The Therapeutic Aggravation
In all natural medicine, there is a saying ‘worse before better’. This phenomenon can be clearly seen in a few patients, following treatment with natural medicine. It can be especially noticeable following homeopathic treatment and is clearly reported by homeopathic vets and homeopathic doctors, probably because the healing stimulus of homeopathy is so targeted, so powerful and so free of any masking, modulating or suppressive effect. It is also reported after treatment with acupuncture and with chiropractic manipulation. It is rarely severe but it is very important. It is neither a function of the medicine nor of the methodology or medical discipline but it is a result of the body's own healing process. It is called a ‘therapeutic aggravation'.
What the term implies is that the external symptoms of a disease (e.g. in the skin or ears) may appear to become worse, as the body commences its healing process. Along with this, however, is a concomitant improvement in internal well-being, as evinced by increased ‘joie de vivre’, liveliness, playfulness and alertness, often with reversion to old (perhaps long-forgotten) activities and customs.
On the other hand, if a worsening of external symptoms occurs without internal improvement, then it is possible that this is a worsening despite the remedy, rather than because of it. Such a development can be a sign of an incorrect or ineffective medicine or intervention.
In either case, alert the prescribing veterinary surgeon, so that the signs can be properly interpreted and managed.
If a genuine ‘homeopathic aggravation‘ occurs:
a) Stop the remedy – its beneficial effects will nonetheless continue for some time after this.
b) Alert your homeopathic veterinary surgeon in a timely fashion.
c) It usually heralds a beneficial phase or, in some cases, a full curative process.
d) It is rarely severe, but may need ‘management’ of any potentially distressing or uncomfortable signs.
e) It is a sign of ‘externalisation' of the disease, as part of the curative process.
f) Resist ‘suppressing' it with steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs, if possible and if compatible with welfare, as these could well drive the disease ‘inwards' again, setting a store of trouble for later recrudescence.
In most cases, while an aggravation may be undesirable and may even be alarming, it usually heralds a phase of health improvement and can usually be interpreted as a positive sign.