Dr. Rebecca Elmaleh is a medical doctor who integrates Family Medicine with Homeopathic Medicine in her approach to wellness. She treats patients of all ages with homeopathic remedies that are aimed at enhancing the body’s ability to heal itself. Dr. Elmaleh has had over 30,000 patient visits strictly for homeopathic treatment of chronic medical illnesses. I was introduced to Dr. Elmaleh by a friend of mine for various medical issues I was having. I felt that many of my ailments were stress related, which is not easily treated with conventional medicine. Dr. Elmaleh has helped me beyond words and I have referred many friends and family to her. Read on to hear about this amazing doctor.
Dr. Elmaleh, how did you get involved in Homeopathic Medicine?
During my last year of residency in family medicine at Einstein Montefiore, I decided I wanted to give a little bit more to my patients. Conventional medicine is wonderful, but it can be limiting in what it has to offer around chronic illnesses and prevention. It is great for handling emergencies and serious illnesses, but still not enough in my mind in providing patients with what they need for overall wellness. I decided to look into alternative and complementary medicines and was introduced to Homeopathic Medicine. I was somewhat familiar with it, having grown up in France where it is taught in medical schools and reimbursed by the national health insurance system. I knew that Homeopathic Medicine had been around for a long time, and that it had tremendous potential. So I decided to get trained in it after I completed by medical residency in family practice.
For those unfamiliar with Homeopathy, how would you describe it? How does it differ from other conventional medicines?
Homeopathy is an alternative or complementary medical system that takes a different approach from conventional medicine in diagnosing and treating medical problems. It has been used for over 200 years, and it is very safe. Today, Homeopathy is used by millions of patients all over the world.
Homeopathic medicines, which are called remedies, are micro-dosed substances frequently derived from plants and mineral substances. They are completely different from herbal and vitamin supplements in both the way they are made and the way they help the patient improve. They have no known side effects and do not interact with other medications or any other form of treatment. Therefore, in serious cases, when a patient’s illness requires many different approaches, homeopathic medicines can be administered in conjunction with traditional pharmaceuticals.
Unlike traditional pharmaceutical medicine, which often suppresses the natural defenses of the immune system, Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body’s innate defense mechanisms and processes to prevent or treat illness. Patients use Homeopathy to address a wide range of concerns, from prevention to treatment of injuries and diseases. Both acute and chronic medical conditions can be successfully treated with Homeopathic Medicine.
I have had such great results with Homeopathy. Why is it not more widely used in the United States compared to Europe?
Homeopathy has a long, long history in the United States. It was very popular in the 19th century and was one of the main medicines prescribed and practiced by medical doctors. The first medical association in the United States was the American Institute of Homeopathy, which included only medical doctors who were interested in or practicing Homeopathic Medicine. The AMA, as we know it today, branched out of the American Institute of Homeopathy. There were major hospitals that were teaching Homeopathy like Hahnemann in Philadelphia and Flower Hospital in New York. It lost a lot of popularity when the big pharmaceutical companies became much more prominent and developed drugs like antibiotics and other life-saving medications. Unlike Europe—especially France, Germany, and England where it continued to prosper alongside conventional medicine—Homeopathy slowly disappeared in the United States after the 1950’s. However, it has seen a significant comeback in the last 30 to 40 years.
For which illness do you most commonly treat patients?
I see children and adults for just about every issue. Most often, I see desperate patients who have come to me because they have tried many different conventional treatments to no avail. They have been through the proverbial mill. They have been given many different diagnoses, and most treatments they have tried have not helped.
How do you decide what remedies to give to a patient?
Homeopathic Medicine is complex in that you look at each patient as an individual with a unique set of symptoms and circumstantial reactions and situations. It is not only about the symptoms or diagnosis that each patient suffers from, but also how each patient reacts to the environment, stress, their sleep patterns, likes and dislikes, and more. I work to develop a picture of symptoms unique to each patient. This means that if ten women of the same age come into my office with the same symptoms, they will all leave with a different prescription. It is unlike conventional medicine—even other alternative medicines—where everyone presenting with similar symptoms or diagnoses is often treated with the same medication. Homeopathy is individualized for each patient.
How quickly do homeopathic medicines/remedies begin to take effect?
It is different from one patient to the next. Because the treatment is so individualized, there is no way for us to predict when and how the patient will respond. This is not like taking Tylenol for a fever or for pain, and it goes away for four hours and returns. Homeopathic treatment depends not only on the specific ailment, how long it has been present, and how the patient will respond—physically and emotionally—to my prescribed treatment. It can take a few weeks to a few months, but usually there is some progress soon after starting the homeopathic medicines.
How can Homeopathy help women over 40?
Women LOVE Homeopathy because they often come in for challenges that conventional medicine cannot help. Whether it is PMS, insomnia, menstrual cramps, hormonal imbalance, menopause, and much more, Homeopathic Medicine is extremely helpful. Conventional medicine has very little to offer in truly addressing these issues. It also can help sustain a healthy pregnancy and help some problems of pregnancy, as so many conventional medicines are off-limits during this time.
What do you see for the future of Homeopathic Medicine?
While the conventional medical establishment is intimidated by Homeopathic Medicine, the reality is that the public is demanding more of it. It is very popular, as we discussed, in countries such as France, Germany, and England. There is tremendous demand in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union where it had been previously banned behind the iron curtain. In South America, Homeopathic Medicine is gaining momentum because of the culture of traditional and folk medicine. In Brazil, for example, doctors use it in hospitals. In India, Homeopathic Medicine in clinics and hospitals is subsidized by the government all over the country. More and more people are focusing their medical treatment and daily lives on longevity and wellness. More people are worried about serious side effects of conventional medicines when they are not life-saving (i.e. the rise of opportunistic infections like C. difficile or the fear of “superbugs”), and I believe that all of this and more will be driving an increasing demand for Homeopathic Medicine.
You can find Dr. Elmaleh at http://www.rebeccaelmalehmd.com/