Boy, you have no faith in medicine

Today, I visited a homeopathic practitioner. That’s right – someone who practices medicine that doesn’t work. I attended mainly to humour my father, who’s long been an advocate of alternative therapies, but also because I realised I had little to lose by doing so – it wasn’t as if my GP had done much to cure my ills, after all.

I was surprised by the results.

The consultation lasted around an hour and a half, which was around an hour longer than I’d bargained for. The first half of this was taken up by a lengthy chat between me and the doctor, where I relayed all my health problems to her, and she wrote down my symptoms on a piece of paper. This in itself was an improvement on the multiple visits to my GP over the past year or so, where I’d often barely get a couple of minutes to rattle off a list of problems before I’d be sent packing with a prescription and no advice of any merit whatsoever. Talking without the sensation that the listener was mentally shoving me out of the door before I’d even finished felt remarkably satisfying. She gave me a few tips on how I could improve my digestion with little effort, and told me that just three twenty-minute walks a day, shortly after each meal, would do me the world of good. We talked about fears and anxieties, too – it almost ended up as a light psychotherapy session.

The second half was taken up with a load of hippy-dippy weirdness about chakras and auras, where I was lying down and told to hold my fingers in various positions while moving my legs up and out to the side. This was apparently useful for diagnostic purposes, as the practitioner periodically dropped tiny white soluble pills or three drops of mysterious tincture onto my tongue. I’m not quite sure how my leg movements translated to an iron deficiency and a lack of calcium and other essential minerals, but I was prescribed a course of multivitamins and a liquid iron supplement, and was given a small packet of the tiny white pills in my inside jacket pocket.

Ordinarily, I’d be entirely cynical about this sort of process – and indeed when I was lying down with my hands making an ‘o’ shape and my legs splayed, it was hard not to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But to my surprise, I did feel markedly brighter afterwards. It may have been more to do with unburdening my mind by being able to tell someone about all my problems than the bizarreness that followed, but either way, something changed for the better. Complementary medicine might not have any real scientific backing, and it’s obviously unwise to consider before visiting your GP, especially if your problem is fairly serious. But perhaps there’s something in this alternative therapy guff after all.

At the end of the session, I booked another for next month. Even if it just allows me another half-hour to get some stuff off my mind, it’ll be worth it.



  1. I grew up in a town where alternative medicine was routinely practised alongside conventional. It was a real shock when I left home and discovered not only how little time normal GPs spend with their patients, but how little wit they seem to have in terms of looking at their patient as a complete person rather than a single symptom.

    Glad someone at least took the time to talk to you and see what was going on in your life. Really hope the walks etc help.

  2. Thanks very much. And yes, it made such a huge difference having someone genuinely listen to you and want to find out a bit more about your problems rather than looking to get you out of the door at the earliest opportunity.

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