A Visit to the Homeopath

By Michael Edmonds 25/01/2011 12


Before anyone thinks I’ve gone over to the “dark side”, I haven’t been to see an actual homeopath. Rather, I just paid a little visit to the homepage of the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths (NZCH) to see what they say about themselves.

I was particularly interested in seeing if the NZCH made any attempt to explain how homeopathy works, particularly after several statements that were made by homeopaths to the media last year which included:

no one knows how it works’ and ‘how they work … is a mystery’

Not particularly enlightening. The same interview also provided the additional comments from the representative of the NZCH.

‘there is something happening in that remedy when it is potentized’ — rather vague if you ask me

and

‘We are waiting for science to catch up’ — really? sigh.

The NZCH website ‘explains’ homeopathy by stating that ‘homeopathic medicines stimulate the body to heal itself.’ Incredibly vague, which reinforces the point that homeopaths don’t know how it works — a somewhat refreshing admission, after years of pseudoscientific suggestions of ‘quantum’ effects, (mystical) ‘energies’ or of water having ‘memory.’

So without an explanation for how homeopathy works, homeopaths are relying on the fact that, in practice, it works.

The problem is that it doesn’t.

Over the decades, homeopaths have pointed to a large number of studies which they purport to show homeopathy having an effect. Unfortunately, when these studies have been held up to the light of the scientific method every single one has been shown to be flawed, misinterpreted or misrepresented.

So when it comes down to it homeopaths provide a treatment for which there is no identified mechanism and no evidence that it works, beyond the body’s ability to heal itself. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that homeopathic remedies are only used to treat conditions that the body can heal itself. It is only the most deluded and dangerous homeopaths that will claim that homeopathy can cure conditions such as AIDS, septic wounds and heart disease. Unfortunately, such homeopaths exist, and as most homeopathy organisations have no regulatory power over their members, they do little to stop such mavericks, even when they encourage their clients to forgo conventional medicine in favour of homeopathy. In the UK, homeopaths have recently been taken to task for supplying their customers with homeopathic remedies to prevent cholera. And several years ago I had to warn a colleague not to use a homeopathic treatment to ‘sterilise’ water while travelling in South America.

With no mechanism, and no reliable evidence that it works, homeopathy becomes purely a faith based health treatment, akin to reiki and faith healing. Yet, according to the NZCH website some homeopathic treatments may be funded by insurance companies including Accuro and Southern Cross.

Other gems from the NZCH website include:

‘Yes, pregnant and breast-feeding woman can safely take homeopathic medicines.’ They can safely drink a glass of water too.

‘Healing takes place in different ways and reactions to a medicine vary. Sometimes there is an immediate improvement. Sometimes healing begins with an increased feeling of well being, even though symptoms initially remain. In some cases, old symptoms recur as part of the healing process. Occasionally there is a temporary worsening of the symptoms prior to improvement. However, there are no toxic side effects from homeopathic medicines.’

The NZCH also takes a very cautious, fence sitting position with regards to vaccines.

‘Some Homeopaths support vaccination. Others are concerned that the long-term effects of vaccination on the immune system are not fully known and therefore not taken into consideration in cost/benefit calculations. There is evidence within the mainstream medical literature that vaccination may predispose towards auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.’


12 Responses to “A Visit to the Homeopath”

  • You have to wonder about those photos on their site. I know homeopaths use coral, minerals and even the deathcap mushrooms in there preparations. But macaws?

  • Macaw is apparently (according to http://www.homeopathichealing.org/art2.html) used as a remedy “in cases where the deepest conflict was between the sense of self and the need for expression”

    “Macaw, at essence, turns out to be the consciousness of the dilemma, or polarity, between free expression versus group identification (there are other subtle and varied manifestations of Macaw essence that are also expressed in individuals who may become sick when in a Macaw state).”

    Yeah, think about it.

  • David, they probably don’t use the whole macaw, perhaps a feather or droppings? Or perhaps they are implying that their treatments work for birds?

    Gold, as a member of one of the mentioned insurance companies, I have made an inquiry.
    However, from looking at the policies online, one policy with contribute $25 per visit to a homeopath registered by the NZCH. They will also contribute $25 per visit to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, dietician, osteopath, remedial massage therapist or physiotherapist. Quite a mix of legimate and dubious treatments.

  • Real is scientific homeopathy. It cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails. Evidence-based modern homeopathy is a nano-medicine bringing big results for everyone

    • what exactly does “nano-medicine” mean? As far as I can tell it is the latest trendy phrase used by homeopaths to make their craft sound scientific. A replacement for “water has memory”, “vital” forces or quantum entanglement, all vague misuses of scientific terminology.
      The genuine use of the word nano is to describe things that involve very small particles, e.g. nano technology. As homeopathy typically involves solutions where all active substances have been completely diluted out, leaving only water behind, I challenge your use of the term nano medicine. If there are no particles/molecules then there is no nano!

  • Er, Nancy, if you have any evidence that homeopathy is a) evidence-based & b) successful in curing non-self-limiting conditions, we’d be interested in seeing it.

  • Is there any difference between ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ homeopathy? Perhaps you don’t have to bash it on a leather bible anymore.

  • Evidence of homeopathy is undeniably positive and consistent. It’s a human evidence of experience, gathered from a real-world observation in a real-world setting (not in an ideal artificial laboratory) giving real-world solutions.

  • Ooh, look I’ve been homeopathy spammed by Dr Nancy Malik – well known for spamming blogs that challenge homeopathy.
    How tiresome and unoriginal