A Conversation With... Peter Gold
ATH Co-Editors of Homeopathy
"Yes, there’s every indication that Homeopathy is growing robustly... there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-500 million people who use homeopathy around the world."
Michelle Gregg, Senior Editor of ATH: Hi Everyone, I'm Michelle Gregg, Senior Editor of All Things Healing and I invite you to join us for this exclusive interview in our “A Conversation With… ” series. Today we have Dr. Mary Ellen Coulter and Christine Breen, our Co-Editors of the ATH Homeopathy page, speaking with our wonderfully knowledgeable guest Peter Gold, the Communications Director of the National Center of Homeopathy. Peter, I hope you’re as excited to be here as we are to have you!
Peter: Sure am! Thank you and thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to the questions that you’ve got.
Michelle: Great! Then Mary Ellen and Christine, let’s go ahead and get started.
Mary Ellen: Recently, the Chicago Tribune published an article titled “Homeopathy prospers even as controversy rages.” On your wonderful website, National Center of Homeopathy, one of your banners states "Promoting Health through Homeopathy." Is homeopathy, as a therapeutic tool for well-being, gaining ground in the United States?
Peter: Yes, there’s every indication that it is growing robustly. We are seeing manufacturer sales of remedies on the rise, and interest in the subject matter is clearly on the rise just as our website inquiries to the NCH are on the rise. It’s estimated right now that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-500 million people who use homeopathy around the world. I know that’s a wide spread – and we use the number 200 million, which is conservative. Homeopathy is considered to be one of the top two or three medical systems in use around the world and in this last decade we’ve seen growth in its use, growth in the sales of remedies going up at 20-40% a year, so yes, it’s in a very healthy phase of its existence, particularly in the US and certainly around the world.
Christine: I like what you said about “global” and “on the rise” and “around the world”, because here we are speaking across 3 time zones from Oregon State to Ireland. That gives us a good idea of how global it is. Have you heard of Wednesdays with Rajan?
Peter: Yes. Yes I have.
"Peter, I like what you said about “global” and “on the rise” and “around the world”, because here we are speaking across 3 time zones from Oregon State to Ireland. That gives us a good idea of how global Homeopathy is."
Christine: I participate in that live on Wednesdays from Mumbai to Ireland and all over the world, which is really fascinating. So, considering the more advanced levels of the practice of homeopathy from the viewpoint of medical practitioners like Drs. George Vithoulkas, Will Taylor and Rajan Sankaran, who prescribe homeopathic remedies based upon years of experience, can the general population benefit from over-the-counter homeopathic remedies which are so readily available from health food shops and the like?
Peter: I think so and you’ve mentioned some well-known homeopaths. There are several others as well, people like Andre Saine, Nick Nossaman, Dan Cook and there are some wonderful, wonderful homeopaths here in North America who are with Will Taylor like Todd Row. Terrific work. I think this is a system that can be used by consumers for home care, for first aid care, for simple acute ailments like ear infection, cough, sore throat, stomach ailments and the like. And really the best way that I think consumers can access homeopathy is by purchasing a book. There are many first aid books written by people like Amanda Castro and others who furnish moms and dads and grandparents and others with great instructions as to what are the common remedies to look at and what are the indications for those remedies.
So for simple stuff, yes absolutely, it’s accessible. I think that’s one of the reasons for the growth you’ve seen is that it is so accessible, it isn’t expensive, it’s simple and safe. Again we’re in an age now where over-the-counter drugs are under greater scrutiny. Many over the counter drugs have been pulled off for their various dangers to health. A lot of prescription drugs are under the same kind of watch for their side effects and dangers. So consumers, particularly parents with children, are anxiously looking for alternatives that are safe and gentle and that work. So yes, I think with the use of a good first aid book and a small collection of remedies that it’s something that the general population can very much benefit from.
Christine: Thank you and that leads into the next question. A new campaign, "Homeopathy Works for Me," was officially launched on March 20th. It’s excellent, the videos are popping up everywhere. What advice would you give to ATH's readers who stumble upon 'homeopathy' for the first time and want to learn more. Do you think providing them with cured cases can be productive or is evidence-based information more valuable?
Peter: First of all, there are hundreds and hundreds of high quality, basic science, big clinical and little clinical studies that have been done on homeopathy that are published in reputable journals like Rheumatology, Pediatrics, and Chest that show that homeopathy is effective for a number of conditions. I think the important thing to realize is that homeopathy is an individualized medicine, as you both know, and that what I might need for my sore throat would likely be different than what you need for yours because we all express disease in individualized ways, in ways that are unique to each of us. And that’s one of the things about homeopathy that’s so different and also so helpful, is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all system.
Christine: So both is good really. Giving them cured cases and evidence-based information.
NCH is the organizing body for Homeopathy in the U.S. and a comprehensive resource for families in search of safe, effective, natural health care.
Peter: The problem and danger with cured cases is people will say “oh this person had a sore throat and they used Lachesis, that must be what I need” and so I prefer frankly that if folks want to try to use it in the home that there are several resources. National Center of Homeopathy is the organizing body for homeopathic medicine here in this country and has extensive research studies available to look at that are of high quality. It also has information about the system, how it might be used, give folks sort of a basic fundamental understanding about homeopathy and the evidence for it and then, as I said, the self-help books, the first aid books that are out there that are really quite good, folks can purchase so that when they have that sore throat they can look at that cluster of remedies that are most commonly prescribed, understand what symptoms to rely on, to understand how to choose a remedy based on the symptoms they’re experiencing which are unique to them, and hopefully choose something that is helpful to them.
I think cured cases is interesting because it shows the power of homeopathy but for people who are new to homeopathy it’s not a one size fits all. There are no specifics in Homoeopathy. It’s not like aspirin for a headache. The type and characteristics of the cough or sore throat will determine which remedy is appropriate for any given patient. And it’s often different from patient to patient.
Mary Ellen: What options are available for serious students to study to become a practitioner of Homeopathy?
Samuel Hahnemann 1755-1843
Founder of Homeopathy
Peter: There are a number of alternatives. The starting points I always refer to are the naturopathic colleges that here in this country for someone who is young enough and in a place in their lives where they can continue their education and actually get a degree in medicine. And the naturopathic schools do a reasonably good job of providing training in homeopathy. Some schools are better than others, but that’s one place to start. If somebody is already a practitioner or physician and wants to learn homeopathy there are some options available to those folks as well for advanced training. George Vithoulkas in Greece has some programs available; Andre Saine in Montreal, Canada has some good programs in place. Todd Row in Arizona is starting a homeopathic college. Homeopathic medicine will be taught at the college in Arizona. So those are options.
And then for folks who are new to the system but want to learn it there are a number of schools available and there are some different learning options available as well. The key thing is I always like to say that anyone who is interested in learning about homeopathy should start by trying to understand the philosophy that underpins it all and if they can read Hahnemann’s work called The Organon which describes the system and understand what it is he created and the philosophical underpinnings of it and then begin to branch out. There were some wonderfully masterful homeopaths in the early days of the system. People like Constantine Herring, Samuel Hahnemann of course the founder, Adolf Lippe, Nash, P.P. Wells, the Polfords who just were phenomenally talented homeopaths. And there is a lot of literature from their practices left behind.
I always advise people let’s go back to our roots, lets understand how the system was practiced by the very best, learn what they did and then you can expand from that point. But to start at our roots where the masters were practicing, and there’s some wonderful female practitioners, Margaret Tyler and many others whom I did not mention, but many women who were at the best in the field, see what they did, learn what they did to succeed, and try to model yourself from that. So kind of a complicated answer, it depends on what level you’re coming at the system. If you’re brand new to it try to spend a little time learning what Hahnemann first described as a system and kind of grow from there would be my advice.
Mary Ellen: And isn’t it true too that your own publication in the NCH occasionally has lists of the different schools and different courses available?
Peter: Yep, exactly, thank you for mentioning that. The NCH does provide information about the various schools that are teaching. I think if I were to advise somebody personally, I’d say find a school that does the basics really well, that teaches you the foundations, you know the roots of the system, the early beginnings and go from there. Some people try to jump over that step and start working with some of the more modern homeopaths without learning the basics of the system and the system that Hahnemann intended. That’s problematic because I don’t think that ends up producing the best practitioners in the long run, but we could all argue that for days I suppose.
But yes the NCH has great resources, great lists available, contacts for various schools and can be used to guide people. The website address for the NCH is www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org. It is important to realize too that the NCH does a tremendous amount of work to protect and promote homeopathy and work with our colleagues, not just here but in Canada and Europe and elsewhere to protect and promote the system.
Becoming a member of NCH is a great way to take advantage of fantastic benefits!
We’re an organization that’s supported by our members. Without our members we cease to exist, and we’re an open membership organization and people are welcome to join us. It has wonderful learning benefits. As an example, one of the things we just launched this year is a webinar series that will occur six times a year, where very experienced homeopaths will teach the fundamentals of first aid and acute treatment for things like cough, sore throats, and ear infections. The next webinar coming up is actually a series about ear infections led by Dr. Amy Rothenberg and she’ll help moms and dads and others understand what to do when that child wakes up at two in the morning screaming with fever and ear pain, how to treat it as a mom or dad or grandparent or whatever - so lots and lots of learning resources are available.
To access these webinars you have to be a member of the NCH. They are free to members. Membership to the NCH is $49 a year, but you get a quarterly magazine, you get access to these webinars, you get tremendous resources from the website, discounts on green and organic products, and other things like that. And it’s a wonderful organization too for those who want to learn homeopathy but perhaps not commit their lives to it. It’s just a great resource.
|Mary Ellen: Well I will also say that I participated in the last webinar just out of curiosity and I found it very helpful, like little tips for my patients on coughs and colds. It was extremely helpful, so I highly recommend it. And also to second what you were saying, the publication Homeopathy Today - if I have patients that think they want to study more and get more involved in just the science of homeopathy and the depth of where it can go, then I actually recommend they join the NCH and subscribe to Homeopathy Today and then they can also participate in the webinars. So all of those are really valuable resources, and they kind of help as a good introduction.
Peter: We try very hard as an organization to sharpen our educational offerings and to bring modern technology offerings to people in ways that are convenient. The days have kind of gone by when we all want to jump in a car and drive for 6 hours or fly on an airplane to a conference, frankly because the cost of fuel is so high and time constraints are such, so we’re trying to use the internet to bring new learning tools to our members so that they can expand their understanding of the subject, share it with others, treat their family members and loved ones and really use the system well. So it’s this and other things we’re doing are really going to be helpful to the community.
Mary Ellen: Thank you so much and I have one last question. As we know homeopathy is entering a new phase of growth and its appeal to the public is expanding, so what role do you see for the NCH to contribute to the evolution of homeopathy and what would you like our readers to know about the NCH and what’s on your horizon?
Peter: Yeah, thank you. Well, the National Center… There are economic interests around the world who would like to see homeopathy destroyed. Actually that has been true of this system of medicine for the 200 years it’s been around. It’s a competitive system to other systems and the financial interests that are strongly committed to other systems of medicine would like to see it go away, so one of our critical roles is to protect homeopathy from commentary from those who would like to tear it down. And one of the things we repeat all the time is what I call our mantra which is very simple: Homeopathy is a 200 year old system of medicine that is used by 200 million people or more around the world and there are literally hundreds of high quality peer reviewed, basic science, pre-clinical and clinical research studies showing that it works. Hundreds of those papers are available on the NCH website to be looked at carefully.
" ...there are literally hundreds of high quality peer reviewed, basic science, pre-clinical and clinical research studies showing that homeopathy works."
So one of our missions is to stress that facts about homeopathy, not the hearsay, not the skeptical claims, we try not to let any attacks go unanswered, because a lot of folks would like to see the system torn down, so we’re vigilant in that regard and we work with our Canadian allies and our European allies and others around the world to make sure that we’re coordinated and thoughtful in our responses. And that goes onto number two which is education: helping people understand how they can use it at home at night when the youngster is sick to their stomach or has an earache or has fallen- simple acute first aid situations. We always stress that for anything complicated or potentially life-threatening that folks seek professional medical care and there are many homeopaths that they can turn to for that.
But providing education: helping people understand the system and helping them understand how to use it for simple acute first aid when appropriate, and for advanced subscribers we’re also starting to address the educational needs of people who are more advanced and we’ll be bringing online another series of webinars that speak to that community, so MD’s, ND’s, professional practitioners and others, doctors of osteopathic medicine, chiropractors, RN’s, and all the folks that are using homeopathy have resources available to continue their education, to understand the system, to use it well.
So if I were to say what’s our role going forward? It’s protecting the system and promoting the system through education so that more and more people understand it, more and more people have access to it, and practitioners that are using it are using it well. And one last thing, I’ll just repeat the web address for those that may not have heard the first time but the National Center’s website is available as an open website, there are certain features that you have to be a member to enjoy, but for the most part people can get a tremendous amount out of it, and that’s www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org. Terrific site, terrific organization, we invite all that are interested in homeopathy to join us in our mission as members and learn about homeopathy.
Mary Ellen: Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been a member for very many years and I find the benefits to be tremendous. Plus the other thing I’ll mention is the practitioners are also available online.
Peter: That’s correct, thank you for mentioning that. There are good resources about where to buy remedies, where to get additional education, where/who to call in your area to seek help and many more things including extensive research that shows the system works, despite what those who seek to tear it down claim. There is abundant research about the efficacy, about the fact that homeopathy is a system that works and it’s all on the website.
Mary Ellen: Well thank you so much. And I hope to meet you at the conference.
Christine: Thank you!
Peter: Appreciate the time!
More About Peter Gold
Peter W. Gold is the Communications Director for the National Center of Homeopathy (NCH). The National Center for Homeopathy is the organizing body for homeopathic medicine in the United States (www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org). Peter received his degree in Biology from Trinity College (CT) and his training in homeopathic medicine from Dr. Andre Saine at the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy in Montreal, Canada. Peter is a former member of the Board of Directors at Hartford Hospital – a major urban hospital in Connecticut.
About the National Center of Homeopathy (NCH)
Homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of medicine used successfully by over 100 million people worldwide. It has a laudable and extensively-documented clinical record and there are literally hundreds of high-quality, peer-reviewed basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies showing it works. The National Center of Homeopathy (NCH) is the organizing body for homeopathic medicine in the U.S.
NCH is an open-membership organization whose mission is to promote health through homeopathy. By providing general education to the public about homeopathy, specific education to homeopaths, and working with government agencies and the media, we help to make homeopathy understood and available throughout the United States.
This web site, our "open to the public" annual National Conference, our quarterly magazine Homeopathy Today, and our work with the media help us reach people who are new to homeopathy with accurate, current, and helpful information. Our staff answers more than 10,000 inquiries a year.
NCH also educates. For over 70 years, the NCH Summer School provided instruction to those who wished to learn self-help skills for family use, as well as highly specialized classes for health care professionals in medical specialties such as medical doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, veterinarians, and other health practitioners. In an effort to make these educational opportunities more readily accessible, NCH has launched (2011) a wonderful series of instructional webinars about how to use homeopathy to care for yourself and your family at home - for members only. The "Homeopathy at Home" series will introduce newcomers to homeopathy, as well as provide practical steps for more experienced home prescribers. Each webinar will cover how you might help a family member with different acute conditions such as colds, coughs, flu, earaches, upset stomachs, and minor first aid needs. Eminent practitioner-teachers will lead the series, which members can attend live or listen to from the archives as a podcast. Future webcasts are planned for more advanced prescribers as well.
The NCH is crucial to the survival of homeopathy in the United States!! We urge you to join us today in promoting health through homeopathy.
Click for more about NCH and their Membership and all the benefits you enjoy as a member: Study Groups, Chat Room, e-Newsletter, subscription to Homeopathy Today, Remedies & Symptoms Materia Medica Database, and discount coupons for green and organic products.