double-blind placebo-controlled studies on Homeopathy? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 70 Old 02-05-2008, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am your Homeopathy skeptic: Looking for the best double-blind, placebo-controlled, preferably peer-reviewed and published, studies on Homeopathy.

I understand what it is, the theory behind it and that it works for lots of people. But does it stand up to modern scientific scrutiny?

Thank you!
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#2 of 70 Old 02-06-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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The lack of replies says it all......ain´t nuthin´ but sugar pills and shaking....and frankly it is one of those nonsense alternative remedies that gives the valid holistic health practices a bad name.

I´d love someone to prove me wrong, but I´ve been waiting a long time.
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#3 of 70 Old 02-06-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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The lack of replies says it all......ain´t nuthin´ but sugar pills and shaking....and frankly it is one of those nonsense alternative remedies that gives the valid holistic health practices a bad name.

I´d love someone to prove me wrong, but I´ve been waiting a long time.
Have to say I agree. The Wikipedia article on homeopathy has (at least right now; wiki articles do change from time to time...) some information on studies & their results:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy#Research_on_medical_effectiveness
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#4 of 70 Old 02-06-2008, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, that Wikipedia article IS informative. And it confirms my fears.

I am SO disturbed by the fact that my midwives, friends and so many others buy into it all. Why????????

I suppose a "frustrated with homeopathy" support thread would violate some aspect of the User Agreement...

But I'm really trying to remain open!! If anyone's got studies, do share! My 3rd year med student cousin said there are some surprising ones!!
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#5 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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I have to disagree. I think there are tons of women on here who would say homeopathy works and is the only thing they use. Maybe they just haven't seen your question yet?

I do know homeopathy is an extremely involved discipline and I would not go to just any homeopath. There are ways of checking out their credentials, I just don't have any info for ya. I am hoping someone else who is in the know will chime in.

Jamie

Mama to monkey #1 , monkey #2 , and new little monkey #3 . I am always :yawning and making lots of
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#6 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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You can use the search button and come up with hundreds of threads on this very topic.

I highly doubt you will find the studies that you are looking for. Homeopathy is not a drug and the research is simply not conducted in that way. Anyway, it couldn't be. It's a highly individualized modality. You can't control for that. Even with 10 people with the flu you could be looking at 10 different remedies. 10 different pictures. Does it matter if they all get relief under the care of a homeopathic physician? You can read more about that, if you like.

As someone who uses it extremely successfully I don't need the studies. I need results. Having gotten them time and again very clearly I don't need more "proof."

I think you could start another thread like the one you mentioned. I don't *think* that's against the UA. You're expressing your opinion and asking for experiences. As long as you don't trash people for having different opinions I think you'd be fine. Mods, correct me if I am wrong.

I didn't read the wiki article. Perhaps I will. Either way, I'm not here to sway you. Just to say that you won't find those studies and perhaps if you aren't getting results to find a new practitioner. The only way I've seen homeopathy fail is if it's used incorrectly. Same would hold true for tylenol...it ain't gonna stop diarrhea. You wouldn't say it didn't work though, right?
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#7 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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Okay, I read the article. Geez. That was a tough read for me.

Regardless, I don't know if it would help or hurt, but you could try reading some provings. If nothing else it might cure you of the "sugar water and shaking" belief.

I would also say that plenty of homeopaths that practice are also MD's. I know of several who are MD's, retain their medical licenses but use homeopathy exclusively. Since they are the ones most likely to be looking for the studies to which you are referring it is interesting to say the least that they have abandoned the medical world essentially for something they have seen be more effective.

The president of the National Center for Homeopathy for YEARS was a physician and surgeon who by the way still lectures in the mainstream medical community and is highly respected. For the last 20 years he has used homeopathy exclusively. He started after working along side another doctor who was also a homeopath when he realized that her patients recovered quicker and more completely than his. Apparently this turned him on to the modality and 20 years later he is still practicing.

