Lifestyle: Solutions to Dicing with Death; Homoeopathy Is Usually Associated with Treating Conditions like Eczema Rather Than Soldiers Returning from War. Jo Ind Reports on a Birmingham Clinic Which Is Being Set Up to Do Just That

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Byline: Jo Ind

Soldiers who have been on duty in Afghanistan, police who have been involved in riots and fire-fighters who have run into burning houses to rescue people are soon to be offered homoeopathy to help them heal from their stress.

On the face of it, it is hard to see how an extremely dilute and well-shaken solution could be of use to someone who has diced with death but the Birmingham Alliance of Homoeopaths (BAH) claims it can be just the thing.

BAH, a charity formed to make homoeopathy accessible to vulnerable, homeless and disadvantaged people in the community, has found its remedies are effective in treating people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

For the past two years it has run clinics for St Basil's, the Birmingham charity for those at risk of homelessness.

At the clinics, one for single mothers and babies and another for those being re-housed, it has come across many refugees, especially those from Somalia who have >ed terrifying situations.

"A lot of them have just given birth or are about to give birth and there's a lot of emotional instability going on," says Anne Gorham, a founder member of BAH.

"Many have been traumatised. Self esteem is an issue for some. Some of them have come from families that have been violent towards them.

"Fear and anxiety are common, or just being overwhelmed with emotion. They suffer from terror.

"We have found homoeopathy can help them to overcome it. Aconite is something we use for people with terror. When someone is terrified they are frozen with terror, and it frees them up."

Last year Anne read that the Ministry of Defence is concerned many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan might be suffering some form of brain injury caused through exposure to high-velocity explosions.

The MoD is conducting a major study as it is feared as many as 20,000 UK troops could be at risk.

This caused BAH to think about how homoeopathy could be used effectively in such situations.

"We wanted to offer our service to soldiers.

Then we thought of police, fire-fighters, doctors, nurses and anyone working with trauma," says Anne.

"Sometimes when someone has been in a situation of terror, where they have seen somebody getting killed, it can be overwhelming.

"That's an acute situation, but there are the chronic situations as well. We heard of a soldier who had to walk across a bridge of mines.

He expected at any moment to be blown up.

"He wasn't, but afterwards he was in pieces and had to leave the army though at the time he wasn't aware of what had caused his breakdown.

"In the police, some people work well for many years and then they collapse and have a breakdown. It might be called post-traumatic stress, but it's an emotional trauma.

"The bodily system can not cope any more.

There might be headaches, migraines, sleep disorders, flashbacks, distractions, anger, lots of emotional signs.

"Often it's something that seems to be sorted out and then a couple of weeks later it comes back."

At the start of next year BAH is to hold a clinic for people in the support services suffering from emotional trauma.

It will be run as a six month pilot initially, with a view to securing funding for it to be a long term project, if it is successful. …