The Harbord Homeopathic Clinic, a Brookvale-based natural health clinic, will be initiating the first homeopathic Internship program in Australia, beginning in February of 2016.
“We’ve always had students come through the clinic, but this is our first intern” says Linlee Jordan.
Lorena Mattiolo joined the Harbord Clinic as an intern starting Monday, February 5th. She has been involved with the practice through her homeopathy education at Endeavour College in years past, and is very excited to participate as an intern now.
“I feel that I will benefit from being in this supportive environment, with experienced homeopaths. Even though I graduated a couple of years ago, I’ve taken this internship to build confidence and take away different approaches to go out there and treat people myself,” says Lorena.
Lorena is very interested in the journey that clients go on when they are receiving homeopathic treatment, and her corresponding journey as a practitioner. “It’s such a privilege to help people come to their own conclusions – it’s a combined effort (between the practitioner and client) for them to heal,” she says. She is also looking forward to getting a better idea of how a clinic is run – maybe to open her own in the future.
Homeopathy is growing in Australia as a complimentary medicine, accompanied by other CM’s like Naturopathy and Acupuncture. After being around for over 200 years, homeopathy is in regular use by over 200 million people worldwide.
Often referred to as the homeopathic equivalent of paracetamol. These three remedies work together to help support fevers, reduce the pain of teething and earaches, and help the immune system deal better with whatever infection or problem is causing the inflammation. ABC mix contains the remedies Aconite, Belladonna & Chamomilla
Great for the start of any illness where there is a sudden appearance of fever, maybe a cough worse from cold wind with accompanying anxiety. Can be used if symptoms come on after an emotional shock /fright.
Child wakes screaming suddenly with a high fever, red hot and throbbing pressure in ears. Outer ear may be swollen. Teething symptoms such as dribbling may be present, very common for earache, high fever and teething to be seen together with this remedy. Some kids needing this remedy have night terrors brought on by the sudden rise in their temperature, eyes wide and staring with a red face.
Child wakes screaming, inconsolable and irritable. Throws head backwards in frustration. Not happy to be held but demands to be carried around. Nappy rash, burning green diarrhoea. Will ask for something then reject it. One red cheek is often seen, maybe dribbling and a slight fever. The most common remedy for teething symptoms, and also very often used for earaches where there is a high level of irritability and low pain threshold.
General tips to consider when using homeopathic remedies
A dose is 5 drops. If one dose every 4 hours hasn’t helped after more than 6 doses it’s likely to be a different remedy that’s needed. (There are some exceptions but these must be dealt with by a professional homeopath.)
I would like to invite my friends to exercise true scepticism when it comes to the topic of homeopathy. I hear you thinking “Huh? I thought you were annoyed with the sceptics?” Well, perhaps yes, but not in the way that you may surmise.
Despite it being widely used around the world, Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine which sceptics love to attack and make comments about.
I admit that it’s mildly annoying when certain sceptics occupy themselves by making their witty anti-homeopathy statements. They seem to entertain themselves. But, it’s more than mildly annoying when our Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) issues a review about homeopathy which is wildly biased, and says there are “no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy was effective”. They seem to have considered the statements made by sceptics but it seems that none of the carefully written reports from the courteous homeopathy organizations have been considered.
It’s even more annoying to discover that the committee doing the review did not include anyone who had expertise in homeopathic research. However, the committee did include a member of an Australian group who are openly sceptical of homeopathy. This would seem a rather strange and biased way to conduct a review.
Instead of pretending to be only mildly annoyed about this when my well mannered profession is ignored, or treated unjustly, I must remember that this is nothing new. The history of medicine and homeopathy is cluttered with the remains of unnecessary criticism from both sides. Since homeopathy has been in use for more than 200 years there is a spring clean needed to clear the pathways leading to open dialogue. The more passionate that anybody becomes about their beliefs, the more difficult it is for them to put down their placards and exercise friendly open mindedness. I don’t use the word friendly lightly because after all, one of our sceptics organisations is called Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) and one of our homeopathy organisations is called Friends of Homeopathy (FOH).
What’s the definition of friend?
