The Gentle Power of Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathy  appears to some a mysterious ‘art’, but others swear by it as the only way to treat those symptoms that beset us every spring and summer and which are bracketed together as ‘hayfever’, or who suffer year-round from  allergic reactions to animals, dust mites or certain foodstuffs for example.

Here The Terrace homeopath Ruth Hermolle talks of her experiences using homeopathic medicines to treat patients with allergic reactions that were literally preventing them from achieving ambitions or enjoying pastimes they love. 

You have an unexplained rash – you get a cream over the counter or from the doctor, rash goes away – “works like magic”. But you have to keep on using the cream or it comes back.

Ask yourself – where does the rash go? What is going on? We all know that in magic tricks the egg is up the sleeve, the rabbit is under the table etc. I think the human body is a lot more sophisticated and complex than magic. You only have to think about how the food (good or bad!) we eat is broken down by the digestive system, separated into miniscule components so that all our organs have all the right vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc when and where they are needed.


Image: Darren Robertson /

If the sophisticated systems of the body throw up a symptom such as a rash, maybe there is a good reason? If you have a car that starts to make strange noises, you would not just turn up the radio to drown it out, would you? After all, a car is an expensive item. You would find out what is going on and get it put right.

I am a homeopath. Science tells me that homeopathic medicines cannot work because they are too minute to be effective. But what about the clients who have used homeopathic medicines and found them effective?

Let me introduce you to 3 people and their particular stories. First a little girl of about 8 – loves, loves, loves animals and wants to have pony riding lessons. But contact with any animal gives her a rash, sore eyes, etc. With a few treatments her sensitivity reduces and she is able to do what she loves most.

Image: Matt Banks /

Image: Matt Banks /

Next a young man training to be a gardener, lucky to get a placement in a famous country estate, but suffers badly with hayfever: what can he do? His Mum gets him to try homeopathic treatment. With the help of an oldherb called Eyebright (Euphrasia) and other homeopathic medicines he is able to resume his work without any problems, even when he is strimming acres of grass.

Finally, a woman who had a lovely flowering tree in her garden. But every summer she got hayfever so badly she had to have oral steroids and inhalers; she said her eyes ‘turn to jelly’. With the help of homeopathic treatment she was able to resume sitting under her tree in spring, and was free of those frightening symptoms.

This is not magic. By carefully choosing homeopathic medicines to match the individual and their health experience, by helping the body do what it is already trying to do, a healthy balance is restored and the symptoms are no longer needed.

Look at your own experience – are you helping your body to get back into a healthy balance, or are you just masking the symptoms?

Find out more about homoeopathy: (Alliance of Registered Homeopaths)


Sciatica: Bowen technique & why time is of the essence.

sciaticIn a past post we discussed the Bowen technique, which is a gentle, non-invasive remedial therapy that offers effective treatment for a wide range of ailments.

Recently, our Bowen practitioner Kate Weeks heard from a client that she treated for sciatica in the early months of this year. Sciatica is caused by an impingement of the sciatic nerve, usually because there is pressure from a herniated disc at the origin of the nerve in the lower back. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back, through the back of the leg where it splits into two behind the knee, travelling down either side of the calf. Pain can be felt anywhere along the nerve, and where pain is felt usually indicates where the nerve is compromised in the lower back.

Without getting too technical, we wanted to illustrate how important it is to look at the body in a holistic way when treating pain. Kate’s client presented with a pain in the lower leg, rather than in the back and had been diagnosed by his GP and prescribed heavy duty pain killers. Kate says:

“When presented with a case of sciatica, or in fact any muscular skeletal pain, I always ask the question ‘why?’. Why is the lower back compromised? Where are the tensional pulls coming from – is it the hamstrings pulling the pelvis or a jaw or neck problem that is holding the head out of alignment and therefore forcing the body to compensate elsewhere? Is a shoulder problem creating a twist through the torso? How much stress is the client experiencing at the moment?”

Bowen examines this picture of the body as a whole and mild cases can resolve relatively quickly as tension leaves the body and joints re-align., but in more serious cases it can take some time for the inflammation in the nerve to go down: Kate again:

” I have found that although after an initial set of 3-4 treatments, the client will still be experiencing nerve pain, about a month after the treatments the client reports a reduction in pain that continues until they are pain free or at a point where medication can be stopped and they can begin to exercise. I am not against steroid injections or surgery as they have worked very well for some, and in some cases the damage to the nerve or problem in the lower back is so severe that this is the only course of action available. However, this approach doesn’t tend to establish the ‘why?’.

Kate’s client was initially cynical about using a complementary therapy but was relieved to find that Kate was keen to work alongside the treatment recommended by his GP.

“I considered a number of alternative treatments but was persuaded to give the Bowen Method a trial. I attended 4 sessions with Kate over about 6 weeks which immediately eased associated tension and stress in my back and neck which had slowly developed over the past 4 months. Kate had a complete understanding of the physiological problem and we talked through a treatment programme.

About 2 weeks after my last session the pain in my leg eased and now 2 months on I am pain free with only mild aches and some pins and needles.”

So do consider Bowen when you can’t find relief from the pain of sciatica via your GP or hospital. Obviously we would love you to come and see Kate at The Terrace, but wherever you are as you read this, do look up your local practitioner and find out more.

Post-exam stress: Be mindful with poet William Stafford..

examsOver the past two weeks we have been offering exam tips over on our Facebook page, and here on the blog. At last the exam season is drawing to a close and those who have been under immense pressure over the past few months can begin to unwind and resume their routine. Of course the results may not yet be in and until then it is hard to completely relax, but we thought today we should just offer some suggestions to support you over the next few weeks and help you to enjoy the summer.

Firstly, don’t keep dwelling on the result, or what might have been. You can’t go back and take the exam again and if you feel you chose the wrong questions focus instead on the fact that you completed the questions you did answer to the best of your ability. If you have checked and found you gave an incorrect answer, again, don’t beat yourself up about it. You can literally do nothing to change it.

So secondly, try to relax. You may say this is easier said than done, but remember finishing  a time-consuming piece of work takes us into a period of transition when  we do not really know what to do with ourselves. This is a time people are vulnerable to getting drunk or other potentially dangerous behaviours. So give yourself some time to unwind and take good care of yourself.

And finally, try to visualise something totally unrelated to the exams. Visualisation is a very powerful tool for relaxation, but if you are constantly imagining the grades that may or may not appear when you log in to the school or college website, or pick the letter up off the mat, it can only continue the stress response. It is tough, we can’t pretend it isn’t, but if you can practice some mindfulness meditation and focus on the present rather than on what might happen in the future you will enjoy the summer and ensure you meet the results head on, healthy and able to deal with whatever happens next.

To help you take yourself into a more relaxed frame of mind, we offer another poem for mindfulness and wish you all the very best for the future, which for the present is exam free!

“You Reading This, Be Ready”

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

William Stafford

Dealing with exam stress – a guide for parents & teens

exam_stress-adviceThere are quite a number of websites that work to make exam time less stressful for the children and young people taking them.  BBC Radio 1 has a particularly good one. Late spring, a time of year that should be full of hope and enjoyment can become weeks of torture as school exams, GCSEs and A Levels, as well as University exams, pile on the anxiety. If your family is host to a beleaguered exam sitter, then our own Sue-Claire at Counselling for Clarity sent the following invaluable tips for them:

– Keep communicating/talking with peer group/friends/family, don’t keep all your worries inside.
– Find a creative outlet in between revision. Shake out, walk,dance, paint, write, play or listen to music
– Try not to compare yourself with others. You are unique. Remember what people like about you as a starting point for your confidence
– Group revision/online discussion/audio tapes/revision cards really do help. You are not alone

But this post is by way of offering support to the family and friends best able to help those taking exams. Over the past week we have offered exam tips on our Facebook page. Today we thought we would post a digest of those suggestions, along with some more, to see you through the weekend and beyond.

1.) For those of you who are getting embattled, try to reduce the pressure.You can do this by first reducing the pressure in yourself.  Take a moment to think about how you are coming across. Do you feel tight and focused on ‘getting the job done’ rather than thinking about how your child is responding? If you are – don’t worry!  Most of us do this naturally.

2.) To approach things differently, stop and reflect and change how you are being with yourself and with your child/ren. Soften your attitude, change your tone and then ask your child/ren – how is this going for them? How do they feel about their revision programme and would they like any help?  If so, what help would they like? This is ALL focused on them and not on how you would do it.

3.) If you are finding that your child is getting too focused, talk to them about it – distraction can be positive. Offer a trip to the cinema; encourage fresh air and exercise daily; bake a cake. There should be a pulse to working and taking time out. So – talk about coming and going. Remember striving too hard for perfection can create an over-anxious child – which in turn can work against them in the exam.

4.) Suggest to your child that after an exam, whether it has gone well or not – they don’t talk about it in detail to their peers. It can cause unnecessary worry. They should just say ‘it was OK’ and leave it at that. relax

5.) Remember, that after a period of tension we all have a period of transition when we do not really know what to do with ourselves . This is a time when people of any age are vulnerable to getting drunk and behaving in ways they would not otherwise consider appropriate. So make sure everyone has some time to unwind. A day away can be a tonic, so just do something different.

We really hope these help. It is never an easy time, but we can minimise the stress and anxiety exams impose on us. Good luck!