About Homeopathic Practitioners

A homeopathic practitioner, also called a homeopath, is a licensed professional who treats patients with alternative medicine that is called homeopathy. Homeopathic practitioners use natural remedies to treat ailments. They believe in the philosophy that the body can heal itself.

History

Modern-day homeopathy began in 1790 in Germany, with a medical doctor by the name of Samuel Hahnemann. Dr. Hahnemann coined the phrase “Let likes be cured by likes,” which remains the primary belief behind homeopathy. The first homeopathic medical school was opened in the late 1800s in the United States by students of Dr. Hahnemann. By the early 1900s, there were 20 schools training homeopathic practitioners in the United States. Within the next 20 years, many of these schools closed due to the decline of homeopathic medicine. This was largely due to the emergence of major drug companies developing new medicines to treat the patient. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that homeopathy began to become popular again; it is steadily being accepted by the medical community as an adjunct treatment method. Today, the two methods are used simultaneously to treat many diseases and conditions.

Function

The primary job of a homeopathic practitioner is to prescribe and/or administer natural products to a patient, enhancing her body as a way of curing a disease or condition. Most homeopathic practitioners in the United States also maintain a medical doctor’s license and practice conventional medicine as well. Homeopathic practitioners also function as patient educators, teaching the benefits and drawbacks of various lifestyles and diets and the effect they have on the body.

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Identification

Patients seeking a homeopathic practitioner need to be able to identify a qualified professional. In today’s world, there are many nonprofessional, self-proclaimed homeopathic practitioners. A qualified one will have had adequate education and training, with certificates and diplomas from a formal homeopathy school. He may also have a medical degree. He will be credentialed and certified as a Diplomat in Homeotherapeutics (DHt) or Certified Classical Homeopath (CCH). A qualified homeopathic practitioner can be identified by searching any of the four major homeopathic organizations in the United States: the National Center for Homeopathy, the American Institute of Homeopathy, the Council for Homeopathic Certification and the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians.

Misconceptions

The main misconception about homeopathic practitioners is they are witch doctors or wizards. It is still believed that they use ceremonial chants or supernatural methods to treat patients. While this may be true in some cultures, or among some “self-proclaimed” homeopathic practitioners, it is not true of certified professionals. The certified homeopathic practitioner uses natural products and patient education to promote the self-healing of her patients.

Warning

It is imperative that patients understand exactly what the homeopathic practitioner is capable of doing. Homeopathic practitioners cannot cure all diseases and conditions, nor should they claim to. Homeopathy is not a substitute for conventional medicine; it is an adjunct. Patients should always consult their medical doctor before starting any homeopathic remedies. Some homeopathic remedies may in fact counteract other medical remedies.