Surely friends are supposed to listen to each other and are able to have a serious conversation. I found an apt definition of the word friend: “A friend is someone for whom you’re willing to change your opinions. A friend is someone you look forward to seeing and who looks forward to seeing you: someone you like so much, it doesn’t matter if you share interests or traits. A friend is someone you like so much, you start to like the things they like.” I don’t think that either organisation needs to go quite that far, but you get my point.
There are some people with such a passion for science that they have become a member of the FSM. I am interested in those people who care so much about science. They are the ones I would like to invite to exercise true scepticism, when it comes to thinking about homeopathy. And what exactly does that mean? Surely a definition of true scepticism includes the ability to question and therefore perhaps even change your mind when different evidence comes to light. Call this open-minded if you want to. Friends listen to each other don’t they? They try to be open minded.
On the other hand there are sceptics who may say they are open to new information but they automatically react with negative criticisms when their assumptions are challenged. I don’t understand where their vehemence against homeopathy comes from, other than seeing them as pseudo-sceptics with bad manners. However, I can see that there are some other people who have a passion to uphold the scientific point of view. I do respect their passion and can see they have got their own good reasons to stay with their point of view.
200 million people use homeopathy
And it gets me thinking. Our clinic right now is busier than it ever has been. Every day, what I see in practice is people choosing homeopathy out of informed choice, rather than ignorance — often after they’ve been through what is on offer from conventional medicine and found it lacking, or with unacceptable side effects. In these cases, people vote with their feet, just like over 200 million people worldwide, who use homeopathy on a regular basis. Interesting that our NHMRC report declared (I will repeat it) that there are “no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy was effective.” But 200 million people use it? Clearly, some part of the review process excluded the many surveys about why people continue to seek out homeopathy.
We are left with a problem. Homeopathy is in global use and people like using it. That part is easy to figure out but the hard part is figuring out exactly why homeopathic medicine works. This seems to be the nub of the problem, though we do have the beginnings of good evidence due to the work of Dr Luc Montagnier. He is well known as the virologist who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the Aids virus but he is little known as a supporter of homeopathy. He argues that water is capable of retaining some form of ‘memory.’ This has gone part way to explaining one of the most controversial features of homeopathy, being the dilution in water of medicinal substances.
Perhaps one day soon, scientists will prove beyond all doubt what the mechanism of action of homeopathy is, but in the meantime, because homeopathic practitioners keep seeing successful resolution of cases we have a duty to continue working with homeopathy as our patients demand. Where homeopathy is not applicable my colleagues and I send people to their local Doctor. No big deal.
Three challenges to my friends who are true sceptics
So, here are my three challenges to those true sceptics with a passion for science and for their own good reasons can’t yet find a place for homeopathy in their realm.
- Please look at your preconceived notions of how the human body works because there is a lot we still don’t know and lately these preconceived notions are being turned upside down. Witness the explosion of research into health being governed by gut flora.
- Science is a paradigm. It’s a way of seeing things. A way of seeing things is not necessarily the truth and it’s almost as if the scientific paradigm has become THE truth of reality. If it was always the truth then it wouldn’t have changed it’s mind so often over time. When something doesn’t fit into a scientific paradigm that doesn’t render it ineffective and to think it does, is perhaps narrow minded.
- Why not see what happens when, in good faith, you take an individually-prescribed homeopathic remedy from an experienced homeopath. Then you can form a truly balanced and informed opinion.
In the late 90’s, a challenge like this was given to sceptic Harry Edwards in a letter to the editor of our local newspaper The Manly Daily. We were replying after Harry had written many entertaining Letters To The Editor ridiculing homeopathy.
To our delight, Harry (being a true sceptic) took the challenge and he came along for a consult. Harry had the usual full homeopathy consultation. He went away surprised about the depth of questioning, careful taking of health history and attention to both physical and emotional details and he said, “Do you spend that amount of time with everyone?” I went away surprised that he didn’t really know much about the process of the consult and what homeopaths actually do.
