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What really antidotes homeopathy? Beware friends bearing gifts

This week I saw a patient who had been making remarkable progress over the last five months for a chronic condition called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) until two weeks ago. Suddenly she was going down hill fast. Neither of us could understand why the remedy so abruptly stopped working. Had she been particularly stressed or working too hard was the first question. No was the reply. Partying too hard? "I wish!" she said. So what else had she been up to?

I studiously ran through all the things I have witnessed in my 10+ years in practice that have antidoted a remedy... Had she started a new steroid or antibiotic prescription from her GP, had she had minor surgery or been to the dentist (anaesthetics whether general or local, as well as fillings or dental mouthwashes can nuke a good homeopathic remedy)? Had she been drinking coffee, chewing mint gum or started using a new strong mint toothpaste? No and no.

Had she been wearing or been close to a strong perfume or essential oils? I had to ask this last question because a few years ago I had another patient who had received some pure Ambra Grisea musk for her birthday. The first time she wore it, the homeopathic remedies we were using to treat her symptoms simply stopped having any effect. We got her back to good health but now the perfume sits on the shelf for viewing only. This is my only experience of perfumes ruining homeopathy, but it happened and it's one that homeopathy's founder Samuel Hahnemann warned us of.

Had she had any acupuncture? Some sacro cranial work, by any chance? No, and no again. Then a pause. "A friend did gift me a foot massage with some reflexology the weekend before. Could that have done it?"

Not entirely sure this could be the culprit, I asked her to take another dose of her usual remedy and get back to me. Hey presto, within 48 hours, she was back up and running at her normal speed and feeling better. So I learnt something this week, and so did she - add reflexology to your list of Homeopathic 'no nos'.

The bigger question is though, why should reflexology antidote homeopathy, or acupuncture or sacro cranial treatment for that reason? All of the above are 'energy' medicines. All of them can work for people but, it appears, not at the same time as homeopathy. Could it be that we are like hybrid cars with duel fuel options, not to be combined?

It's hard to know for sure but if you're in homeopathic treatment and it's working for you, my advice would be don't rock the boat by mixing it up with other complementary therapies, even if it's from a well meaning friend.

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