Surgery represents conventional medicine at its best and its worst. On the one hand, surgery demonstrates amazingly sophisticated procedural advancement, yet on the other hand, it often indicates the inability of physicians and patients to prevent this invasive treatment of last resort.
Like other health professionals, homeopaths honor the special role that surgery and surgeons have in health care. Homeopaths are not against surgery, because certain conditions are simply not treatable without it. At the same time, however, surgery is often performed unnecessarily and inappropriately. It is performed when other, safer actions can be successfully used. It is performed too early when the body can sometimes heal itself. And it is performed inappropriately, primarily because surgeons only know surgery and don’t know what else to do (the law of hammers pervades many professions: when you are a hammer, everything becomes a nail).
Even when surgery is successful, this does not necessarily mean that the person is “cured.” Surgery may, for instance, remove an abscess, a tumor, kidney stones or gallstones, or other diseased parts, but because this removal doesn’t change the underlying pathological processes that created them in the first place, it is understandable and even predictable that people tend to experience their ailments again.
Even if the ailment seems to have disappeared, homeopaths do not believe that a curative process has always taken place. While the preliminary complaint may have been eradicated, sometimes more serious pathology develops shortly after the surgery. Although doctors tend to believe that this is a “new” disease, homeopaths theorize that the surgery probably suppressed the original ailment. This is not meant to undervalue appropriate use of surgery in treating various congenital deformities, structural problems, severe injuries, or life-threatening pathological conditions.
Homeopaths are not against the cautious use of surgery. When possible, homeopaths first attempt to see if treatment with an individualized homeopathic medicine can prevent the need for surgery. Patients and even homeopaths are sometimes surprised and impressed at the significant results that homeopathic medicines can provide–not that they can do the impossible, but they can often bring forth a healing response when conventional therapeutics cannot.
The integration of homeopathic medicines with surgical care uses the best of both worlds to create inclusive and eventually more effectual health care.
Once it is determined that surgery is medically necessary, homeopathic medicines can reduce complications of surgery and augment healing so that people can recover more quickly afterward. Surgeons commonly ask patients not to take any food, drink, or drugs prior to surgery. While it makes sense to avoid food, drink, and conventional drugs, there have never been any reported problems from taking homeopathic remedies prior to surgery.
There are homeopathic medicines which can be given prior to surgery in order to prevent infection and hemorrhaging.
Homeopathic medicines can also help people deal with the various emotions they are experiencing prior to surgery like great anxiety, apprehension, weakness, and trembling prior to surgery. When the patient is terrified about surgery and thinks that he will die from it.
The following are common recommendations for after surgery. Please note that the length of time of treatment can and should be different with each patient, depending upon the intensity of symptoms. Doses should generally be taken as long as pain persists, though they should not be taken for more than a couple of days, unless the person is still in pain and the remedy is providing obvious relief.
- One double-blind, randomized trial on 50 children who underwent surgery showed that 95% of those given the homeopathic medicine Aconitum experienced significantly less post-operative pain and agitation. Aconitum was chosen because it is a common remedy for ailments in which sudden and violent onset of shock or trauma is a primary indication, as well as symptoms of fear and anxiety, which are especially common emotions experienced by children prior to surgery.
- A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study showed that Arnica significantly decreased bleeding time.
- The late British homeopathic physician Donald Foubister recommended Arnica 30 the night before surgery, another dose the morning of the surgery, another dose just prior to the surgery, and different medicines afterward, depending upon the type of surgery and the symptoms the patient feels.
- Homeopathic medicines can also be beneficial for patients who undergo long-term intravenous (IV) therapy. Frequent insertion of an IV commonly causes phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) and hematoma (the pooling of blood under the skin); a double-blind study using Arnica 5c found that it can effectively reduce and prevent such problems. The study showed significant benefits from Arnica, including reduced pain. Besides subjective improvement, there were also objectively measured increases in blood flow and in blood coagulation factors.