At the time I didn’t think he changed his view on homeopathy, but he expressed thanks for the opportunity to have a dialogue. But now I wonder about that, after reading an article that has recently surfaced, written by Harry in 2000 titled Sceptical of the Sceptics where he says:
“Many people, for one reason or another, find themselves unable to cope adequately with everyday problems where emotions are involved. They are unable to stand back and view their situations objectively. They may not be aware of the many institutions, organisations and associations available to give them counselling so they turn to those who profess magical powers for advice and reassurance. Judging by the proliferation of psychic counsellors, clairvoyants, tarot readers, alternative health therapists and others of similar genre, the demand is there. One can only conclude therefore, that their clientele are satisfied with their services and are getting value for money. The success of Australian Sceptics in encouraging people to abandon those they so eagerly label “charlatans” is questionable…….Today, the association serves to embrocate the egos of a few members, and pander to the converted…”
Despite the changing nature of sceptics organisations over the years, these words from fifteen years ago carry a still valid message with Harry Edwards then at his literary best. Who else could have used the beautiful word ‘embrocate’ in the same sentence as ‘ego’ to describe other fellow sceptics and get away with it?
Fast forward to 2015, when the sceptics groups are campaigning with more than just a witty use of words. One of the positives from their current campaigns is a request for more evidence and more research, which is in parallel with FOH who have a vision for encouraging both research and freedom of choice in medicine. I am happy about a request for more research, because a grant should hopefully follow.
Imagine a future in Australia where there is an uncluttered pathway leading to grants, more research and collaboration between homeopathy, science and conventional medicine? To a small extent this happens in Australia as we speak but there are countries where this is happening already to a large extent. Witness the annual budget for the study of yoga, meditation, alternative therapies and homeopathy in India being $174 million. So let’s imagine a future in Australia where we are able to carry out the much-asked-for research about homeopathy. We could have a cutting edge, contemporary, healthcare system incorporating the best from both conventional medicine and homeopathic medicine.
Ask as you may, the idea of having a homeopathic mad hatters party didn’t come from me. Or Sherree or any of the people involved in it. It was more like some wise swirling strangeness that descended and we let it unfold. Though it is true that the idea was sitting there half formed, after the Australian Homeopathic Association conference in Tasmania 2014. At the time we (at the Aurum Project) were already talking about how it would be good to do continuing education in a different format. After all, don’t we soak in concepts and learn better when we are playing? And less if we sit in a lecture room. You don’t have to be seven years old like the wildly curious Alice in Wonderland to know that.
I also know that I understood little about the rabbit’s milk proving when I bought the proving book from the Similimum Homeopathic Pharmacy stand at the Tasmanian conference, which just happened to be beside our Aurum Project stand. (A proving is one type of homeopathic research. It is used to uncover what symptoms a homeopathic medicine can be used to treat. And yes, rabbits milk can be used as a medicine when it is turned into a homeopathic remedy!)
So at least one month after Tasmania, I finally unpacked my bag and found the proving book and took it to bed to read. Out of the proving, jumps the theme of going down a rabbit’s hole into the world of Alice in Wonderland. Following immediately on from that, a patient gave me a present after visiting Disney World and it was a tin of Alice in Wonderland tea, yes, they crazily do sell such a thing.
Listen to the whispers and pay attention to coincidence we are told.
Not too much later, I discovered that there is a book called The Mad Hatters Tea Party[i] by homeopath Melissa Assilem. (Sorry, Melissa I had never heard of the book before). It was published in 2002 and has been reprinted four times. It really is worth reading for a deep understanding of remedies like Thea and Saccharum (tea and sugar).
Then it was pointed out to me that 2015 marks the year when we celebrate 150 years since the writing of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To quote from Alice in the book, “This is impossible.” And the answer back from the mad hatter, “Only if you believe it is.” With so many moments of synchronicity: the idea of a mad homeopaths tea party was set.
In those years since it was published, the book has taken on a life of its own and has been printed in more than 70 languages. It’s been made into films, video games, and even rides in theme parks. Alice in Wonderland even has a syndrome (AIWS) named after it: is a neurological condition that distorts perception, causing disorientation and a warping of the senses. Little wonder (that’s a pun by the way!) that this children’s story is the third most quoted book in the Western world only after Shakespeare and the Bible.
This can only happen because the characters and the symbolism all through the book rings so true in some deep recess of our brain. Especially, deep in the slightly mad, counter-intuitive world of homeopathic practitioners.
Imagine the curveball, when I discovered in early April that the ideas in the book are in part moulded from homeopathic materia medica. Because of migraines, the author, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) was a patient of James Compten Burnett, the famous homeopath. So even though Charles was a mathematics lecturer, he had a great interest in unusual states of consciousness and he immersed himself in homeopathic texts.[ii]
All of these pieces of new information were starting to be delivered not as a whisper but more like a great magic thump of “You’re not going to believe this”.
