Symptoms are a Message!

Homeopaths always try to take a holistic view of an illness, whether it’s longer term chronic or just an acute, so my first question when someone calls me up and tells me they are sick is “so what’s been happening?”. The answer is often “well I caught this from a friend” or “oh my gut is out of balance” or “well I’m just sick … nothing’s been happening”.

But I am the master of digging, and I know sometimes that has been a source of irritation for those patients who can’t make the connection, and it can often be a source of tears for those who do. I would say that nine times out of ten when I start digging as to why a child has an ear infection or why a skin complaint has flared up, I will find that underneath is some upheaval, some emotional component, some source of irritation or inflammation.

Now I know that sounds simplistic, but symptoms are a message from your body. If you were very connected to yourself, you would recognise this as soon as you started feeling unwell or you saw your child coming down sick. “What’s going on” should be the first thought, not “where’s the Panadol, we need to get this fever down”, although that is part of the process!

If our system is in balance then we won’t get sick. Yes, there may be symptoms that we’ve had for a lifetime that flare up and settle down but never go away, but again, if we are aware we’ll see that this happens when we are troubled. There are things that we may never be able to fully resolve, they are with us for life, but we may get them to a stage where they are not a major drama in our life and we manage them well.

Symptoms are your body telling you that something is wrong, and you need to take steps to make change. It might be that you are anxious about a forthcoming exam or you’ve worked too many long days and you need a rest, or your relationship is really in trouble and is making you unhappy and unwell.

Some things we can ignore and often these days people do. This might include ignoring a symptom by taking a pill or putting some cortisone cream on a rash, because in our pharmaceutically driven world, out of sight is out of mind. But what’s happening on the deeper level? What happens when we ignore the symptoms, the body’s message to us that something is not right, and just keep going on as if it never happened.

Cancer is a very good example of this. Cancer is insidious, it creeps around inside, growing, dividing, conquering and eventually coming out onto the surface in a way that we can’t ignore. It’s a big deal and we can behave like we never knew anything was going on, but often when I consult with people who have been through cancer, it’s evident that there had been a problem or a behaviour in their life for a very long time that was very unhealthy and often made them very unhappy. But they ignored it, they ignored the fact they needed to give themselves some time or some space, or they needed to not try and be superwoman. And even the process of working through a diagnosis of cancer can be made out as having won a battle, conquered an enemy, when really what needs to happen is to recognise that the body had been trying to warn you that shit was going to happen if you didn’t take notice.

This is also why I will frequently use a constitutional remedy to support what we might think of as an acute illness, because the acute illness can often be a flare up of the underlying condition. It’s a reminder that all is not well, that we need some space, some time, some support and here’s your warning.

A good example of this came to me the other day. I was treating a girl with a cough which had arisen as part of a virus doing the rounds. We did the usual remedies and we tried her last constitutional remedy, but the cough lingered, and it was bad. So, I had a quick chat with the mum, who said the daughter was very angry while she had the cough and that things had been very bad at school. She had been complaining quite indignantly about how mean the teacher was or the other students – it’s irrelevant really – to the point that she had been so sick she’d been off school all week with this terrible cough.

We gave her a remedy for indignation with cough and both the cough and the anger resolved in a couple of days. Her cough, part of her virus which she’d been susceptible to getting because she was off balance, was her system’s way of producing symptoms to show that there was something going on that needed to be addressed. As a young person she wasn’t able to fix things herself, her body and her soul were crying (coughing!) out for someone to take notice and help her. While her mum had talked with her about her school situation, her system had become so out of balance that it needed a bit of a reboot and that’s what the right remedy did for her.

Certainly, I like to look at the symbology of a symptom, and it can prove very accurate at times, and yes, we do have to have susceptibility to a particular problem like getting vaccine damaged. But even when we look at the baby or child this has happened to, where we might think they are too young to be troubled by these life issues, we can see that there is an emotional component. It may be that the child is manifesting how the mother felt in the pregnancy, or the dad was a victim of abuse or the grandparent was a war veteran. One might see this as a bit of a fantasy, but time after time in clinic just picking apart the history in cases where there hasn’t been improvement from what seem like obvious homeopathic remedies, we find hidden depths and hidden sorrows.

So next time someone gets sick, don’t over-think it, but do ask “what’s been going on?”! Because they may not need a cough remedy, they may need a remedy for anxiety or anger or whatever they are really feeling.


Melanie Creedy originally trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.

She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.

Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.

Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.