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A voyage of discovery

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

by Laura Walkinshaw


A chance encounter with homeopathy in the 1970s led Frank to learn more about the role of the medicine in treating minor illnesses. But when conventional treatment failed to treat a serious downturn in his health some years later, he sought homeopathy as a last resort. Now 82, he shares the profound effect it has had on his life.

I was 41 when I first discovered homeopathy. My four-year-old stepdaughter had a glue ear and the doctor wanted to send her forward for a grommet, but a friend suggested that we try homeopathy. My wife Jill and I knew nothing about it, but we took her to see a homeopath and came away with a remedy which worked.

From then on we learned to use homeopathy for everyday ailments and minor injuries. That continued until 1996 when Jill and I decided we were going to sail around Europe. We wanted to be much more self-sufficient while we were away, and looking after our health was a big part of that.

Jill previously worked as a ward sister at Great Ormond Street Hospital and as a health visitor so she knew what to look out for, but we wanted to be able to use homeopathy confidently while we were away. So to prepare us for life on the boat, I did the first year of homeopathic training. I bought around 250 remedies—200 of which I never used but I wanted to be on the safe side!

We sailed around Europe for almost ten years, using homeopathy for things that are very much part of sailing, like bruises, cuts and burns. In that time we never needed to call on other medical services anywhere. One remedy we found extremely helpful was Hypericum. It was good at dealing with pain and worked just as well as morphine! Also, as the drinking water in some of the marinas wasn’t very good, we regularly used the homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum album, to very quickly put it right.

A new awakening

In 2005 we decided to return to the uk and put some roots down in Callington, Cornwall. Homeopathy continued to be part of our everyday lives, but it wasn’t until some years later that I truly realised the power of it.

The first instance was when, at a routine check-up in 2013, my dentist discovered a void in my jaw and referred me to see a consultant. A scan revealed that I had a rare form of cyst, which needed to be operated on. It was difficult to completely remove the cyst so it was monitored every six months, but another operation was needed within two years.

During the second operation the consultant had to remove six of my teeth to get access to the cyst; he also severed a nerve. This left me with discomfort and expensive false teeth. Later, another X-ray revealed that despite the efforts of my consultant, the cyst was again attacking the bone in my jaw and no option could be offered but a further operation.

I decided I wasn’t going to have the third operation whatever happened. By then I knew that another operation wasn’t going to cure anything and I was concerned about the impact it would have on me, considering I’d already had half a dozen teeth removed and been left with a very uncomfortable jaw. It was only then that I considered studywith a very uncomfortable jaw. It was only then that I considered homeopathy.

My homeopath, Ian Webster, said that while he might not be able to remove the cyst, we could try the remedy, Calcarea phosphorica (Calc phos), which is generally used for patients with osteoporosis to help with bone formation. We tried this for some months and I was amazed, as was the surgeon, when the next X-ray showed the void was filling with fresh bone. Since then further monitoring has shown that as long as I continue to take the remedy three times a day, it is able to overcome the cyst.

Turning point

My other experience of homeopathy came about more recently when I began losing strength in my wrists and hands, and was referred to the neurological department at my local hospital. A scan revealed damage to the nerves of both arms where they joined the spine. An operation was the only solution but the consultant was reluctant to operate due to the risk involved, especially in view of my age (79 at the time).

After that I became quite depressed. It affected my sleep and my attitude to things, and I felt very down. Despite my other experience I didn’t think that this was something homeopathy could help with, but in desperation I consulted Ian in July 2015. He suggested the remedy, Argent sil, in high potency. I took one dose and within weeks there was considerable improvement. I now feel like I’m completely cured–and the best part is there are no side effects. I still take this remedy occasionally because of the general effect it has on my wellbeing and quality of life.

I’m amazed at what has been achieved. Either one of those ailments could have led me very much on a downhill course, but with the help of homeopathy my quality of life has been transformed. I’m completely confident that the remedies are dealing with my ailments and at 82, I feel far fitter than I deserve to at my age. I’ve recently taken up bowling and I’m planning to start playing table tennis again.

Building a community

Times have changed from the days prior to the nhs when we drew on the resources of family and friends for dealing with ailments. Not only would they advise you but they might even have a treatment on the mantlepiece. With the state that the nhs is now in, I think it’s more important than ever for communities to share what they know with each other.

For a number of years after I moved to Cornwall, I volunteered in various ways for the nhs, from working with the Patients Association, being a committee member of the Patient Participation Group at my local gpsurgery, working with Healthwatch Cornwall, to joining the Patient Representative Group of the Cornwall Core Commissioning Group where it was possible to influence decisions on health services in the area.

What I’d like to do now is set up a group for people who want to explore how to be more self-sufficient in looking after their family’s health by sharing their experiences and learning from others. It’s really important to me to share what I know about homeopathy and help make it accessible to other people, so those who could benefit from it are given that opportunity.

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