April 10th to 16th marks World Homeopathy Awareness Week (WHAW) and I am going to join ranks with other scientific & sceptical bloggers around the world and add my voice to those spreading awareness of one of the worlds most popular alternative medicines. Today I will lay out a detailed description of exactly what homeopathy is.
According to the Homoeopathic Association of South Africa;
Homoeopathy is a therapeutic medical system, which must be considered to have been part of the medical sciences from the very beginning of the history of medicine. It is currently in full expansion. Homoeopathy is based on the observation that substances that are capable of causing diseases of the mind or body in healthy people can be used in the dilute form as remedies to treat the similar disorder in someone who is ill. This is the homoeopathic Law of Similars also expressed as “Let Likes be Cured by Likes”. The word homoeopathy is derived from the Greek words homoios, meaning like, and pathos, meaning suffering.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was the genius who developed the use of the therapeutic principle of similars, in 1796.
Specifically prepared and diluted medicinal substances are dispensed as potentised remedies to the patient.
The key to successful homoeopathic treatment is identifying the similarity between the effects of the original substance in healthy people and the pattern of illness in the individual who is sick. It is the similarity that is essential. The homoeopathic method involves an exceptionally complete and detailed description of the patient, the illness and its evolution.
There is no condition that should be excluded from the repertoire of Homoeopathy. Homoeopathy is a complete medical science with which any medical condition in any human being of any age can be treated. Homoeopathy is safe and undoubtedly effective, which is proven not only by the world-wide support and interest of patients and health professionals, but also by vast scientific research and clinical trials.
The homeopathic approach acknowledges the importance of individualisation. Homoeopathy is patient driven and caters for the specific needs unique to every patient’s experience of illness. It is a holistic system that takes into account every aspect of the patient’s life and being, making it a powerful therapeutic system that employs the body’s own healing potential to the benefit of the patient’s over-all health and wellbeing.
Created by Dr. Radmila Razlog
Well, that is the propaganda, somewhat questionable propaganda if you ask me, but hey, it’s the official position of HASA. Perhaps someone should fact-check for them? You may have noticed that HASA uses “homeopathy” and “homoeopathy” (with an extra “o”) interchangeably, that’s because they refer to the same modality. Some practitioners may try to pull the wool over your eyes and tell you that there is a difference between the two. There isn’t.
The simple truth is that if you are taking a medicine and it has an effect greater than placebo, it’s not homeopathy. On what do I base this claim? The Cochrane Collaboration;
Homeopathy for Dementia, McCarney RW, Warner J, Fisher P, van Haselen R,
No evidence that homeopathy is effective in treating dementia
Homeopathy for attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder, Heirs M, Dean ME
Overall the results of this review found no evidence of effectiveness for homeopathy for the global symptoms, core symptoms or related outcomes of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Homeopathy for chronic asthma, McCarney RW, Linde K, Lasserson TJ
he review of trials found that the type of homeopathy varied between the studies, that the study designs used in the trials were varied and that no strong evidence existed that usual forms of homeopathy for asthma are effective. There has been only a limited attempt to measure a ‘package of care’ effect (i.e., the effect of the medication as well as the consultation, which is considered a vital part of individualised homeopathic practice). Until stronger evidence exists for the use of homeopathy in the treatment of asthma, we are unable to make recommendations about homeopathic treatment.
Other Awareness Blogs
Here is a roundup of links to other bloggers who are doing their part in spreading awareness of homeopathy;
- Our very own Owen Swart reminds us of his failed homeopathic suicide attempt
- David Gorski over at Science based medicine blog lays into homeopaths with lots of enlightening videos and a post about the harm done by homeopathy.
- Science Based Pharmacy also has a go
- The fantastic Center For Inquiry lays out all the facts.
- Jeff over at Infallible Failure has a very enjoyable piece about WHAW.