Treating children with homeopathy
I have specialized in treating children since I qualified as a Homeopath in June 2008. I was drawn to doing it because that had been much of my experience when I was training and even before I decided to become a homeopath when I was treating my own children.
I was very lucky in that when my family moved to Leeds we found a homeopath who suggested I buy a remedy kit and Miranda Castro’s book ‘The Complete Homeopathy Handbook’. She also suggested I do a basic course and that experience contributed to me deciding to train as a homeopath. I am forever grateful to our homeopath as she empowered me as a mother to feel confident that I could treat my children for minor ailments and that homeopathy was completely safe.
In turn, I now try to do the same thing with the parents who come to me with their children. I want them to know that with homeopathic remedies they have safe tools that they can use to support their children when they are ill or hurt. They don’t have to rely on the over the counter medicines that suppress their children’s symptoms. I gradually try to inform them about the principles of homeopathy and now regularly run a practical workshop aimed mainly at parents to give them confidence in prescribing at home.
There are a few reasons why I enjoy treating children. Firstly I tend to get quicker results with kids as generally their vitality is reasonably high, mainly because they have not had years and years of medication and suppression (both physical and emotional). Even if they have had lots of antibiotics for example, a good clearing out remedy seems to work quickly so that they can then respond better to other remedies. In a way children are fresher and so the remedies kick start the healing process much faster.
Also, children find it difficult to hide what’s really going on for them. They might try but they are not as skilled as adults and so things come out either through their verbal and/or body language and therefore observation is crucial to understanding them. They are in effect generally easier to read.
I run the session trying to give the child a feeling of importance and recognising that ultimately they are my patient. Of course this is age dependant but I always explain at the start of the session that I’d like to ask them questions but that I’ll also ask their parent questions about the times they can’t remember (when mum was pregnant and when they were babies). I’ll ask them if they want me to ask them questions first or their parent. They often say their parent and that gives them some time to build trust in me and see what kinds of questions I ask. Most kids enjoy listening to their parent talking about them when they were babies. I make it clear to the parent that if anything was difficult (e.g. a traumatic birth) then we should discuss that during a separate phone conversation.
I spend some time observing and making brief notes about how the child appeared when they first came into the room, what they are drawn to looking at (the toys, the goldfish, the lights for example), how long they keep their attention with a toy, how much they move, how they interact with their parent, how they respond to my questions (for example, do they look at their parent before answering?).
If they attend school I ask them what their favourite parts are and what they don’t like about it and whether they like their teachers. I’m almost giving them permission to not like certain things. I also ask them what they want to do when they are angry (kick, scream, slam doors etc) – not necessarily what they actually do. I try to explain that we all get angry sometimes and react by wanting to do things. I also want them to understand that everyone has fears (including adults) about all sorts of things and give them examples. I want them to know that all of these feelings are okay but might need to be managed better.
I often talk about my boys and use them as examples. If the appointment is in my home they see pictures of them which makes it more real.
If I think they need to improve their diet I will talk to them about foods that will help make them strong and healthy. Sometimes they will listen to this information more because it comes from someone else and because they know I want them to be healthier.
So ask them questions – even if they’re young. How (and whether) they respond to you can tell you a lot. If they are babies hold them (if possible and appropriate) or touch their hand and look at them. Their gaze can speak volumes. Always ask for permission to touch them if the parent is keen to show you their skin condition for example.
Parents often find their children’s answers interesting and gain insights into their thinking and their lives. I’ve had a few parents say to me that they didn’t know their child felt that way about something.
At the end of the session I explain what I am going to do (read through the notes, look at my books and send them medicine that is especially for them). If the child is a teenager I will give them my business card and say that they can contact me. I also address the envelope to the child if they are of an appropriate age and have interacted with me during the session.
In terms of remedies I find that I prescribe the children’s remedies sometimes but also nosodes come up frequently as well. I start their treatment with whatever remedy I feel is appearing most strongly to me at the time. Sometimes the miasm will be so strong that it’s essential to begin with a nosode otherwise, in my experience the constitutional remedy doesn’t seem to work well (however well indicated it might be). If the child is a particularly sensitive or a deep and wise soul then I may use a remedy from the meditative proving series that fits more appropriately to them.
I might also support treatment with Indigo Essences as they were developed with children and are aimed at children. If you aren’t familiar with these essences take a look at them. I love the combination essences and if possible will get the child to choose their remedies to make up a combination. The idea is to empower the child to support themselves as and when they need to do it. This of course depends on the age of the child but many of my patients love doing this and use their drops when they need them.
Of course I admit that I’m not dealing with extreme pathology cases, at least not yet. Generally my patients are children who have gone from illness to illness and seem to never be in great health, or they have asthma or eczema or they are anxious and struggling with their sleep, friends or with school. Although these may not be dramatic cases I know that the work we do together can make a significant improvement to their young lives.
However, the main reason I enjoy treating children is that I feel that by supporting them I’m making a difference to their long term health. Some of the older ones learn to become more aware of themselves (what they are feeling both physically and emotionally) which will no doubt benefit their physical and emotional health throughout their lives.