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Author Topic: What is homeopathy?  (Read 3384 times)

roger

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What is homeopathy?
« on: February 24, 2010, 12:27:52 am »

What is homeopathy?

About homeopathy:
Homeopathy is a system of medicine which is based on treating the individual with highly diluted substances given in mainly tablet form, which triggers the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their experience of their symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to the patient.

It works on the principle of “like cures like” - that is, a substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person is used to cure those same symptoms in illness. For example, one remedy which might be used in a person suffering from insomnia is coffea, a remedy made from coffee.
   


Scientifically it can not yet be explained precisely how homeopathy works, but new theories in quantum physics are going some way towards shedding light on the process. What we do know is that a carefully selected homeopathic remedy acts as a trigger to the body’s healing processes.

Homeopathy has been widely used throughout the world for more than 200 years. In 2000, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Science & Technology cited homeopathy as one of the five Group One therapies, having “an individual diagnostic approach” along with osteopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine and acupuncture.(1)

Homeopathy can be safely used alongside conventional medicines and will not interfere with the action of medicines prescribed by your doctor. Because homeopathic medicines (often referred to as remedies) are non-toxic, there are no side effects(2) and they are safe even for pregnant women and babies.

What happens when you see a homeopath?
At the first consultation your homeopath will usually spend at least an hour, sometimes longer, asking detailed questions about your current health, medical history, and lifestyle. Some of the questions may seem strange, but the important thing to remember with homeopathy is that it treats the individual in a holistic way, and so your homeopath is looking to understand how you experience your symptoms and how they effect your life, so that s/he can match you with the most appropriate medicine.

Subsequent consultations will involve you discussing the changes that have occurred with your homeopath, so that s/he can understand how you have responded to the prescription and what the next step of your treatment will be.

What can homeopathy help?
Homeopathy treats the person rather than the named “disease” so potentially it can help patients with a wide range of conditions, both acute and chronic. Illnesses commonly seen by homeopaths in the clinic include recurrent infections (such as colds, tonsillitis, cystitis), skin conditions, menstrual and menopausal problems, chronic fatigue, migraine, and stress related symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.

Where can I find a qualified homeopath?
The Society of Homeopaths produces a frequently updated register of professionally trained and insured homeopaths, who agree to abide by the Society's strict Code of Ethics & Practice. You can find one in your area by consulting the register available on this website (See find a homeopath in your area). Enter your postcode to find homeopaths closest to you.
http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/

References:
1. House of Lords Select Committee on Science & Technology. ‘Complementary & Alternative Medicine.’ Session 1999-2000, 6th Report. The Stationery Office, 2000

2. Dantas F, Rampes H. Do homeopathic medicines provoke adverse effects? A systematic review. Br Hom J, 2000; 89: 35-8
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 08:45:35 pm by roger »
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roger

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Re: What is homeopathy?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 07:54:20 pm »

Homeopathic medicine is nature’s tonic  By Fiona Phillips 27/02/2010 Mirror

Once again a “lack of scientific evidence” has been used to argue that something a lot of people believe in doesn’t work.

This time, it’s homeopathic medicine.

The scientific evidence is that thousands of people use homeopathy because it works.I’ve used belladonna when my children have high temperatures and it’s always effective.Whether it’s a placebo or not, who cares? I think it’s better than stuffing some pricey chemical concoction down their necks and hoping for the best.

Like thousands of others I buy homeopathic medicines instead of going to my GP for a prescription for a proprietary brand loaded with scientific evidence and side-effects.

It saves the NHS a fortune. The more people who do that, the lower the drug companies’ profits are.

And that’s why homeopathy has been deemed not to work
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roger

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Re: What is homeopathy?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 09:29:50 pm »

Yes it is interesting that all these web sites that attack homeopathy are linked up with people who call themselves skeptics.  These are people who either make a living, or get a kick,  out of attacking anything that just happens to be an alternative to pharmaceuticals or who attack those who criticise or present data against the drug companies such as with the link between vaccines and autism.