You have to follow your gut on this one. For every study on homeopathy that you can turn up calling it sheer-nonsense, I can do the same for chemotherapy, vaccination, drug therapy. Ultimately you either decide to try it, or don't. The only thing *I* would say is give it a fair shake. Don't self select a remedy and proclaim it useless if you don't know what you are doing.
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#8 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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But regardless of the "it can´t be tested by conventional methods" arguments, there is one gaping hole in homeopathic theory.....there is no "science" to explain it, it doesn´t work on a chemical level and the theory of it being vibrational is not backed up by any scientific reasoning.

My pet theory is this....homeopathy was "discovered" before we had any real understanding of molecular science, that is to say that before we understood what molecules were and that they could be diluted to the point where it is extremely unlikely that any molecule is physically present in the sugar pill. All of the old school remedies tended to be substances that are quite poisonous (think arsenic, belladonna etc.) and I can see that these substances in low dilutions (but nevertheless present chemically) might have some therapeutic applications (this is not beyond common sense, most drugs, conventional or otherwise, are toxic if you take a certain dose). However, I think homeopaths then went (wrongly IMHO) down the route of believing that there was something in the process of dilution itself, rather than certain substances have to be administered in low doses in order to be safe and effective.

One of the many reasons I am a sceptic is because I just don´t trust any form of medicine which says that it doesn´t matter if you choose the wrong remedy or take too much - Flower Essences etc - surely that is because it does nothing in the first place.

There is a lot to be said for placebo effect and whether you believe something will work or not, when I was in labour, one midwife looked at the other baffled and said "I don´t understand why the homepathics aren´t working", my DP and I couldn´t make eye contact for giggling! But if you are getting better because of a placebo effect, I can´t knock that....better than taking a load of drugs with side effects.

I also never heard of anyone curing anything that was not self limiting with homeopathics anyhow. And homeopathy being a holistic therapy, the homeopath will also suggest other things (such as dietary changes) to help heal - how is it possible to separate which is doing the healing work? It isn´t.

And another thing (then I´ll get off the soap box), when I was in training a case study turned up with RSI which she got from working at a PC all day, she was also seeing a homeopath, who gave her a remedy made from a mother tincture of crushed up computer (the theory of like curing like etc.) - will anyone defend that to me?

I would dearly like to proved wrong, because I would love such a gentle healing modality to exist, but as yet even though many people have testified to it´s efficacy or given examples of clever dudes who believe in homeopathy (therefore it must be true?!),- no one has linked to that crucial information that "proves" HOW and WHY and that it DOES work.


I think this is a debate worth having here and I am worried about some above expressed concerns that it is considered "offensive", and therefore against MDC rules, to have such a debate - what is this? Crunchy facism?

Sadystar x.
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#9 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 08:36 PM
 
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Well, I agree and disagree. Regardless as long as it's kept civil I can't imagine why we couldn't hold a discussion. That's what learning is about right? Even if what I say only reinforces your beliefs, it's still learning.

My point in referring to the doc I did was simply to state that respected members of the medical community who live and breathe peer-reviewed, double blind placebo studies still see merit in the modality regardless of the lack of "science." Not that we should believe what they do.

I have personally watched homeopathic remedies at VERY high dilutions (read: nothing of the original substance left) stop very physical reactions. My son is ANA reactive to several foods. In an exposure his remedy stops the hives and swelling. That's proof enough for me. And if you are going to argue the energy angle...I was calm and therefore the reaction didn't happen because I expected it not to...well, that's simply not hte case. I first gave him the remedy because we were looking for the epi-pen. I did not expect it to work. Even so if you believe in the energy behind it then you'd have to acknowledge also that homeopathy works. That's the point of the vibrational aspect.

I have also seen it work for spider bites in babies, reflux and constipation in infants, and in place of chemo on a patient who had leukemia with extremely enlarged cervical lymph nodes. Yeah. That was my mom. Our homeopath gave her a remedy that dropped her blood count (went from over 20,000 to under 5,000) and changed the feel (as in palpable difference) of the nodes. In about 3 days they went from rock hard which they had been for months to spongy, and then they disappeared.

