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Julie Vine is a self employed homeopath working in Crawley, Sussex. She discovered homeopathy while travelling in India.

What is homeopathy?

It is a type of medicine using remedies from natural sources. All the remedies are very diluted and help the body to recognise that it has a problem and heal itself. Homeopathy can help anyone, from babies to the elderly, and is used to treat a very wide range of complaints.

Where do you practise?

I am based in a pharmacist's shop. I spend two full days a week there when anyone can ask me about homeopathic treatment. I give advice to customers with simple complaints, like colds, bruises or strains, and book appointments for those with more complicated problems.

What does a consultation involve?

I see the patient in a private clinic room at the pharmacy. I spend about an hour with them, discussing their complaint and their symptoms. I do some physical checks, such as taking their blood pressure, checking their weight and examining their skin.

What happens next?

I take the notes from the consultation home with me so I can spend time researching the best remedy. I consult a lot of reference books and use specialist computer software to help me decide I post the remedy to the patient, along with an instruction sheet describing how and when to take it. I may also include other advice such as changes in diet that could be helpful.

Do patients need a follow-up appointment?

I usually see patients again after a month. I spend about 30 minutes with them, finding out how they are progressing. I may change the dosage of their medication or prescribe a different remedy. Most patients see me three or four times.

What hours do you work?

During my two full days at the pharmacy I work from 9am to 6pm. I make appointments on other days to suit patients, including Saturdays. It's very important to be flexible when you are running this sort of business.

How did you train to become a homeopath?

I did a three-year full-time course. There was lots of supervised clinical practice – either watching other students treat patients or treating them myself. The final year included writing up 20 case studies.

What do you like most about your job?

I meet a lot of people with different problems, so no two days are the same. I really enjoy helping people and seeing the difference that treatment can make to their health and well-being.

How do you find new patients?

That is probably the hardest thing about building a business. The pharmacy puts my leaflets on display, so customers know about the practice and what I do. People chat to me informally about homeopathy, and it can give them the confidence to make an appointment for a full consultation. Some of my patients also recommend me to their friends and relatives.

What qualities do you need to become a homeopath?

People skills are vital. You must be patient and understanding. It's also very important to be non-judgemental – some patients have values that are very different to mine, but I must not let that affect the way I treat them.

Julie's route to becoming a homeopath

  • Science A levels.
  • BSc Medical Biology.
  • Three years' study for LcH (Licentiate in Homeopathy).
  • One year pre-registration, practising and putting together a portfolio of case studies.
  • Registered with the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths.

Becoming a homeopath tips

  • Science qualifications are very helpful.
  • Contact a homeopath in your area and find out about what's involved.
  • Try a homeopathic treatment for a simple ailment like a cold.

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Salary information of a homeopath

  • Most homeopaths are self-employed and their income varies according to the number of patients they treat and the fees they charge.
  • A new entrant, building a practice, could earn about £12,000 a year.
  • With experience this could increase to £20,000.
  • Homeopaths with large practices and good reputations could earn £40,000.

Want to become a homeopath?

  • There are many courses in homeopathy, offered by many different bodies. Contact one of the professional registering bodies for advice on choosing a suitable course.
  • Entry qualifications for a diploma course in homeopathy vary from no formal qualifications to two A levels or equivalent, depending on the course provider. Full-time courses last for three years. Part-time courses last for four or five years.
  • Full-time and part-time BSc courses are also available. Entry normally requires two A levels/three H grades, preferably including biology, with science or chemistry studied to GCSE level.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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