Mainstream society has, over time, organised and evolved itself in such a way that women generally nurture and care for their children while the men shoulder the responsibility of providing for the family. As an extension of this, when the kids are down with an ailment, it is usually the mother who will make a warm soup or administer the Panadol or any other remedy that will keep the child comfortable during that time. Hence, it’s no surprise that in their quest to find a more gentle and holistic form of medicine for their family, women are usually the ones in their family to learn about homeopathy first and willing to give it a try for their child’s coughs, cold, eczema, digestive disturbances etc, or for their own ailments.
If we look at the general demographics for alternative and complementary therapy practitioners, it is the women who make up the majority in this field. Even in the 1800s, while women were struggling to find a place for themselves as practitioners in mainstream allopathic medicine, the trend was quite different for homeopathy. Some of the earliest, most prominent homeopaths were women. “By 1900, it is estimated that 12% of homeopathic physicians were women…Women auxiliaries raised large amounts of money to open many of the homeopathic hospitals and it was women, in their role of family caretaker, who were the lay prescribers introducing homeopathy to many communities.” (Cazalet)
Now let’s turn our focus and attention to the main subject of this article – the men. If you ask any homeopath, especially in this part of the world, they will admit that the majority of their clients are women and children. So where are the men? Why aren’t they seen as frequently at a homeopath’s practice? Well, the biggest culprit here is homeopathy’s reputation. Most people tend to think that homeopathy takes some time to work and requires faith and patience. By default, the words ‘faith’ and ‘patience’, are the softer qualities that we generally associate with the XX gender. The XYs prefer a quick fix so that they can get up from bed and get to work. How many times has the man in your life said, “I don’t have time for this now. I need some fast relief as I have an important meeting tomorrow. I’ll try the ‘natural thingeys’ once this deadline passes.” Sigh! (Women are increasingly adopting these traits as they climb up the corporate ladder but that is a separate discussion.)
The sad reality of life is that once this deadline passes, the next one will follow suit – which just means that the ‘natural thingeys’ almost always get postponed.
Men usually turn to quick fixes for their ailments until it becomes something chronic that compels them to seek a more holistic form of therapy. The male patients that I have seen come with conditions that have affected them for years – the most common culprits in Australia are heartburn and allergies that have been suppressed with antacids and antihistamines over a fairly long period of time. In short, they want to try out a homeopath only after they realise that the drugs aren’t working as well anymore or worse still – after experiencing some side effects of the prolonged drug use. The story of a quick-fix ends as quickly as it starts. After a certain point, we require remedies that can address our ailments at the core energetic level – only then can we expect to see some results.
Another thing that seems to put the men off is the lengthy consultations with numerous questions, which seem to poke and prod about things that they have never had to think about before. What difference does it make if I like cold weather or hot? How does that help with my acidity? Well, it does. Because the homeopath is not concerned with your acidity alone, we are forming a complete picture of your personality based on all your likes and dislikes.
I had a similar story at home.
When I first met my husband, I was still studying homeopathy and he thought I was wasting my time with some placebo medicines. At that time, he used to have terrible heartburn that would often wake him up at night. Any form of stress would aggravate his acidity. He would obtain relief from taking Psyllium seed husks, otherwise known as isabgol, or from drinking some cold milk but this would just give him temporary relief. Out of desperation, he decided to give my ‘placebos’ a try. The only saving grace was that he had not depended on antacids, except for the occasional use. This would make my work easier as his body was not dependant on the drugs. He was given his constitutional remedy and also something for the acute flare-ups. Over a couple of months, the reflux settled and improved his digestive functions. It has been a couple of years and he has not had trouble with this since. Besides helping him with the heartburn, what I have observed is that through constitutional treatment, there has been an overall shift in his personality and he has a achieved a certain level of harmony and centered-ness. And I now have a homeopathy convert.
Men definitely need more convincing than women when it comes to trying out something new for their health, especially if the words ‘natural’, ‘holistic’ or ‘complementary’ are in the play. Yes, we do have the odd men who are very open to trying the ‘natural thingeys’ but most require a little bit of a push.
The next time you have to convince you husband, boyfriend, father, etc, about trying out homeopathy, you will have to dispel a couple of myths. Homeopathy does not rely on faith to work. Otherwise, babies would not frequent our practice. It is a Science based on a clear set of principles that have stood the test for over 200 years. Whether you believe in it or not, if the homeopath is able to match your symptoms to the correct remedy, you will see and experience the results for yourself. That is why it is important not to self-prescribe in long-standing conditions but to see a qualified homeopath who is trained to match the correct remedy for your unique constitution.