Again, these are my experiences and I don't care how they worked, they did. I love homeopathy and I plan on sticking with it.

I will not respond to the computer thing. That's a little insane and I have no idea. I have heart of potentized electricity, but the example you cited sounds bizarre.

If you are needing to see "proof" then you may not find it. Then this may not be for you. That's fine. I have seen homeopathy perform what I consider to be miracles even in cases where placebos are rendered irrelevant. Has anyone actually used arnica and thought it didn't work? That's the remedy that generally sways disbelievers. Watching a bruise disappear before your eyes is pretty irrefutable evidence.

We all have our own choices when it comes to health. However I don't consider it my place to evangelize and convert. I'll share my perspective, but that's all. This is what I believe. Take it, or leave it.
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#10 of 70 Old 02-07-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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And homeopathy being a holistic therapy, the homeopath will also suggest other things (such as dietary changes) to help heal - how is it possible to separate which is doing the healing work? It isn´t.

.
I forgot to address this. I have seen several homeopaths and not one has used other therapies. A classical homeopath uses only homeopathy for that very reason.

A naturopath using homeopathy is a whole 'nother story. IME when they do it is used improperly as they just don't have the knowledge base. That's not to say they can't-just often they don't. Of the thousands of clinical hours required they are often only required around 250 to be in homeopathy.

Using a multifaceted approach DOES cloud the waters. Doing so shows a lack of understanding of homeopathy IMO.
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#11 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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Has anyone actually used arnica and thought it didn't work? That's the remedy that generally sways disbelievers. Watching a bruise disappear before your eyes is pretty irrefutable evidence.
I use arnica herbal cream all the time (i.e. cream which is made with an oil actually infused with arnica) and yes that works almost unbelievably well. The arnica thing confuses me because clearly it works non-homeopathically, yet you would say that it would also do the same job if it was in a homeopathic dilution - but isn´t the point of homeopathy (the "proving"?) that if a substance that works homeopathically should show the opposite effect if given in non-homeopathic dosage. I hope you can understand what I mean by that. I think arnica is something that most people are confused by as they don´t understand the difference between homeopathic and non-homeopathic.

The examples you give are compelling and I have no reason to doubt your honesty or judgement, however if such clearcut reactions can be observed why is it not provable by study? This is what frustrates the sceptics like me.

I hope that there is homeopath out there that joins this thread soon, I would like to be convinced that there is something to it, something tangible that can be explained in terms of what we know is scientifically possible.
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#12 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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To say that the reason there are no peer-reviewed studies of a therapy because the drug companies don't make money off it discounts the vast body of research that is done without pharma funding.

I don't use much alternative medicine, I'll admit. However, there are a few cases where I have found good, controlled, double blind studies that have been published in the medical literature, and in those cases, I use the remedy. For example, Neti pots are helpful for people with sinus trouble. I have found that when I use one routinely, I have fewer sinus problems, and when I get a cold, it clears up much faster. I am currently killing off toenail fungus with tea tree oil. There are good studies that back this up, and it works as well as the patented topical products.
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#13 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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That is one reason. The other I cited presents the bigger issue in terms of study.
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#14 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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i haven't read the last few post..baby nak....i wanted to share my personal experiences....just 'cuz....growing up my mother took us to a nurse practitioner who practiced homeopathy....it was a crap shoot on whether it was going to work...it was always the first thing she went to and never prescribed traditional medicine. when i was 17 i developed endometriosis and went to the dr in the office and i was prescribed those little white pills and a hormone that, had i taken, would have made it worse. i was a skeptic! my last babe who is 1 had colic in the early months and i was VERY sleep deprived....i tried everything and resorted to boiron's colic remedy...a few minutes after i gave it to him he fell asleep..this was after crying unconsolably for awhile....i was a believer. i continued to give it to him when he would get those pains in his tummy and it would work most of the time...sometimes it didn't do much. when teething came we used the teething gel...amazing...we lost the tube for the next tooth...miserable miserable...we got another tube and would recommend it to any mother! he came down with bronchitis when he was a few months old..over easter weekend and the dr's office was closed and i was NOT taking him to the er here...it's horrid! i used...i think pulsatilla and some essential oils (and prayed..so it was the prayer or homeopathic remedy that worked ;0) it cleared up...and you should have heard his lungs and the breathing it was scary. we have ear infections now and are trying homeopathic remedies as a last resort...i'll let you know how it goes. i've found, for us, that it works most of the time and knowing when to use it is KEY and how. i have a few books on the subject and really was enlightened on it. i go to our co-op and buy what we need and then look in the book and second quess myself and then take him to the dr and she assures me that is the best solution. my md uses homeopathy with her kids and is open to alternative treatments. i was a huge skeptic of homeopathy until this past year and am thankful for finding it...i also use arnica oil to treat muscular pain or headaches and it really does help! i don't get how a placebo could help my babe get better though...so i do think there is something there...maybe the brand of homeopathic remedy clearly matters on this...i use 30c stuff from washington homeopathic remedies in an amber bottle. oh, i just remembered when i had my three wisdom teeth taken out i developed a dry socket...talk about serious pain! i was taking the vicodin and it wasn't helping...i ended that and took arnica and another for nerve pain and you know what it actually helped and really helped with the swelling and the oral surgeon was amazed and also skeptical of homeopathic remedies when i first went in and when they saw how little swelling there was he couldn't believe it. i think, having the right remedy for the right constitution is imperative....my eldest always throws up when he gets sick..no matter what it is(he gets that from me) and my middle two have different symptoms...so they get treated for the symptom...i am soooooooooooo rambling now so i'll end, but just wanted to share our story....nothing on controlled studies..just our experiences.
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#15 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by elizaMM View Post
I am your Homeopathy skeptic: Looking for the best double-blind, placebo-controlled, preferably peer-reviewed and published, studies on Homeopathy.

I understand what it is, the theory behind it and that it works for lots of people. But does it stand up to modern scientific scrutiny?

Thank you!
Dr. Wayne B. Jonas was given funding to do research in this area. He's written a book on Homeopathy and is a supporter of it and other alternative forms of therapy, but he was unable to come up with scientific evidence to support it. (I work with his brother, BTW, which is how I heard of him.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...071101102.html

And Sadystar, it isn't just your pet theory as to why homeopathy became popular. It's widely acknowledged that homeopathy was developed because so many of the treatments being proferred back then were making patients worse or killing them outright. Homeopathy, while unproven and not scientifically sound, at least offers the benefit of not causing harm.
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#16 of 70 Old 02-08-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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I use homeopathy because it works.
I did my homework and studied extensively to learn how to properly use it first.
As Firefaery said, homeopathy relies on highly specific elements of an individual's constitution, it's not a one-size-fits-all modality. Testing it the same way we test allopathic medicine wouldn't be relevant.
Here's what I know, if my dd has red cheeks and an earache I can give her homeopathic belladonna and it will go away.
If I give her a double bind study - nada.
I am very thankful that my kids have never had to have any type of prescription drugs.
After taking the time to hone in very closely on their constitutional types it's now easy for me to tell what they need during times of imbalance.
You can keep all your scientific studies. I'll stay with what works for my family.
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#17 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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Here's what I know, if my dd has red cheeks and an earache I can give her homeopathic belladonna and it will go away.
If I give her a double bind study - nada.
:

I'm with you. Despite some significant issues none of my kids have ever had to have antibiotics or OTC meds. I have homeopathy to thank for most of that.
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#18 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 03:22 AM
 
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I highly doubt you will find the studies that you are looking for. Homeopathy is not a drug and the research is simply not conducted in that way. Anyway, it couldn't be. It's a highly individualized modality. You can't control for that. Even with 10 people with the flu you could be looking at 10 different remedies. 10 different pictures.
actually, you can, it's quite easy. i was a subject in a study on acupuncture. She did the consult, planned her treatment, and then opened an envelope to see if I'd be a control or treatment patient.
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#19 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 04:25 AM
 
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Regarding anecdotes that homeopathy works for you... Sugar pills DO work, if you're told it's medicine that will make you better. And it works for real drugs as well. When I take a Tylenol at least sometimes the improvement in my symptoms is because I beleive it will work. This is called the placebo effect. When they study medical treatments they often compare to a placebo, because simply telling someone they're recieving a medicine that will cause them to experience less nausea will reduce the amount of nausea they feel. Even placebo surgery cures people.

What you're reporting as homeopathy working is the placebo effect. It really DOES work for you, because of the power of suggestion. But you would get the same effect from any bottle of water you'd been sold as a 200x homeopathic. The thing about a controlled trial is that there would be just as many people cured by the placebo as the homeopathic.
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#20 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 05:37 AM
 
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here is just a little info regarding the fact that homeopathy is a VALID and EFFECTIVE form of medicine. BTW it was the premiere medicine in the USA before 1950s and abx. I personally would not discount ANY form of medicine or research...for example Kilmer McCully-he was the guy that got thrown out of HARVARD for corolating homocysiteine and heart diease and now he is "the guy" for heart disease resarch--just one example of educated individuals going against the grain for the greater good.
but for all of you non believers here are some double blind placebo controlled studies....

Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of homoeopathy.
BMJ 1991; 302: 316–23 :


- Boissel JP, Cucherat M, Haugh M, Gauthier E. Critical literature review on the effectiveness of homoeopathy: overview of data from homoeopathic medicine trials. Brussels, Belgium: Homoeopathic Medicine Research Group.
Report to the European Commission. 1996: 195–210 : "For the 17 eligible comparisons, for each method used, the result is a p-value far below 0.001. This means that, in at least one trial, the null hypothesis of the absence of effect of homeopathy can be rejected…the number of significant results is probably not due to chance alone."
- Linde K, Melchart D. Randomized controlled trials of individualized homeopathy: a state-of-the-art review.
J Alter Complement Med 1998;4: 371–88 : "The results of the available randomized trials suggest that individualized homeopathy has an effect over placebo"
- Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. Evidence of clinical efficacy of homeopathy: a meta-analysis of clinical trials.
Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2000; 56: 27–33 : "There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo"

- Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L, et al. Are the clinical effects ofhomoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlledtrials of homoeopathy and allopathy.
Lancet 2005; 366: 726–32 : "21 homeopathy trials (19%) and nine (8%) conventional-medicine trials were of higher quality. In both groups, smaller trials and those of lower quality showed more beneficial treatment effects than larger and higher-quality trials. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of higher quality, the odds ratio was 0.88 (95% CI 0.65-1.19) for homeopathy (eight trials) and 0.58 (0.39-0.85) for conventional medecine (six trials)."

wife & holistic mama of 1 girl, 1 boy and 1 :
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#21 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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actually, you can, it's quite easy. i was a subject in a study on acupuncture. She did the consult, planned her treatment, and then opened an envelope to see if I'd be a control or treatment patient.
You totally missed the point and that would NOT work with homeopathy.

Not to mention that babies would not understand the "placebo" effect.
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#22 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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Regarding anecdotes that homeopathy works for you... Sugar pills DO work, if you're told it's medicine that will make you better. And it works for real drugs as well. When I take a Tylenol at least sometimes the improvement in my symptoms is because I beleive it will work. This is called the placebo effect. When they study medical treatments they often compare to a placebo, because simply telling someone they're recieving a medicine that will cause them to experience less nausea will reduce the amount of nausea they feel. Even placebo surgery cures people.

What you're reporting as homeopathy working is the placebo effect. It really DOES work for you, because of the power of suggestion. But you would get the same effect from any bottle of water you'd been sold as a 200x homeopathic. The thing about a controlled trial is that there would be just as many people cured by the placebo as the homeopathic.

