Homeopaths have very high standards for healing. It’s not enough just to have one or two of your main physical symptoms improve. Let’s say you go to your gynecologist complaining of abnormal menstrual periods. You are put on the birth control pill to regulate your cycles. You may not have had time to mention your recurrent migraines or your panic attacks. Or perhaps you didn’t bother because you went to a women’s specialist who only addressed your irregular periods. You might be satisfied that the pill now regulates your cycle; however, you still have all the rest of your symptoms and you no longer ovulate. Your gynecologist might be satisfied that your periods are back to normal. End of story. The rest of your problems are not addressed, but you are considered fixed.
Not so with homeopathy. All of your symptoms must be significantly better or, at least, clearly progressing in the direction of healing for a homeopath to be satisfied that the medicine is correct.
A homeopath considers the following criteria to be bottom-line in defining healing:
• A significant, lasting improvement in your physical symptoms—Your symptoms, most or all of them, need to be definitely better over a period of time—not just for a few months or every other menstrual cycle, but consistently and over at least one year. Better, by my standards, means that the symptom is either gone or is at least 70 percent better in terms of its frequency, intensity, and duration. You should be able to endure the same kind and level of stress that may have triggered your symptoms in the past, without getting those symptoms back to the same degree as before, if at all.
• Increased energy—You should feel more vital, energetic, and full of life. You should have a renewed zest, feel better when you wake up in the morning, and be able to accomplish your day’s activities without feeling exhausted.
• Mental stability and clarity—This means clear thinking and the ability to concentrate and complete tasks, make wise decisions, reason out problems, and be intellectually sharp; to feel a sense of mental calmness and well-being despite the normal stresses of life.
• Emotional balance—Emotional equilibrium means experiencing the full range of human emotions without being stuck in any one emotion. You recognize happiness, love, and compassion as well as irritability, fear, and impatience. Your emotions are sufficiently in balance so that you can care about other people rather than being absorbed only in your own self. You are happy a good part of the time and get along well with others.
• Enhanced creativity—It doesn’t matter whether the talent that gives you joy is painting, interior decorating, directing a choir, raising puppies, baking delec- table desserts, styling hair, planning skyscrapers, designing programs to spread economic wealth, or, as I read about recently, traveling around the world making funny balloon-head ornaments to lighten everyone’s spirits. What does matter is that it gives you the sense of exhilaration that occurs when you create something that is truly your own.
• A sense of purpose or mission—one of the greatest motivators of a long, happy life is a sense of contribution—that you do something that is important to, and makes a difference in, the lives of others. If you can give to others in a special, meaningful way, it makes your existence worthwhile.
• Connectedness with other people—Having close and loving family and friends with whom you can share your happiest and most challenging times is part of a healthful, balanced life. Solitude, a rare and undervalued commodity in our society, can be wonderful, but there is nothing like sharing a genuine, heartfelt bond with another being.
• Spiritual satisfaction—I recently saw a patient who had been through tough times in her life. Raised a Catholic, she confided that no matter how difficult the trial, she never doubted for a moment that God loved her. This abiding faith carried her through many a dark, and even suicidal, moment. Even in her loneliest times, she engaged in regular conversations with God, which gave her the strength and sustenance to go on.
Regardless of how challenging your life has been, no healing is complete unless you realize a fundamental sense of peace and contentment. It is vital to hold that hope and vision even in the seemingly worst moments.