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!
"Homeopathy is a threat to public health and confuses people about vaccinations"
Said The Mirror, yesterday, 16th January 2020. I’m tired of these articles, pushing half-baked stories, lies and more and decided today was the perfect time to share some information to counter the nonsense here. The Mirror article can be seen here and below I’ve copied then underlined their text and responded with comments of my own, using online resources so should exploration of my references be of interest, it’s easy to do. I’ve commented after the relevant paragraphs so it’s easy to follow the text – I hope!
Homeopathy may be based on eccentric principles(1) and be ineffective according to medical standards(2) – but there are many people who believe in it(3).
1 – The principles of homeopathy are not eccentric. You could look at the fact they date back to ancient Greek philosophy (as do some ‘modern medical’ principles) or perhaps look at the fact that many modern medical practices are adopting principles from homeopathy in their pursuit of better treatment. Such as using the homeopathic law of ‘like cures like’ in their treatment of ADHD with Ritalin, a stimulant. Or ‘the minimum dose’ in their treatment of allergies such as peanuts with tiny, tiny amounts of peanuts.
If you wanted to look in more depth, Dr Manish Bhatia tells more.
2 – This one is brilliant. How many times does this statement get banded around? Do you know how many RCTs (the medical standard ‘Gold Standard’ of tests for some) of homeopathy in trials showed a positive result? Perhaps you’d think maybe none reading this article. The HRI website tells us that, by the end of 2014, 189 randomised controlled trials of homeopathy on 100 different medical conditions had been published in peer-reviewed journals1. Of these, 104 papers were placebo-controlled and were eligible for detailed review. In fact, 41% were positive (43 trials) finding that homeopathy was effective, 5% were negative (5 trials) finding that homeopathy was ineffective and 54% were inconclusive (56 trials).
Of the conventional medical group? All of them? No. In fact an analysis of 1016 systematic reviews of RCTs of conventional medicine had strikingly similar findings: 44% were positive the treatments were likely to be beneficial, 7% were negative the treatments were likely to be harmful and 49% were inconclusive, the evidence did not support either benefit or harm. There's more on that here if you want it.
(3) Believe in it - or use it because it works? Over 100 million Europeans use homeopathy, and similar numbers of people in India. Global estimates are that over 300 million people use homeopathy around the world. Is that because it’s effective one may wonder?
It doesn’t seem to bother them that no homeopathic remedy has ever been shown to have a provable clinical effect (4). Or that responsible doctors think they’re dangerous and prevent people from having proven treatments that would help them(5).
4 – Hopefully I’ve partially answered that above. However, whilst I’m here, a recent randomised placebo-controlled trial (details again from HRI - link below) assessed the efficacy of individualised homeopathic treatment, and the efficacy of Fluoxetine (a.k.a Prozac), for moderate to severe depression in menopausal women.
Both treatments were found to be safe and to have an effect significantly different from placebo. Homeopathy caused greater clinical improvement in symptoms of depression than fluoxetine and also improved the patients’ menopausal symptoms, whereas fluoxetine did not.
Again, please read (and other high quality studies showing the positive effects of homeopathy) here if you’d like.
5 – There are a group of highly responsible doctors working as homeopathic GPs, homeopathic doctors and are seeing positive clinical results with homeopathy. Dr David Reilly in his randomised, double blind, placebo controlled BMJ published study states: The objective results reinforce earlier evidence that homoeopathic dilutions differ from placebo. More on that here.
Indeed in 2003 the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital study (of 6,500 people, not a tiny study by any standard) found that over 70% of people seeking homeopathic help had improved after treatment. Many had been down conventional routes, including specialist referral before using homeopathy. You can discover more for yourself here.
Oh, they do have an effect on about one third of people susceptible to the placebo effect(6).
6 – I refer you to the above. Life is too short for too much repetition here.
But unlikely homeopathic beliefs such as treating illnesses with water that has “memory”(7) has led the head of the NHS , Simon Stevens, to ask the health service Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to drop the Society of Homeopaths from its official register of professional organisations(8).
He believes its inclusion sends a false message to patients that homeopathic remedies are as safe and effective as clinically-tested medicines(9).
7 – Clearly this is a big one to discuss and my aim is to make this readable and easy so I’m not diving in for hours to talk about it. Should you rather do that, I can direct you to the Water Conference, held annually where far cleverer people than me discuss science that is further above my head than I dare think about. Utterly fascinating stuff though. Also this is worth a read too. My feeling is this isn’t a theory to dismiss. If you’re short on time, Professor Gerald Pollack's was one of my favourite talks from ‘The Science, The Evidence’ conference recently. There’s a report on the whole day here which may also be of interest. As far as I can see, the science on this one is far from settled.
8 – Old news. This was being circulated months ago. Why is this even being presented as ‘news’?
9 – Sometimes I think they can be far safer. And at times more effective. I’ve patients who’ve been on antidepressants for years and now no longer need to take them. Or people on pain meds that they no longer need. Or off their drugs for diabetes thanks to homeopathy. For less anecdotal evidence, I refer you to the recent news article published last week: You may not be surprised to see statins on there, I was surprised by the extremity of the side effects, and the effects found of paracetamol also shocked me. I would love to see more on the data of ‘clinically tested medicines’ too, especially when making these sweeping statements. I think there is much the public are not being made aware of. .
The BMJ published chart here shows that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be at times. Sometimes I worry about those “safe and effective clinically-tested medicines”.
NHS chief executive Mr Stevens also warns that some practitioners are pushing ineffective “homeopathic vaccines” which leave patients exposed to deadly diseases such as measles(10). In a letter urging the PSA not to re-accredit the society in its annual review, he says he has “serious concerns” about the society’s inclusion because the practice of homeopathy remains “fundamentally flawed”(11).
