Hudson Valley Heals Through Homeopathy

Homeopathy’s wide ranging applications extend from medical doctors to veterinary practices and are considered a natural alternative to conventional methods. Photo by Jeannette LaPointe.

The Hudson Valley is a hotbed for all things homeopathic given the region’s inherently sustainable nature.

Interest in homeopathy has been present in the Hudson Valley since the mid 1800s. After a resurgence in this alternative medical practice across the country in the 1970s, there has been a steady rise in the popularity of the practice ever since. With New Paltz being a hotbed for all things natural healing, the trend, locally, is no wonder.

Homeopathy is a medical practice that embraces a holistic, natural approach to the treatment of the sick. It is holistic because it treats the patient as a whole rather than focusing on a diseased part of the body or specific illness. Additionally, the natural remedies are produced according to the FDA-recognized “Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.”

Homeopathy has been officially recognized under the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the 1965 Medicare Act and the 1987 FDA Compliance Policy Guidelines.

The guiding principle of homeopathy is “let likes cure likes” or Similia similibus curentur. Homeopathic remedies are also prescribed at minimum dose so that maximum therapeutic effect is achieved with the fewest side effects. Additionally, only one remedy is prescribed at a time and they are used mostly for acute and chronic treatments.

“People come to homeopathy for a variety of reasons,” said homeopath Rebekah Azzarelli. “Some come because they haven’t had success treating their chronic health problems with conventional medicine and want to try something new.”

Azzarelli practices classical homeopathy and works in homeopathic education at Beacon Homeopathy. She also teaches DIY homeopathy for community members. She’s currently building a wellness cooperative and its first project, Beacon Wellness Commons, is a free monthly pop up holistic health clinic with a variety of holistic health practitioners offering free treatment sessions, free childcare with arts and games, a weekly group called Walk for Health and a series of workshops on self-care. She began practicing professionally in 2006.

According to Azzarelli, homeopathy is an individualized approach to medicine and not everyone with the same ailment will receive the same treatment.

“We might see someone who comes to treat chronic knee pain,” she said. “To find an accurate homeopathic remedy we must learn more about the person’s symptoms, including health history that might seem unrelated.”

Azzarelli said that patients can take homeopathic remedies alongside traditional medicine as they are relatively inexpensive and added that the remedies are also safe for babies and pets.

Second-year communication disorders major Raven Blake speaks to the efficacy of homeopathic treatment, but encourages those interested to understand that it may not yield immediate results.

Four years ago, Blake dislocated her elbow during a soccer game and had little success with conventional healing methods. She then turned to a homeopathic doctor who diagnosed her with a bacterial infection in her elbow and began treating it with homeopathic methods.

“Within a few months the pain completely subsided,” Blake said. “Considering I had had pain consistently for a year, this was quite remarkable.”

Second-year marketing and public relations major Lea Savocchi and her family regularly use homeopathic remedies for everything from a bad fall, to the common cold or a thyroid problem.

Savocchi’s mother was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid last year and to cure via conventional means would have meant either medication that was potentially damaging to the liver or radiation therapy which is associated with several negative side effects. With homeopathic healing, her condition was cured in less than six months with no side effects.

“We’re homeopathic because we’re healthy people and we think our body can heal itself without [traditional medicine],” Savocchi said.