A Day in the Life of a Perth Homeopath and Naturopath, by Michael Blanch
The cat wakes me as usual at 5 am – and she’s lucky I love her! How could I not? Cha-cha the tortoiseshell sleeps on the bed and comes and goes as she pleases through the cat door at night. But by around 4 am she gets restless and wants her food. It’s midwinter so she doesn’t have access to my toes, which in summer she likes to claw through the sheets to get my attention.
My house in Stoneville in the Perth Hills is cold. I get up and feed the insistent beast and put more wood in the potbelly heater, which still has coals from last night. It’s a grey day outside, a typical Perth winter.
I get out the yoga mat. Twenty minutes of yoga is followed by twenty minutes of meditation. Then I head out for a twenty minute run before some cable resistance exercises. Down in the back vegetable garden I do a quick weed and pick some greens for a healthy breakfast. And there’s just a little time for some work in the front garden before a shower.
Dressed and ready for work, I get in the car and head down the Hills towards Perth city and on to Cottesloe, where my practice is located. The airport is at halfway point. Here I also pass Owen Homeopathics, which is a daily reminder of my mission as a homeopath and naturopath.
I have been in Cottesloe in Napoleon Close Arcade since 1991. Cottesloe is a beach-side suburb, one of Perth’s most affluent. The Arcade is a nice little mall in Napoleon Street, the main shopping street. I am at the back of the arcade on Denardi Lane. This is good because, unlike other shopfronts I have two windows that provide natural light to my waiting and consultation rooms.
Once inside my rooms in Cottesloe Naturopathic Clinic I check my diary and get out my files for the day. I have seven return clients and three new patients – an average day. I set aside half an hour for returns and an hour for new patients. This is the most I can comfortably see in a day without too much stress. And because of my travelling time from the Perth Hills, and to avoid peak hour, I start at 10 am. So that’s a full day.
10 am. Case #1 Allergic Rhinitis
The first patient arrives for her second return visit. I had seen her once before some years ago for a back problem, which resolved with treatment. She is now seeing me for allergic rhinitis ( hay fever type symptoms) to her new cat. (There appears to be a cat theme in this blog post.)
The symptoms are sneezing, itchy eyes and nose and asthma symptoms. She was taking both antihistamines and a Ventolin bronchodilator for her asthma. I have given her acute treatment together with constitutional and desensitising treatment specific to her cat. To desensitise I used a homeopathic remedy made from her cat’s own fur. The details of this approach are explained on my rhinitis and hay fever page.
From the first day of treatment she had relief of symptoms. On the first return visit a month ago she told me that she was also down from taking the Ventolin at least twice daily to only twice a week. At this visit she tells me she has only needed the puffer about twice in the month. She has no rhinitis (nose) symptoms at all.
As a result of the constitutional treatment, she is also feeling a big improvement in energy and mood and sleeping better. At this rate she should only need a couple more months of treatment to completely solve her issues. That’s the beauty of homeopathic treatment. Because it works through the body’s own healing mechanisms and immunity, the effects are balancing and lasting. See the page Homeopathy explained.
10.30 am. Case #2 Infant Colic and Reflux
This is an infant, a baby of eight months, for the first return consultation. At the first visit she was suffering from colic and reflux. She also had teething problems and a stuffy nose. The degree of bloating and flatus and the time of aggravation of aggravation of the reflux, together with the nasal obstruction, led me to the homeopathic remedy Lycopodium as the overall constitutional remedy. Colocynthis was given as the acute remedy as needed, as that suited the nature of the pains. I gave Chamomilla for teething, as that suited the teething symptoms. Only a few drops are needed each dose, easily squirted in the mouth. They are always well tolerated by babies, who quickly learn to open their mouths when they see the dropper coming.
The mother reports that within two days the child was much more settled. The snuffles have gone.Over the three weeks since the first visit there have been far less episodes of reflux and only occasional colic. These episodes respond well to Colocynthis, which relieves the pain immediately. Chamomilla also promptly relieves the distress of teething.
I repeat the Lycopodium in a higher potency to treat deeper and more curatively and schedule for another month. Cases like this usually only need two or three months to completely resolve the issue.
The page treatment of babies and infants has more information on my approach.
11 am. Case #3 Menopause issues
This is a new case, a 54 year old woman with menopausal symptoms. She suffers irrational mood swings, with a marked jealousy of her partner. The hot flushes come with sweats and are especially bad at night. They come as she’s falling asleep and wake her at night. So sleeping is difficult. Palpitations also occur, and her blood pressure has been high.
In taking a new case, I am always particular to ask questions and follow a plan as much as possible, so I don’t miss anything. A “constitutional” remedy, if it is going to work deeply and curatively, must key into all aspects of the person. That means even those things that may seem trivial and unimportant.
I start with the presenting symptoms – the ones that concern the patient. I find out as much as I can about them. What time of day they occur, what they feel like exactly, the sensation. Anything that makes the symptom better or worse, known as the “modality”. Where exactly are the symptoms? Where do they come from and go to – “the extension”. And what other symptoms may be associated with the symptom, known as the “concomitant”.
All these things allow me to best match the remedy that of the patient’s symptoms and help bring about healing. That’s because we know how remedies have their own pattern of symptoms from “provings”. These are the homeopathic trials of each remedy. Because homeopathy is “like cures like”, we must find what remedy is best like the patient. That is the way it works. It is chosen for the patient, not the name of the disease. The remedy for the patient’s menopause must suit her pattern on all levels, not the medical diagnosis of her problem.
I already know the patient has blood pressure issues and is very emotional. She is also quite jealous, which she knows herself to be irrational. In going through all aspects of her history, I confirm she had extreme PMS that was immediately better from the onset of the period. She has palpitations with the flushes, bruises easily and gets a feeling of constriction in her throat when feeling angry.
All these things confirm the homeopathic remedy Lachesis, which is given in LM potency twice daily. A follow up is booked in two weeks at this stage. The remedy fits her case well, so I expect fairly immediate improvement within a couple of days.
12 pm. Case #4 Acne
Next up is a return case, a 32 year old woman with acne. This is her third monthly visit and she is doing very well. The skin improved significantly in the first month, which it usually does. It has continued to improve over the last two months. She is very happy! I love treating acne. It almost always responds well, and there is nothing that pleases a woman more than to see her skin improve!
It involves taking the whole case, as outlined above. Mostly, the hormonal system is out of balance. One pleasant “side effect” of the treatment is that women usually see all aspects of their menstrual cycle improve. PMS, period pain and cycle irregularities come back into balance as well. As well as homeopathy, I will also usually employ naturopathic dietary approaches as well.
So I give her more of her constitutional remedy. This is helping her feel more balanced emotionally, more energetic and sleeping better. This is helping the skin and periods too, but there is a more direct hormonal remedy and a symptomatic “acne” remedy that reduces pus formation in the skin and helps scarring. As she is doing well I book her next visit for two months now. Most acne cases don’t need more than twelve months of treatment before the body learns to regulate itself.
1 pm. Case #5 Cough
Following this is a simple acute case of a three year old child. The mother booked this late the day before. The child has been coughing for two weeks following a cold. The cough has been incessant and continuous through the day and is now waking him at night. He seems to be having some difficulty breathing. It is moist and sounds wet and rattling, but not much sputum is produced, and I can hear a wheeze through the stethoscope.
The child has vomited several times and has brought up mucus, but this doesn’t seem to relieve the cough. I find the tongue is clean when I check. These symptoms together confirm the homeopathic remedy Ipecacuanha. Such cases usually respond quickly, often immediately a few hours at most and resolve completely in a day or two. I get the mother to ring in tomorrow to report.
For further reference see the page on coughs and bronchitis.
1.30 pm. Case #6 Unexplained Infertility
The return of a 35 year old woman who came first two months ago for “unexplained infertility”. The first thing she tells me is she’s pregnant!
This is no surprise to me, as fertility is a specialty of mine. It is about a quarter of my practice. Most women get pregnant within four months of treatment, and the majority of those in the first two months. But it’s always a wonderful thing to see happen!
She had been trying for two years. All the tests she had were showing normal hormone levels. She was ovulating. Her husband’s sperm was in normal range on all parameters (I saw him too originally.)
However, on the first consultation, it was obvious that her body wasn’t using those hormones correctly at the tissue level. She had mood swings before the period, with tender breasts, for a week, and painful periods for two days. There was little change in cervical mucus at ovulation. She was also feeling tired and stressed. I gave her homeopathic remedies to address these issues and dietary advice.
At the next visit, two weeks into the next cycle she said she felt much better in herself. There were no noticeable PMS symptoms, physical or emotional. The period was so much better, almost pain free. She had just noticed an increase in cervical mucus at ovulation time for the first time in years.
I keep the basic remedies going, except the one for cervical mucus and one that she takes in her luteal phase, and add one that I give in the first few months of pregnancy. She books to follow on in another month. I always recommend monthly treatment for at least the first trimester for my fertility cases, to help ensure a viable pregnancy.
Here is my page on natural fertility treatment.
2 pm. Case #7. Depression
A 50 year old male, initial visit. He has been diagnosed with clinical depression, but does not want to take anti depressants. Depression is a broad term. But I always make sure that anyone who may be capable of self harm has seen a doctor and a psychologist, and a psychiatrist if necessary, for assessment.
What they do is their own choice, however, and I usually find I can help. I just need to understand the case and give the right remedy. Unlike the medical approach, homeopathy does not treat the label “depression” but the exact pattern of imbalance in the patient.
