Initial version created by Sarah Carollo- Environmental Geography 2013
Note: this page is in need of review and should not be taken as authoritative.
The area of homeopathy will be viewed through the need for security of bodily self. Homeopathic medicine, for the purpose of this page, is seen in the context of self provisioning and committed practice (a kind of service), to serve the needs of health, without which survival is threatened. Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that the human body can cure itself with a little aid of plant, animal, and mineral based homeopathic remedies.
This page is in no way meant to provide medical advice or suggestions.
Context Within NORA
Relationships to Needs
Homeopathic medicine can aid in the securing of health and provide an alternative to modern medical practices, which at times create more problems than they cure (so-called iatrogenic or doctor-created disease; see Kohn et al. on its prevalence in the United States). Homeopathic practitioners and followers recognize the need for medicine in conjuncture with other needs, such as for water, air, psychological wellbeing, and nutrient rich foods, which are integral to a homeopathic regimen for health care.
Relationships to Organizational Forms
Because homeopathy has become a widespread option, with around 3.9 million adults and 910,000 children worldwide using homeopathic medicine in 2007, it is common to see over the counter remedies sold in stores and at pharmacies. Sustained doctor patient relationships are a form of committed sales or services. The market for homeopathic medicine consists of individual sales. In both cases, transactions usually employ currencies and market forms. In various countries practitioners must go through licensing processes, which in the case of the United States vary from state to state. Systems of state regulation can be classified in the committed services and sales cluster of organizational forms. However less and less practitioners are becoming certified in the United States (Merrell).
Homeopathy is used in conjuncture with medical degrees around the world. 40% of French doctors are trained to use homeopathy along with other medicine and the cost is half of those who are using orthodox medicine (Australian Homeopathic Association)
Relationship to Resources
While homeopathic medicine is not a resource itself, it depends on various resources. The medicines are made from medicinal plants or animals (living things) or minerals, both of which are grown on or extracted from the land. Clean water is an important factor, as homeopathic medicine focuses on using the body to heal itself and water is essential to good health of a human. While modern (allopathic) medicine artificially manufactures their medications, homeopathic medicine is made from natural materials and less resources are used thus reducing waste.
Shared knowledge resources can be utilized to study homeopathic medicine.
Homeopathic medicine refers to the theory of wellness based on self healing principles, "like cures like" principles (the idea that a harmful substance that is given in very small quantities harm will actually have healing properties), and remedies made from natural substances and adapted for the individual treatment. Homeopathic medicine is used for minor injuries and minor chronic illnesses, however homeopathic medicine alone cannot be used to treat major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, or cystic fibrosis.
Homeopathy is based on a theory advanced in the 16th century by Paracelsus, that what ails a man also heals him. However, in its present form, it goes back to the end of the 18th century in Germany, when homeopathy was developed by Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann who rejected what modern medicine was in the 18th century; bloodletting, opium, laxatives, enemas. The treatment included whole body care such as spiritual health, diet, and cleanliness. While studying these concepts Hahnemann ate tree bark used to treat malaria and experienced symptoms of the disease, and then declared that the treatment must cause a slight amount of the disease symptoms it is supposed to treat. This became later known as the "Law of Similars".
Homeopathic remedies are to be given after all of the symptoms have been observed and recorded. A small diluted dose of a natural substance is then given to the patient. Today homeopathic medicine is advised to be used under supervision of a medical professional in cooperation with modern medicine. Mainstreamed homeopathic medicines are sold over the counter and are to aid in modern medicine.
The degree of dilution of homeopathic medicines can be so extreme that not a single molecule of the active ingredient may remain in the liquid. Therefore, critics claim that homeopathic remedies work only or primarily through the placebo effect – the phenomenon that patients often get better because they are more optimistic about their health after a doctor has treated them, not because of the efficacy of the treatment itself (which can be a pill with zero active ingredient). Such criticism, if true, invalidates the theory on which homeopathic treatments are based. However, it should be pointed out that the placebo effect itself can be a powerful aid to treatment if used with awareness – i.e., it is a manifestation of the patient's self-healing capacity which should be encouraged rather than discouraged! If on the other hand the use of the placebo effect is essentially fraudulent (claiming that one has a cure so that the patient's self-healing capacity can take over), it is ethically questionable.
Advantages in Relation to Resources, Abundance, and Scarcity
While homeopathy cannot aid in creating abundance today nor is there a scarcity of health care, it can promote the use of natural renewable resources. Modern medicine focuses on the use of synthetic drugs and various chemo therapies to cure human disease. The most common chemotherapy today is for cancer treatment in which treating the illness means killing cells in the body, cancerous and healthy ones. Homeopathy, however, focuses on the whole self in order to create a healthful person. Synthetic pharmaceuticals enter the environment when passed through the body and into the water system or washed off of clothes. The pharmaceuticals are then getting into the earth which alter the growth of the land and consumed by the animals and humans. One idea is that homeopathic medicine would not hurt the environment as most remedies are already diluted and come from a natural source originally.
Treating the whole body is an advantage in homeopathy as modern medicine does not focus as much on this concept. If one area of the body is ignored in the sake of taking care of another part, then more problems are created within the body. In the same boat is treating an ailment without treating the whole body. A neck pain may be caused by the composition of the lower back, however if the neck is treated without aligning the lower back the problem may come back. As a whole this would reduce costs if practitioners can treat various ailments at once and cut the cost of multiple visits.
Scarcity within healthcare today could come from the cost of medical treatment in most countries.
Homeopathic remedies and “solutions” have been regulated by the United States' government since 1938.
Around 40% of French physicians prescribe homeopathic remedies (Ullman).
42% of British physicians refer to homeopathic medicine (Ullman)
Over 100 4- and 5-year homeopathic schools in India (Ullman).
Australian Homeopathic Association. "Facts and Figures" 1996 http://www.homeopathyoz.org/whatisMediaKits.asp Accessed November 2013
Kohn, K. T., J. M. Corrigan, and M. S. Donaldson. 1999. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Hershoff Asa, Homeopathic Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders, Penguin Putman Inc, NY, 2000 (scholarly source)
Homeopathy: An Introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published May 2013 http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy
Loudon, Irvine “A Brief History of Homeopathy” Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine. December 2006 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1676328/ Accessed November 2013
Merrell, WC, Shalts, E. “Homeopathy” PubMed. MedClinic North America. 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11795090 accessed November 2013
Ullman, Dana. "Present Status of Homeopathy Internationally, The" Homeopathic Educational Services. http://www.homeopathic.com/Articles/Introduction_to_Homeopathy/The_Present_Status_of_Homeopathy_Internation.html accessed November 2013
"What is Homeopathy?" Balance and Health. WebMD.http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/homeopathy-topic-overview Accessed November 2013
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