If you’re interested in health (and even if you’re not!), you can’t fail to have seen the stink being kicked up about homeopathy at the moment. I really feel for homeopaths (although us nutritionists aren’t having it so easy at the moment either, I have to say..)
We had the ridiculous situation of a load of people staging stupid PR events outside Boots in protest at them selling homeopathic remedies and this was swiftly followed by a call to stop the government spending on homeopathy in the NHS. It feels like an olden-age witch hunt to me. I’m not a homeopath, but am trained to use homotoxicology remedies, which are complex homeopathic remedies rather than classical. As those of you who have used the various Heels remedies (think Traumeel, Nervoheel, Nux Vom Homaccord, Berberis Homaccord, Viburcol and the Detox Kit, for example) will testify, there is no doubt they work. Many people swear by them.
You would think that all the research that has been done using homeopathic remedies on animals, plants and babies, where placebo effect cannot be the reason they help, would make a difference but some people just don’t like the fact that you simply cannot fit homeopathic, or indeed most natural medicine, into a standard double-blind placebo-controlled trial (although actually over 100 trials like this have been done to date, most of them positive). Until someone comes up with a different way of testing that is acceptable to all parties, this argument will never be solved, but I do find it an insult as a homeopathy user to be told it’s all in my head when I know it darned well isn’t.
The homeopathic institutions are garnering their research for the fight and have produced a position statement following the ‘evidence check’ that homeopathy was subject to by the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee. They actually welcomed the chance to show how practical, cost-effective, safe and successful homeopathy really is. And this was despite the fact, I read, that they were only given 10 days’ notice to produce their evidence (some major players only heard of it by chance), that not one practicing homeopath nor a single patient was invited to give evidence orally alongside the skeptics. Honestly, you might be forgiven for thinking that the powers that be didn’t want to assess it properly.
I feel sad about it – homeopathy is really valuable. I always recommend it for babies and pregnant women specifically because it is so safe. It’s never going to help everyone, but neither does orthodox medicine (by a long shot) and it should be given a chance to help bring the NHS out of its financial and staff-stretched crisis (as should nutrition, but that’s a whole other story…!)
Anyway, you can read the full homeopathic industry position statement here if you like: http://www.the-cma.org.uk/default.aspx?id=4186. Having been in this industry now for over 20 years, every one of those years has felt like a fight with officialdom, although never more so than now. Sometimes, it makes me feel like giving up, but I continue because of the fact that people get well more often than not in my experience and it wouldn’t be fair to deprive people of help just because people want you to! So, I shall keep on fighting – and so should you for your rights.
On that note, please take some time if you agree to sign the Commons petition on homeopathy here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeopathy1/ and the Homeopathy worked for me petition: http://www.hmc21.org/ (follow the ‘homeopathy worked for me link’). Thank you. Rant over!