Smart Irish party-goers are familiar with the powers of Nux Vomica as a hangover cure. Arnica has also become a household word in many homes across the country and each year a growing number of people grasp the concept of homeopathy as a system of medicine.
While the general public has moved away from confusing Homeopathy with massage and essential oils, it will still take some time and effort to have it accepted as a common form of treatment and integrated into the healthcare system. Nonetheless homeopathy is becoming more and more popular. Twenty years ago there were only a handful of homeopaths in Ireland. Today there are several hundred with numbers increasing all the time.
Ireland has an association with homeopathy dating back to at least 1820 when Frederick Hahnemann, the eccentric son of homeopathy’s founder, Samuel Hahnemann, came to Dublin. Frederick built a reputation for treating epilepsy, according to a series of letters to the Homeopathic Times, London in 1852. He is described as having “a certain amount of talent but very eccentric in his opinions and conduct”. Frederick is believed to have lived in a “handsome establishment” in Dawson Street in the city centre and to have driven a coach and four. He seems to have left Ireland before 1828.
By 1839 Dr Charles W. Luther was practising Homeopathy in Ireland and Dr. Joseph Kidd began a practice in Dublin in 1842. Dr. Kidd had great success using homeopathy to treat victims of the Irish potato famine in the 1840’s and later went on to become the physician to Benjamin Disraeli. Another important Irish homeopath was Dr Michael Greene of Ennis, Co Clare, who was the first to use Crataegus (Hawthorn) as a remedy.
The first English translation of the Organon was put together by Devrient and edited by Samuel Stratten in Dublin in 1833.
The Irish Homeopathic Society was founded on April 10th 1845 and a book published three years later lists 40 members of the Committee. By 1895 the Homeopathic Medical Directory listed two homeopaths in Ireland. By 1930 this number had risen to four. The current Irish Society of Homeopaths, which now represents the profession, has grown from a tiny founder group in 1990 to more than 400 members.
In Ireland the Government does not regulate homeopathy or any of the CAM therapies. They are all self regulating. Two years ago Health Minister Mary Harney recommended a code of self regulation for homeopathy.
The Irish Society of Homeopaths (ISH) and the Irish Medical Homoeopathic Association (IMHA) provide registers of licensed practitioners. Members of ISH are professionally trained, insured and entitled to use the initials ISHom. Members of IMHA are medical doctors with postgraduate training in homeopathic medicine, qualifying as MF Hom. As a regulating body the ISH insists that all members must abide by the Society Code of Ethics and Practice and must hold current professional insurance. In maintaining standards for the profession, the Society has an accreditation process for professional courses.
There are colleges of Homeopathy in Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Galway where students undertake four year long, part-time, professional courses. To date the Irish School of Homeopathy in Dublin and Cork, the Irish College of Homeopathic Medicine in Tralee, Co. Kerry and the Galway College of Homeopathy, have received accreditation.
Society membership includes students, graduates and registered members. Registered members are graduates who have come through an accredited course and who undertake a further two year programme of continuous professional development under the guidance of the ISH. Graduates from colleges outside of Ireland are assessed and may need to undertake further education to satisfy the registration requirements. The ISH maintains a Register with the names of Homeopaths who have undergone the registration process and who are entitled to use the qualification “ISHom” after their names.
Some private health insurance companies will provide rebates for appointments with a Registered Homeopath. The Society also has a network of supervisors and mentors around the country.
Irish Society of Homeopaths, 6 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-6755177
Irish Medical Homoeopathic Association, 115 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Tel: 01-269-7768