Wise Woman Health

Acute vs. Chronic


  • It has a sudden onset

  • It is self-limiting and ends in resolution of disease, or death


  • It develops slowly over time

  • It has not resolved within a short time

  • It is not self-limiting and symptom complexes can develop after the initial observation of the disease


  • Acute exacerbation of a chronic disease often is confused for an Acute situation. When someone has Asthma and has an Asthma attack, that attack is an Acute Exacerbation of the Chronic Disease, Asthma

Were we to treat it as an individual phenomenon, we would have little chance of helping the patient move beyond a lifetime of Asthma attacks. That said, if a person is having an Asthma attack it can be life-threatening and if that person typically takes Albuterol or other inhaled drugs, that probably is the safest thing to do in the immediate, but as we work homeopathically over time, we take into account how the individual experiences these attacks, and the quality of the emotional experiences as well as the physical experiences, and over time the patient may well have fewer exacerbations of the chronic disease, or may have no more exacerbations.

The individual prescription is what is unique to Homeopathy. All Asthma patients based at any Conventional clinic, public or private, usually are treated using one of a very few drugs, whichever are favored for whichever reasons at any one clinic. In contrast, you as an Asthma patient might require a plant-based remedy from our Pharmacopoeia while your next door neighbor with Asthma might need a mineral-based homeopathic remedy. It is your individual responses and experiences which guide our search for a great remedy match for you.

In Classical Homeopathy we consider the whole symptom complex. We are not treating disease, but we are using the symptoms of disease to help us understand what remedy is the best match for you. When your Vital Force encounters that remedy, healing is stimulated. In contrast, if you have a child with skin issues and the Conventional doctor prescribes cortisone creams, the rash temporarily may be eased, but it has not gone away; the disease manifesting in that symptom has been driven deeper into the body. Sounds good until some point later when not infrequently people treated this way develop Asthma. We see this all the time in practice.

Or we see recurring ear infections which have been treated, one after the other without consideration of them as part of a larger susceptibility, and Antibiotics routinely given suppress the infection. But at some point the chickens come home to roost and the child may end up with more serious health problems. Frequently, we see a progression of colds moving into the chest as Bronchitis or Pneumonia.

The natural cycle of infections is to move through them and cast them off. In our society we keep interrupting these natural cycles rather than supporting kids (and adults) gently as they work through the infections to the point that the body’s immune system has gotten the information it needs to recognize pathogens next time it encounters them in the organism (you or your child) and can mount a strong defense to clear the infection.

When a person comes to the Classical Homeopath with a bad cold which has moved into the chest, she may say, “I have another cold. Can you help?” She may think it is an Acute affair but if there is a history of frequent colds, and especially if they move further down, into the chest, what we actually are seeing is an Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Disease.

We live in a society oriented by Big Pharma to treat everything with a band-aid. Even what is called preventative care in the Conventional world most often is meted out with no attention to a person’s individual needs.

And in this society where vaccines are pushed and accepted, often without full information about possible negative effects, people are running around shedding live measles or smallpox viruses around others, and are being kept in permanent states of inflammation their whole lives. We have a society torn down by inflammatory diseases. Not a surprise when we understand the impact of injecting foreign materials, chemicals and heavy metals which interrupt or suppress natural disease cycles.

An example of pharmaceutical influence on our society: You have metabolic problems? First you’ll be blamed and assumptions will be made about your lifestyle choices, then you likely will be sent to a Registered Dietician who may not want to hear what you actually do on the food front, but will hand you long lists of things not to eat rather than considering what you’ve done in your life, and the effects it has had. The expectation often is that, if you are not stick-thin you’ll develop Type 2 Diabetes, and then you'll be prescribed a drug regimen which for many does not work, and actually exacerbates problems. But when you try to talk with your doctor, pharmacists, “Diabetes Educators” who are pushing pharmaceuticals, or others in the conventional system, you are likely to have no help navigating your way through their regimen which is based on adding and increasing dangerous medicines which have a variety of unintended effects, with no plan to back off of them, the same meds as your neighbor and Great Uncle have been taking for years on end with no relief. This, in itself, causes many to feel hopeless.

Often people report that no one in the conventional system was at all interested in an odd fact such as that, you have been exercising a lot for the past year without seeing any change in blood glucose levels. You may feel like you have not been listened to and you have not been treated as an individual. You wouldn’t be alone.

Metformin can cause your temperature to tank several degrees (think about your metabolism) or completely upset your longtime blood pressure into a varied mess, and taking insulin frequently results in people adding 20 or more pounds pretty instantly, which can cause insulin resistance, which then can exacerbate deep exhaustion and lead to a sedentary lifestyle as a result, precisely one of the the cited precursors to metabolic problems. At each appt. you may be given admonitions that you should take more of this medicine and get more exercise.

For each person it will be an individual choice, but

it should be a choice made with intention

It's not surprising, then, that many people are considering whether the conventional route is useful, or even a healthy one. But if you are on such medications do not stop suddenly if you decide not to continue them. You need carefully to wean off them; it makes sense to do this with a doctor's oversight. And remember that Homeopathy is not contraindicated with pharmaceuticals so if your goal is to move away from the conventional medicines, you can begin Homeopathy alongside your use of those.

Please remember that, this is a process and the longer it has been since chronic disease has affected you, the longer it may take to unwind. Quick fixes often lead to more problems later because they usually only address symptoms on a surface level, but not the foundational issues which led to the symptoms.

One thing is sure: the Conventional Medicine system is not built on a framework of having the time to personalize and tailor responses for individuals, and this is one of many important places Homeopaths can come in with our system of medicine based on the unique person you are.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -

the assurance that dawn comes after night, and Spring after Winter ~Rachel Carson