Homeopath or Pill Popper: Which Will You Be in 2011?

Jeanne Sager

homeopathic medicineWhen it comes to making new year's resolutions, I prefer to go rogue. No "ooh, I will lose weight in 2011" for me. So what's on the place for this year? Visiting a homeopath and opening my body up to alternatives in medicine.

First up: figuring out what the heck a homeopath is. Eh, I jest. Sort of. The idea of alternative medicine has alternately scared and intrigued me. I was raised in a modern health care centric home, with a mother who is a nurse practitioner. And yet, we practiced so-called complementary medicine all the time, from spraying plain saline up the nose when we had a cold to running a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom to keep our dry skin at bay.

But as I've trekked into adulthood, my dependence on modern medicine has taken a turn I'm not crazy about. I take more pills every day than I care to count (although significantly fewer than many people I know), and when severe neck pain started and my wrists cramped up late last year, I begged my mother for an easy fix (for her part, she refused). It's not the sort of example I want to set for my daughter, who at 5 has rarely been inside the walls of a doctor's office, save for her well visits.

And I'm not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, a National Health Interview Survey found 3.9 million American adults and 900,000 children used complementary or alternative medicine in 2006. Ever drank chamomile tea to settle your stomach? You've used homeopathy. How about those Hyland's Teething Tablets? Although a recall put a taint on them late last year, parents have sworn by them for years, and they're made by none other than the Standard Homeopathic Company.

I've dabbled. But I've never flat out visited a homeopath to see what they're all about. Frankly, I've been a little freaked.

Detractors will call it quackery, refer to the problems with accepting treatment from people who aren't licensed, ingesting "medicines" that haven't gone through the FDA approval process. In point of fact, not all complementary medicine fits into that practiced by a homeopath. And much of it is indeed regulated -- homeopathic "cures" are under the same regulations as a standard over the counter medicine. But more to the point, I'm not buying all they're selling (at least not any more than I'd take a doctor's word 100 percent if I felt I was being abused). 

What I am doing is opening my mind to a new experience in 2011; allowing a homeopath or any other alternative medicine practitioner (hello acupuncturist?) a chance to give me their best sales pitch. I'll pick and choose what works for me, just like I have for years, but at least I'll have more options.

Are you willing to try homeopathy in 2011?


Image via Richard Craig/Flickr

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