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Homeopathy Study show no Effectiveness

I don't know if trying to debunk homeopathy by using a placebo control group is the right way to do it.

If homeopathy has any benefit at all, it would be through a placebo effect, you can't test this by giving your controls a placebo too.

The fact we have double blind trials with placebo is just because the mere idea of getting treatment could have an effect on the body.

It's really good that they educate ppl that homeopathy is not an effective treatment for serious conditions, but on the other hand, claiming that homeopathy has no effect by removing the potential placebo benefit by using a placebo control group isn't very fair.

The fact homeopathy is so diluted that it would have no medical benefit anymore doesn't invalidate that it could have a placebo effect, and there's no reason why homeopathy couldn't have a placebo effect.
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I think thats the point. Homeopathy's way of thinking is that water has a memory, and this is what causes people to get better, not the placebo effect.

Although both will get to the same place, one will cost a lot more (for persons and the healthcare) and getting placebos from a reputable place, that has rigorous quality control, would be far safer than from a person who is not qualified to handle medicine.


The problem there kiny is you're getting people charged out the nose for their placebos, or they're getting duped into dropping normal medications for magic water because a guttershark with a nice smile sold them on it. Then again the sort of person who would do the latter isn't the study reading type. :p
I don,t mind people trying alternatives,diet medicine,crystal healing as long as there not getting taken to the cleaners and they stick with there doctors.my real issue with alternative treatments are basically there's no proof and I wouldn't,t like to think conventional treatments got stopped by vulnerable people and they got sicker.


Super Moderator
Interesting response to the original article, by an oncologist, as to why people turn to alternatives such as homeopathy…

Of course homeopathy doesn't work – but patients don't want to hear it.

The medical establishment dismisses homeopathy, but many people are willing to defend it – often because they finally feel heard by alternative medicine practitioners

All my children were resolutely bald for the first two years of their life. I didn’t mind, but the concern of a woman at playgroup made up for my lack of it.

Convinced that baldness signified a "bodily imbalance", she exhorted me to seek homeopathic treatment. I was recommended a practitioner who had successfully treated the woman’s own children for asthma, colic and school-related stress. All her treatments were natural, safe, guaranteed to work, and relatively cheap at $40 apiece. My poor daughter, routinely mistaken for a boy, would soon flaunt Rapunzel-like hair. And what more, my private health insurance would cover her transformation.

When I politely demurred, the woman’s irritation was obvious. "You western doctor types", she shook her head disapprovingly, "you just can’t bear to think that you don’t have all the answers."

Comprehensive research by the well-regarded Australian NHMRC concluded this week that homeopathy is ineffective. Prominent doctors declared it unethical to prescribe, and health funds told to stop subsidising it.

To the medical community fed up with quackery, the results simply confirm an established fact. But as the ensuing furious exchange shows, to those who would cure an infant’s baldness with homeopathy, the conclusion is just another example of the bias of conventional doctors against something they don’t want to learn about. The establishment dismisses homeopathy, but a million Australians are willing to embrace it, defend it, and ridicule the evidence against it.

As an oncologist, I am no stranger to patients who would happily spend the consultation trying to convince me of the salutary benefits of apricot kernel or lavender extract. Discussions of homeopathy as a viable alternative to chemotherapy cause their own share of disagreement. But how does one handle these testy conversations? Time-honoured tools include rolling one’s eyes, declaring that a patient is mistaken, and gradually disengaging, all practiced with varying degrees of subtlety. They only serve to alienate patients who still need our help and partnership.

Users of alternative health take any number of unknowable and even dangerous products, but they all tend to describe one common element – they feel heard. They sense sympathy for their condition, they feel respected, and they are drawn to the appeal of a simple explanation even if it’s wrong.

"I don’t care if homeopathy is crap, but it’s the only place someone really listens to me", said a patient. In other words, what people hanker for is human communion, a rare commodity in modern medicine whose absence is noted by opportunists.

The research findings make me reflect that doctors can either spend their time wondering why people can’t see what’s good for them, or we can seek to improve our communication with patients to at least partly address the reasons people turn to alternative health practitioners. And here, medical training is widely thought to do an inadequate job.

