From Jessica A., Hamilton, Ontario
I believe my journey to homeopathy stems from my dedicated yoga practice. My yoga practice began in the first year of my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University. While entirely independent traditions, over the past four years I’ve learned that yoga and homeopathy share many fundamental principles and complement each other enormously. Both practices aim to rid the body of blockages that prevent the natural flow of energy throughout. Ultimately, the presence and absence of these blockages govern the state of health within the body. The removal of such blockages is achieved through working with the energy currants and centers of the body. I first learned about this energy in yoga, where it was referred to as Prana, and I later became acquainted with the homeopathic term Vital Force. Essentially, both of these terms are synonymous with the well-known Chinese medical term Chi.Therefore, through yoga I was introduced to the harmonious flow of energy throughout the body and most importantly, I learned that increasing this flow is the key to achieving greater levels of physical, mental and emotional states of health and wellbeing. I became curious then, about the ability to control this flow through medicine, and that’s when I started reading books on Ayurveda and Homeopathy.
My first personal experience with Homeopathy and its healing potential came with the diagnosis of my father’s throat cancer. His naturopath (who I later began to shadow on a regular basis) prescribed Arsencium Bromatum because of its influence on glandular tumors. My dad has also taken Arsenicum Album to treat the burning sensations and inflammation produced by radiation treatment. Ashwagandha, a popular homeopathic remedy, was prescribed to boost his immune system over the course of chemotherapy. Throughout this journey with my father, I’ve often questioned modern, mainstream cancer treatments, especially the way they are pushed onto cancer patients in a way that makes them afraid of pursuing alternative medicine alongside or even instead of. I’m interested in learning more about homeopathy and cancer and someday specializing in this area of research. Having taken research methods, statistics and epidemiology courses at Queen’s, while also having volunteer experience as an epidemiologist’s research assistant, I understand the research process and I always encourage people to read reputable studies before consuming anything. I find the collection of literature surrounding homeopathy to be controversial and highly unrepresentative of it’s true healing abilities. Whether this is due to the experiment design or researcher biases, I feel that the practice of homeopathy deserves a fair reassessment. Therefore, I’m not only interested in the clinical practice of homeopathy but also in furthering its research.
I feel that my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology ended up becoming quite diversified because I was able to enroll in many religion, psychology and anthropology courses, among other interesting topics. The religion and anthropology courses have ultimately fostered a greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures and beliefs, which I believe is an integral feature of a successful homeopath. Being able to form a trusting relationship is such an important part of assessing and diagnosing each case in both a scientific and intuitive manner, and this can only be accomplished by a homeopath who is open, accepting and approachable. Studying biopsychology, with an emphasis on neuroanatomy, has provided me with an understanding of drug responses that I feel is essential for a career in homeopathy. This is because, in our modern society, I anticipate that many of my future patients will come seeking homeopathic medicines while being on other medications, so it is important to have a working knowledge of all drug mechanisms. Other courses I have taken, such as the politics of health and illness, really influenced my decision to abandon long-standing dreams of medical school and instead focus on a career in holistic health. My older sisters, who both work in hospital settings, constantly complain of the negative politics of their environments, both on patient interaction levels and on higher levels pertaining to budgeting. Homeopathy appeals to me because not only can I be self-employed, more importantly I can establish long-lasting relationships with my patients in which I can follow their progress and actually feel a sense of accomplishment when they are healed. I’ve often read about the personal benefits (i.e., higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction) of having a career where you can explicitly see the outcome of your hard work. In a hospital environment, medical professionals like my sisters are often bombarded with patients who are constantly in a state of ill health, and they are rarely able to witness their recovery, let alone attribute that recovery to their own work. These testaments, combined with my own experiences volunteering in a hospital, have led me to pursue a holistic health career outside of a traditional hospital setting.
My experiences of traveling to countries such as New Zealand and Costa Rica have directly and indirectly fueled my passion for “alternative” medicines. Living in New Zealand for 6 months and studying the Maori culture taught me a lot about Indigenous healing traditions, and motivated me to pursue Canadian Indigenous cultural studies when I returned home. Consequently, I have a much greater capacity to appreciate holistic medicine, and even though Homeopathy is only a 200 year old practice, it appears to align with many Indigenous practices and values concerning the mind, body and spirit. Similarly, a 10-day “Awaken the teacher within” yoga course in Costa Rica at a self-sustainable permaculture farm informed me about medicinal plants and living free of toxins. A trip to an Indigenous reserve in Costa Rica to speak with a Shaman about traditional remedies has opened my eyes to a different kind of healing. I’ve learned about the importance of keeping these culturally significant and traditional forms of medicine alive. I think that the practice of homeopathy offers to us what most modern medicine can’t—it connects us with the traditional medicinal uses of plants and allows us to take control of our health in a way that is non invasive, customized and individualized. It seeks to identify the root cause and eliminate it, in other words it does not just provide a “band-aid” solution. Often these “band-aid” solutions that modern medicine offers create more barriers for the body to self- heal. For example, the body employs many mechanisms during a common cold that we are then instructed by doctors to repress. My understanding of many homeopathic remedies is that they act as complimentary to the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
To conclude, my experiences learning about homeopathy both experimentally and academically have led me to pursue this practice as a career because I’ve come to highly value holistic health approaches and I would like to be able to someday share this knowledge with others, and have the opportunity to contribute to their healing journeys. Ultimately, my goal is to open my own Wellness center that features a homeopathy practice, holistic nutrition counseling, isolation tanks and a yoga studio. Isolation tanks provide a lightless, soundless sensory deprivation experience, where subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. Used primarily for relaxation and meditation, isolation tanks are considered forms of “alternative” medicine and have been found useful in cases of depression and post traumatic stress disorder. With these dreams in mind and acting as strong motivations, I look forward to studying at the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine.