Homeopathy; Response to a Critic

'How are we to determine - really determine - the efficacy of any given treatment? '

Today’s blog post includes an anonymous email being circulated from ‘A Concerned Australian Citizen’. What follows, is a response from ATMS member Peter Berryman who has been continuously practicing and teaching homeopathy for more than 20 years. We welcome your thoughts, comments and responses.

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Hi there.

As a practitioner of homeopathy, I’m certain that you must be interested in knowing whether or not it is an effective treatment. You, like most decent human beings would never make a living out of something they knew wasn’t living up to its claims.

The question is: how are we to determine – really determine – the efficacy of any given treatment? Is it enough to simply hear the good reports of some patients and give oneself a pat on the back? How can we really be certain?

I’m sure as a medical practicioner you’re familiar with the idea of The Placebo Effect; the fact that often people get better even when they are given a completely ineffective treatment (sugar pills for example). If I were a medical practitioner I’d want to know that my treatments performed better in clinical trials than placebo. I’d want to ensure that the trials were conducted in such a way to ensure the most accurate results. Most of all – I’d want to think that I had the guts to acknowledge the facts if they turned out to show my treatment ineffective.

I want to ask you whether you share the same ethical standards I just outlined. Does it matter to you whether Homeopathy works better than placebo? Are you interested in finding out whether properly-designed unbiased clinical trials have been conducted? Most challenging of all – are you willing to face the results honestly, regardless of what they reveal?

If so, then I’ll share with you a link to a site that can reveal that information to you. The site I’m linking to contains a whole section on Homeopathy, including information about its philosophical basis, and methodoloy – but I’m just linking directly to the page that deals with efficacy.

http://altmed.creighton.edu/Homeopathy/science/efficacy.htm

Please – be courageous. Read what the site has to say. Follow the references and read in detail about the individual studies referenced.

If you were selling an ineffective treatment, you’d want to know… right?

Sincerely,
A concerned citizen of Australia

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'Giving the optimum amount of medicine (minima) to a patient to mobilise their own self healing resources.'

Hey Matthew and Kevin,

I’m replying from my iPhone, and I haven’t been able to go to the site listed, but I’m not really worried if the allegations once again are that Homoeopathic “efficacy” is just placebo. If so, it’s the same old tired (boring) attack strategy – that all Homoeopathic remedies contain “nothing” so they can’t possibly do anything.

Homoeopathy is fundamentally about the therapeutic application of the law of Similars, yet no one attacks this corner stone! Why not? Because many modalities utilise this Law, as well as Homoeopaths who use it exclusively, as it is this that makes any intervention Homoeopathic, or not!

No one attacks the concept of using just one intervention at a time (simplex) as this is considered fundamental to the “scientific method”, so not an exclusively Homoeopathic concept.

So then why all the negative attention on the concept of giving the optimum amount of medicine (minima) to a patient to mobilise their own self healing resources? This is fundamental to the Hippocratic oath of “do no harm” and again – not an exclusively Homoeopathic concept.

Homoeopaths have a very wide range of potencies of medicines to select the optimum strength for the individual patient under consideration, including gross doses from Mother Tinctures through to 11C / 23X / Q3. No one has a problem when any potency in this range is selected to stimulate the patients self healing process. It’s only when (infinitesimal) potencies beyond these limits are selected that bothers our critics. How bizarre. As if the whole edifice of Homoeopthy would crumble if infinitesimal remedies did contain “nothing”! Clearly it wouldn’t as this is not the central dogma of Homoeopathy! Even if all infinitesimal remedies were unavailable, Homoeopathy could quite happily carry on using only gross doses!

There is a growing mountain of research into the efficacy of Homoeopathy, including meta analyses published in credible journals, that verify that Homoeopthy works, including when infinitesimal potencies are used. Research has also clearly shown that Homoeopthy is not just placebo.

If you are a critic of Science, then what do the general public make of Homoeopathy? Well the WHO have identified Homoeopthy as the second most widely patronised discipline of medicine world wide. Clearly our patients want Homoeopathic treatment, so why can’t the (sour grape) critics of Homoeopathy be a little more creative and inventive and come up with something more constructive that I can take more seriously?

Regards,

Peter Berryman

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Peter Berryman

Peter Berryman

Peter Berryman has been continuously practising Homoeopathy in Australia and internationally since first graduating as a natural medicine practitioner in 1985. He has been continuously teaching Homoeopathy and Bioscience, as well as supervising Student Clinics since 1990. Peter has graduated from four different Universities and more than three different Colleges during his very extensive training to have become a specialist in dealing with clients who have complex and chronic health problems. Peter is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health at their Brisbane campus.

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