Face Time: Stephen Kottler on the power of homeopathy

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Steve Kottler had a successful career as a lawyer for 23 years when he decided he wanted to help people in a different way. He took his growing interest in homeopathy and opened a practice to apply healing techniques that go back as far as the Greek physician Hippocrates. He now owns Androscoggin Homeopathics at 471 Main St. in Lewiston.

Name: Stephen Kottler

Age: A youthful 61

Town: Lewiston

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Many people think homeopathy is the study of the woodland paths used by hip-hop friends. Could you straighten us out on this, in a few sentences? Many people think what? Homeopathy is a complete system of holistic energy medicine that uses natural (animal, mineral and vegetable) substances specially prepared and prescribed on a very individualized basis. To really understand it, you have to turn your brain 180 degrees from what you already know about medicine. The goal is to jump start the body’s innate healing mechanism, the better to tame the headaches or gastritis or anxiety or . . .

What is the one thing you want people to know about homeopathy? That as a holistic medicine system, it considers the body, mind and spirit. Physical problems cause or accompany emotional problems, and emotional problems cause or accompany physical problems: The mind and the body cannot be separated. The second one thing I want people to know is that a single illness usually manifests in multiple symptoms throughout the body. Treating the symptoms as if each is independent won’t cure what is wrong with the person. It merely suppresses some of the signs of the greater problem, and ignores the critical fact that symptoms represent the body’s own attempts to heal itself. Homeopathy aids those attempts, recognizes their importance and works with them instead of stomping them out.

There are two paradoxes in homeopathy: 1) The substances you use to successfully treat afflictions would, in larger doses, produce the same afflictions, and 2) The smaller the dose, the more potent it is. Is there a science behind this that is understood yet?  1) To make a very long story short, the famed Greek physician Hippocrates first demonstrated that “like cures like” around 400 B.C., when he prescribed mandrake root, which produced mania, to treat mania, by prescribing a dose smaller than what would produce mania. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the developer of homeopathic medicine between about 1793 and his death in 1843, built upon that discovery and moved it from theory to practice. 2) Increasing potency of a more dilute remedy seems paradoxical at first glance, but makes sense upon further reflection. Part of making a remedy involves hours of grinding of solids and then shaking of it as a liquid. With energy medicine, more processing puts more energy into the remedy.

What are some of the most convincing things you have seen personally that show the power and efficacy of homeopathy? Can I have three more pages to answer this? 1. Our friends’ little boy ran into a chair at top speed, whacking his head and sprouting an egg-like bump in minutes. His mom agreed to give him the remedy for such traumas; the bump retracted and disappeared within 15 minutes. 2. One patient with a decades-long chronic lung condition took his remedy in my office. Within a few minutes he reported tingling in his bronchi. The condition has since largely resolved, with rare doses to maintain overall wellness and prevent rather than merely manage a wracking annual cough that had previously endured for months. 3. A friend had injured ribs skiing. They were exquisitely painful with the slightest movement. He stood in my office (I was still an amateur homeopath and a professional lawyer then), took a couple of painful breaths, put the tabs under his tongue and repeated the breaths with immediate relief. His symptoms returned a bit later; a second dose brought greater long-lasting relief. 4. When a patient returns after taking a remedy for a chronic condition, there often is a perceptible positive shift in mood, more stability, more self-confidence, more calmness, more insight, less tension and stress. To say nothing of physical changes that may involve a chronic health issue simply disappearing, or being much less intense and disruptive.

What is one of the biggest myths about homeopathy? That it’s just ultra-diluted substances, that it can’t be effective because you can spill one of those substances into Lake Auburn and the lake water won’t cure asthma or terminate a migraine. The myth simply ignores the energy aspect of energy medicine.

Modern medicine with its prescription drugs can be dangerous. Similarly with homeopathy? No, homeopathic remedies aren’t toxic. Nor do they interact badly with prescription medicines. I prescribe only one remedy at a time. No one goes to the Emergency Room for having taken too much of a homeopathic remedy, or the wrong one.

Does homeopathy work for everything, every time? Homeopathy can provide great results for many people with many conditions most of the time. The particulars of the patient and her condition will govern how well homeopathy will work in each instance. It will not bring eternal life, but it shines at helping people feel better again (or even feel very good for the first time) after an illness, injury or trauma gets them stuck. . . . 

It’s important to point out that homeopathy can’t do some things that current medicine can and must do. There is no homeopathic remedy to properly set a displaced bone fracture. If I felt the symptoms of a heart attack, I’d be calling 911 first and looking for a remedy while awaiting the ambulance to the hospital. These are just two glaring examples.

Common sense governs homeopathy and the scope and likelihood of its cures. A viral illness, a wrenched back, an inflamed GI system, an isolated headache – these acute conditions are all easier, quicker and more likely to heal completely than a chronic condition. These first-aid and acute conditions can be safely and effectively treated by a mom or dad with a few books and a home remedy kit. I periodically teach an adult ed course with that as a goal.

But many chronic conditions are also amenable to cure, or at least to noticeable improvement and a higher quality of life. . . . Even when outright cure is impossible, the patient will be better overall for the remedies, not merely improved in one defined area treated by one drug aimed at that one defined area.

It’s obviously a longer path to health with ADD or migraines or panic attacks than it is with the flu. Treatment for chronic conditions is the province of trained professional homeopaths who recognize the patterns and know their way around the thousands of remedies.

Finally, the right remedies can often smooth the way for a dying person to have a calmer and less painful passing, more aware and less drugged than those reliant solely on allopathic medications.

You have a great head of hair. If that is the result of homeopathy, could you clear the calendar and get me in on Monday? Sorry, I can’t, but how about Tuesday at 9:30? Upon advice of counsel, I do not guarantee that your weight will drop by 15 pounds, your wrinkles will all disappear, and your golf handicap will drop by 10 strokes if you get homeopathic treatment.

How did you come to choose homeopathy as a career? In 1987, I started seeing a homeopath in Massachusetts, started reading simple books, read more books, read Dr. Hahnemann’s books. When I started attending seminars, I noted that the people attending all seemed healthy and energetic, people with 4,000 volts in their eyes. I wanted to be one. Eventually I wanted to help others become that way. I admit that it sounds like the story of an addictive personality running wild, but my work helps the community and makes me happier than I could have imagined. . . . Being able to use homeopathy to change lives for the better is priceless and immensely rewarding. It doesn’t get better than that.

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