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!
The Times view on the Society of Homeopaths withdrawing from the watchdog’s list of healthcare providers: Beyond the Fringe
Campaigners for good science have scored a victory against homeopathy
Monday August 16 2021, 12.01am, The Times
Campaigners for good science are serving the public interest by exposing the bogus methods of homeopathy
Really?? Serving the public interest by dismissing a system of medicine that helps by reducing dependency on pharmaceutical interventions? I was with a pharmacist friend of mine today who told me it's shocking the amount of medication some of her clients are on, and the more she learns, the more she wants to get them off the meds (and is frequently able to do so). Frequently patients are able to reduce medication or handle side effects better when using homeopathy. What public interest is there in removing that?
The pandemic has cost millions of lives and spread immense hardship. It does not make light of this disaster to observe that it might have been far worse but for the efforts of scientists. Researchers managed, in little more than a year, to independently develop several vaccines to a novel coronavirus whose origins even now are hotly debated.
Yes. Well done scientists. But seriously anything to do with this article?
The procedures that scientists follow, by experiment and the accumulation of evidence, are vital to health and wellbeing. And the medical profession has a particular responsibility to ensure that treatments that pass no scientific test are clearly marked as such. It is a victory for science and sense that an organisation called the Society of Homeopaths has withdrawn from a register of healthcare providers kept by the government health watchdog, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
I refer you back to the blog before this one where the pie chart is shown from the industry. It makes interesting viewing when read in association with the above paragraph.
The society was given accreditation by the PSA in 2014, but this was suspended in January after the rules were amended to include a public interest test. The test was designed to assess whether the evidence in favour of a form of treatment outweighed the risks of administering it. The society says that it is withdrawing because the fees of registration with the PSA are too high. Regardless of the motive, its decision helps dispel any public confusion between the treatments devised by medical science and the superstitious nostrums that are sold under the label of homeopathy. No one seeks to shut down homeopaths from practising, but public authorities have a duty to tell the truth about their methods and remedies.
I do really love this latest sentence. The Good Thinking Society, if you take a look at their campaigns, certainly seem hell-bent on this mission. And as to truth, agreed - but how many of us have the slightest idea on so many things. Referring to the blog above again. Reading this you wouldn't think also that until very recently no one could tell you how anaesthesia worked, just that it did. Or also that there are plenty of medics - doctors, nurses, as well as pharmacists, who've found their way into working with homeopathy.
Whereas modern medicine is generally held to date from the second half of the 19th century, with the germ theory of disease, homeopaths trace their inspiration to the theories of one Samuel Hahnemann at the end of the 18th century. He hypothesised that a substance that produced symptoms similar to an ailment could cure that ailment, and that this effect could be amplified by heavily diluting the substance. There is no evidence in support of this theory. Homeopathic remedies have no active substance and, if they have any benefit at all, it is as a placebo. Placebos are dummy medicines which may have a therapeutic effect in providing psychological reassurance to a patient.
Well... another brilliant paragraph. There's lots to address here. Dr Samuel Hahnemann was indeed the inspiration behind homeopathy. In terms of like curing like, I believe that one went back to Paracelsus, Shakespeare also discusses the concept in one of his plays, and modern medicine is working with the like cures like theory in several ways - e.g. Ritalin, a stimulant for use in people experiencing ADHD, others self medicated with coffee, another stimulant. Peanuts to help alleviate peanut allergy is another interesting one.
Heavily diluting the substance - here in homeopathy, we need the succussion as well - the shaking of the substances too. It's fair to say it sounds a little crazy, until you start to look at the evidence, and those in support of the evidence, ranging again from the everyday homeopath, the mum who sees it working before her eyes, the child who observes the instant changes in a sick dog after a remedy was administered, to the medics, to the Nobel Prize winners who are experimenting with it. And seeing that heavily diluted is not nothing.
Placebo is an effect with everything - but the placebo effect is recorded as being around 30%. In trials homeopathy has shown around a 70% improvement rate. Showing it either to be more than doubly as good as 'normal placebo' or perhaps, maybe, errrr not placebo.
That is all that can be said in favour of homeopathy. It is not nothing, but neither is it medical science in any recognisable form. Nor are its methods as harmless as this description suggests.
The PSA’s public interest test was prompted by a legal challenge brought by a pressure group called the Good Thinking Society. The society sought a judicial review of the homeopaths’ registration. The challenge came none too soon. It brought attention to the fact that some members of the Society of Homeopaths had offered a form of therapy based on the entirely fallacious notion that vaccinations cause autism. The purported research behind this claim is now known to have been fraudulent, and its author, Andrew Wakefield, was struck off the medical register as a result.
Clunky. Some big twists of facts here. There's probably far too much to go into here - Andrew Wakefield, for all my research on the topic, never said that. But it's convenient - read lazy - to say so time and again, and then people start to believe it. Even during recent times my daughter had a text from her uncle to a family group chat saying it's time to remember Andrew Wakefield and the nonsense he talked. He probably was unaware of the actual research Wakefield did, which may have had issues with how it was conducted, he would, and has, said so himself, but which never drew these particular conclusions. Still, repeat a lie enough and it becomes fact, right?
Campaigners for good science are serving the public interest by exposing the bogus methods of homeopathy. However, with the many celebrity supporters that homeopathy attracts (and these famously include the heir to the throne), science is blind to social distinctions and to fame. Its methods are the best hope humans have of understanding the universe and overcoming the threats to human welfare.
Science, to my awareness, is about questioning, challenging, stretching our knowledge, not writing something off because we don't get it yet. Surely we should dive into it and find out more? Seeing changes occur within seconds, as was a recent experience with our pug X dog's eye and a dose of Euphrasia and Silica 30c is utterly remarkable and I'd love for science to be able to explain it to me fully. What I could do is write it off as placebo. But on a dog? Really? Some would say that I felt better because I'd done something about it, and that energy passed onto her*. I can assure you I've given enough incorrect remedy matches to see that placebo ain't all that's going on here.
*I can also say if that's the case then WTF - why aren't we investigating that one?!
If you're curious, it's worth checking out the Homeopathy Research Institute website, there are many scientists around the world both in support of homeopathy and researching it. I certainly think there are exciting discoveries to come.
I believe the best ways to understand the universe may not be to divide, to remove but perhaps to investigate this area with curiosity as Nobel Prize winners such as Brian Josephson, who won his award after research he did at age 22, or Luc Montagnier who discovered HIV. Have a read more about theirs, and other fascinating scientist's work here.
And listen, for goodness sake, listen to patients who have got better. Again and again using it. And who want to access it through the NHS, want to have it integrated as a part of their health service, want to look after themselves with integrated ways. Integrative medicine, including homeopathy. Not to pressure groups who seem to have created their own mission to get rid of this gentle, effective medicine.
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 Homeopath
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