supportiveness toward Jeremy’s mother to know that their family would be able to make it through the transition from allopathic patients to homeopathic patients. We had gone through the possible scenarios of aggravation and recurrence of old symptoms, and I let her know what she could give for symptoms as we waited for the remedy to do its thing (Vitamin C, fruit flavored herbal cough syrup, and Kali Mur 6x as a decongestant). More words of wisdom on how to explain all of this to her skeptical husband and how to relate to her pediatrician (refuse ear tubes for now, get the hearing tests, use the doctor’s diagnostic expertise when needed, don’t fill prescriptions but hold them just in case). And I assured her that she could reach me by phone for questions and more support.

Well, Jeremy did respond to this remedy, though it took its time. His ears never discharged pus again though he had a few minor infections. That year’s colds were not complicated with sinus infection, strep or bronchitis. His hearing had been compromised from the previous fluid and infections and he did a year of speech therapy. His mom hung in there and she was happy that she had found homeopathy for Jeremy. She hated to think where Jeremy’s health might stand if she had gone through the worrisome procedure of having the tubes inserted and they had fallen out after a year. Best of all, Jeremy seemed more well adjusted at home and at school. Silica 1M was given once more after a plane ride brought on some clogged eustachian tube symptoms of pain and hearing reduction in one ear. Three years later he remains well.

A good homeopath sometimes misses the right remedy the first time (or two). Did you know that there are about 3000 remedies in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia? Some people need several sequential remedies to treat “layers” of symptoms. A month for every year that you have suffered with a chronic problem is not too much time to give as you progress through constitutional treatment. Sometimes this system of needing someone else to be your homeopathic practitioner seems dependent and passive but I haven’t seen any way around the process. Actually the good homeopathic patient is not passive but actively educates or analyzes themselves on how they can better impart to their homeopath the personalized information needed to clinch the remedy.

The most skillful homeopathic questions I have come across are the brain child of Dr. Rajan Sankaran and he shares them in his book, The Spirit of Homeopathy. The practitioner is asked to use his human understanding to determine “What are the patient’s conditions for feeling okay (at peace with himself and others)?”, and “What are the basic feelings about himself or his situation that necessitate such conditions?” These questions let you know that a homeopath does not think allopathically. A cure in homeopathy is not found by treating local symptoms, diagnosis or pathology. An elegant and insightful process goes on between a homeopath, his patient and of course, the reference books.

George Vithoulkas, who was recently awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for Medicine defines health as “freedom from limitations”. I don’t think I would get much argument if I were to suggest that most of us have a few limitations in our lives. In my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life I can start quite a list of symptoms. Now on to my constitutional remedy, the ultimate that homeopathy has to offer!

Your Customized Remedy – A Constitutional

When a patient seeks treatment for chronic health problems, one remedy is sought that covers all of the symptoms for that patient’s constitution. When the correct remedy is administered it is common to see swift, improvement in that person’s well-being and physical health lasting months and years, from just a few micro doses.

Eczema, asthma, headaches, heartburn, allergies, sinus congestion, depression and fatigue – all signs our body gives us when our immunity (vital force, governing system) is stressed out, off balance. To a Homeopath these symptoms are great clues that lead the way in the investigation to find the remedy that most closely matches YOU – your constitutional remedy. This system of medicine is highly valued by sophisticated consumers and thoughtful health care practitioners because of its safe, non-toxic and low tech, though thorough, approach to the whole person.

PATIENT TIPS – If you have seen a homeopath for treatment and you are not noticing some improvement in your well-being within 4-6 weeks for a chronic problem and within 1 day for an acute problem you need to call your Homeopath so that she can decide on another remedy for you! Homeopathy only works if the right remedy has been given. Even a master homeopath doesn’t always get it right the first time – so we need your feedback.

Strengthening the Constitution

Do you feel that you need to take mega-supplements, tonics and always be strict with your diet or else your chronically recurring problems will flare up? Eczema, asthma, headaches, heartburn, allergies and sinus congestion – these (and many other symptoms) are all signs our body gives us when our immunity (vital force, governing system) is stressed out, off balance, and too susceptible to common things in the environment like pollen or mold, too sensitive to foods like wheat or milk, bent out of shape by hormonal changes, ups and downs in relationships or worsened just by listening to the news.

To a Homeopath these symptoms are great clues that lead the way in the investigation to find the remedy that most closely matches YOU – your constitutional remedy! A person with a strong constitution can handle occasional dietary indiscretions, stresses, exposure to some germs, and life crises without getting ill. We are each born with a constitution that is individual to us and which contains weaknesses and strengths inherited from our ancestors.

I have really enjoyed two books that have taught me so much about how to choose a constitutional remedy for someone who comes to me for Homeopathic help. One is Homeopathic Psychology by Philip Bailey and the other is Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines by Catherine R. Coulter. They both bring remedies to life and must be read by serious students of Homeopathy.

About the author

Lia Bello

Lia Bello

Lia Bello RN, FNP, CCH has been a homeopathic nurse practitioner for 39 years and has a private practice in Santa Fe, NM. Her introductory homeopathy course videos and many articles are found online at http://www.learnhomeopathy.org. Nurse CE’s will be available for taking these courses soon.

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