Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
So I didn't realise there'd be a sequel, but here you go. It seems everyone has an opinion on homeopathy these days, and my current issue is that I feel many of these opinions have come from mainstream media. Which is interesting as this doesn't reflect my experience at all. Which makes me question mainstream media. I mean, you can't see people in front of you getting better then get told what you do doesn't, can't work and not question this stuff. It just doesn't add up.
Anyway, after having some lovely feedback about about part I, here's part II. I think I'll draw the line here, there's sunshine to appreciate and life to live.
So this one went as follows:
Them (in response to news of the judicial review): This is great news, the last the NHS needs is to waste taxpayers money on treatments that have a discredited evidence base. Let's hope NHS funded hospital chaplains are next.
Me: Of course I’m unsurprised at your comment, given our recent fascinating exchange. Many patients, who came to homeopathy out of desperation, having been through specialist referral to other units but not found help there sadly are the ones that are affected, and often they can’t afford to pay privately. So patient suffering doesn’t equate to great news for me. In the Bristol homeopathic hospital study, out of 6,500 patients (involving 23,000 or so appts), 70% reported improvements in their health after using homeopathy.
I hope the recent discrediting of paracetamol based drugs and antidepressants may make people look further at these, but following the line of money I should think they’re fairly safe for a long time to come. People are seeking out alternatives to heavy drug based medicine, and it’s a growing trend. My clients don’t find me because I’ve spent millions on marketing, they find me because someone tells them that they got better using homeopathy, so they come and give it a go. The stories I hear aren’t from people who are deluded, delusional or stupid. They are from people who have tried other options (mostly via our NHS), maybe that was in the form of steroids, anti anxiety meds, antibiotics, antidepressants, painkillers etc and these treatments haven’t made the problem go away. This is medicine that’s failing people. Why would you need a lifetime of painkillers if they worked?! Constant antibiotics and still getting UTIs? Antidepressants for many years? Steroid creams to keep applying? Antihistamines daily?! We have a big problem and homeopathy, unpopular as it may be in mainstream medicine, can offer some seriously life changing help for people. For many things there are no options conventionally - molluscum for example, and yet I’ve seen them go within four days of the appropriate remedy being given. It’s not easy work, people are individuals and must be treated as so to help them at a deep level. Forever grateful to be doing it though.
Them: Oh dear. I guess I can see why the decision the NHS made has upset you, as it removes the 'legitimacy' of homeopathy and places it squarely with the other practices that have been discredited. I don't suppose the NHS did this lightly, having promoted homeopathy for quite some time and we have a Health Secretary who is a believer. I am genuinely pleased that the individuals you work with are feeling well, but let's be clear : whatever is working for them, it's highly, highly unlikely that it's purely down to the fact that water has a 'memory' and all that jazz. I've lost count of the patients who have been started on an anti depressant one day and reported feeling cured the next. The difference is that we will explore the logical fallacy, not embrace it.
Me: Just to say it's really lovely having you interact on my page here ****. Not only because more people get to see the information I share but because it makes me look closer at what I do. I would be fascinated to hear your explanations on how plants experience the placebo effect. To date, no one has adequately explained how babies and animals get better (and why conventional medicine, with all it's Wizard of Oz the Dr is God thing going on didn't help them but their eczema cleared up, digestive symptoms went and stopped omitted every feed), but maybe after all I or the vet was more charismatic and the placebo effect passed on through us (I'm not known for self flattery though :-/and actually if this is so then this is a whole new phenomena we should be highly excited about investigating IMHO). But plants in a triple blind RCT? Love to hear how those researchers influence those little seedlings.
Them: Well, obviously, it's not the placebo effect (unless Prince Charles was right all along) but there are plenty of other candidates; confirmation bias, self fulfilling prophecy, regression to the mean, etc - or possibly nothing. This is similar to the 'god of gaps' argument; if it isn't A, and you can't immediately prove why, then it must be B. I think you're be a little disingenuous when you talk about 'a whole new phenomena'. Homeopathy has had over 220 years to find a repeatable, testable and creditable method of proving how it works and has so far failed to convince anyone other than other homeopaths, as the recent decision by the NHS underlines. The seemingly endless litany of anecdotes just isn't cutting it.
Me: I'm fully aware we may as well be speaking different languages, so I guess we are unlikely to ever agree, which is fine. Seeing something in practice time after time (and yet it should be impossible if as you say the science is right) does make me curious though. Anecdotes may mean nothing to you but seeing my child recover from croup within 10 minutes from struggling to breathing normally is pretty remarkable to me. As a mother that meant a lot. Helping someone else's baby not need to be in hospital every month and no longer need antibiotics since they've been working with homeopathy? As a practitioner that'll do too.
As for 'homeopathy has had over 220 years etc' yes, I find that amazing too. Many of the remedies used then are still being used, and, for example belladonna in certain types of fever, pulsatilla for some ear infections where the symptoms fit. How many drugs have come and gone out of fashion over that time? And yet homeopathic medicines are still there. Interesting. Or maybe not to you. I think I mentioned before, following the funding for research, is useful to me. Many (sometimes overused) meds were researched by the companies who developed the drugs. So there's no bias there. And intriguingly how many of these drugs are then withdrawn. I also saw reference recently to that just 11% of over 3000 treatments evaluated have been proven to be beneficial. Commonly prescribed treatments. Not homeopathy. So I'm unsure too if there's a gold standard we're supposed to be aspiring to. My results certainly feel way better than that.
To conclude: If the information or studies referred to are use to you to forward, replicate, then do feel free. For many years I would be more concerned about people asking about homeopathy, or feel I had to defend it. I'm happy to say I've moved past that place and whilst I feel incredibly passionate about it, I am happy for people to have their own (sometimes very polarised opinions) and chat about my side of the argument. As the Five Agreements so wisely teaches us - be skeptical but learn to listen.
With love, Em x
Be the light.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition