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06 December 2011

Picking Things to Bits - A Homeopathy Tutorial


 Because people really do believe this stuff.

Today I thought I'd choose a page from the famous Homeopathy Plus! website for the 'Picking Things to Bits' treatment. Chosen not-really-randomly from a series of so-called 'tutorials' about homeopathy and homeopaths, What To Expect (Part A) attempts to offer the gormless reader a convincing guide to experiencing homeopathic remedies. 

The original tutorial can be found here. My interpretation follows.

Tutorial 15 – What to Expect (Part A)



 "Different people have different experiences following their first homeopathic treatment. For some, the results are dramatic and profound; for others, they seem mild and almost unnoticeable. Knowing why these differences occur and what they mean will help you get the best from your treatment."
(Homeopathy relies on the placebo effect to produce the desired results, and the strength of the placebo effect depends on the people involved, the circumstances under which the placebo is taken and many other variables. Being unaware of this really helps us, as homeopaths, convince you that it’s working.)


"Remember, homeopathic treatment is a shared responsibility – while you depend on your homeopath to make a good prescription and manage your case well, they depend on you to provide accurate information and note any changes that happen."
(If your homeopathic remedy works, it’s because of your awesome homeopath. If it doesn’t, it’s all your fault.)


"So, with that in mind, lets have a look at the process involved.
Once you have taken your first dose of a homeopathic remedy, one of the following seven things will happen"
(Once you’ve taken your first dose of a homeopathic remedy, we rely on your interpretation of the following events - which were going to happen next regardless. Here’s a list of possibilities, just to cover our arses.)


  • "A curative response – your symptoms get better and go away."
    (This one’s our favourite. It makes us look awesome.)
  •  "A similar aggravation – your symptoms first worsen and then improve."
    (Homeopathy does bugger all)
  • "A dissimilar aggravation – new symptoms appear for a short time but your old ones stay the same."
    (Homeopathy does bugger all)
  • "Accessory symptoms – your symptoms improve but in the process a new one appears for a short period."
    (Homeopathy does bugger all)
  • "Return of old symptoms – your existing symptoms improve but in the process, old symptoms from the past return for a short period."
    (Homeopathy does bugger all)
  • "A surrogate discharge or eruption appears for a short time."
    (Ew. Wipe it up, then go see a real doctor. Also: Homeopathy does bugger all.)
  •  "Absolutely nothing happens."
    (Can you believe we actually admit this? Yet we don’t see how this instantly makes homeopathy look useless.)



"What do they mean? Plenty to a homeopath! Each response reveals whether or not the correct remedy has been prescribed and provides valuable information your homeopath will use to adjust your treatment and help return you to health."
(NONE OF THEM MEAN THAT HOMEOPATHY DOESN’T WORK. SHUT UP.)


"So, let’s look at each of these responses in greater detail.

1. A Curative Response – Your Symptoms Get Better and Go Away

What this means
The remedy was correct – it matched your symptoms and was the:
  • Right strength (potency)
  • Right amount (dose)
  • Right number of repetitions (frequency)"

(Your homeopath serendipitously treated you immediately before your symptoms improved.)

"Explanation
This is the fantastic result that everyone wants and usually, this is what happens. For acute complaints such as cystitis or a gum abscess, it may occur quickly – sometimes with just one dose of one remedy. For chronic problems such as recurring tonsillitis or asthma since childhood, treatment will take a little longer. If a number of diseases or problems have built up over years, a series of remedies and potencies may be needed to unravel the mess."
(Yay! Phew! But just in case you’re not completely better yet, it’s your own fault for not using more homeopathy.)


"What to do next
Enjoy your improved health and live life well.

 2. A Similar Aggravation – Your Symptoms First Worsen and Then Improve.

What this means

The remedy was correct but too strong for your sensitivity; it intensified your symptoms before triggering a healing response."
(The homeopath didn’t get your treatment wrong. The homeopath got your treatment right too much.)


"Explanation

Even when the remedy is a good match for your symptoms it can temporarily intensify them if:
  • The dose is too large,
  • The potency incorrect, or
  • It has been given too frequently


This similar (homeopathic) aggravation occurs as the overly strong effects of the remedy combine with your existing symptoms."
(We love pretending that homeopaths can give somebody too much of nothing. We also love pretending that any change in your symptoms means our Magic Nothing Water is working as it should.)