His Perth business is not doing well. He is finding no joy in life. His blood pressure is up, and he has erectile dysfunction, which is causing him further worry. He has stopped exercising and eating properly. The only thing which gives him any joy is music, especially classical music, which he listens to for at least two hours a day. Although he has been driven to achieve material success, he says he has a deep interest in esoteric spiritual matters. He also meditates daily. He has trouble sleeping and gets deep aches in his body at night.
I prescribe a remedy which covers this pattern of symptoms well, physical and mental. Depression is not something for home treatment. The remedy needs to be specific to your imbalance, so I won’t mention what it is.
I arrange a follow up appointment in one week, because the response should be quick. He has an appointment with his psychologist next week, and I make sure he promises to keep it.
3 pm. Case #8 Interstitial Cystitis
This is the first follow up appointment for a 28 year old female. At her first visit 3 weeks ago she was complaining of urinary frequency and urgency and burning in the urethra. These are usual symptoms of urinary tract infection. In the early days she was given lots of antibiotics, but they never helped, and she was always clear on bacteria in the urine tests.
She also had a lot of undefined pelvic pain. Intercourse was difficult and painful. Her symptoms also appeared to flare before her period. Symptoms were constant however throughout the month. Eventually she was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.
Today she reports a dramatic improvement in symptoms. She says there has been a 90% improvement. The burning has largely gone. There is still some frequency and urgency but much less. PMS symptoms were much better and the cystitis did not flare at that time.
This is something I usually have good success with. I keep her on the same treatment for another month. I hope to see continuing improvement.
See my page on interstitial cystitis on the conditions treated tab.
3.30 pm. Case #9 Endometriosis
A 29 year old female with endometriosis presents for her first consultation. She has painful periods with heavy bleeding. Her periods are irregular. The symptoms have been occurring for ten years now.
Before her period she gets very irritable and breaks out in acne. Her breasts are swollen and tender. She gets very irritable with her partner at this time. During the period she has extremely painful bearing-down sensations that is is better sitting sown and worse standing. She says she feels as if everything was going to fall out.
She also suffers from migraines, which are left sided and worse before the period. Cold sores also occur regularly and are worse at this time of month. She feels weak and tired most of the time and craves chocolate, but not other sweets, in the late afternoon and when the period is due.
She is irritable with her partner, has lost her libido, is averse to sex, and intercourse is painful anyway. Her job, which she used to like, she can’t stand now and never feels like going to work.
This is a clear picture of the homeopathic remedy Sepia. I choose the appropriate potency and repetition for her case and arrange a follow-up after her next period in three weeks.
She should respond well and improve in the first month, but this is a case that will take careful monthly monitoring and change of potency. She may need different remedies as the picture changes, and “intercurrent” remedies in between. These are remedies to support the action of the main remedy.
Endometriosis is not a condition that can be treated without professional knowledge of the principles and application of homeopathy. Sepia is not “the” remedy for endometriosis.
The treatment of this condition is discussed further on my endometriosis page.
4.30 pm. Case #10. Psoriasis
A 56 year old male presents for his fourth monthly visit. He has had psoriasis on and off for most of his life, but it has been worse in the last ten years. It is now about 90% better and I am hopeful that with a few more months of treatment it will be gone.
The psoriasis was dry and scaly and was worse on the outside of the elbows and knees. The patient was in good health in most respects, except suffering anxiety about the future and new situations. He showed some blood sugar irregularities, craved sweets and had tiredness in the afternoon.
A single constitutional remedy and a “lesional” detox remedy have been his main prescription over the last few months, in ascending potencies. From a naturopathic perspective, I have also removed wheat, dairy, nightshade vegetables and lectins from his diet. I am sure these strategies have helped.
Please visit my page on psoriasis treatment for further details.
5 pm. Recreation time
It’s Monday, and that’s one of the two to three nights a week I do salsa dancing. I also do swing dancing, but at the moment I’m concentrating on the salsa. Both are improvisational dances, but there are many steps to learn.
They are like an art and science in one. Learning the moves requires great mental discipline, concentration and memory. Their execution requires quick, intuitive decision making. You need to be creative and keep time to the beat, at the same time as being in tune with and responsive to your partner. It’s not unlike homeopathy I feel. When it all comes together, it works well and it’s a supreme, intuitive art form.
First I have a Thai green curry with brown rice from the nearby Thai Wrap and Rice. Then it’s off to Rapture Salsa Dance Academy at the Arts Centre, near to the Perth CBD. Here I do level 2 and level 3 salsa for a couple of hours.
After that, there’s a forty minute drive home, past Perth city and up the Hill again. Cha-cha is waiting for me in the driveway. She always hops on top of the car when I drive in and stop.
It’s late – 10 pm. She’s eager to be fed of course! That done, it’s off to bed for the both of us…
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