I’m right in the middle of my summer music festival season. We have to be prepared to expect the unexpected in terms of weather in this country and on the whole, us Brits are pretty adaptable. Our state of health will reflect our ability to adapt not only to the weather conditions but also to changes and challenges that happen in our personal circumstances. Sometimes it is our emotional state of health that is affected.
I’m a member of the Homeopathic Travelling Collective and have been since I discovered them at my first ever festival (apart from Reading/Leeds when I was at teacher training college in 1972). This was Cambridge Folk Festival 23 years ago as a third year student at The Homeopathy College. I did some clinical sitting in hours in the little caravan in the field alongside Topper, a London homeopath so called because he always wore a top hat. I was so enthused by the amazing results brought about by a simple homeopathic prescription that I did the training and became part of the charity straight away. Each year I try and get to Glastonbury Festival and at least one other smaller event and I am lucky not to need to do online queuing to get my ticket. I get a free ticket because I help crew The Travelling Homeopaths marquee on the edge of The Healing Field. For my ticket, I do one 4 hour shift each day between 8am and midnight then the rest of the time is my own. This July found me back at Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time since my initiation all those years ago.
The Travelling Homeopaths get to see many conditions and we offer 15/20 minutes of our time to listen to the presenting symptoms then prescribe the appropriate indicated remedy and this is offered for donations only. Amongst the complaints are numbered sunburn, sunstroke, headache, hangover, cystitis. There are often ailments from damp, hay fever, general malaise and bad effects from recreational drugs. Then there are emotional issues that come up at a festival like anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion, irritability and depression. Whatever comes our way we are privileged to be there, privileged to be trusted with people’s state of health and privileged to enable a few people to have a better festival.
So far this year one of my most remarkable cases and outstanding positive results involved a local 17 year old lad who had come to Glastonbury with his mates and had had his head shaved for the occasion. The increased security this year meant that people had to queue up in the blistering heat with no available shade for 3 or 4 hours to have their luggage and camping gear searched thoroughly. The boy had started queuing early on the Wednesday afternoon. Once on site he and his mates pitched their tents, went for a walkabout and retired at 10.30pm. At 11am on the Thursday morning the boy turned up accompanied by his mum to the THC area. His head was swollen to the size of a football. He said “I look like the Elephant Man” and was acutely embarrassed. His mum was being very brave but was clearly very concerned. I ascertained that they had already been to the medical tent where it had been diagnosed as cellulitis/sunburn and for which he had been prescribed antibiotics (which they chose not to take). I prescribed homeopathic Apis Mellifica in the 200th potency on the basis of the oedema, the puffiness of the swelling, the red rosy hue, the stinging pain, the throbbing and the emanating heat and the boy’s agitation and lack of thirst. I explained that in the absence of a hat his vital force in its wisdom had supplied him with protection to the brain in the form of lymphatic swelling. Now that he had taken the lesson (cover up, wear a hat) the excess fluid had done its protective job, his body could drain that fluid down, release it and things could go back to normal.
At 3pm that same day the mother and father came back with some before and after photographs. After taking the homeopathic medication, getting suddenly thirsty and peeing for England the swelling had completely disappeared and there was just a little visible puffiness under both eyes. They were all very relieved and the lad slept for the rest of the day and went on to have a great festival.
Now Apis Mel is homoeopathically prepared bee sting. Our patient hadn’t been stung by a bee, just like a person doesn’t have to have eaten Deadly Nightshade (Belladonna) for that remedy to work for high fever and delirium. The point is that “like cures like” when the substance has been diluted sufficiently. What in its material poisonous dose it can cause, it can cure in its infinitesimal dose. That is the principle with which all homeopaths work, whether in a festival field or in their consulting rooms back home.
I still have 2 more festivals to attend this summer. I’m off to Beautiful Days in Devon next followed by Shambala Festival on the August Bank Holiday weekend but I’m going as a festival goer and paying for my own ticket for those two because The Homeopathic Travelling Collective don’t have a pitch there (yet!). I’ll have to go and hang out with the Medical Herbalists and my son and his new wife and their mates who go to Shambala every year. We love the dressing up. Last year I went as a mermaid. This year the theme for the Saturday is Cloud Cuckoo Land. Which is where some homeo-sceptics feel us homeopaths all belong?