The number one rule of scuba diving: never hold your breath

I’m learning to scuba dive. Well, that’ll be easy I thought. I’ve been snorkeling for years, I am a strong and confident swimmer, I’m not claustrophobic. My Padi teacher is great. She is calm, funny and instills confidence. But I never feel that I have managed to master anything before we move on to the next skill.

Then I realised when I had this feeling before. When I was learning homeopathy it felt like every day I was learning more and more and I wasn’t sure that what I had learned in the days, weeks, months and even years before had sunk in.

Do you know the four stages of learning?
Unconscious incompetence: When you don’t know what you don’t know or how badly you do something.

Conscious incompetence: When you start to learn something and realise exactly how much you don’t know.

Conscious competence: When you start to be able to do something but you have to think about it.

Unconscious competence: When you something effectively without having to think about it.

I’m thrilled to be able to report that I am now at the conscious competence stage in scuba diving. I can do things, but I have to really concentrate.

What I want for you is to get to a stage of unconscious competence about  homeopathy: how to use it, when you need it, how to get the most out of it.

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MENOPAUSE: Isabel’s story

I was having hot flushes and sweats that absolutely drained me. I run my own business and the whole thing was starting to have a negative impact on my business. I don’t know if this was connected, but I started getting indigestion. That was awful because I love food and I loved cooking and entertaining. I was going home knackered after work and could barely stay awake in the evening. But as soon as I got into bed I was wide awake. Previously I had been the world’s greatest sleeper. I couldn’t handle stress and that was a problem for work.

I suddenly started being very hot and restless at night. I started to have panic attacks and that is what sent me over the edge.

I tried Prozac for 6 months but it was not a lot of good. It didn’t seem to change the anxiety levels but I did get heart palpitations. Then I tried HRT. That was a bit of a disaster. I started to get lumps in my breasts and I felt pre-menstrual all the time. I couldn’t cope and more to the point nor could my husband and staff.

The appointment was a revelation. It sounds daft but it was only then that I realized that it all felt interconnected.

I would say that I gradually started to get better. After five months I would say I was totally better. What I would call tip-top. It was amazing that when Janet asked me about the indigestion I realized that I hadn’t had it for ages.

I didn’t see Janet now for another 3 months until I started to sleep less well at night. I went back and then I had the remedy in drops and then by the spring I was feeling completely better.

I think I started to understand what Janet was talking about when I need an appointment and now I only go when I start to feel wobbly in someway. Might be that I’m a bit overwrought; maybe I’ve had some restless nights; sometimes I just get the feeling. I think I’ve seen her about 3 times in the last 4 years but that seems to be enough.

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Being a homeopath

What I love about my work is that it is ever-changing. No two days are the same.

I saw seven people yesterday.

One with recurrent shingles, one with menopausal hot flushes, two children (one with eczema and one asthma), someone with lymphodema since surgery, one with digestive problems and one with an eating disorder. So that is great; a huge variety of people. But finding a remedy to help them is so much more exciting. Linking physical symptoms with emotional states or what makes it better or worse or maintaining causes like grim circumstances or even childhood trauma all opens up a world of possibilities and the connections and links that the patient and I make are almost never predictable. Prescriptions from all kingdoms. Another brilliant day for me. Thank you one and all.

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When is a symptom not a symptom? A question frequently asked by self-prescribers.

Answer: Just because you love your dog, cat, chicken, cows the rubric ‘love of animals’ does not necessarily apply to you. Just because you are generally optimistic about your life doesn’t mean that the rubric ‘optimistic’ should be used in your repertorisation.

Why not? Because the homeopathic material medica catalogues pathology, not healthy states.

So, what is a symptom? When I was trying out a remedy (proving) with the Dynamis school in 2006, I bought several hundreds of pounds worth of cosmetics. Whilst that might sound a bit over the top for anyone, for me it was peculiar as I don’t wear make up and haven’t since I was a teenager. That was a symptom; something totally out of the ordinary for me.

