Dr. Hélène Renoux MD is President of the European Committee for Homeopathy (ECH) and President of the Société Savante d’Homéopathie (SSH). She works as a general practitioner and qualified in homeopathy in 1995 at INHF-Paris (Institut National Homéopathique Français). She has taught classical homeopathy at INHF-Paris where she was General Secretary for four years (2008 – 2012). She is also an editorial board member of ” La Revue d’Homéopathie” published by Elsevier.
Hélène Renoux MD
AS: How did you first became interested in homeopathy and what made you pursue it professionally?
HR: Actually, I began my medical career as a doctor doing humanitarian work, with a specialization in tropical diseases and public health. I spent half a year in Pakistan, in Afghan refugee camps as a medical coordinator of a feminine team.
As you know in current Afghan society women are treated as “second-rate citizens” and they are not approachable by the male doctors. It has been a wonderful experience, human and medical.
When back in France, returning to my practice as general practitioner, it was no longer possible for me not to answer the very expectations and needs of my patients. The ready-made recipes of conventional medicine were not satisfying. Friends advised me to learn homeopathy.
I had a 3 years training, weekends and evening courses, and this opened my mind to new paradigms that matched my questionings. Step by step I have introduced homeopathy in my practice. Very few patients have given up consulting me, most of them did really appreciate this evolution.
I am still able to prescribe allopathic medicine when it is needed, when I cannot cure a patient homeopathically, even though homeopathy is always my first option. When I look back, I realize how homeopathy gave a new meaning to my commitment as a medical doctor. Otherwise I would probably have changed my job.
This led me to reorganize my practice, to work slowly, which allows higher quality of medical examination, and better human relationships with my patients. I feel really sorry for our opponents that lack this quality of work and of life, and this probably explains their bitterness towards homeopathy.
AS: How and when was the European Committee For Homeopathy (ECH ) formed and what are its goals?
HR: ECH was founded by Jacques Imberecht and other colleagues in 1995. Its very aim is the full integration of homeopathy in the global healthcare system. To reach this aim ECH strives to support high quality training, research and practice of homeopathy fulfilling the demanding and harmonised criteria throughout Europe.
ECH full members are medical doctors with an additional qualification in homeopathy. ECH is gathering 40 associations of homeopathic MDs in 25 European countries, but also many other associated partners such as schools, research centers, laboratories and a patients’ group. More information can be found here: https://homeopathyeurope.org/about/mission/
AS: What role does the ECH play in promoting education and professionalism in homeopathy?
HR: ECH’s aim is to promote high quality practice and training in Homeopathy and to harmonise it throughout Europe. Together with LMHI, which is international, it has developed harmonised guidelines for this purpose.
The Homeopathic educational guidelines settled by ECH and LMHI are being used in all of Europe to accredit the schools of homeopathy (some of them being linked with universities). One ECH initiative, a European standard, was elaborated and voted on in October 2016. Since April 2017 it is legally applicable over the whole European continent.
This standard defines the expected content of homeopathic training and of homeopathic practice by medical doctors with an additional qualification in homeopathy. It has been consensually drafted by representatives of the different homeopathic schools in Europe, both clinical and classical.
It meets the requirements of the WHO strategic plan promoting the integration of T&CM in the global healthcare system. This process should be continued with international training benchmarks for homeopathy supported by WHO.
For the moment ECH has already accredited more than 20 schools or national schools federations in Europe, and this number is continuously growing.
Thanks to this work, the European patient can benefit from safe and quality healthcare in homeopathy. Their fundamental rights are stated in the dedicated European charter. It is of utmost importance with the growing demand for homeopathy worldwide.
AS: Another aspect of education is teaching the public the benefits of homeopathy. Are there any national level programs to educate the public, and to popularize homeopathy?
HR: This question actually addresses public relations, the media and politics. It’s a huge subject. ECH has been supporting the EFHPA (European Federation of Homeopathic Patients Associations) since its very beginning. EFHPA is both an independent organisation and an ECH subcommittee, so the strategies and communications are coordinated.
For our lobbying at the EU level, ECH is part of EUROCAM which gathers the main associations of CAM in Europe, and which allows a good complement to our own lobbying work. But if we come back to education matters, the message we need to convey to all, is that Homeopathy is taught and practiced in a harmonised and professional way throughout the continent.
It is thus fully integrated in the general healthcare system and in the general medical training as requested by the successive WHO strategies for T&CM. When facing offensive attacks in the different European countries (not to mention non-European countries) we prefer to highlight the many benefits of the homeopathic approach, rather than waste our time arguing with the prejudices of our opponents. A good example of this is the conference ECH organises in Paris next November on the role and value of homeopathy to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
AS: Have any inroads have been made in teaching homeopathy courses through e-learning.
HR: E-learning seems to become the latest trend for teaching purposes and our teachers’ group has been thinking about better ways to include it in the accredited program. Many fruitful experiences have been studied, and it appears that even if e-learning is of high value it cannot replace the face to face exchanges, where much more information is shared (as it is for face to face consultations compared to online ones.)
For this reason, the decision made until now is to include e-learning courses in the program, but make sure they don’t constitute the majority of the courses. The challenge is to stay connected with the new technology but to safeguard the soul of homeopathy.
AS:. Could you share with our readers some links where both homeopaths and the public can find studies on homeopathy, how to locate homeopaths in a particular country, how people can support homeopathy?
HR: A lot of information is available on the ECH website: https://homeopathyeurope.org/
European accredited schools for example: https://homeopathyeurope.org/about/teaching-centres/
Research matters: https://homeopathyeurope.org/research/
Many publications: https://homeopathyeurope.org/media/publications/
The regulatory status of homeopathy in European countries: : https://homeopathyeurope.org/regulatory-status/
To find a homeopath in each country is possible via the national websites: https://homeopathyeurope.org/about/members/
And much more information is available if you go through the whole ECH website. There are many ways to support homeopathy, and it is much needed nowadays. If you’re a homeopath, please join a national association, as together we’re stronger. If you’re a patient please join the national patients’ associations: http://www.efhpa.eu/
I am very thankful to Homeopathy for Everyone for having opened its columns to ECH. Homeopathy has a lot to offer and needs to make it known widely
AS: Thank you for your work in furthering homeopathy and for sharing with us today.