10 – Despite being a homeopath for over 12 years, and met many international and national homeopaths through conferences, teaching days and work, I know of no one who is ‘pushing’ anything. This article is merely using an agenda, to try and associate homeopaths and vaccination, which are clearly 2 separate topics. If you need to, the 4Homeopathy position on this is here.
11 – I refer you to all the links above. He gives no worthwhile evidence for this claim.
His intervention adds weight to experts who are calling for an improved uptake of childhood immunisations(12).
12 – Again, a separate issue and to refer you back to the conventional medical world, a BMJ article: Lack of access is still the main factor hindering vaccine coverage and must not be overlooked in the fight to increase uptake. This was the message delivered at the first ever global vaccine summit, co-hosted by the European Commission and World Health Organization. Not a tiny amount of homeopaths working in the UK. It’s utterly ridiculous to even try and suggest this.
Two years ago the NHS told GPs to stop prescribing homeopathic remedies, claiming they were a “misuse of resources”(13).
13 – Do you know why some GPs prescribe homeopathic remedies? It’s because they work.
Mr Stevens is also concerned many homeopaths are peddling anti-vaccine myths to patients and encouraging the use of their own unproven “vaccines”.
He says: “This is a vital issue at a time when there is a rise of misinformation about vaccines – some of which are apparently promoted by homeopaths – and which poses a significant danger to human health.”(14)
14 – I refer you to point 12 above. Access. Not homeopaths.
The Society of Homeopathy’s official stance on vaccinations is that homeopaths shouldn’t advise patients against the use of jabs, as this would be “unethical”.
But some clearly frighten people enough to become vaccine-hesitant, a dangerous practice where parents and children are affected.
The PSA, which reviews the accreditation of all organisations on its register every 12 months, said it would not comment on any “live cases” involving “applications under assessments”.
But Michael Marshall, of pro-science charity Good Thinking, said: “Any organisation or any practitioner who is spreading anti-vax myths is particularly dangerous right now(15).
15 – I would suggest that any organisation or person who is spreading anti-homeopathy myths is particularly dangerous right now – there are so many drugs out there with so many side effects and so much potential in this gentle, natural medicine. There are people in need of help – not just from more suppressive drug regimes.
“There’s no such thing as an effective homeopathic vaccine – so for homeopaths to advocate them leaves patients criminally vulnerable to potentially fatal infections like measles.”(16)
16 – I would also suggest that no one is suggesting a homeopathic vaccine. This article is recycled nonsense in my point of view. I hope some of the links and comments above have been of interest.
Thanks for reading. Em
"If I don’t do it now it’s because I don’t want to, not because I can’t". A case of low energy and limited medical options to turn to - can homeopathy help?
It was early February 2019 that Penny (name changed) came to see me with her mum. They’d been recommended by a mutual friend as Penny was struggling with her energy levels, amongst other things. Around Christmas in Year 7 things had got worse (now we were February Year 8 so over a year in), with being wiped out and constantly tired. They described her energy as non-existent, was dizzy and couldn’t walk to school, even struggled walking up the smallish hill to their house. Penny would be exhausted when she came in from school, poorly every holiday and on a weekend they were unable to do anything on Saturday if there was anything planned on Sunday. Often she couldn’t manage a full week in school and wasn’t doing PE sessions. School were very supportive. She would go round to close friends and just lie on the sofa, which wasn’t like her.
Doctors had checked her vitamins and mineral levels – she was low on iron and taking a supplement. Also hayfever was bad so during summer took an antihistamine – sometimes 4 a day to control her symptoms. She has recently been put onto a daily antihistamine – to review in 6-12 months. Tests showed negative for glandular fever.
She would get better then relapse, so maybe better for a week then tired after, and they reported that her energy levels had been below normal for around three years, not long after her parents had separated, which had been a difficult time for her.
Penny would get breathless walking up a hill and also complain that everything hurts when tried to walk. Both knees really hurt and also experienced muscular pain as if she’d exercised, but had done nothing to cause it. Pains had started with her ankles which had been put down to growing pains. She used to feel as if she’d walked further than she had done and would need to lie absolutely still on the sofa and not get up unless needed to. She’d recently had lots of colds, a chest infection and a lung infection and they felt she still hadn’t got over that. ENT issues dated back for most of her life.
With the constant mucus I suggested that they may wish to look at removing dairy from her diet for a period of time, and also with joint and muscle ache suggested gluten to be left out for a while too. Gluten can cause inflammation (though there is a debate if it’s the gluten or glyphosate – others have covered that and that’s not the point of this blog).
Penny used to love trampolining and had previously been very active, loving the competitive element of the activities she did. She was also quite a worrier, describing herself as sometimes worrying about worrying and the worries were worse on a night when tired mostly – she’d have to talk them through else wouldn’t sleep with things on her mind.
She was described as pushy at times, silently forceful and used to be bossy – a good organiser. In earlier years, Penny wouldn’t stick up to anybody, she’d just walk away and not tell anyone, but now into secondary school said ‘you can’t not stick up for yourself – you have to fight your own battles.’ She also described the group dynamic as it was as if I’m the mother of the group, people come to her to see where they’re sitting and the like.
She liked to be very organised for school taking everything she may need and needed things in place the night before.
No dreams were remembered though will talk about school in sleep.
Fears – spiders, heights though she will go up high and try to conquer them. She is scared at night a lot more – any noise will be scared about it – if hear a noise will be awake for another hour. In the day times can rationalise noises more, will tell herself is OK.
When they first moved to the current house, Penny would have to check the doors – still asks if the windows are closed and will check the doors. She says ‘I have this thing of someone being in the house, I can’t sleep if the windows are open. I don’t like the thought of someone [uninvited – my note] being in the house.’ She can’t stop herself from waking up from noises in the house and gets really worried about it at night. Really alert to it, sensitive hearing. She would worry that somebody would be in the house and she’d need to get out and wouldn’t be able to. When going back into the house on a weekend (on a week was more tired and not got energy to do it) would turn every single light on as she went through the house, which had happened for around the last year.
She can be confident, depending who she’s around and as a child so nervous about many things, used to cling to her mum until she felt safe then would join in. If doesn’t like it will take ages to do it – ‘why would I do it if not safe to do so.’
Penny talked about disliking change, makes her worried and also at times got quite bad headaches, sometimes it would hurt to open her eyes. She can be impatient – liking things to be done there and then and now and her mum said you can only tell she’s hungry when she’s really hungry – she can’t wait for something, wants it there and then. More that she things about it and really wants it now.
Her eczema had been everywhere as a baby and they’d used thick creams twice daily and by 2 or so was under control – now on neck mostly and under her eyes for the last 4 months or so. Also around her lips and it dries and cracks – she wants to lick it to stop it cracking.
My impressions were that she was a really lovely child, and there was a lot of affection between her and her mum. She was clearly really struggling with energy levels and medically there were limited options hence them exploring homeopathy as a complement to their current medical care. They were very pleased with the care they’d had conventionally, just that there was a bit of a dead end with moving forwards from here.
Prescription: Lac Felinum 30C split dose (one the first evening, one the second). Repeat in two weeks if no change.
At this point I feel I could confess to getting quite lucky with looking at the remedy to give here. I felt the fear of people coming into her house was quite strong - it's rarely something someone says to me in the consulting room so I thought I would look at the repertory (our book of symptoms and the remedies suggested that may help those symptoms) and on doing so found this. Mostly rubrics (the symptom and remedy collection) have many remedies listed in them. This one had two. Which could be misleading so I wanted to rule them out.
She didn't feel to be an aurum type at all, and looking at lac-felinum (cat's milk), there felt to be a clear case for this remedy. She is competitive - an animal remedy trait, albeit a remedy from any kingdom can be, but put together with other ways she lived and described things - 'fight my own battles' was another animal phrase; she liked to be in charge, and was the one everyone came to (a trait of a mother-type), however was not all that confident at times, cautious with new things and liked to be near her mum, not liking to be left by herself. She's supersensitive to noise and of course the fear of intruders was another clue.
Reading through the material medical on the remedy I felt happy to give it to Penny, and that it felt to match her as a person, as well as the symptoms she was struggling with. I'm always trying to find a remedy that matches the whole person wherever possible and find that I have my most successful cases where I'm able to do this. The proof is always in the pudding however, I can give a remedy that sounds great to me and feels to fit well, but if I've not matched it closely enough then the patient doesn't do as well as I'd like.
I next saw Penny in late March and they happily reported that for the last week or so she’d been on the trampoline again and had been at school for a full week.
They’d contacted me in between the sessions as her skin got really bad, eczema flared on her face where it hadn’t been before and I’d reassured them that as she’d had eczema in the past it sounded a positive sign and what we call a ‘return of old symptoms’ – often this can be short-lived – and not quite as dramatic as what Penny was experiencing, but it gave me hope we were on the right track. Nivea was really helping her skin – they’d tried stellaria on my recommendation which can be great for eczema but it wasn’t helping and the nivea was. It was still sore and cracked around her lips although the past week or so it had felt better than earlier.
Penny had managed 3 full weeks at school with the exclusion of PE. Things were a lot better – going in the right direction. Her face was getting better – and was described as if it was coming down the back of her neck (a good sign in terms of our homeopathic understanding – Hering’s Law describes healing as going from within outward (another sign that symptoms on her skin were positive instead of no energy), from above downwards (significant in terms of the eczema description) and in reverse order of appearance.
She had a big reaction to dust mites and was way off the scale on a test from the Drs for that and described that she felt better in herself, not a lot better but seen improvement. Still taking antihistamines.
Before her energy was a 3-4/10 and now a 6/10. Mum says she thought more like a 2/10 before and now a 6/10. A big difference. She didn’t have to rest straight afer school now and used to moan going upstairs which she wasn’t doing.
Her snotty nose was improving and the muscular pain though still happening was far less. She was now able to do things with friends that she hadn’t been able to before.
Bedtimes were better too – it was 10.30/11pm and fighting to get to sleep, now 10/10.30 – though they’d also changed the routine and used the TV to help her get off to sleep. Happily the need for her mum to know she was asleep had gone and she could drift off herself. Penny also was worrying less – though still a lot, not as much as before. She was also happier to stay in the house more than before and feeling more secure, checking doors less than before.
And she said that golden phrase that we as homeopaths love‘I do feel a big more of who I was before has come back.’
Relatives said they’d seen more colour in her cheeks recently.
Prescription – I gave dust mite 200C to take night, night. Improvements felt to be still happening so lac felinum 30C if things felt to plateaux. Also hayfever mix in case of hayfever symptoms.
We met early May and Penny said she’d been quite a lot better than the first time and last time we’d met. She’d been going on the trampoline with friends after school and not on the sofa as she had before.
Skin was improving. Energy levels before a 6/10 were now 8/10 and she was staying at school for the entire week, just missing the last PE lesson.
Around her lips the skin was paler and less cracked – it wasn’t as hard to open her mouth whereas before she’d worried about cracking when she ate. Instead of licking lips is putting lip balm on.
The Easter holidays had been different – not having to rest and lie around just coming back as normal. If Penny went out with friends wouldn’t have to come home and rest – she could do something she enjoys doing.
The eczema under her eyes itched but not now – I don’t feel like that’s there anymore.’
