Health or husband? Why must some women make a choice?

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    One of the most distressing phenomena I have encountered in my years as a classical homeopath is one that I call "Health or Husband."

    You may have seen it yourself in your friends, family or perhaps even yourself. A woman has a particular health problem. She has sought help from conventional medicine, but is not satisfied with the results – perhaps side-effects, a gut feeling that it isn’t really the best course of action, or simple ineffectiveness.

    On the recommendation of a friend or loved one, she seeks help from a chiropractor, homeopath, acupuncturist, nutritionist, etc. She meets with the practitioner and gets excited about the experience of having someone listen to her and take her seriously, and she looks forward to the possibility of having her health restored.

    Looming in the background in making a decision to move forward is her husband. Some women will choose to go ahead with the treatment plan as outlined by the practitioner. Often she pays in cash so there is no money trail. But usually, if there is a sense that this woman does not have a supportive spouse, it is quite predictable that she will not move forward with the alternative care. Usually it is framed as not having enough money to do it. But offering discounts and free treatments shows that this is not the case.

    This was very puzzling to me when I first encountered it. When I first decided to see a homeopath, I told my husband I was doing it and I went, regardless of what he thought. Fortunately, he was supportive. He could see how miserable I was and knew that I was not getting any assistance from conventional medicine. So it was a surprise and a mystery to me the first time a client chose to discontinue treatment did so because "she needed support" from her family.

    "The hardest thing for me is understanding it," says Dr. Daniel Barrett, a chiropractor at the Vibrant Life Center in Oakdale, Minn. "They think they are doing the right thing by subordinating themselves and their health to their marriage. Ultimately, they will lose both."

    Dr. Barrett recalls telling one couple, after the husband vetoed the wife’s chiropractic care, that they didn’t need chiropractic care, they needed a marriage counselor.

    Homeopathy is unique in that not only can it help the physical problems, but it helps mental and emotional problems at the same time. Often women who do choose homeopathy in spite of their husband’s objections will become stronger emotionally and be more willing to resist any type of suppression by their spouses. Almost every practitioner who has been treating clients with homeopathy for any length of time has had a call from an angry husband, or a report by a client that her husband doesn’t like how it is changing her.

    I understand that there is often a fine line between doing what you want and alienating everyone in your family, and doing what you want because you know it is right for you and being strong about your choice. As women, we need to encourage our friends and family to pursue the avenue to health which holds the truth for them – and support them in their choice.

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