My own first homeopath was a San Francisan physician named Franklin Cookinham. He graduated medical school in 1906 and
practiced until 1976, at which time he flew to Athens, Greece, to study with a world-class homeopath. The proper education of a homeopath is life-long.
Before discussing specific information on the education of a homeopath, it is first essential to know that those individuals who practice homeopathy are a mixed assortment of licensed health professionals. Also, there is a small but active group of dedi cated unlicensed practitioners of homeopathy.
Some clinicians specialize in homeopathy and prescribe homeopathic medicines to 75-100% of their patients, and there are some practitioners who have not learned the elaborate system of homeopathic medicine and who tend to prescribe these natural medicines for smaller percentage of their patients. Commonly, these latter clinicians are knowledge of a smaller number of homeopathic medicines and usually prescribe them for acute, not chronic, ailments.
The greatest number of health professionals who specialize in homeopathy in the Western world are medical doctors. In Europe where homeopathy is one of the leading alternative medi cines, it has been estimated that over 30% of French physicians and 20% of German physicians prescribe homeopathic medicines (Fisher and Ward, 1994), that over 40% of British physicians refer patients to homeopathic doctors (Wharton and Lewith, 1986), and that 45% of Dutch physicians consider homeopathic medicines to be effective (Kleijnen, Knipschild and ter Riet, 1991). These significant numbers suggest that it may no longer be appropriate to consider homeopathy to be "alternative medicine" in Europe.
Other licensed professionals in the United States who specialize in homeopathy include naturopathic physicians, chiroprac tic doctors, acupuncturists, physician assistants, nurse practi tioners, and nurses. There are also hundreds of veterinarians and dentists who utilize homeopathic medicines for large numbers of their patients.
Because homeopathy is an integral part of naturopathic education, it is common for naturopathic doctors to specialize in homeopathy. There is even a separate organization of naturopathic homeopaths (The Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians).
In comparison, chiropractors have a tendency to dabble in numerous natural therapies, and thus, even though there may be more chiropractors who prescribe homeopathic medicines than any other health professional in the U.S., only a relatively small number of chiropractors specialize in homeopathy.
In 1990 there were only three training programs in homeopa thy and three naturopathic medical schools in the U.S. In 1997, there are over 20 training programs and five naturopathic medical schools (Ullman, 1996).
Commonly, training programs in homeopathy are three or four-year programs, usually consisting of extended weekend (three or four-day) courses that meet every month or every other month. Significant amounts of homework are given and required.
Homeopathic training programs include detailed instruction
in homeopathic philosophy, casetaking, case analysis, materia medica, and repertory (materia medica refers to "materials of medicines" used in homeopathy, and repertory refers to important texts/data bases that list the specific medicines that are known to cause a specific symptom in overdose and cure it in homeopath ic doses).