Most homeopaths operate privately and work independently. They may work in an alternative therapy clinic or from home, and many carry out home visits at a time that is convenient for you.

Firstly you will have an initial consultation where you will be asked in detail about your symptoms, any underlying conditions and general health. This will cover your mental and emotional as well as your physical well being. The first session can last over an hour, but follow up appointments are usually shorter. There is no set length for a course of treatment, and how many consultations you need depends on your illness, treatment and recovery.

Homeopathic specialists normally charge by the hour for consultations and separately for any prescriptions for medication. Before using a private homeopath you should first make sure that you find out the prices they charge and only go ahead if you are happy to pay them. You should also ask them if they charge cancellation fees or if they offer any concessionary discounts.

Don’t be frightened to ask any questions about how experienced they are or what qualifications they have in homeopathy. If you have any friends or relatives who use homeopaths you might want to ask if they can recommend one.

The practice of homeopathy is not regulated; anyone can set themselves up in business as a homeopathic physician. There are, however, a number of regulatory bodies that they can register themselves with, such as The Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and The Society of Homeopaths. Using resources such as these will help you find an established, qualified consultant.

Access to homeopathy on the NHS is limited; it is provided by two hospitals and a small number of GP surgeries in the United Kingdom. You can ask your GP for a referral to one of these services or a homeopath who accepts NHS patients. Your doctor may reject your request if they do not think it is appropriate.

It is vitally important that you speak to your GP before starting a course of homeopathy. Although in many cases it can be used as a form of complementary therapy alongside traditional medicine, it may be dangerous if you stop taking a course of medication suddenly in favour of an alternative or forsake procedures such as vaccinations. It may also have implications for the treatment that can be offered by them; St John’s Wort, for example, is a common treatment for depression, but can interact dangerously with a large proportion of traditional medicines.