In other words, the remedies chosen are those which can be expected to provoke the patient's symptoms. As with other complementary therapies, the approach is holistic and two people with the same symptoms would be unlikely to receive the same treatment from a homeopath.
How are they made?
Homeopathic remedies are prepared from a wide range of mostly plant and mineral sources in a complex process requiring successive dilutions of the base 'tincture' coupled with vigorous shaking - or 'succussion'. With each stage, the remedy is believed to become more potent and the therapist will select the appropriate 'potency' when prescribing remedies. These usually come in the form of small tablets and it is important to take them exactly as instructed.
Consulting a homeopath
The homeopath will try to build up as complete a picture as possible of your personality, lifestyle and any other factors that might have a bearing on your state of health before deciding on the right treatment.
If you can't or prefer not to consult a homeopath, it is possible to treat yourself with remedies available from both ordinary and specialist homeopathic pharmacies and health food stores.
When choosing a remedy, you should aim to select the one that matches your symptoms most closely; for example, Bryonia would be right for a headache that gets worse if you make the slightest movement, Nux vomica for one resulting from over-indulgence and Natrum Muriaticum for a blinding headache that interferes with your vision.
If in doubt, consult a trained homeopath or homeopathic pharmacist. You may well find that your symptoms worsen briefly before improving as the remedy takes effect, but all homeopathic treatment is safe and there is no need to be concerned about side effects.
Finding a homeopath
You have two options: either you can seek out one of the orthodox doctors who are also qualified in homeopathy or you can consult a lay practitioner who has no medical qualifications but has followed one of the recognised training courses.
Although treatment from a homeopathic doctor is in theory available through the NHS, in practice it can be extremely difficult to obtain. You can ask your GP to refer you to one of the homeopathic hospitals mentioned above, although he or she is not obliged to agree and, in any case, there may not be one conveniently near your home. Many homeopathic doctors practise privately and, both they and lay practitioners will charge for their services.