Many of us who practice homeopathy professionally have heard repeatedly of the benefits of specializing in certain areas of health and wellness in our practice. While specializing is not essential and not always possible, especially early in one’s career, there are some advantages to it. First, specializing enables a solid grounding in one or more specific areas of practice, allowing for more rapid development of experience and expertise within these areas. Second, it better enables promoting our homeopathic practice to clients, who often feel more comfortable approaching practitioners with extensive experience working with conditions like theirs. Third, in some geographic areas where there are many homeopaths, it facilitates referrals among colleagues, each of whom might focus on a specific area of practice.
A homeopath who decides to specialize in musculo-skeletal complaints or women’s endocrine issues or allergies will want to be up to date on recent research in those chosen areas. This has at least two dimensions. First, a practicing homeopath will want to keep an eye out for any new studies that investigate homeopathic resolutions to the conditions they specialize in. It is especially useful to be familiar with this body of research in order to facilitate public discussion or even just answer questions that clients might raise, like “Has homeopathy been shown to be effective in helping resolve respiratory allergies?”. (Answer: it has and there is plenty of evidence to support this!) While the prospect of trying to keep up with all research in homeopathy is daunting, staying up to date with studies that pertain to one’s area of specialization is much more feasible. CORE-Hom is a searchable database of clinical research in homeopathy including more than 1,000 studies that can help with this and should be checked on a regular basis. After registering (which is free), you can browse through the various conditions (“indications”) for those that relate to your chosen area(s):
The second part of becoming familiar with research pertaining to your area(s) of specialization relates to conventional medical research. This is important for a number of reasons. First, any studies revealing new information about the epidemiology (characteristics of the population affected by the condition) and typical progression of the condition can be helpful. Second, scientific discoveries that shed light on the pathophysiology of certain conditions can be helpful in homeopathic prescribing, especially when deciding between alternative remedies that focus on different body systems. Third, intimate familiarity with the signs, symptoms and complications of specific conditions can help identify “common symptoms”. While important for conventional medicine, these are not usually that helpful in pointing to the right homeopathic prescription, but familiarity with common symptoms is nonetheless valuable. Finally, being apprised of the advantages and disadvantages of conventional drugs typically prescribed for conditions you have chosen to specialize in can be beneficial in helping clients reduce or eliminate these medications. A good free resource for becoming familiar with all of these areas of conventional medical research in order to support a specific area of homeopathic practice is Medscape, the newsletter of WebMD. Here is the link to register:
Once registered, you can sign up for weekly “specialty focused newsletters”. For example, a homeopath who specializes in musculo-skeletal complaints could sign up for the “Orthopedics” newsletter. A specialist in women’s endocrine issues could choose “Diabetes and Endocrinology”. A homeopath who sees many clients with allergy issues could sign up for the “Allergy and Clinical Immunology” newsletter.