The more medicine advances, the more nuanced it becomes. On a ward round, absolute answers to thorny issue are missing. Should a deeply unconscious stroke patient be artificially fed and for how long? Should a competent woman be allowed to return to a dozen cats, rancid food and an unsafe home? How does one broach a not for resuscitation directive with somebody who doesn’t realise the gravity of his disease? Is the patient refusing treatment in denial or is she reasonably declining the poor offerings?

The answers have less to do with following a strict medical protocol than with skilfully navigating difficult and deeply sensitive conversations with vulnerable patients and anxious relatives. These conversations require a range of skills including medical expertise, but also a greater measure of compassion, empathy and patience. Time and again it is not the smartest doctor who helps the patient, but the one who takes the time to listen, who is at ease with uncertainty and who can articulate a viewpoint without seeming arrogant or defensive. Patients say that even when the news is bad, the way it is delivered can sustain hope or shatter it.

As a trainee oncologist, I participated in a memorable workshop with a simulated patient who tactfully told me that I needed to lift my act. I found the experience transformative, more so than memorising all the chemotherapy protocols.

Anyone who has encountered a doctor appreciates that there is an art to medicine. But by and large, we allow doctors to practice medicine with minimal training in how to hone this art and how to communicate effectively with patients. There is an entrenched belief that either the skill is inherent, or that one will eventually master it. On the contrary, it requires regular practice, good role models and robust mentoring.

With or without research to expose homeopathy as bogus, the believers will prevail in their view. Dismissing them outright doesn’t really advance the issue, but we could use the opportunity to examine the role of doctor-patient communication in driving people to seek the false reassurance of alternative remedies.

Although with my children I was never inclined to turn to homeopathy I surely know the feeling of being patronised, dismissed and not listened to. A feeling I am sure is far from uncommon on this forum.



Bourbon Bandito
I think one of the big problems is that we lump alternative treatments together as a whole, and there are a great deal of people who believe that homeopathic and naturopathic medicine are the same thing.
Naturopathic medicine does hold some weight, a tea made from valerian root will help you sleep, it is the original source of valium. Willow tea will help with aches as it contains the precursor aspirin.

Unfortunately so many "remedies" hold a sliver of extremely distorted truth (silver and honey are both anti-microbial when applied topically) which is then used to sell ineffective and possibly dangerous cures.

I've friend who practices reiki with crystal healing worked in to it, and was trying convince me that it works. She stated that all of her clients have left all feeling the same completely calm, relaxed and in a far better mood than they had been in months. And I believe her, because I know if I spent an hour laying down, while soft music played, and an attractive woman spoke to me in calm and soothing voice while gently placing their hands on me, I would leave feeling super relaxed and amazing. But I would also feel that way after a massage or an hour of drinking tea and listening to Mazzy Star.
Really interesting article dusty I,ve found some but not all medical people have the people skills of a dead fish,no insult to dead fish,surely it must be part of the curriculum of a doctor to be taught to listen!that surely would be a big help to vulnerable sick and elderly people.


I know this is way off the topic we are talking about but I find it interesting.

How many of you have had any training in how to communicate with others (I'm thinking psychology, leadership courses etc)

Until I have started those type of sessions I have realised that what I thought was common sense is not at all, and that my attitude and the way I behave isn't the best. I'm wondering if doctors ever go through these types of courses, or like the vast majority it is always deemed unimportant (although saying the right words will mean make or break with some people)
I never did,but worked with the public all my working life was also a shop steward for 10 plus yearsdealt with all sorts really enjoyed dealing with a hostile audience always felt really confident with public speaking which is weird as in my personal life I,m hopeless,so I don,t think lessons do any harm but you really need empathy and patience and avoid be arrogant which many consultants seem to be.


Super Moderator
I have had training in the sort of things you are talking about Rygon but I don’t know that I’m not convinced that in many?, certainly some, cases it boils down to a persons personality. I know people that you can train until the cows come home and they still never get it! :lol:

As to doctors, well I wonder if that comes down to a particular level and type of intelligence and the traits that go with that? :lol: Now of course that is a massive generalisation but having worked around doctors all my working life, and also being on the other end of things with the kids, I do see very distinct types. There are the:

- Plenty of brains and no commonsense types. They know their stuff inside out but barely have the ability to go and buy a carton of milk. They have it clear in their own head what they want to say but they have little ability to communicate it to the masses.

