As a leading writer, and as an individual, I passionately believe in the principles of integrated medicine. In my ideal world, it would be perfectly possible to see my GP and discuss the approach I would like to take to a particular health issue, and everything would be on the menu – from a conventional approach using drug therapy – to homeopathy, medical herbalism, acupuncture or naturopathy.
Sadly, this utopia hasn’t arrived yet, and in some quarters there is open hostility between the conventional medical establishment and complimentary medicine. I believe this is the great tragedy of our times. Homeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann, a tenacious German doctor who discovered the scientific basis for homeopathy, which is that ‘like cures like’. Above all, Hahnemann was searching for a gentler way to care for his patients. He declared that he could not in all conscience use drugs on his fellow man, with their toxic side effects. How little has changed! Today, given the conveyer belt system many doctors have to operate by, it is no wonder they reach for their prescription pad, rather than take time to get to know each patient, and discover that compassion is just as important as prescription. How often have you emerged from your GP’s surgery feeling that you have been left completely in the dark and that you do not understand the nature of why you are ill? Or what your options are?
The good news is that there are a growing number of GPs, pharmacists and vets who are moving away from a culture of prescription, and they are choosing to train as homeopaths. Some of them are truly inspiring, like the late Dr Andrew Lockie, a charismatic Scot, who wrote the bestselling Family Guide to Homeopathy. Andrew transformed the lives of his patients and he was an expert on immunity.
In the 21st Century, medicine needs to be de-mystified, and doctors need time to listen to their patients and become more intuitive. Above all, what patients crave most from their doctor is an open, informed approach where all the options are available to them. This is empowering to both sides – and I predict if a rapprochement could take place with leading exponents of holistic medicine and the two sides could start working together, for the good of their patients – the world would become a far healthier, productive and happy place.
During the coming months Matt will be discussing how to achieve better health and demonstrating how homeopathy can offer a gentle, safe approach as more people look for a effective alternative to prescriptive medicine. Over the past two years Matt has successfully helped me to recover from several chronic health problems, and I am confident you will benefit from his classical,scientific approach to homeopathy.
Matt is very inspiring, both as homeopath and as a person. He is caring, optimistic and a highly experienced practitioner, and has the rare ability to really listen to his patients. During the past twelve years he has successfully treated hundreds of people for a wide range of health problems from IBS and migraines through to stress, depression and repeated infections, by treating the whole person. Every week he holds popular surgeries in London and the Oxford village where he lives with his young family. Recently, Matt has offered some sample sessions to a London GP – because doctors get sick too! As a result he was invited to run a Thursday clinic at the busy NHS surgery in Cavendish Street, in the heart of London’s West End.
“This is the ideal scenario,” explains Matt. “Patients like to have their GP on side. All too often patients are scared to tell their GP that they are seeking another form of help, for fear of their GP’s negative reaction. The ideal is to work together for the best outcome for the patient.”
Matt knew when he was fourteen that he wanted to train to become a homeopath. “When I was a teenager I was bedridden for six months and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me. Eventually, a family friend suggested a complimentary approach and my family took me to see a homeopath.” Matt made a full recovery after two months and soon returned to kicking a football around the park, hanging out with his mates and generally being a normal teenager.
“Getting my health back had a profound effect on me. I knew I had found my career path.” At twenty he applied to study homeopathy at the College of Homeopathy in Regents Park, but was told that the average age for people to take the course was thirty-five! “How times have changed,” he says laughing. ” I didn’t give up, and eventually they agreed that I could enrol. But there was still one hurdle to overcome. “There was no recognised degree course at the time and I couldn’t get a grant, so I had no choice but to pay for the entire three year course.”
Neither Matt nor his family had the financial means to pay the fees and accommodation costs for a three-year stay in London. ” I remember there was only about a month to go before I had to enrol, and a solicitor got in touch and asked to see me. After an interview during which he asked me why I felt so passionate about holistic medicine, he said he represented a client who would like to pay eighty per cent of my costs to study homeopathy on three conditions: the first was that I attended all my lectures, the second was that I kept a record of my studies and the third was that my benefactor wished to remain anonymous.”
Matt lapped up every moment of his studies and training and went on to fully qualify in 1995. He tells me, “I love the philosophy of homeopathy; and I love the science behind it. Scientists are now very close to cracking what makes it work. Essentially, what homeopathy does is look at the symptoms an individual is experiencing which can be emotional or physical; at the same time you try and build up a complete picture of the person and how they function. The most profound results happen when you build up an accurate picture of all these elements and then you prescribe the correct remedy. It is this action that stimulates the body to correct and heal itself.” Matt also believes that homeopathy has a valuable role to play in preventive medicine. Homeopathy strengthens the constitution and makes people less susceptible to infections and illness.”
Finally, I have one last question for Matt. I am curious to learn how he avoids becoming stressed and worn out himself, when he is constantly dealing with people who are stressed, unwell and seeking help. ” I have learnt the art of listening intently, and then, at the end of the day I leave it behind.”
Disclaimer: You should always see your GP and discuss your symptoms first, before using complementary medicine.
Matt Pepper’s first column for The Ethical-Hedonist will appear next week, on how to treat coughs and colds. Meanwhile, if there are other areas that you would like Matt to cover, please leave a comment below.
Matt Pepper: www.mattpepper.com
College of Homeopathy: www.homeopathycollege.org
Royal London Homeopathic Hospital here in UCL’s labyrinthine website