- Associated Press - Monday, October 3, 2016

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - With hands on small pellets of different sizes and filled with natural remedies, Jo Ann Thomas is always ready to pick a cure that best suits her clients.

As a homeopathic practitioner in Winona, Thomas makes sure her clients heal with remedies that stimulate their immune system in a balanced and complete way, the Winona Daily News (http://bit.ly/2d9ItX0 ) reported.

She turned to the practice after experiencing its results first-hand: She hurt her back gardening and instead of seeking aspirin, used arnica instead - and it worked better than she expected.

“That’s when I saw how powerful it was for my body,” Thomas said. “I thought there must be something more to this homeopathy.”

She had experimented with herbal medicines with her husband but had never put too much thought into them, but soon started reading about homeopathy and collecting books and kits - and then went further, becoming certified in classical homeopathy after three-and-a-half years of training. When her children were born, she used homeopathy on them, and soon neighbors, friends and relatives were turning to her for help.

“It all seemed complicated to me at first, but when I saw how good, unique and fascinating it was, I was always interested in learning more about it,” Thomas said.

In 2001, Thomas started her private practice in Winona, where today she treats people of all ages. Sometimes they come to her as a last resort, having tried traditional medications without effect, or with too severe side effects. Sometimes, she said, they “just see the beginning of something and want to use alternative medicine.”

The first appointment usually lasts three to four hours, including explaining symptoms and sensations, as well as their medical history, family and other common questions.

The biggest part of the work, then, is finding out people’s nature and personality. Learning whether they are quiet, reserved, outgoing or emotional - “the picture of the person” - helps her match the appropriate treatment to their body. Homeopathy works on every level, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and focuses especially on the energetic level, she said.

“The remedy treats the whole person and not just one little piece,” she said.

For an acute illness, she expects people to feel better within a day. In cases of chronic or deeper pain, it takes longer. It’s not always easy to educate people looking for the quick fix so many traditional medicines promise; Thomas believes people have to learn that the body takes time to heal.

Her work also goes beyond the office, encouraging people to take care of themselves in the ways so many don’t today: Get enough sleep, manage stress, eat healthy. She tries to encourage people to realize that the body needs help, respect to be heal, a concept sometimes hard to accept in a fast-paced society.

Jill Krase, one of Thomas’s clients, said her family has all been treated successfully, particularly for severe allergies.

“It might be hard to believe that any treatment could be so successful, but my family is proof,” Krase said.

Paula Stephens has also been consulting Thomas for several years. Because of a kidney transplant, she cannot take many medicines, and with arthritis was desperate to find relief.

Thomas is brilliant with her knowledge of homeopathic treatment. I am very grateful,” Stephens said.

What Thomas loves best about homeopathy is developing a relationship with her clients, listening to them reflect on their lives from their own perspectives, and then creating a remedy to fit.

“If people know that you are listening and holding a space for what they want to say, then it all works,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she hopes homeopathy takes hold as a widely accepted healing system. It is inexpensive compared to most traditional medicine and it heals on a complete level, she said.

“We would be a much more balanced, healthy and peaceful world if we all did holistic practices like homeopathy.” Thomas said. “People need to think about healing, as opposed to going to a doctor and getting a pill.”

“We need to raise our consciousness on how to help ourselves and homeopathy is a good way to do it.”

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Information from: Winona Daily News, http://www.winonadailynews.com

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