We have all been to doctor’s offices with certain expectations in mind. A dentist will look in your mouth, the doctor will check your vitals, the massage therapist will massage, the acupuncturist will poke you with fancy needles. Homeopathy, though the second most used system of medicine in the world and despite having been around for over 200 years, is relatively unknown in North America, and many people are unsure of exactly what will be done during the appointment.
First and foremost, remember that homeopathy is a system of medicine designed to treat the individual as an entire entity. A homeopath does not prescribe based on only one or two symptoms, but rather use these as a guide to treatment in combination with your own personal constitution (just “how/who you are” in the world), alongside your personal expression of your major symptoms.
1. Expect the appointment to be about 1-2 hours in length. Homeopaths want as much pertinent information about you as possible. This appointment is all about YOU! Homeopaths need to know your personal history, medical history, and a full picture of your symptoms.
2. Details details details. I want to know about YOUR pains, YOUR aches, YOUR feelings, YOUR expressions. It is not enough to say, “I have a stiff neck.” Expect questions such as: “What time do you notice your neck is stiffest? What can you do that makes it worse/better? Is it more stiff on one side than another? Describe what “stiff” means for you.” The greater detail the homeopath can be, the better the prescription will work for you.
3. Honesty is always the best policy. We all have things we don’t like to admit, even to ourselves. Classical homeopaths are trained in non-judgement, as much as is possible in any human being. If there are things you are uncomfortable expressing, simply stating this discomfort will help your homeopath decide on the best course of action and best prescription for the stage you are in. Homeopaths recognize that the practitioner/patient relationship is built on trust, and that trust has to start from somewhere.
4. Expect to be listened to. A good homeopath is able not only to hear what you are saying, but truly listen and allow you the space to express what needs to be expressed.
5. Do not expect immediate prescription. Some cases can be very clear, while others may require a bit of analysis and further thought. Try not to be discouraged if your homeopath asks for a day or two to consider what is best; s/he wants what is going to work best for you, and such decisions are not always immediately apparent. I like to give my new patients a bit of homework after their first appointment, regardless the speediness of prescription. This may involve something as simple as adding a 15minute walk to one’s routine a few times/week, to keeping a food journal, to keeping a regular journal, to brushing one’s teeth with their non-dominant hand. It varies depending upon the person and the case. However, no one ever leaves Riverflow empty handed.
6. Expect that some physical examination may be involved, depending upon your case, complaints, and personal history. A good classical homeopath is trained in the art of physical examination, possesses the necessary equipment, and has extensive training in human anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
7. Follow-up appointment scheduling will vary depending upon the person and the case. Intervals of 3-5 weeks are the average for Riverflow.