by Tutti Gould, DC, ND
It's always an interesting story how life brings people to homeopathy. Jackie Featherly, a mother of five turned to natural medicine to cure her son who suffered from a potentially life threatening illness. She was recommended to a homeopath who she had to travel miles to see and be committed to studying homeopathic remedies for the acute conditions that her son would encounter between visits on his delicate road to recovery. This is her story.
"I am the daughter of a milkman," says Jacquelynne Featherly, who grew up in a family of five children in small-town Michigan. "I got married at 18 years old, left home as a married woman, and had five children of my own," says the 63-year-old homeopath.
Featherly started playing Dr. Mom when her fourth child was chronically ill. "At first we didn't know what it was; he had been on antibiotics since he was three years old and had illness after illness. He ended up being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and the treatment of the day was chemotherapy and radiation," she says. The doctors recommended that she take him to Florida for some sunshine over the winter, and she met a woman there who told her about homeopathy. "She gave me a kit and a book and told me very emphatically to "not touch the remedies!"
With this kit in hand, she began to observe his symptoms and give him remedies accordingly, and was amazed at his progress. She wanted to learn more about homeopathy.
Featherly's search for a doctor led her to Dr. Marian Belle Rood, a medical doctor and homeopath who was a contemporary of Dr. Maesimund Panos. Featherly chose Dr. Rood because she was also a medical practitioner, and felt that was a kind of safety net. Dr. Rood, one of the great elders in American homeopathy, practiced in her rural hometown of Lapeer, Michigan, a 3-hour drive from Jackie Featherly's house. She did not have a telephone or make appointments; patients simply showed up, waited for her to wake up and get ready while they had pick-nick lunches on her porch and leafed through her many books piled high in the living room, which subbed as an office.
"At the first visit," Featherly remembers, "Dr. Rood came across as quite rude and staunch. She was in her early 80's. She was quite a sight with a tooth missing, glasses taped together, hobbling with a stick, and hair that looked like it had not been combed in a while. My son was afraid of her at first."
Dr. Rood chastised her for giving her son his baby shots. "She was rough with me and I broke into tears," she says. But another patient reassured her about Dr. Rood and gave her the number of the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH). "I started to investigate it all and learned a lot through the homework I was doing. I home-schooled my son and within one year he was doing well, back on his feet, and he could return to school." Soon, the rest of the family went to Dr. Rood for homeopathic treatments. "I learnt so much," Featherly says. "She would explain it all so thoroughly. She gave me a fabulous education in the right direction. She was kind and staunch and of the opinion that "this is how we do things: classical."
Dr. Rood showed her how to make remedies with powders with medicated #10 pellets that were crushed into powdered sugar and put into paper envelopes. "She felt that if you gave bottles, people would take too much and they could get into problems," recalls Featherly. "Papers, she felt, were more precise and were prepared for the day as you need them."
Jackie Featherly's son is now grown and doing fine. He never received conventional treatments, and never needed to be hospitalized.
After that success, Featherly pursued her studies more formally and graduated from the British Institute for Homeopathy, and also eventually became a Naturopathic Doctor. She is now head of the homeopathic program at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education.
A few years back, while pursuing a nursing degree, Featherly developed colon cancer. She learned of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that use complementary as well as conventional treatment. Instead of using blood transfusions they will first try homeopathic remedies: Phosphorus 200c, Lachesis 30c and Ferrum phos 30c. She was hospitalized for three months and cured.
Featherly has her practice in Vestaburg, Michigan, which she says is "too big!". She is reaching out to the medical community at large. She now has a pharmacist interning in her office learning homeopathy. She was also teaching homeopathy in the hospital for five months, with several nurses and pharmacists in the class. She taught a yearlong diploma course in homeopathy and had medical doctors who took that course to use it in their practice.
Featherly sees five or six patients a day and takes about six phone consultations. She treats many cases of fibromyalgia, depression, and cancer.
In one case, a woman came in on crutches with one purple foot that was to be amputated the following week - she had just been diagnosed with Buerger's disease. Featherly listened to her symptoms and examined her diet, eliminating any bad foods. She gave her Arsenicum 200cevery night for three nights before bed and had her call on the fourth day. The patient reported having the best sleep she had had in a long time. Her foot looked pinker and could take more pressure. Featherly told the woman to wait, not take another dose, and to call in three days. By then the patient was much better, and went to see her doctor three days before the scheduled amputation, and her foot was fine. She still has both feet.
Featherly's other passion, alongside homeopathy, is the Blood Type Diet. She has been trained and certified by Dr. Peter D'Adamo, and she encourages her patients to change their eating habits. "Blood type A is different from blood type O," she says. "They need different fuel, maintenance schedules, and parts." She says that the Blood Type Diet really compliments homeopathy, that the remedies work better and last longer, with less repetition.
Jackie Featherly is hopeful about the future of homeopathy, pointing out that if it's been mentioned on Oprah's show, how much more mainstream can it go? "But people fall off the bandwagon unless they actually study homeopathy," she says. "It's hard for people in today's world, because they need to be either a nerd, or a mother on a mission, or very deeply interested in health to find the right remedy." So, she is concerned about the proper education of homeopaths, since she did learn from the classical approach. And she still remembers what her first teacher said: "This is how we do it: classical."
Visit her website: www.letsgethealthy.us
Jacquelynne R. Featherly ND, DIHom, CN, MIfHI
6119 E. Howard City-Edmore Road
Vestaburg, MI 48891
Phone: (989) 427-5046
Fax: (989) 427-3551
With thanks to copy editor Michelle Decary