Here’s the bit that I love: the character of the white rabbit was not derived by Charles from any proving because The Lac Oryctolagus (rabbits milk) proving was conducted in 1997 by Claire Bleakley. Yet the Alice in Wonderland rabbit character is absolutely in line with the proving with all the dithering and “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date”. Charles and Claire both plugged into information which is there to be accessed by all, whether it be the detective work of the homeopathic proving method in 1997 or the authors zest for archetypical truth in 1865.
The first time I ever heard someone discuss archetypes or homeopathic remedies as a character, was in a discussion on the remedy Mercurius and the mad hatter story came up. Every homeopathic student has loved that story and used it to help learn how to decode the seemingly mad not-what-you-think world of homeopathic provings.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
As homeopaths sitting in the consult room, we strive to find a remedy capable of healing a little madness. It doesn’t matter whether it is coming out as physical symptoms or emotional symptoms, we do well to allow ourselves and the person sitting with us to just be real. The first part of any healing is deciding that there is a problem. No pretending or happy faces. Really this is one of the great parts of being a homeopath, I can be real, I can say yes I like eating chocolate, and sometimes I get frustrated and sometimes I’m a little mad.
So in the meant-to-be spirit of learning, fun and the benefits of a little madness this fundraising Aurum Project Mad Hatters party is happening on the 2nd May and of course Claire Bleakley (with Rabbits milk information tucked in her brain) said she would hop over the Tasman to join us.
Yes now it’s time to book a ticket Mad Hatters Tea Party
It’s heartening to look at some statistics on how Australians and other countries around the world make use of complementary and alternative medicines. In fact a large number (90%) of Australian doctors get asked about natural medicines by their patients (Australian Family Physician, June 2000, 29, 6, 602-606). In France, 40% of the Doctors themselves prescribe Homeopathy, and the patients using Homeopathy cost the French government half of that for patients who use orthodox treatments (Archives of Family Medicine, 1998, 7, 537-540).
It’s not so heartening hearing about what our own Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have recently said about homeopathy, one of the most widely used complementary medicines in the world.
Despite such positive statistics about the use of homeopathy by the public, there is a movement across the Western world against homeopathy, in favour of the more ‘evidence based’ medicines which have been fortunate enough to enjoy a wealth of funding for research. Despite the fact that there has been precious little funding for study into homeopathy, it is one of the fastest growing areas of research as homeopaths, medical professionals and other scientists around the world unite to answer some of the burning questions Homeopathy brings with it.
Homeopathy around the world
Unfortunately, unless you’re in one of the countries of the less developed world, or you happen to be Swiss, it’s likely your government will prefer for you not to use Homeopathy to treat your health complaints, despite its obvious cost effectiveness. This is the way Australia has been headed for quite a while now, and the latest inquiry the NHMRC has just released is trying to push homeopathy further and further away from the reach of all Australians. It means that this wonderful system of health care, which offers effective and gentle treatment for all kinds of health issues, as well as potentially providing many alternatives to reduce the antibiotic crisis, may gradually become more and more difficult to practice. You may no longer be able to take your three year old to the homeopath for an earache, despite Homeopathy offering one of the most effective treatments for middle ear issues. If you are suffering from a tummy bug, you may just have to wait it out rather than finding relief in a dose of Arsenicum or Nux vomica from your first aid kit that you have on hand for such occasions. As for chronic, ongoing complaints…….
Scientific evidence and homeopathy
Well, despite the fact that there is quite a mountain of viable evidence that is growing by the day, it continues to be bandied about in conventional circles that there isn’t enough evidence to justify homeopathy’s continued use in Australia. That’s what the NHMRC thinks anyway. The double blind, placebo controlled, randomised clinical trial is considered to be the gold standard of science when looking at the effectiveness of a substance on a particular health issue. The only thing is, if you know anything about homeopathy, one of its strengths is that it works on a highly individual basis. If two people come in with a cough, it’s highly likely each will get a different homeopathic remedy depending on their symptoms: what time the cough is at its worst; how the cough came about; and any other mitigating factors that are relevant.
There is not much chance for such a scenario to fit the double blind placebo controlled randomised trial model, since it is imperative for the homeopath to intimately know the symptoms of their client, as well as to put a lot of thought into their choice of remedy. I call that really good client care, but the NHMRC call it unscientific. They would prefer for such treatments to be a one size fits all type approach like pharmaceuticals, which fit very nicely into the gold standard of research, especially when there are millions of dollars to throw at it.
Even with these restrictions it’s possible to find quite a few gold standard studies on homeopathy and I have included a great (unrefuted) one here. This study makes the very valid point that more research into homeopathy is needed, especially those with more participants. If only they had looked into the Leptospirosis study done on millions of people in Cuba, but that seems to have escaped their attention. You can find more on that here.
You can be assured that the NHMRC will act on its ‘findings’ that homeopathy is no better than placebo. In the coming months you may or may not notice changes to the homeopathic community. In the UK, after a similar ‘investigation’ was made into the effectiveness of homeopathy, it became increasingly difficult to access homeopathic remedies and many homeopaths lost their businesses.
I have just witnessed on youtube one of the most well known groups of homeopaths in Belgium take down their sign after twenty-plus years of practice, since in Belgium it is now no longer legal to practise homeopathy unless one is a qualified medical doctor. It’s not in English but you see what’s happening anyway, I can tell you it doesn’t make great bedtime viewing if you are a homeopath, or a dedicated user of homeopathy.
How can you help?
The pollies must be getting sick of the letters that homeopaths have written over the last few weeks/months/years. They won’t listen to us any more. But they will listen to you. We have provided a sample letter which will be more effective if you customise it to your own wording. We need your help urgently if homeopathy in Australia is to continue to grow and thrive as it has done in the past decade. This growth can’t be explained in any other way aside from: it works! And how do I know it works? Well, not only have I seen it with my own eyes on my kids, husband, friends, family and myself, I have also seen it time and again on my clients. Yet again my fellow homeopaths and I face another threat to homeopathy in Australia, this one worse than any previous attacks in the past.
There is little more that we ourselves as homeopaths can do to protect homeopathy in Australia. Now it’s up to you. Even if you take the time out to write just one letter, if every one of our clients did this there would be over three thousand letters! You the people hold the power to save homeopathy, and there isn’t much time that we have been given. These letters must be in by the 2nd June, so get writing ASAP to make your letter count! There are some instructions below as well as the addresses of politicians to address your letter to. Thanks once again for your help in preserving Australia’s health choices.
There is some urgency to our plea. The status of Homeopathy in Australia is in question. Our government needs to hear from you. Apparently more than one milllion Australians regularly make use of homeopathy but what if you could no longer come to our clinic and buy your Arnica or Belladonna or….? You can either send your letters by post or by email. To make things easier we have included a sample letter below that you can customise if you wish.
Please type your name at the bottom of each letter you are sending and, if you are sending it by post, leave enough space to sign it above your printed name.
You also need to change the recipient at the top of the letter, either with their full address (post) or email address if you are going to send it by email. Please send your letter soon before the end of May.
The Hon. Jillian Skinner
The Hon. Jai Rowell
The Hon. Dr Andrew McDonald
The Hon. Tania Mihailuk
This is your opportunity to join in positive action for our profession and the rights of the Australian public to choose their health care.
Please send your letters as soon as possible!
Sample letter to send
The Hon. ………….. MP
Minister for ……………
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
I am a supporter of homeopathy and freedom of choice with regards to health care. I urge you to continue to support the practice and teaching of homeopathy in Australia, allowing Australians to continue to access homeopathic health care. It would appear that the recent report from the NHMRC seeks to stop this right of the Australian community and of professional homeopaths to practise freely.
The NHMRC recently reported that ‘there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.’ In coming to this conclusion, it completely failed to follow the guidelines of its own inquiry and routinely omitted the consideration of legitimate and more relevant forms of evidence.
Despite this finding, homeopathy is practised widely and utilised widely by Australian citizens, many of whom claim to achieve tremendous benefit in a range of conditions. Homeopathy is practised globally and is acknowledged and supported by the governments of countries including India, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland and Cuba.
Patients have the right as citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia to choose from a range of health care services that includes homeopathy and conventional medical care. They are not coerced into homeopathic treatment, nor are they deluded as critics such as the profession’s detractors assert.
I assert that it is my right to access homeopathic services freely. Indeed, it would be unconstitutional to prohibit the practice of homeopathy or to prevent, in any manner whatsoever, a citizen’s right to access treatment from a health professional who is registered according to government guidelines for self-regulating professions.
It is for these reasons that I write to express my frustration with the NHMRC report, which I believe is intended to prevent me from access to the health care of my choice.
I look to knowing your intentions in regards to supporting the public’s freedom of choice in a pluralistic health care system.
Homeopathy in Australia
Why should Australia be nicer to Homeopathy? I find the attitude of the Australian bureaucracy towards complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies to be a little odd at times. If you are at all interested in this area, you may have noticed it too. The Australian scientific medical watchdog, the NHMRC, have in the last few years put much negative focus on the practice of CAM therapies, especially homeopathy. The latest move by the NHMRC has been to request submissions from both sides of the fence in order to put together a statement on whether homeopathy should be considered a valid form of medicine in Australia. This is similar to an attempt by the British House of Commons in 2010, designed to discredit and restrict the practice of homeopathy in the UK. That attempt was not endorsed by the parliament, which ruled that to restrict and discredit homeopathic treatments was “illiberal.” The matter was dropped. The only problem was, in the course of this “investigation” many homeopaths lost their practices and were forced out of their much loved livelihoods due to the negative press surrounding the issue. The same is now happening here in Australia and I have included a link to the letter the Australian Homeopathic Association sent the NHMRC: http://www.homeopathyoz.org/downloads/Ana-Lamaro-re-NHMRC1.pdf .
These days it seems like there’s a conspiracy theory for everything; from the rise of GMO in our food, to alien invasions and the opposition towards CAM therapies, homeopathy in particular. Today I have been inspired to explore some of those theories as to why homeopathy is so popular in some countries that it’s been included on their national equivalent of Medicare; whereas in others it lurks in the background or even the underground, the knowledge carried silently and defiantly in the hopes that one day it can be celebrated once again for the incredible and useful modality it is.
Conventional medicine vs homeopathy
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the best of conventional medicine could be used side by side with the best of homeopathy and other CAM modalities? What a healthy world it would be! Sadly, in Australia this is not so, and it’s far from the first time homeopathy has come under fire from the conventional medicine camp, as well as those in government. Back in the days when homeopathy was first brought into being by Dr Hahnemann in the late seventeen hundreds, he faced incredible opposition from the apothecaries of the time who regularly gave high doses of substances such as mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxic purgatives. It was believed such heroic treatments would rid the body of its evil humors and bring the person back to health. Of course we can only imagine how much extra suffering these so-called treatments caused, on top of the original complaints. Many people hold similar concerns for side effects of certain conventional medicines today. In fact Dr Hanemann’s biggest bug-bear was the fact that such heroic means were in direct contravention with the original mantra of medicine: first, do no harm, and he attracted a lot of hostility in his drive to make the practice of medicine safer. In the years since, homeopathy has repeatedly been the target of many and varied attempts to sabotage it by the pharmaceutical equivalents of the time. The fact that the WHO labels homeopathy as one of the most widely used and popular natural modalities in the world today is testament to the true effectiveness and safety of homeopathy, and gives hope to all who feel passionately about its effectiveness.
Does anyone else worry even a little about this issue? I quote a part of the official web page dedicated to Antibiotic Awareness Week 2013: Antibiotic resistance has been labelled one of the greatest threats to human existence today. Shall I repeat that, just to make it have more impact?
But, despite this, never have we been so immersed in a soup of ever increasing and potentially dangerous antibiotics that we have to work increasingly hard to avoid. How do we reduce our antibiotic intake if they are even present in the food we eat?
Homeopathy is one of the modalities that offers an alternative, and a very viable one at that. There have been few explorations of research into the field of homeopathy’s antibacterial properties, however, those who have ventured to research it find that there is no money on offer from funding bodies.
But why does conventional belief refute homeopathy?