Of course these sites that claim to represent science in medicine make no scientific discoveries themselves or even attempt to challenge the status quo. I think the aim can be seen in that the main campaign of one of these groups, or indeed a number,  is to get boots to stop stocking homeopathic remedies. They even had a small protest in Oxford to do this.  It is only in recent years that Boots has stocked homeopathic remedies and made them widely accessible to people. Homeopathy and homeopathic remedies have become increasingly popular as more people try alternative medicine.  This is why these people are resorting to such dramatic tactics with the drug company lobbying parliament against the paltry £4 million that the govenment spends on alternative medicine.  

It is intersting that professional homeopaths are the first to recognise the advanced drugs discoveries in conveniontal medicine but they also notice where they fail.  Homeopathic treatment is complimentary and where conventional medicine fails can bring great benefit, or bring benefit without conventional medicine. However the advances in conventional medicine are often  because of the vast sums spent on it where very little is spent on research into homeopathy other than to try and discredit it.  One of things these skeptics go on about is the scientific proof of homeopathic medicine. But they fail to point out that much of conventional medicine is a shot in the dark and sometimes unexplainable in scientific terms. For example, the drugs used to treat pyschosis and applying them to patients. My observation would be that in fields like this convenitonal medicine a very pragmatic excercise with still very little known about why they work for one patient and not for another.  When thousands of people may benefit from these drugs,  just as in hompeopathy, why do they not rail against the drug industry for  not being able to scientifically explain what works and what does not and try and get them banned.  

These people forget the right to health is a human right and people have the right to homeopathic treatment. More than that the government has a duty to uphold that right for conventional and alternative medicine.

 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 07:26:59 am by roger »
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roger

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Re: What is homeopathy?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 04:21:45 pm »

Early Day Motion: The House of Commons Science & Technology Committee’s Evidence Check: Homeopathy

Please write to your MP and ask him or her to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 908, which expresses concern at the conclusions of the Science & Technology Committee’s Report; notes that the Committee only took oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses; regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective and calls on the government to maintain its policy of allowing decision-making on individual clinical interventions, including homeopathy, to remain in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners who are best placed to know their community's needs.

The EDM has been tabled following the recent publication of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee’s Evidence Check: Homeopathy.

The Society of Homeopaths has roundly rejected the findings of this committee and has grave concerns about the processes that led to its report on homeopathy.

The Society is concerned that those giving oral evidence included a journalist who was investigated by the Press Complaints Commission for his previous and unsubstantiated comments about homeopaths; a charity that has long publicly opposed homeopathy along with one of its key funders and a PCT that had already decommissioned homeopathy as one of its services.

Notable by their absence were any patient representatives who had used homeopathy or a PCT currently commissioning homeopathy.

The Society of Homeopaths, as the largest body representing professional homeopaths, applied to give oral evidence alongside its written evidence but was refused.

The Society also had serious concerns about the lines of questioning during the evidence gathering, many of which it considered to be outside the remit of the committee and which included a number that were directly related to The Society itself which it was not permitted to answer. Its subsequent letter to the committee plus a chase up remain unanswered.

In summarising that there is no evidence for homeopathy, the committee inexplicably overlooked the fact that, by the end of 2009, there were 74 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy published in peer-reviewed journals which describe statistically significant results, from which firm conclusions can be drawn. Of these RCTs comparing homeopathy either with placebo or established conventional treatments, 63 were positive for homeopathy and 11 were negative.

In its press release, the Committee advised the government that “prescribing pure placebos is bad medicine’. Clearly, it was not aware that a 2008 meta-analysis involving 35 clinical trials and 5,000 patients suffering from depression found that commonly prescribed antidepressants have little more effect than 'dummy' placebo pills.

And yet, prescriptions for anti-depressants are at record levels, with 31 million written in 2006 at a cost to the NHS of almost £300million.

To put this in context, the NHS spends £11 billion on its annual drugs budget. Of that, the annual bill for homeopathic remedies is £152,000.

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 908 and, if possible, ask him or her to write to Chair of the Science & Technology Committee, Phil Willis MP, stating why they support the EDM.

Click here to see if your MP has already signed EDM 908

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40517&SESSION=903

Click here to ask your MP to sign EDM 908

http://www.writetothem.com/


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roger

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Re: What is homeopathy?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 04:39:03 pm »

This is one of the scientific studies on homeopathy.  I saw a similar study many years ago on Mastitis in cows which showed that homeopthy not only worked but is much more preferable to pencillin which is expensive and gets into the milk causing huge problems for humans and also the pundits that were crying placebo had to shut up for once.   Of course veterenary drugs are a huge business for the drug companies and they couldn' t care less if that is not the best treatment.




March 2009 press releases


22 March

Pilot research of homeopathy in dogs indicates large clinical trial is needed

Results from a small, rigorously designed, research study at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Science have pointed the way towards a larger clinical trial of homeopathy for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is an itchy, chronic, skin disease that can affect humans and animals such as dogs.

Twenty dogs were recruited to the study from the referral sample seen in the veterinary dermatology clinic at the University of Bristol.  Dogs were diagnosed with non-seasonal atopic dermatitis and those entering the study had positive reactions to multiple allergens to confirm the diagnosis.

Some dogs continued to receive conventional drugs. This category included dogs that had residual, stable and persistent pruritus (itching) despite receiving glucocorticoids, ciclosporin or allergen-specific immunotherapy.

The dogs were prescribed individualised homeopathic medicines by vet John Hoare. Two months after starting the treatment, the owners of 15 of the dogs reported no improvement.  However, owners of the other five dogs reported pruritus scores that were at least 50% improved compared to their pets’ score at recruitment. One of the five dogs improved by 100% and needed no further treatment.

The other four dogs that responded well in this first phase were then put forward into a blinded randomised trial in which they received their homeopathic prescription at some times and placebo at other times. The three dogs that completed this phase of the study improved more with the active remedy than with placebo, and owners were able to distinguish correctly which pill was which.

Dr Peter Hill, who was lead clinician on the study, said “These preliminary data indicate the need for a large randomised controlled trial of homeopathy in canine atopic dermatitis.”

Dr Robert Mathie, Research Development Adviser at the British Homeopathic Association, who collaborated in the study, added “We hope that many of the country’s veterinary schools and other specialist referral centres might participate in a multi-centre trial”.

Ends/...

For further information:
Dr Peter Hill, BVSc PhD DVD DipACVD DipECVD MRCVS
Specialist in Dermatology
Veterinary Specialist Centre, PO Box 307, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Sydney, Australia
E-mail: phill@vetspecialist.com.au
Tel: +61 2 9888 9800.

Dr Robert Mathie, BSc PhD
Research Development Adviser
British Homeopathic Association & Faculty of Homeopathy, 29 Park Street West, Luton, LU1 3BE
E-mail: rmathie@britishhomeopathic.org
Tel: 01582 408683.

Mr John Hoare, BVSc VetMFHom MRCVS
Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeon
Silk Mill Cottage, Mill Green, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3PH
E-mail: hoare723@btinternet.com
Tel: 01297 444457.

The study is collaborative research between the University of Bristol, the Faculty of Homeopathy and the British Homeopathic Association. The findings have been published in the following paper:

Hill PB, Hoare J, Lau-Gillard P, Rybnicek J, Mathie RT. Pilot study of the effect of individualised homeopathy on the pruritus associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. Veterinary Record 2009; 164 (issue 12); March 21.

The British Homeopathic Association promotes homeopathy practised by doctors, vets and other healthcare professionals, funding their education and encouraging high quality research. www.britishhomeopathic.org

The Faculty of Homeopathy trains doctors, vets, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in homeopathic medicine. The Faculty promotes an integrated approach to care across all medical fields, where homeopathy is used to complement conventional medicine.  www.facultyofhomeopathy.org


« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 04:43:49 pm by roger »
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roger

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Re: What is homeopathy?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 11:06:42 am »

I don't know how, but homeopathy really does work

Rachel Roberts guardian.co.uk, Thursday 15 July 2010 11.30 BST


I was a dedicated scientist about to begin a PhD in neuroscience when, out of the blue, homeopathy bit me on the proverbial bottom.

Science had been my passion since I began studying biology with Mr Hopkinson at the age of 11, and by the age of 21, when I attended the dinner party that altered the course of my life, I had still barely heard of it. The idea that I would one day become a homeopath would have seemed ludicrous.

That turning point is etched in my mind. A woman I'd known my entire life told me that a homeopath had successfully treated her when many months of conventional treatment had failed. As a sceptic, I scoffed, but was nonetheless a little intrigued.

She confessed that despite thinking homeopathy was a load of rubbish, she'd finally agreed to an appointment, to stop her daughter nagging. But she was genuinely shocked to find that, after one little pill, within days she felt significantly better. A second tablet, she said, "saw it off completely".

I admit I ruined that dinner party. I interrogated her about every detail of her diagnosis, previous treatment, time scales, the lot. I thought it through logically – she was intelligent, she wasn't lying, she had no previous inclination towards alternative medicine, and her reluctance would have diminished any placebo effect.

Scientists are supposed to make unprejudiced observations, then draw conclusions. As I thought about this, I was left with the highly uncomfortable conclusion that homeopathy appeared to have worked. I had to find out more.

So, I started reading about homeopathy, and what I discovered shifted my world for ever. I became convinced enough to hand my coveted PhD studentship over to my best friend and sign on for a three-year, full-time homeopathy training course.

Now, as an experienced homeopath, it is "science" that is biting me on the bottom. I know homeopathy works, not only because I've seen it with my own eyes countless times, but because scientific research confirms it. And yet I keep reading reports in the media saying that homeopathy doesn't work and that this scientific evidence doesn't exist.

The facts, it seems, are being ignored. By the end of 2009, 142 randomised control trials (the gold standard in medical research) comparing homeopathy with placebo or conventional treatment had been published in peer-reviewed journals – 74 were able to draw firm conclusions: 63 were positive for homeopathy and 11 were negative. Five major systematic reviews have also been carried out to analyse the balance of evidence from RCTs of homeopathy – four were positive (Kleijnen, J, et al; Linde, K, et al; Linde, K, et al; Cucherat, M, et al) and one was negative (Shang, A et al). It's usual to get mixed results when you look at a wide range of research results on one subject, and if these results were from trials measuring the efficacy of "normal" conventional drugs, ratios of 63:11 and 4:1 in favour of a treatment working would be considered pretty persuasive.

Of course, the question of how homeopathy works is another matter. And that is where homeopathy courts controversy. It is indeed puzzling that ultra-high dilutions of substances, with few or no measurable molecules of the original substance left in them, should exert biological effects, but exert biological effects they do.

There are experiments showing that homeopathic thyroxine can alter the rate of metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs, that homeopathic histamine can alter the activity of white blood cells, and that under the right conditions, homeopathic sodium chloride can be made to release light in the same way as normal sodium chloride. The idea that such highly-diluted preparations are not only still active, but retain characteristics of the original substances, may seem impossible, but these kinds of results show it's a demonstrable fact.

Surely science should come into its own here – solving the riddles of the world around us, pushing the frontiers of knowledge. At least, that is the science I fell in love with. More of a puzzle to me now is the blinkered approach of those who continue, despite increasing evidence, to deny what is in front of them.

In the last few years, there has been much propaganda and misinformation circulated, much of it heralding the death of homeopathy, yet the evidence shows that interest in complementary and alternative medicine is growing.

In February, the "sceptics" campaign had a breakthrough – a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recommended no further NHS funding for homeopathy, despite a deeply flawed hearing.

The Society of Homeopaths – the largest body representing professional homeopaths – was refused permission to give oral evidence. Also notable by their absence from the panel were primary care trusts who currently commission homeopathy and representatives of patients who use homeopathy. Yet oral evidence was heard from a journalist previously investigated by the Press Complaints Commission for unsubstantiated criticism of homeopaths, and a spokesperson for a charity that has long publicly opposed homeopathy. It is significant that one of the four MPs asked to vote on the report abstained due to concerns about the lack of balance in the evidence heard.

Homeopathy is well-established in the UK, having been available through the NHS since its inception in 1948. More than 400 GPs use homeopathy in their everyday practice and the Society of Homeopaths has 1,500 registered members, from a variety of previous professions including pharmacists, journalists, solicitors and nurses.

And yet the portrayal of homeopathy as charlatanism and witchcraft continues. There is growing evidence that homeopathy works, that it is cost-effective and that patients want it. As drugs bills spiral, and evidence emerges that certain drugs routinely prescribed on the NHS are no better than placebos, maybe it's time for "sceptics" to stop the witch hunt and look at putting their own house in order.

It's all a far cry from the schoolgirl biologist who envisioned spending her life in a laboratory playing with bacteria.
 
 
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