"Fortunately, similar aggravations are usually mild and short-lived, settling as the energetic nature of the remedy leaves your system. Your own vitality then rebounds against the disappearing remedy, triggering an improvement in health."
(You get better when the homeopathy goes away.)


"Similar aggravations confirm that the correct remedy was prescribed – your homeopath now has to fine-tune the next dose to better suit your sensitivity. On the rare occasion that an aggravation is prolonged, your homeopath may antidote it with another homeopathic remedy."
(If your stupid, stupid sensitivity made the homeopathy not work, your homeopath can fix it. With homeopathy.)

  
"What to do next
Notify your homeopath. They will most likely advise you to let the similar aggravation settle naturally so an improvement in your symptoms can follow. Future similar aggravations can be avoided by your homeopath adjusting the dose, potency, or number of repetitions of the remedy to suit your sensitivity."
(Notify your homeopath. Try not to use the terms “the homeopathy didn’t work”, “I think this whole homeopathy thing is a crock” or “Give me my money back, you frikkin’ scammer.")



3. A Dissimilar Aggravation – New Symptoms Appear For a Short Time but Your Old Ones Stay the Same.

What this means
The remedy was incorrect; it did not match your symptoms but you were sensitive enough to feel some of the different symptoms it can produce."
(In real medicine, these would be called ‘side effects’. But because homeopathy is just overpriced sugar and water, these symptoms are known as ‘illness.’)


"Explanation

When an incorrect remedy has been prescribed (one that poorly matches your symptoms) you may experience a dissimilar or unhomeopathic aggravation, especially if you are sensitive to the remedy. The remedy will have produced some of its own symptoms in you in the same way it can during a proving (see tutorial 6 on Provings for more information). As these symptoms are different to your original symptoms, it is called a dissimilar rather than a similar aggravation (see tutorial 1 on the Law of Similars for further explanation). Because of the lack of similarity between symptoms, this remedy will not help you.

Fortunately, like similar aggravations, dissimilar aggravations are usually mild and short-lived. They settle as soon as the energetic nature of the remedy leaves your system. Unfortunately, they do not trigger a self-healing rebound effect. Your homeopath will have to prescribe a different remedy that is a closer match to your symptoms. On the rare occasion that a dissimilar aggravation is prolonged, your homeopath can antidote it homeopathically."
(Hopefully this all sounds so complicated that you just nod your head and say ‘whatever!’ and let us sell you some more of the same water in a vial with a different label on it.)


"What to do

Notify your homeopath. They will retake your case so that a remedy that better matches your symptoms can be prescribed. Your homeopath will be particularly interested in the symptoms you experienced during the dissimilar aggravation, as these can help guide future treatment."
(Notify your homeopath. Your homeopath will be particularly pleased that you’ve presented him/her with a bonus opportunity to flog you some more enchanted woo-tonic.)


"In Conclusion – A Word About Aggravations

Aggravations, while not a necessary part of homeopathic treatment, are sometimes unavoidable."
(Homeopathy does bugger all.)


"Aggravations occur when a person is either very sensitive to a remedy, or when a poorly skilled prescriber has given a remedy it in too large or too frequent a dose."
(If your remedy doesn’t work, it’s either your fault or that of a shonky homeopath who isn’t the author of this tutorial.)

"For this reason, better practitioners always give test doses at the beginning of treatment to check the person’s sensitivity. They will also prescribe the remedy as a liquid rather than in pills so it can be easily diluted if a gentler dose is needed."
(It’s much less hassle for us to fill some tiny glass jars with tap water than it is to source colourless hundreds-and-thousands from a confectionery wholesaler.)


"When aggravations occur, they are usually short-lived, mild, and an interesting phenomenon to experience. Their one benefit is that they act as a challenge to the person’s vitality and so can strengthen resilience."
(Just because you’re still sick doesn’t mean that homeopathy doesn’t work. It means you’re special. And it’s definitely your fault.)


"Next tutorial we will learn what it means and what to do when either:
  • Your existing symptoms improve but new ones appear for a short period.
  • Your existing symptoms improve but old symptoms from the past return for a short period.
  • A surrogate discharge or eruption appears.
  • Absolutely nothing happens."

(I won’t go into it now, but it’s more of the same. In summary:
  • If you get better, that’s the homeopathy working.
  • If you don’t get better, that’s the homeopathy working.
  • To whom shall I make out the invoice?)