REMEDY SELECTION...WHERE TO START?!
Written by Nina Garrard
Remedy Selection…. Where to start?!
As we discussed in my previous Blog Acute vs Chronic it is safe to prescribe at home for minor acute illness such as colds, fever and usual bumps and bruises. It’s the way I, and many of my colleagues, started out on our journey to becoming Qualified Homeopaths! There is something incredibly magical and empowering about being able to help your family, when they are feeling poorly, with these wonderfully healing little white pills.
But how can a person who hasn’t trained actually choose the right remedy in such a situation? Believe me you can do it! You just need to don your Sherlock Holmes hat and be prepared for some specific questioning and then some jigsaw work to put the information together into a useable format to give you a clear picture of what remedies match up.
Here are my top tips to help you do just that
A big part of selecting a remedy is in the quality and detail of the case taking. To do this you need to be as objective as possible. That is easier said than done if it’s yourself you are trying to help! And can be just as hard for someone you care deeply for like your child or partner. With babies and smaller children much of the detail will come from observation if they can’t communicate with you. Even though its sometimes difficult, many people successfully treat their kids from their remedy kit. Much of this comes down to good old-fashioned practice and not worrying too much if the first or second remedy doesn’t work. Get a nice folder with printed question sheets or a large notebook which you can use specifically for your case taking.
Use a model so you remember what needs to be asked and observed. The following model is one many homeopaths use when discussing acute symptoms with a client. It’s called CLAMS.
Concomitants– What is the main symptom plus what other symptom is occurring that may not seem at all related? An example might be Main symptom of Headache with shooting pain in right hip.
Location of the symptom – where in the body is the main complaint e.g. Shoulder Pain, left side. Does the ailment extend to another location? E.g. pains from left Shoulder down to the left wrist. Does the pain change side? E.g. left shoulder alternating with right shoulder.
Aetiology – this is another word for causation. Can you think of any reason why the person you are trying to help has fallen ill? Did anything happen just before they became poorly? Common causation’s might be;
· Physical shock or trauma
· Weather – being out in cold wind/rain/too much sun
· Emotional upset/shock/trauma e.g., Grief
· Toxicity / drugs / vaccination
· Diet related- over eating at a party….
Modalities – What makes the symptom feel worse/better? When does the symptom feel worse/better? Each symptom needs to have detailed modalities be it a sore throat, headache, earache, cough etc so you will be asking a lot of questions if there are multiple symptoms. Modalities are really useful when trying to choose between 2 similar remedies.
Examples might be Sore throat better for swallowing cold water but worse for warm drink. The throat might be worse between 4-8pm.
Sensation -Can they describe the pain or discomfort? What does it feel like? And how bad is it? This will be much harder with younger children as they may not have the vocabulary to describe fully what they are feeling. Examples might be throbbing or sharp pain in my head, tickly like a feather in my throat, tight feeling like a band around chest.
As you are prescribing on the whole person it’s also useful to note their emotional state, for example a child wanting to be cuddled a lot and being especially clingy or being very irritable and wanting to be on their own.
As well as gathering the details of the main complaint you need to also look for any general characteristics which have altered during the illness. Many will remain unchanged, and these can be ignored for the purpose of remedy selection in acute prescribing. For example, if your child drinks lots of cold water every day and still does this when unwell then it can be considered normal for them and not included as part of the picture. However, if they usually drink lots of cold water every day and then start asking for warm drinks only then that can be used as a useful symptom when trying to narrow down the list of possible remedies.
Have a look at this list to give you some ideas as to what else might be important
· Thirst- More or less than normal? Hot or cold drinks preferred?
· Appetite- more or less than normal and are they craving anything in particular?
· Temperature- Hot/ cold or running a fever. Do they want covers on or off?
· Sweat- more or less than normal and where on the body are they sweating?
· Sleep-How much time are they sleeping? Easy or difficult to sleep? What position are they finding comfortable?
· Colour of the face- if red what tone? Dark? Bright red? Dry or sweaty?
· Bowels – Constipated or Loose. Any colour or odour worth noting? Frequency? Pain?
· Urination- Frequency, difficulty, Odour and Colour
· Tongue- colour, coating, dents around edge, cracks
This is just a guide, but you get the idea its ALL about the detail!
Once you have all this detailed information how do you sift through what’s important and what’s not?
Well, a good idea at this point is to prioritise the symptoms- work out which are the most important i.e. the Main symptoms and/or the strongest symptoms. Is there an odd symptom- we call these strange, rare and peculiar symptoms. There isn’t always one but if there is then your remedy should cover it. These might be things which are just plain weird like one I had during a recent virus- I felt like my hands were disproportionately small compared to my body! Or they might be things which are just not what you would expect normally, like a fever with no thirst or a very painful throat which is better for swallowing food.
Compare remedies by looking through a materia medica;
or you can use an app like ‘Homeopathy at Home’ https://homeopathy-at-home.com/ on your phone which is very inexpensive and saves you having to lug books around on holiday! Hopefully one remedy will stand out but if you have a few then start with the one you are drawn to the most. If it doesn’t help, then you can try the others you didn’t try first time. If you want help selecting Potency or Frequency then have a look at my blog here>
I hope you find this blog useful for you and your family.