So, out of curiosity what would you say to someone who throughly bought into the whole modern medicine thing. Who was sick for over a decade and took every pill and underwent every surgery they were told to in order to get better. And then never did.

What would you say to that same person who grudgingly saw a homeopath because she happened to work in the same building and it was free. This person never for a minute believed it would work-but nothing else was and the side effects of the drugs were getting scary. However, against "all odds" homeopathy *DID* work. This person was able to ditch the drugs and start on a road to recovery. 13 years later this person is still enjoying good health. Would you tell them the same thing?

I gotta tell you if you attribute that much to placebo effect then our country which is full of VERY drugged individuals would be feeling a hell of alot better. MD's make it their job to push pills promising results. If they were getting them people wouldn't be seeking out alternative medicine.
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#23 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 11:49 AM
 
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I've been lurking and reading, and I've been trying to think of an intelligent way to say what I'm thinking. I believe that a big part of the problem is that homeopathy doesn't even operate on the same paradigm as science and modern medicine, and as such, those who do believe in the scientific paradigm will have a very difficult time in understanding homeopathy. Science is not always right, nor can it possibly explain everything. This is why theories are always changing, and things that experts "knew" to be true ten years ago are now "known" to be false. That is the nature of the scientific paradigm. Reject the null hypothesis. Science does not equal fact. In order to believe in homeopathy or any similar alternative practice, one must look beyond science. You will never find a scientific study to "prove" what you are looking for as it simply does not exist on the same plane.

I am an anthropologist, and I have to say that I have seen many things that work or simply "are" despite not being scientifically proven (or even provable!) I've got a baby crawling on me right now, so I'll have to cut this short but I hope you get my point.
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#24 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 01:07 PM
 
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What you're reporting as homeopathy working is the placebo effect. It really DOES work for you, because of the power of suggestion. .
Yeah, I've heard this one before.
It doesn't account for the pre-rational, pre-verbal babies who are experiencing relief from homeopathic remedies.
It also doesn't account for the fact the many remedies don't work, if you're not using the right one for the individual being treated.
I'm not saying there's nothing to the power of suggestion. But I don't buy it as a valid reason to dismiss homeopathy.
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#25 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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It doesn't account for the pre-rational, pre-verbal babies who are experiencing relief from homeopathic remedies.
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Not to mention that babies would not understand the "placebo" effect.
i disagree that babies cannot be affected by a null (placebo) treatment (or, y'know, as "null" as they get -- because even a sugar pill is something). the baby may not understand the words "this will make you feel better" (or whatever), but a treatment, null or otherwise, represents a change in environment, which even a "pre-rational, preverbal baby" can sense and respond to.

i'm not taking sides here; but i really feel that this particular argument is just wrong.
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#26 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 05:59 PM
 
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Here was my test:

I had migraine headaches for years. Two kinds actually. One brought about by peanuts and walnuts, or more specifically the mold they tend to have. The second kind of headache is a migraine, but up in the sinuses and back of the head. Nothing would cure these headache once I got them, unless I took some heavy painkillers.

I didn't buy into homeopathy, but my midwives forced me to take (without touching) some sulphur sublinguals. It didn't work. She made me take a few more. OMG The headache faded away. Now whenever I get headaches like this, sulphur will almost always kick them. I think I need sulphur, while someone else wouldn't, and that's what makes it Homeopathy.
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#27 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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i disagree that babies cannot be affected by a null (placebo) treatment (or, y'know, as "null" as they get -- because even a sugar pill is something). the baby may not understand the words "this will make you feel better" (or whatever), but a treatment, null or otherwise, represents a change in environment, which even a "pre-rational, preverbal baby" can sense and respond to.
No one's saying a baby cannot respond to changes in his/her environment. Of course they can. However, the placebo effect, by definition requires one to have psychological expectations and beliefs that are not seen in the early stages of infancy, or in animals - for whom homeopathic remedies are also often very effective.
I've used homeopathy with babes and toddlers who weren't even aware they were receiving it, such as through breast milk, or in water, etc.