The muscular pain had gone – can now run upstairs. Bedtimes are better, lot easier than even last time when came. She no longer checks the doors etc and is happy for her mum to go on dog walks. Slowly things are improving.
As she’d had a lot of antibiotics (and skin had been a major issue) I gave Morgan Gaertner as a 30c potency to take and another dose of lac felinum 30C as we’re heading into the season of hayfever which would normally be really hard for her.
Her mum says that normally at this time of year her speech would be really nasally –and needing to blow her nose all the time. That’s not happening, and if she forgets the antihistamines then she’s not suffering the next day as she would have been before.
End May – I contacted Penny’s mum to ask if I could write up the case – she gave permission pending Penny’s approval of the notes, and said things were still improving.
Late July 2019 we met and discussed everything to date – Penny’s energy is about a 9/10 now. She’s been away on a school trip and managed to do everything, whereas before that would have been really difficult and wiped her out. She had done sports day – and pointed out she’d actulally done it this time and not sat out at the sides and watched. They still have chill out days, though now it’s because they want to not because they need to.
The big thing she wants to address now is the skin symptoms, which whilst improved since last time haven’t cleared. I discussed how these may be later to clear and ideally now everything else is so improved these will start to go too. She has made some amazing progress overall.
The eczema has moved mostly from her face, though around her lips is still chapped (improved from the last visits) and now is showing on her neck and shoulders – arms are much better than they were. It’s not as itchy as it was though and she doesn’t have the urge to itch it all the time. Her face is much better.
In terms of hayfever, she’s not having to take the daily antihistamine, though is still using eye drops daily. Maybe around 3 days a week she’ll take an antihistamine but sometimes is fine with nothing, and sometimes with the homeopathic remedy for her hayfever. Previously her eyes would have been red and puffy even with the meds, and now they’re beautiful and clear.
There’s no checking doors and she’s less stressed if she’s forgotten something for school. Going to sleep with the TV on - but much quicker than before and happy to do so.
And, so nice to hear, Penny told me she feels much happier now, can do more things and enjoy it more. Her body isn’t stopping her from doing anything now – "I get to decide, rather than know I can’t do it as know what the consequences are. If I don’t do it it’s because I don’t want to, not because I can’t".
As everything has done so well, but skin symptoms remaining I’ve given Lac Fel 200C to take one dose and also an LM4 of the same remedy to take daily if needed, or as needed to have a dose of the LM remedy.
It's clearly an ongoing case and not yet fully resolved but I wanted to share with you the potential of homeopathy in longer than a short snippet. Hope you've enjoyed reading it and do feel free to share it with anyone. One thing that we encounter is people coming in knowing nothing about homeopathy but having tried everything else - imagine if more people were aware of what could happen.
Sometimes it washes over me, sometimes (though less frequently now) it makes me angry, mostly it makes me curious.
It seems really bizarre - working on a daily basis with this gentle, effective medicine - why the need to stamp on it, mis-quote trials, or at least quote horrendously biased ones - like the 2nd Australian Review (and where, after all, did the first one go? why was the lead on the project fired - and are the rumours - that it came out in favour of homeopathy - true?).
So today is another day of twitter telling me homeopathy can't work (some of my work is around the positive communication of homeopathy hence being on twitter this morning) - yet just yesterday whilst in clinic, I saw people who'd improved with using - wait for it - this non-effective, can't work medicine, homeopathy.
I see too many things, effective treatment using homeopathy - both in my clinic and those of others, and am excited about everyone who has found homeopathy effective for them, and incredibly grateful also for those who've gone on to share their stories.
So, through my curiosity today, it's a thank you. Thank you for those speaking up. Thank you for those making my job a pleasure to do. Like this mum recently who said:
My daughter had multiple hospital admissions for viral wheeze – treatment for which, often included doses of steroids, antibiotics and general inhalers. It was after a period of 6 months that I felt I needed to try an alternative course of treatment and looked towards homeopathy. I was recommended Em, by my daughter’s swimming instructor. Em took the time to get to know my daughter, her personality and prescribed a treatment for her. It was great knowing that Em was only a phone call away and was happy to pick up any queries and concerns outside of our sessions. My daughter has now been hospital admission free for five months, she uses her homeopathic treatment as and when required and still continues to see her regular hospital consultant. Overall, I would wholeheartedly Em.
Since we've started working together, no more hospital admissions - which were around once a month or so, and could be for overnight stays. The saving for the NHS from this non-effective medicine, homeopathy? Fairly significant I'd think, let alone the reduction in antibiotic use and other drugs for the individual.
I'm happy to share the account, with permission from the girl's mum.
If homeopathy has worked for you please tell others - you've no idea how you may help someone else find relief from a similar condition, or improvement from something else.
Onwards, with love,
It's a question that people frequently ask and one that certain people (funnily enough, particularly those with attitudes along the lines of 'homeopathy doesn't work') would rather we say no to.
I don't perceive that I do treat conditions - I look at the whole person, taking into account the condition and giving a remedy based on that. But have I treated people who have a certain condition label and have they got better? Yes. I've seen people come for homeopathy with me who had a variety of labels - such as IBS, hayfever, epilepsy, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, period pain, diabetes, chronic pain, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis to give a few examples - and seen their conditions be either well managed or symptoms disappear entirely, frequently not needing conventional medications and be able to enjoy life in a fuller, pain free way. I've seen inflammatory markers come down, diabetic patients who've been medicated for 7 years be able to stop taking medication, seen people be able to come off anti-depressants - all in conjunction with the people who prescribed them.
They receive a remedy tailored for them - not the same one for everyone with hayfever or headaches. How simple life might be that way. But are we all the same? No. Do we all have the same symptoms of hayfever or headaches if they're the things we are experiencing? Not at all. So it's kind of weird we'd think they would need the same blanket prescription.