It helps to think that there are two sorts of symptom when you are trying to decide what should be borne in mind: symptoms of degree and change.

A symptom of degree: If you love animals above (not even equal to, but more than) people, this is a symptom of degree. No matter what logic you apply to it, from the point of view of survival of our species it is not healthy.

A symptom of change:  If you start doing or feeling something entirely outside your normal experience this is a symptom. For instance if a curmudgeonly person suddenly acquires a sunny disposition, or the other way around. This is a symptom.

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Menopause symptoms

A new study1 puts British women at the top of the list for suffering symptoms of menopause.

Homeopathy is a system of medicine which is based on treating the individual with highly diluted substances given in mainly tablet form, which trigger the body’s natural system of healing. Based on the patient’s experience of their symptoms, a homeopath will match them with the most appropriate medicine.

The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flushes, night sweats, headaches and mood swings. Homeopathic treatment has been shown to be effective for hot flushes and sweats, tiredness, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, mood swings and headaches. In a study carried out at an NHS well-woman clinic in Sheffield, 81 per cent of 102 patients reported improvement of these menopause symptoms after homeopathic treatment.2

Studies have shown there are health risks associated with HRT, including an increased risk of of breast cancer, and many women struggling with symptoms are looking for an alternative. In homeopathy, we look at the whole person, taking into account the unique symptoms of each individual, before we decide on a prescription.”


1.    Ward‌ T, Scheid V, Tuffrey‌ V. Women’s mid-life health experiences in urban UK: an international comparison. Climacteric, 2010; 13 (3): 278-288

2.   Relton C, Weatherley-Jones E. Homeopathy Service in a National Health Service community menopause clinic: audit of clinical outcomes. Menopause Int, 2005; 11(2): 72-3

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Hay Fever


As pollen counts hit spring highs, help is at hand for hay fever sufferers who are looking for an alternative to conventional medication.

Between 15 and 20 per cent of the British population suffer from the often debilitating symptoms of pollen allergy,(1) ranging from sneezing to itchy swollen eyes.

But a survey on behalf of Nelsons Pharmacy showed that 72 per cent of sufferers would prefer a natural alternative to anti-histamines and 79 per cent would like to access natural treatments on the NHS.(2)

And a different survey estimated that hay fever would cost British businesses £324 million in sick days over the summer months.(3)

A number of research trials have shown that homeopathic treatment can produce a significant improvement in hay fever symptoms,(4-7) but what does this involve?

When consulting a homeopath for hay fever treatment, you may find that they prescribe homeopathic medicines for you in two different ways – firstly with the aim of addressing the acute hay fever symptoms when they occur, and secondly to try to reduce the frequency of your hay fever attacks in the first place.

Homeopathy is a system of medicine which is based on treating the individual with highly diluted substances given in mainly tablet form, which triggers the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their experience of their symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to the patient.

It is recommended that a qualified and registered homeopath (look out for the RSHom designation) is consulted as each sufferer will be treated according to their own individual combination of symptoms and how it affects them.


1. Asthma and Allergy Information and Research website.

2. One Poll survey of 3,373 respondents on behalf of Nelsons

3. (find in information, about us, press releases)

4.  Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchison T. Is homeopathy a placebo response?

Controlled trial of homeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as a model. Lancet,1986;2: 881-6.

5.  Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of Homeopathy. Br Med J, 1991; 302:316-22.

6.  Launsø L, Kimby CK, Henningsen I, Fønnebø V. An exploratory retrospective study of people suffering from hypersensitivity illness who attend medical or classical homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy, 2006; 95: 73-80.

7.  Kim LS, Riedlinger JE, Baldwin CM, Hilli L, Khalsa SV, Messer SA, Waters RF. Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis Using Homeopathic Preparation of Common Allergens in the Southwest Region of the US: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. Ann Pharmacother, 2005; 39(4): 617-24.

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