Superstella~
I do get your point. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

My use of homeopathy is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence. I'm choosing to put scientific method to use in my own home/family rather than relying on 'scientific studies' most often funded by drug companies with a vested financial interest in the way data is interpreted.

If it didn't work I wouldn't use it. I also wouldn't go around insisting others use it anymore than I would go around spouting off about a mother's choices to use any other modality.

Thanks to everyone for a great discussion.
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#28 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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I've been lurking and reading, and I've been trying to think of an intelligent way to say what I'm thinking. I believe that a big part of the problem is that homeopathy doesn't even operate on the same paradigm as science and modern medicine, and as such, those who do believe in the scientific paradigm will have a very difficult time in understanding homeopathy. Science is not always right, nor can it possibly explain everything. This is why theories are always changing, and things that experts "knew" to be true ten years ago are now "known" to be false. That is the nature of the scientific paradigm. Reject the null hypothesis. Science does not equal fact. In order to believe in homeopathy or any similar alternative practice, one must look beyond science. You will never find a scientific study to "prove" what you are looking for as it simply does not exist on the same plane.

I am an anthropologist, and I have to say that I have seen many things that work or simply "are" despite not being scientifically proven (or even provable!) I've got a baby crawling on me right now, so I'll have to cut this short but I hope you get my point.
I guess this depends on your definition of science - it seems to me that you are confusing "science" with "modern medical model". Science is simply the study of why and how things work and in these terms homeopathy ought to be a testable hypothesis, i.e. there should be some test which could prove (or not) it´s efficacy.

When you say it is on a different plane - by pure scientific reasoning, this plane should also be explainable - I´m very interested to hear what you mean by this. What is this plane? If you have knowledge of it, then this IS science.

I´m afraid that this "it just is and it can´t be proven, therefore you just have to accept it" is the same thoughtless argument that people use to justify a belief in an improbable god or an impossible creation. KWIM?
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#29 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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I'm a total skeptic wrt homeopathy. But I still have several remedies on hand and use them regularly. It doesn't make sense to my logical self, but I've had enough success with it to believe that its at least worth a try before resorting to a "drug".

I'm also a skeptic with other "natural" remedies but have experience with them working. Like my newborn who wouldn't nurse on my right side until she had a craniosacral treatment. Instant change. Or the same little dd who got stung on the lip by a yellow jacket and was absolutely going ballistic until a friend did reiki on her. Instant calm.
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#30 of 70 Old 02-09-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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the placebo effect, by definition requires one to have psychological expectations and beliefs that are not seen in the early stages of infancy, or in animals - for whom homeopathic remedies are also often very effective.
that's not actually the definition of a placebo, per se. that's more like an interpretation of a placebo effect.

a placebo is just an attempt to make the control environment as similar as possible to the test environment. that's really all. so if the test subjects are taking some drug in pill form, what are you going to compare that to? rather than comparing that to control subjects who are doing nothing, you compare it to control subjects who are also taking pills (ie "placebos"). there may be any number of confounding factors that are avoided by having control subjects take the placebo -- for example, the swallowing of a pill, or the stimulation of the digestive tract, or the driving to the test center, or the process of being selected for a clinical trial, or (as you suggest) the psychological beliefs associated with taking pills. (the placebo itself may also, of course, confound the test: the placebo substance may, for example, have some unanticipated physiological activity.)

but the point is that placebo use implies no assumptions about the provenance of the possible effectiveness of placebo as a treatment. it's just an attempt to control as many variables as possible in recognition that biological systems are very complex. i think there's a widespread assumption that placebos have some clinical activity for certain conditions because of the subjects' personal beliefs or psychological suggestion or similar reasons. that may or may not be true, but it's difficult to prove, and it's wholly irrelevant to placebo-controlled studies: they're not studying why (or even whether) placebos work, but whether the test substance works.

this may reflect poor methodology, but ultimately the term "placebo effect" refers to the observation (real or imagined) that placebos have some effect, but not necessarily why.
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