I heard a lovely report about a young child with autism this week and their improvements. Do I treat autism? My honest response? No. I treat the person in front of me. The label, for what it is, is often a collection of symptoms that fit together - often not everyone has all of them, but it's a label of convenience. I don't need to change a label, I need to see if I can help the person with their experience and the bits that are 'stuck'. The label needs to be understood in terms of how it fits them, how they experience life. But is a label a person? I'd certainly hope not. We are mostly far more than the labels given to us.
I love chatting to children about this stuff - they have some of the best questions.... 'but I don't want to change me' was one recently. My response - and my feeling is that we can be ourselves in our best version of ourselves, perhaps without the pain or anxiety. I'm not looking to change anyone, regardless of their label. But if you've chronic fatigue, pain or migraines and you didn't have to have? That'd be rather nice I imagine.
As I see it, homeopathy can sometimes make the impossible possible. So many people come as a last resort to homeopaths - and frequently get better.
The Times yesterday ran a piece on how homeopaths are endangering lives, pushing "useless alternatives to vaccines". Dawn, one of the featured homeopaths in it, shares her response here. It's funny how the arguments have changed against homeopathy - initially it was that it didn't work, now that because it doesn't work we're endangering lives. And sometimes it's that homeopathic products are dangerous - even as far as being called biohazards in a recent Sunday Times piece.
It's not an argument I find myself wanting to be dragged into, yet we seem to be getting dragged into it nonetheless. And I know no homeopaths, despite having been a homeopath for 12 years, travelled internationally within homeopathic circles and met many others, I know of no homeopaths who "push" anything. I do know of people who come to homeopaths (including those working in the medical professions) because they feel sure that their child regressed after having had vaccines (an idea it seems currently essential to suppress hence the recent article against Alan Freestone - his response is here), and practitioners look at the whole case, as they would with any person in front of them, and ideally are able to help find improvements. Not every time. And this too seems to be a stumbling block. Tell me what medical field does everything every time? Vaccination, it seems, doesn't either, from recent reports of outbreaks being from vaccinated individuals. Again I'm keen not to get into a big discussion, but I do want to offer that any medical procedure is not without risk. Any way of living life is not without risk, and we should all carefully consider that. My beef, if I have one, is that frequently the 'shadow side' of vaccines are not shown - whether that be for financial incentive, as some suggest, fear that uptake would be lower or that parents would make the 'wrong' choice. But there is no mention of any risk associated with them, only with not having them. Which intrigues me. More about that below from a medical colleague.
What I think I'm curious about too is there is a story that's not being told, and a media hysteria going on which is interesting to observe. In my perception there's a truth not being told and a denial that harm can occur from the route that's commonly being "pushed". My newsfeed on Facebook is filled with harrowing stories from those who are sharing that side of the story. It breaks my heart. Perhaps there's no incentive to share those more widely, in the national press, which asks further questions.
It seems in these times of increasing numbers of people looking to alternative options - we also have to suppress the chance that anything else can work to keep us healthy - a little like the Cancer Act of 1939 - the only things that can cope with cancer are surgery, radiotherapy and chemo. The people doing things naturally (and there are those people - frequently those who've been sent home with no hope who look outside of that prognosis) either don't exist or never had cancer in the first place. Most interesting.
Interestingly too, and I'm not saying this should be used in every case by any stretch, but homeopathy has dealt with epidemics around the world which is ignored, both in historical times, and more recently. Cuba is a particularly good case in point.
The film Magic Pills shares more details around the story and is worth getting along to a screening near you if you've got the chance. This snippet from the film shares a little more of the story:
In short, in case you're a reader and not a YouTube fan (in which case hello and so nice to meet you!!) the Cuban Finlay Institute found itself with the unsettling scenario of an impending epidemic of leptospirosis and no time to manufacture the necessary vaccine (the Finlay Institute were in fact the first place to create the Meningitis C vaccine). They decided to create a homeopathic medicine from the bacteria and gave to millions of people. And what happened? I'll share a graphic from the film Magic Pills:
In some versions the slide above isn't displaying correctly - it reads:
The cases of leptospirosis increased by 27%, except in the three intervened provinces rates of infection reduced by 84% and remained below historic levels.
Dr Gustavo Bracho, who presented the research at the Homeopathy Research Institute shares more about the project here:
This medicine that doesn't, can't work, seems to have done a damn fine job in that situation. The Finlay Institute went on to conduct other research using other homeopathic medicines for preventable diseases, with success in every instance.
There is a bigger picture we are not being told. Perhaps it's not always appropriate but we should ask ourselves why we're not hearing about this, or if we are, only in negative terms. As to homeopaths pushing anything, we should hear why they are not allowed to talk about what homeopathy can actually do. And why the media has turned - are they funded by anyone who might persuade that to happen? Several years ago they were happy to share this piece about how Roger Daltrey's son had his life saved by a homeopath. Now, nothing of the sort and we're all evil. Interesting again.
I wanted to end with a piece written by a colleague and medical doctor, Dr. Joe Rozencwajg from New Zealand. Please read:
"In this morning's paper, there was again a piece of "opinion" by yet another ignoramus, insulting the people who do not vaccinate, with the usual arguments. I generally answer by sending a letter to the Editor or an Opinion piece, short and with references. This morning I was really pissed off so not only did I write a longer piece, but I sent a copy to David Clark, our Minister of Health. I just received acknowledgment by one of his employees that he read it (???) and is taking my views seriously (?????????). I thought I would copy what I wrote here; feel free to copy, enhance, embellish, modify as it suits you and please do send to all the local, regional and national papers you have access to. As usual I did not receive any acknowledgement from the press and it will probably not be published, no surprises here...so let's inundate the "free press, voice of the people" until they relent.
"How on earth do you talk to an anti-vaxxer" is published just a few days after an opinion piece about mandatory vaccination.
And yet, when comments, answers and explanations about the refusal to vaccinate are sent for publication, none is appearing and the authors are not even granted the common courtesy of a reply and an explanation...censorship at its best, so much for the "freedom" of the press.
Let's try again.
A common thread in those articles is the parroting of the same arguments, so some dissection is needed.
1. We are refusing Science: I have tried many times to refer readers to scientific papers coming out from the CDC, the WHO, world-renown hospitals and research centres, written by well-known researchers and published in peer-reviewed journals. Some are collated in the book by Mateja Cernic "Ideological constructs of vaccination". Did anyone read any of those? At best, a few answers I received was "I do no accept the validity of this publication" Why? that remains an unexplained mystery. So, yes, there is science and research behind the refusal to vaccinate, not madness, politics or ideology. Another question would be why has the report of Senator Kennedy about the dangers of vaccination never been mentioned? I know! it goes against official policy, it is well documented and unacceptable to the vaccinators.
2. Everybody quotes the "debunked Wakefield" saga. What nobody seems to pay attention to, or maybe they have been prevented from acquiring that knowledge, is that the "debunked study" was "rebunked" (if I can invent this word). But here is a more important question: did any one of the vaccine pushers really read Wakefield's paper? I would guess not, so here is a summary: he found out that many cases of autism were correlated to dysbiosis of the gut (a pathological change in the intestinal bacterial flora); this is a notion that was fresh in his time but has been confirmed now many times; do not take my word for it, just do a search for "gut dysbiosis and neurological pathology". At the same time Wakefield found out that the MMR vaccine created in some cases severe dysbiosis in the gut; again, something that was new at that time but demonstrated by now. He then wondered whether there could be an indirect link between MMR and autism. That is all he wrote. And now it is clear he was right. All that information is freely available on the net, just do the research for yourself, if you dare.
3. Now for the darling of vaccination, herd immunity. The claim is that in order to have "herd immunity" 95% of the population or group studied needs to be vaccinated; by vaccinated it is meant injected with the vaccine. Even the more rabid defenders of vaccination admit that the rate of "success" is at best around 80 to 90%, depending on which vaccine is used. Therefore, even if 100% of the population is injected, it is impossible to reach the threshold for herd immunity. But what does "successful vaccination" mean? In all studies, it means the appearance of antibodies, yet antibodies are not synonymous of immune protection, it only means that the immune system has been in contact with a foreign substance and has recognised it as foreign; check that fact in immunology textbooks, please. Even being totally immune to a disease does not mean one cannot propagate it as we have many "healthy carriers", people who have no symptoms, no medical problems but carry the germs and can transmit it to others; the best known examples are HIV and Hepatitis B carriers, but we all carry pathological germs that are controlled by our immune system. So much for really protecting the newborns and immunocompromised.
4. Yes, people vaccinated with live attenuated vaccines do continually shed those germs, and said germs are recovering their virulence. This has been demonstrated and published by the CDC about the actual measles outbreak through genetic decoding of the germs cultured from the sick: most are those germs that were used to manufacture the vaccines...now what? Wilful ignorance? I know, some will say conspiracy, chose your cup of tea...
5. Vaccination is a medical procedure. Every medical procedure is supposed to be performed only after proper information and with informed consent, the accent being on "informed". Every one of us has the right to accept or refuse any procedure after being duly informed about their advantages, their benefits and their dangers. It is called freedom of choice. What about the protection of the many compared to the right of the few? Please go to the Medsafe website, the official voice of the Ministry of Health; read the fact sheet about the MMR vaccine, published by the manufacturers themselves and look at the side-effects and contra-indications. Now ask yourself, especially when reading about the neurological complications, if you are ready to take a chance for your children, your friends' children to suffer from one of those problems. Yes their are not very frequent, but when they hit you, this is 100% life shattering.
We have something called the Freedom of Information Act. Its essence means that information, knowledge, should be freely available to every single person without censure, without restriction. Humans are supposed to be intelligent, evolved entities, that can think for themselves, ask questions right and left and make a decision that then needs to be respected. Why does the press deny this fundamental right?"
One of my early cases as a student was someone who consulted me for snoring. Her snoring was such an issue that her family consistently complained about it, even others in the house who slept in a separate room.
It was a fairly typical consultation, snoring was the presenting complaint, and yes we have homeopathic medicines that are known to help in snoring. Over 176 of them.
Image (above) shows a screenshot from Complete Dynamics, a repertory. In our work we use different rubrics from the repertory to find a remedy to fit the totality of the case.
Which, whilst helpful, doesn’t narrow the selection down too much. What Hippocrates said is relevant so many times, and I’ll paraphrase here – ‘what’s important is the person who has the disease, not the disease the person has’. So my job here in this case, and every time in clinic, is to understand the person in front of me who has the symptom, the given diagnosis and prescribe to match on that, as well as the symptom they’re coming for help with. Because, as you can see above, snoring can be helped by a number of remedies.
What did I give, the most frequently asked question? Tuberculinum in a 1M potency, as a split dose. Why? Because that fitted her as a whole person. Did it work, the next FAQ? Yes. Others in her house reported far more peaceful nights with much less snoring. Success. And years later the same remedy did great for hot flushes for the same person.
Match the remedy to the person and marvellous things can happen. Homeopathy: it's not just medicine, it's individualised medicine.
According to the World Health Organisation, homeopathy is the second largest system of medicine (second to indigenous herbal medicine). Next week begins Homeopathy Awareness Week, so cue (at least on twitter) some most hilarious anti-homeopathy tweets.
Interestingly last time there was a big anti homeopathy piece on the BBC, I had a record number of enquiries that day, leading me to wonder whether people are doing what I thought I might, if I knew nothing about it but saw the vitriol, the negativity, and investigating below the surface, looking to find something that might work for them.
So next week, Wednesday 10th April, begins Homeopathy Awareness Week. Cue some hilarious sharing by our friends the denialists of, along with other things, their how does homeopathy work website (I'll save you the laughs and tell you their solo page says 'it doesn't'). Simple. Maybe even effective - if it wasn't so wrong. There'll be lots of fun made, lots of sharing of the word with negative tweets etc. But ultimately why?
If it's something that is nothing then why give it the energy?
If it's nothing then why try to ban it?
If it can really do something and needs banning then surely that's curious and we should look to the hundreds of research papers that exist and examine them. Because to no extent are they all supporting a negative point of view.
All that aside, what intrigues me is how effective homeopathy can be when you match the person and what's happening for them with a homeopathic medicine. How things can almost melt away. Sleep can improve, skin clears, negative thoughts go, optimism returns. IBS symptoms lift. Nausea and stomach pains go. Confidence increases. Headaches disappear. I don't want you for a second to think I get to do that straight away - it takes me time. Sometimes great on the first appointment, sometimes takes me to second - or later to really perceive the person so I can match them with a remedy to help. And, actually, it'd be wrong to say I can help everyone. But also show me one system of medicine that can.
Take yesterday for example, I saw someone who I gave a remedy the first time, they had some improvements, we repeated it and nothing much changed. We changed the remedy and the improvements were so much the family forgot there were issues and didn't turn up to their next appointment. As Joe Schwartz points out in Ananda More's Magic Pills film, the homeopath then decides everyone is better and despite the fact the remedies never can help, the homeopath thinks they're a great person.
That couldn't be further from the truth, my version of life is the opposite. Anyway, I got in touch to ask if they'd forgotten, and they apologised lots, we rearranged - and they told me they forgot as things were going so well. Which, ultimately was great to hear. And yes, homeopathy did good, I'm happy about that.
I'll aim to share some short mentions of how homeopathy has helped individuals during the week - that's an area I enjoy doing. If I'm totally honest the heavy scientific research element isn't for me. I love that it's happening, I enjoy hearing about it, but delving deep into studies when I see it working all around me isn't something that I'm keen to spend lots of time doing. I'm more than happy to direct people to various places - to the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) site, to the information on basic research in homeopathy by Iris Bell, PhD, to the collection of information recently compiled by Americans for Homeopathy choice.
I'm fortunate to have attended two of the HRI's conferences and see the seriousness of the research, see the amazing potential if anyone decided to stop sticking their head in the sand and read it (clearly lots of people are but the loudest denialists seem convinced to stick to their story despite plenty of evidence to the contrary). I'd also recommend anyone goes to at least one of these events during their homeopathic career. The next one is in London in June. It's awe-inspiring, confirms that it certainly, damn well does work, and gives you plenty of awareness of the scope of projects happening around the world. If you have the chance, go.
One thing I am looking forward to next week is that the word homeopathy will be out there more in the media. I often ponder that if I were a reasonably intelligent person who knew nothing about homeopathy, I would become curious. Why so much vitriol? What is this all about? And I'd likely investigate beyond the bluff and actually stumble across something that could help me. I'm glad I did many years ago - when there were still people telling me it couldn't work and it wouldn't. It turned it out did and does.
Homeopathy is often somewhere people turn for a last resort option – once the conventional medical options have run out. Many of the 6500 patients in the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital study had been through referrals to specialists and not been helped, so sought help with homeopathy.* More than 70% of these follow-up patients recorded clinical improvement following homeopathic treatment.
Commonly seen conditions by homeopaths in practice include headaches, migraines, IBS, anxiety and depression, help with coughs and colds and help with menopausal symptoms. Where these are long standing conditions, consultation with medical professionals is always advised, however sometimes there is no option, or the drugs are not a route people wish to use. In clinic I'm a big fan of integrating - I'm happy to be on your team but I'd like a medical professional on there too to do the diagnosis, if any tests are necessary and to check there's nothing sinister going on.
I'm also a fan of individualised homeopathic treatment - not because that's what I work with, more that that's where I see the best results in my practice. That said, I used a Helios Homeopathy kit for years before I became a homeopath - and was pleased by the results. It's definitely accessible to everyone, and with a little practice you can be doing some great home prescribing for friends and family in acute, self limiting situations.
Here we mention four homeopathic medicines that may be useful in each of the conditions above and an indication for their usage. The Homeopathy UK app is a good place to go for more information around each remedy – see if it matches the symptoms you’re experiencing and go from there.
In acute use, a homeopathic medicine in the 30c potency is a good place to start. Take one remedy and if symptoms are alleviated then wait. Repeat if symptoms return. If no response after 30-60 minutes repeat with one more tablet. If you’ve done that 3 times with the remedy it’s likely that you’re taking the wrong medicine for you. Re- look at symptoms or consult a practitioner.
Headaches and migraine:
Belladonna – sudden, bursting, pulsating head pain. May be worse from exercise.
Bryonia – tearing, right sided headaches. Worse from any movement.
Natrum Muriaticum – headaches may come on from sunshine and tension headaches, as if head is in a vice.
Nux Vomica – splitting hangover, nausea and irritability.
Remember to drink lots of fluid and take what Dr Rangan Chatterjee calls ‘movement snacks’ – too much sitting at a desk in front of your computer won’t help keep headaches away.
Arsenicum Album – stomach cramps, worse for cold drinks and food.
Argentum Nitricum – nausea and bloating alongside nerves and anxiety.
Carbo Veg – often useful in older people, may be cramps, bloating with much burping and flatulence
Sulphur – cramps worse from touch, with appetite increased around 11am in particular.
Again, drink plenty of water – our digestive system needs water to function properly – and get moving; it’s vital to our digestive health to exercise.
Where anxiety is acute homeopathic first aid may help, where it is a longer standing issue, consulting a homeopath is advisable.
Aconite - to think of in panic, rapid onset anxiety, sudden, intense panic attacks.
Argentum Nitricum - apprehension and nervousness particularly when thinking about events in the future. Often sugar cravings may be present.
Gelsemium - Performance anxiety, may feel paralysed, shaky and want to hide away.
Phosphorus – Many fears and anxieties, especially when alone. Always feel better in company. Sociable and friendly types who are sensitive.
Cold and flu symptoms:
Aconite – first signs of coughs/cold, especially after a chill.
Eupatorium – very thirsty, sore muscles and bones
Natrum Muriaticum – nose streaming, often clear but profuse, prefers to be alone.
Pulsatilla – thick yellow green catarrh in nose, ears may feel or be blocked. Often worse at night.
Calc Carb – can take on too many responsibilities and feel overwhelmed by them, often responsible, hardworking and reliable types. Hot flushes, head and neck sweats.
Pulsatilla – gentle, sensitive and emotional types who may be moved to tears easily. Irregular or painful periods may be helped.
Lachesis – profuse periods, hot flushes with palpitations, headaches and hot sweats. Often talkative types and may help those who’ve never felt well since the beginning of their menopause.
Sepia – may have mood-swings, feel weepy, worn out and exhausted.
Any questions, get in touch - I'm aware these are only short descriptions, and I could have gone on for days. But sometimes less is more.
Find a homeopath: www.findahomeopath.org
It seems there's an attempt to gag us as homeopaths. The current inflammatory word appears to be autism. Well, as you'd know if you read this blog regularly, we don't treat conditions, we work with people. I guess as people we like to label things - I have x, y, z etc, and the conventional medical world appears to rely on labels to a greater extent. Which is where I think homeopathy can be so great. We can work alongside the conventional medics (see my latest blog of a doctors experience of homeopathy - and, counter to what the press would have you know, there are medics who are very happy to work with homeopaths, or have studied homeopathy themselves), we can be aware of the label and work with the individual.
As ever: It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has. – Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC)
And we work with this so strongly. In constitutional (whole person) treatment there is no this for that approach to it. Yes in more acute homeopathy we know arnica for bruising, belladonna for fevers, chamomila for teething. However, it could also be bellis-perennis for bruising, pulsatilla for fevers and nux vomica for the teething. Where the symptoms fit.
There is no fixed medicine. It's about the person the disease* has.
There are several videos I've recently found really inspirational. I'd like to share them here, in honour of the day. Each remedy used will be different, as each person has been treated as, well a person. As it should be.
* I prefer to think of disease as dis-ease. It may be occasional headaches, epilepsy, migraines, depression, whatever the label is - the body may not be as healthy as it could be and that dis-ease is something we hope to ease with homeopathic treatment. To live more in a state of health. We all have different starting points.
Lastly having mentioned the media, I think something that's been ignored too much recently is that the evidence supporting homeopathy is growing, both the clinical trials element and the lab work. A colleague, Stephan Baumgartner is demonstrating the effects of homeopathic medicines on plants and many more around the world are seeing glimpses into either how homeopathy may work, or seeing the evidence it can be used successfully in trials, as well as the growing accounts of people's successes working with it. Have a look at the Homeopathy Research Institute website if you'd like a starting point to discover more.
My experience of homeopathy with Emma Colley 2019
As a doctor, I realize how our conventional training does not really embrace complementary treatments that have been so inherent in treating people over the centuries. We are now living in a climate where a ‘treatments worth’ only seems to be legitimate if proven with a clinical trials sponsored by a variety sources. The irony for me is that homeopaths were the first to create these trials to prove their remedies did work, but this seems to have been largely ignored with trials now testing the validity of pharmaceuticals.
I am a GP, and have undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Pharmacology. I am currently very fortunate to be studying the art of holistic medicine in the form of a Masters level Diploma in Integrative medicine at the National centre of Integrative medicine where we look to combine conventional medicine with complementary and traditional medicine, looking at an individual not just from the physical realm as we are often trained to do as doctors but addressing their mind, body and emotions. I have been fascinated by the wealth of complementary treatments out there and learning about them all in a scientific way has been no short of phenomenal. In particular my experience of homeopathy has been quite remarkable with significantly positive effects on my wellbeing. Discovered by Samuel Hahnemann and based on the principle ‘like cures like’ using a minimum dose, homeopathy is the second most commonly used medicine in the world as stated by WHO and is used by 200 million people worldwide.
I met Emma Colley at one of our Integrative medicine training days in Bristol. An experienced homeopath of many years, she lives on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I was impressed by her empathy and thoroughness in taking a full history, and really understanding my past so she could move forward with me in terms of selecting the best remedy to match my current life situation. Aware of my propensity to easily burn myself out and ‘do too much for others’ she was able to provide an incredibly bespoke homeopathic remedy, from a place of ‘feeling overwhelmed by my mind’ to a place where I felt calmer and happier, improving my fatigue and sleep. Her remedies worked gently with no side effects and the feeling of wellbeing became obviously pertinent over the weeks. She continues to have follow-up consultations with me every 6 weeks and is able to offer me Face time appointments to save time travelling. I feel Emma is extremely supportive and really helps nurture my resilience. Thank you Emma for your amazing input.
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
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition