Mary was delicate, soft-spoken and somewhat shy. As she sat across from me crossing her legs and smoothing out the folds of her skirt, it seemed difficult for her to make eye contact. When she looked up to speak, however, her steel blue eyes pierced mine and betrayed the river of panic that was rising up within her.
“I don’t want to go back on anti-biotics,” she told me. “Two months ago I went to the Student Health Center and the doctor said I had MRSA. It’s a large boil on my right shoulder. She lanced it and drained it and I had to take anti-biotics, both orally and by injections, but it’s still there and I don’t know what else to do. I felt like crap after the anti-biotics, really run down. I don’t know much about homeopathy, but it’s natural so I thought I’d give it a try.”
“What is your skin like?” I asked.
“It hurts. It’s awful and annoying,” she responded. There was silence as she smoothed out another pesky wrinkle in her skirt.
“What else can you tell me about your skin? How does it affect you?” I inquired further. I needed to know more about her state and her unique experience of this boil, so that I could find a remedy perfectly suited for her situation.
Mary sat looking down at her hands, picking at her fingertips. A heavy silence filled the room as I began to sense the enormity of the situation. “Well… it’s embarrassing. It’s a big hard bump that hurts when I touch it. I’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working. Soon summer vacation will start and I won’t be able wear tank tops or swimsuits. It’s embarrassing and people will think it’s weird that I have such an ugly bump. I will have to wear long sleeves all summer long.”
As crazy as it may sound, it was this feeling of being embarrassed by the boil which finally led me to the remedy that was able to quickly remove Mary’s bothersome complaint. Silica, a homeopathic remedy made from sand, is actually one of hundreds of homeopathic remedies known to deal with boils. As well as festering skin complaints, the essence of this natural remedy specifically relates with feelings of insecurity and embarrassment. People needing this remedy tend to be self-conscious and anxious as to their appearance, which is precisely what Mary experienced. For three days Mary took one pellet of homeopathic Silica. She informed me that almost immediately, the boil began discharging and by the third day it was 80% reduced. By the fifth day it was completely gone.
Homeopathy is an effective and beautiful system of healing. People are examined as a whole, as individuals. Instead of only seeing the skin symptoms as needed treatment, I needed to understand what was causing stress within Mary and how it contributed to her skin complaint. If over 80% of all diseases are caused by stress, what is stress and how can we get rid of it? Stress is a subjective and unique experience, one that will differ from one person to the next. While we won’t change the fact that stress occurs, we can change how it affects us.
Take three cases of heartburn. All three could take antacid medication. The homeopathic approach will examine the nature of each person’s heartburn and they will receive different remedies as to one person being quite anxious, another irritable, or the third perpetually angry. These states of mind affect the physical symptoms of heartburn and reflect the body’s innate wisdom to move us closer to more sustainable, peaceful lives, if we are able to listen.
It’s no coincidence that we’re seeing a resurgence of natural and compassionate healing modalities at a time when our civilization is in the throes of major transitions. With old systems and establishments breaking down and becoming worn out with innumerable complications and side-effects, our civilization is at a crossroads to find solutions which are not only sustainable but also empowering. This is why homeopathy and other natural therapies like ayurveda, acupuncture, meditation and yoga are becoming so popular. A deeper wisdom is inspiring us to take our blinders off, and to move from being parts-oriented (this is your lawn, this is my lawn) to being more whole-oriented (refraining from pesticide use because our lawns are connected by earth).
The Oxford Dictionary shows the word “health” as deriving from the Old English “hǽlth” which is related to “whole”. So the next time you feel stressed out, I invite you to take a few moments to pause and reflect on ways that you may not be feeling whole or complete. Find out what is missing and then just breathe some space into that. This can give you just enough energy to learn the true nature of your stress and also help show what you can do about it.
Monique Arsenault, CCH, RSHom(NA) is a homeopath at The Natural Health Clinic in Bellingham
and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org