- Then there are the genius types. They are wicked smart but are also very introverted. They often appear aloof as they do not possess the easy banter that many of us take for granted. They are uneasy around people unless they know you well.

- Next is the arrogant git. They are good at what they do and they know it and they make sure everyone else does too. They are the ones that walk onto the ward with a entourage and make the patient feel that they should be eternally grateful to them that they took 2 seconds out of their day to lower themselves to visit your bedside.

- Then there is the doctor that you wonder how the hell or where the hell they got their degree. After a few exchanges you just assume it was on the back of a Corn Flakes box.

- And finally there is perfection! :lol: The doctor that knows their stuff but admits that can’t know everything about everything. That spends time with their patients and has an ability to communicate at just the right level. That has sympathy for and listens to their patients. That cares enough to fight and advocate for you. Surprisingly and thankfully enough they are not as rare a breed as some may think. :ylol:

Dusty. :Flower:
I have read the article mentioned in this thread. Everyone is free to believe whatever he/ she likes, but in my opinion is biased and part of a campaign against homeopathy. I do have a good experience with homeopathy and I've seen not just improvements but complete and fast cure in many medical conditions (some mentioned by the "working committee of medical experts" and some incurable medical conditions - cancers, asthma even a case of hebephrenic schizophrenia (it's incurable according to any psychiatrist, isn't it?) and so many other severe, life threatening conditions).

I will not go into a debate about the scientific studies - although I can argue on every single explanation an MD can offer against.

I have met many years ago a homeopathic practitioner who was cured of Crohn's disease - a severe case and I have followed for 4 years a case of Crohn that after the homeopathic treatment was in remission. A 4 years remission of all symptoms, including articular, should count.

I see only 2 problems with homeopathy:
1. The treatment is individual according to the symptoms of each individual;
2. You have to find the right doctor; not always the famous is the best. There are lots of homeopaths with theories and books written that have no idea of what a sound practice means.

The since behind homeopathy is "prehistoric", theories are many times plain stupid. The argument for is statistics. And if people considers it placebo, let them. If a placebo works better and cures, it's best placebo ever and in my opinion better than any other form of medicine.

Sorry, when it gets to homeopathy I get started. No offence, please.
I have only used homeopathy on one occasion, for hayfever, so my experience is too limited to say personally whether it works or not.

I do have problems with the claims that it doesn't work. only because I have heard this same argument for just about any treatment not put forth by a pharmaceutical company or one not approved by some sanctioning body.

I do know of many intelligent people who use homeopathy for an array of conditions that were not resolved any other way. In another words. They already were through all the conventional treatments and they did not get good results from them. As a last resort they tried homeopathy, and their conditions improved. It is difficult to comprehend how that could be a placebo effect, especially for something like sciatica.

They use the remedy and the pain leaves them for a day or two. As long as they use the remedy, there is no pain. If they stop, it comes back. Very repeatable.

I have been giving a lot of thought to how homeopathy could work. Mechanism wise. Just because I cannot just discount these accounts as coincidences or placebo effect. Like anyone else, I like to have at least a proposed mechanism to grab onto, if there is an effect.

If there is a real mechanism involved, it is not a chemical based mechanism. Comparing it to a drug or chemical is not going to get you anywhere. It would be like chemotherapy to radiation treatment by measuring the strength of the chemotherapy by the amount of radiation it puts out.

If homeopathy works, it is a frequency based mechanism. Water and other liquids do have a memory for frequencies. The structure changes when exposed to them. Why this would have an effect on a human, I don't know. It seems too slight of a change, and yet I cannot reconcile some of the results, with the mechanism.

Until I have a good opportunity to test homeopathy in a bulletproof way myself I consider it to be a possibility to be explored, when I get the opportunity. Only because some of the results that have occured can't easily be explained away.

I never believed a chiropractor could resolve an ear infection until I seen it for myself. Not once, but several times.