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The homeopathic alternative

After her son took a hockey puck to the face, Jennifer Metzger didn’t bring out the raw steak or bag of frozen peas. Instead, she found that a few tiny tablets of homeopathic medicine could put everything right.

Elmira’s Jennifer Metzger opens Total Holistic Wellness to those looking for a more natural healing touch through homeopathy and reflexology. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Elmira’s Jennifer Metzger opens Total Holistic Wellness to those looking for a more natural healing touch through homeopathy and reflexology. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
“Arnica works for bruises and swelling. I gave him arnica about every two minutes and I watched the goose egg go down. It was a very cool experience and that’s how I found homeopathy,” said Metzger, owner of Elmira’s Total Holistic Wellness.

The longtime reflexologist is now a fully licensed homeopath treating clients from her Elmira home office after graduating from the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine in Toronto this spring.

The idea behind homeopathy is that “like cures like,” Metzger explained. Given to a relatively healthy person in large doses, some natural substances can cause illness; however, the same substance given in extremely diluted form to ailing patients with similar symptoms can help the body heal. The practice goes back to 1796, when German doctor Samuel Hahnemann began to treat people with minute doses of natural substances.

Homeopathic medicines, she goes on to say, are not drugs but “remedies” made from plant, animal and mineral-based ingredients.

“A kid gets a bee sting and it swells up a little bit. [If] it’s not a full reaction, we give something called apis. Apis is actually made from the bee stinger and we give that to the patient and you’ll see the swelling go down. ‘Likes cure likes’ is the whole theory.”

Homeopathic treatments can help with dozens of health issues, Metzger said, including aches, emotional imbalances, nutritional concerns, skin issues and even chronic diseases like cancer. Homeopaths believe in making the distinction between physical ailments and physical symptoms resulting from emotional or mental complications, she added.

One of Metzger’s most rewarding cases was treating a little girl whose hair was constantly falling out. After treating her for hair loss and severe bowel problems, Metzger said the girl started to recover from both symptoms.

Her case study on the subject was later published in Hpathy.com, an international homeopathic journal.

“It’s very cool to see them get healthy and move on. I have a couple of ADHD boys and they are functioning well at school and doing things with friends they would do normally, and that’s very cool too. That’s what we [homeopaths] are here to do: do no harm and to help move forward.

“When we treat people’s illnesses, we look at the bigger picture and we treat the root cause of an illness. We treat people as a whole, not just the symptom. I have a couple of patients with fibromyalgia so you take that whole case, because you are looking at the whole picture and I need to match them up with the right remedy. So, I’m checking their mentals, their emotionals and their physicals.”

Metzger’s medicines are mixed at a pharmacy and are given to patients in micro doses. First a tincture is made from a natural medicinal substance and one drop is mixed with 99 drops of water. This process is repeated several times. Each step is a level on the Hahnemannian centesimal scale, or CH, which indicates the dilution of a homeopathic remedy.

“Most of the medicines are 30 to 200 CH. They are very diluted for a minimal dosage.”

The idea is to nudge the body’s natural healing abilities into action through a minimal dosage of the medicine, she said.

Much skepticism surrounds holistic medical practices, Metzger admits, yet she believes that her business can be used in addition to modern medicines and notes that homeopaths do not diagnose or promise a cure.

“We do try to help people get healthy and that’s the bottom line; just improve their life. A lot of people are turning to natural ways of doing so,” she said.

First-time patients can look forward to a consultation with their initial appointment where Metzger discusses patient health history and current state of health, in mind and body.

“I might ask about their sleep or eating habits because you have to take everything into account,” said Metzger.

Total Holistic Wellness was created this spring and offers both reflexology and homeopathic treatments. More information can be found at www.totatlholisticwellness.com.

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