AUSTIN -- Homeopathy is a system of medicine that's been around for 200 years. It's based on the principle that you can treat like with like.
It's similar to allergy sufferers who get allergy shots containing small doses of allergens like pollen to help desensitize them. One big difference with homeopathic medicines is that substances are used in ultra high dilutions making them non-toxic.
It's an alternative approach to medicine that some patients find more appealing.
Inside the Central Austin offices of Austin Integrative Medicine, patients Claudia Williams and Brandon Donovan share what they say are the benefits of homeopathy.
"It works," said Williams. "There's no reason not to use it if it works."
"We find people more and more becoming concerned about prescription medications," said Ron Manzanero, M.D., family practice and homeopath. "They're worried about side effects. They feel they really haven't had their problem totally addressed. Innately people feel there has to be more to the story."
That was certainly the case for Donovan who felt like doctors were only treating his symptoms.
"There's an underlying issue here," said Donovan. "Let's address the underlying issue and the symptom will solve itself."
Donovan initially saw Charlene Werner, O.D., for a vision problem. Werner has an optometry degree. She's also a practicing homeopath.
"We know the mental and emotional always plays into the physical," said Werner.
Werner says regardless of whether it's an eye problem or a cold or allergies, there's always an underlying mental and emotional symptom associated with the illness that work their way into the physical body.
"What the homeopathic remedies do is they work on the mental, emotional, and the physical, so when you look for a remedy you are finding a match between all of those things to help alleviate a condition," said Werner.
Doctor Ron Manzanero has a medical degree, and had a traditional family practice for years. So he's heard the criticism the traditional medical community levels at homeopathy. His reply:
"How many times have we seen medications that have gotten approved and then four to eight years later they're withdrawn from the market because of some serious side effects," said Manzanero.
Manzanero says he prefers not to point fingers, rather to include everything or anything that may best help his patients; whether that's prescription drugs, surgery, dietary changes or homeopathic remedies.
That's why Manzanero says the practice is called Austin Integrative Medicine. It's something Donovan now believes in strongly.
"I wouldn't say it's 100 percent," said Donovan. "But what is? I would probably say 90 to 95 percent of the time we nail it."
Click here to visit Austin Integrative Medicine's website.
KVUE's Jim Bergamo will have Part 2 of this special assignment on KVUE News Nightbeat at 10.