You need an analytical approach combined with creativity and intuition along with a good business head to be a successful homeopath
Homeopathy is a complementary and alternative medicine and is based on the principle that 'like treats like'. In practice, this means that substances that can cause certain symptoms can be used in small doses to relieve those symptoms. A process of dilution and shaking, called succussion, is often used as homeopaths believe that the more a substance is diluted in this way, the better it can treat symptoms.
As a homeopath, you'll see patients with a range of physical and psychological health issues such as:
- allergies e.g. food allergy or hay fever
- depression or anxiety.
Remedies are usually given in tablet, powder or liquid form.
You will take a holistic approach to your patients, looking at the underlying causes of the illness and not just the symptoms, and will address a range of physical, emotional and psychological conditions to determine a treatment plan.
As a homeopath, you'll need to:
- carry out initial consultations with patients to learn their detailed case history
- decide on the best use of homeopathic remedies to treat a range of conditions
- monitor and evaluate patient progress
- instruct patients about the use and effects of particular remedies and respond to any queries they may have
- advise on lifestyle issues, such as diet, exercise and mental health
- refer patients to other health practitioners, as appropriate
- keep detailed clinical notes and records for each patient
- research medical conditions and homeopathic remedies
- run seminars and presentations for groups in the community, or for other health practitioners, to promote homeopathy.
As most homeopaths are self-employed, you'll also need to carry out activities related to running a business such as administrative tasks, book-keeping and marketing.
Most homeopaths are self-employed so your income will depend on factors such as the price you charge per hour, the number of patients you attract and your running costs and overheads.
- You're likely to charge around £30 to £125 for an initial consultation, with the cost of any treatments you provide on top of this. Follow-up sessions are typically half the cost as they're shorter.
- The amount you're able to charge will depend on your experience and reputation. Location will also be a factor, with fees being higher in London.
- Your income on starting out may be very low due to the initial costs of setting up a business and your limited client base. Some homeopaths have a second job alongside their clinical work to supplement their income until their practice is fully established.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
You'll typically be self-employed and will set your own hours. Many homeopaths offer appointments between the hours of 9am to 5pm, although you may have to be flexible to suit your clients' needs. For example, you may choose to work some evenings or weekends.
Initial consultations will usually take between one and two hours with follow-up consultations lasting between 20 and 45 minutes.
What to expect
- You may need to have an additional job in the early stages of setting up a practice, until your client base becomes large enough to sustain a regular income. The time taken to build up a practice varies as you'll need to assess the local market and raise awareness of your services.
- Work is done on a one-to-one basis and can take place in your own home, from an alternative therapy clinic or sometimes in a GP practice.
- Jobs are available in most areas of the UK and it's possible to set up a practice virtually anywhere.
- You're not likely to spend much time travelling or staying away overnight, although you may travel locally, for example if you're working from several locations.
- There may be opportunities to work abroad and some countries in particular, such as India, have a larger practice of homeopathy. If you want to work abroad, check local regulations as in some countries only medically-qualified homeopaths can practise legally.
Although there's currently no legal regulation of homeopaths in the UK and therefore no specific training requirements, it's recommended that you take a course accredited by a recognised professional body such as the Society of Homeopaths. This shows you have met certain standards within your training and can demonstrate to patients that you're competent and safe.
Professional training courses are at an academic level that is equivalent to an undergraduate degree. Most courses are part time and typically last for four years. You'll usually attend college for one or two weekends a month. Some full-time courses are also offered and distance-learning options are also becoming available.
Learning will often take the form of lectures and tutorials, blended and online learning, as well as supervised clinical practice. Do your research to make sure the course style suits your particular career interests and needs, as each course will offer a different approach and focus.
One-day beginners' courses providing an introduction to homeopathy are also available, which are great to give you a taste of the career to help you decide if you want to progress further. If you're not sure you want to commit to training to become a practitioner, one-year foundation courses are offered with the option of transferring on to the second year of the professional training course.
If you've already qualified as a statutorily regulated healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist or vet, and would like to integrate homeopathy into your conventional healthcare practice, you can take a homeopathy qualification accredited by the Faculty of Homeopathy. There are two types of training in this instance:
- Foundation (LFHom) - for healthcare professionals wanting to understand the basic principles of homeopathy
- MFHom - advanced-level training, which allows healthcare professionals to practice homeopathy alongside their existing treatments.
Courses are taught at a number of locations in the UK and overseas.
Once qualified, it's recommended that you register with one of the main registering bodies:
- Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (ARH)
- British Homeopathic Medical Association UK (BHMA)
- Faculty of Homeopathy - for statutorily regulated healthcare professionals providing homeopathy
- Society of Homeopaths
You'll need to have:
- well-developed interpersonal, communication and listening skills for case-taking and patient management
- an open, non-judgemental approach and the ability to gain patients' trust
- sensitivity, maturity and resilience to cope with the emotional demands of patient consultations
- an analytical approach combined with creativity and intuition for choosing the appropriate treatment
- in-depth knowledge of remedies, and an understanding of disease processes
- the ability and confidence to promote and run your own practice
- business skills such as admin, marketing and book keeping if running your own practice.
It's a good idea to attend open days and talk to current students or practitioners to help inform your decision about starting a career in homeopathy. You could also ask to sit in with a homeopath during patient consultations to gain an insight into the role. Contact the main homeopathic bodies or individual homeopaths to arrange a visit.
Experience of working with people - possibly in a related field such as homeopathic pharmacy or healthcare role - and recent biological study are also helpful.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
The vast majority of homeopaths in the UK are self-employed, working in private practices based in the community often alongside other complementary therapists. You might also work:
- independently from home
- in a clinic dedicated to homeopathy
- in group practices, possibly from several bases.
Although not common, it may be possible for experienced practitioners to work as sessional therapists within the NHS. However, homeopathy isn't available on the NHS throughout the UK and these opportunities are few and far between.
As most homeopaths are self-employed, jobs aren't generally advertised. It's down to you to publicise your services and to attract new clients through talks and presentations, your website, social media and by word of mouth. You can also advertise your services via the registers of the main registering bodies.
Keeping up to date with developments in homeopathic remedies and research is essential and continuing professional development (CPD) is vital. You can find out about relevant events, conferences and CPD activities via the professional associations.
Networking plays an important part in developing your practice and membership of one or more of the professional bodies can be useful for making contacts and exchanging ideas.
There may also be opportunities to get involved in homeopathic research. Post-qualification training is available from some of the colleges offering undergraduate professional training and some courses lead to a postgraduate diploma or award.
If you're a statutorily regulated healthcare professional, you can become a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy by passing their membership examination. Members can use the letters MFHom or VetMFHom after their name. Doctors who have achieved MFHom can apply for higher specialist training and gain specialist registration.
You could also consider training in other complementary and alternative medicines to expand the treatments that you offer within your practice.
You may want to take business-related courses in areas such as marketing and finance. For more information on setting up a business, see self-employment.
Learning to manage a practice takes time and you must be committed to developing a role in which, for the short and medium term, salary levels and numbers of clients may be low. Success depends on your ability to establish and build your reputation, which in turn depends largely on the amount of effort you put into building and marketing your business.
Once established, you may decide to train in other alternative therapies to complement your homeopathic practice. These may include aromatherapy, kinesiology, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbalism, reflexology and reiki.
With experience, you may find teaching opportunities at one of the colleges offering homeopathic courses or complementary therapy courses offering modules in homeopathy.
There are also some opportunities to get involved in research or journalism in the homeopathic field, or to help in the manufacture of homeopathic products.