Homeopathy is a highly debated alternative therapy used to treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions even the more serious conditions like MS. But does it work?
Homoeopathy is a ‘holistic’ practice over 200 years old. It is based upon the principle of ‘let like cure like’. It is thought that individuals who have an illness or a condition can be helped by medicines which produce similar symptoms when given to healthy people. A homeopathic practitioner would take into account the personal characteristics of their patient, meaning the remedies they create will be different for each person. The homeopath will need to ask very detailed questions about their patient – their likes and dislikes, their fears, what makes them happy, what makes them sad, then produce remedies from a very wide range of (mostly) natural substances. These are prescribed to the patient in a highly diluted, non-toxic form to be taken daily.
There is a large body of research and studies on the therapy to back up the daily clinical results which go some way to proving it works. According to an article in the Guardian by Rachel Roberts, a professional homeopath with 20 years experience, by the end of 2009, there had been 142 peer-reviewed randomised control trials comparing homeopathy with placebo or conventional treatment published in respected journals, of which 74 were able to draw firm conclusions: 63 were positive for homeopathy and 11 were negative.
Of the five major systematic reviews which have also been carried out to analyse the balance of evidence from random control trials of homeopathy, four were found to be positive (Kleijnen, J, et al; Linde, K, et al; Linde, K, et al; Cucherat, M, et al) and only one was negative (Shang, A et al).
Apparently there are experiments which prove that homeopathic thyroxine can alter the rate of metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs, homeopathic histamine can alter the activity of white blood cells, and homeopathic sodium chloride can be made to release light in the same way as normal sodium chloride.
Despite all of this, a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2010 recommended no further NHS funding for homeopathy. According to Rachel, the hearing was ‘deeply flawed’. The Society of Homeopaths doctors and nurses was apparently refused permission to give oral evidence at the hearing and journalists complained of the one-sided and negative rhetoric the panel seemed to spin.
Those wanting to try Homeopathy should make sure their practitioner is a member of the Society of Homeopaths – the largest body representing professional homeopaths. The SOH has over 1,500 registered members, from a variety of previous professions including pharmacists, journalists, solicitors and nurses.
photo credit: Octagon Clinic