Well, firstly there’s the little issue of money. Given that big business tends to like money, we will start our little exploration with the fact that, even back in the days of Dr Hahnemann, the apothecaries did not like to sell homeopathics because they couldn’t make loads of money from them. Drugs were sold by weight, and since homeopathic medicines carry very little weight, there was very little money to be made from them. Another issue with homeopathic medicines is that they cannot be patented, meaning that a big pharmaceutical company may not own the monopoly over them and charge people hundreds of thousands of dollars to use them. That in itself would probably be enough to ensure only the most passionate of homeopaths stayed in business, but there’s a whole lot more to this story. For those who would like to know more about the history of homeopathy from a financial standpoint you can read about this here: http://www.classichomeopathy.com/discovery/criticism.html
Research and evidence based medicine in homeopathy
Many sceptics of homeopathy will tell you how there’s no proof that homeopathy works. This standpoint may have been somewhat believable even five years ago; however the scientific community has literally been bombarded of late with clinical trials exploring this area of science. It is a relatively new area and one that may come to explain much that was previously impossible to understand according to outdated but still widely held traditional theories. To say the same thing in a different way, it’ll be great once old school science tosses out its limited, materialistic beliefs and happily embraces a much broader perception of universal reality, because then homeopathy will sit at the forefront of medicine as being one of the most advanced and sophisticated health modalities used today…… I could only dream of such a time! And if you think I’m joking, read on. A homeopathic preparation consists of a super high dilution of a particular substance and, unless you are a molecular physicist or biochemist who understands the role of ultra high dilutions and how they work in the body, it’s not an easy topic to understand. But, the main point of all this technical speak is that there are many, many studies these days showing plenty of evidence for the validity of homeopathy, both from a clinical perspective as well as how ultra high dilutions behave in a petri dish. For those who want more information you can find it here. http://www.homeopathyoz.org/whatisResearch.asp
And here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9553836
And here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23973403/
And here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/homeopathy/ucm2102.htm
You get the picture, right? Great, now we can move on to some more controversial stuff.
Homeopathy represents a threat to the pharmaceutical companies
Being a complimentary modality, people often use homeopathy and other CAM modalities for issues that can’t be resolved using conventional medicine. Well, that’s all fine, but homeopathy is becoming well known as being able to treat on par with, and often even more effectively than conventional medicine in many areas of health previously dominated by conventional medicine. Even more of a threat, is that homeopathy carries virtually no risk, is cost effective and not habit forming. More about that here, in which the Swiss government have recently included homeopathy on the equivalent of their medicare system after an in depth investigation into homeopathy’s real world effectivenenss. If you have a particular issue, such as pain, and you take pain killers, it’s likely you will need more and more of them in order to keep the pain at bay for the long term. That’s setting you up for all manner of side effects, but even more than that it makes you into a good consumer of pharmaceuticals. Homeopathy on the other hand, holds the philosophy that if you find and treat the cause of the issue, you may eventually be free of that troubling symptom, negating the need for lifelong dependence on anything. That doesn’t sit well with pharmaceutical companies, for obvious reasons.
Imagine a society that wanted to treat the cause of their problems rather than just getting rid of annoying symptoms…… I will keep dreaming. (Key in lovely music while images of utopia float through your mind…)
I have left this till last because it is the most controversial issue in homeopathy today. So what is homeoprophylaxis (or HP for short)? HP is a system of disease control originally thought up by Hahnemann and developed over the years by various homeopaths in response to local epidemics. HP has been very effective in the past at reducing deaths from a whole range of infectious diseases. You can find out more from here in an article which describes the largest ever successful HP program to date. And a more general informational article here: http://www.nwch.co.uk/attachments/SoHVAC3Introduction-to-Homeoprophylaxis.pdf
Fran Sheffield was one of those homeopaths who explored HP in depth on her website and drew the attention of the HCCC. I will say no more on this topic of Australia homeopathy.
Can you please help spread the word that Australia Should Be Nicer To Homeopathy?
It seems a little sad to me that such a wonderful and holistic system of medicine isn’t being more utilised in Australia. Research at the Aurum Project (the first natural medicine charity in Australia www.aurumproject.org.au) has found that homeopathy has had quite stunning success with treating childhood ear issues, which are among the most common reasons for a child to visit the doctor. Imagine if this issue alone could be taken off the overloaded conventional system, where antibiotics and surgery cost Medicare hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars every year, and don’t necessarily resolve the problem long term. Looking at homeopathic treatment, it amounts to a fraction of the cost, with far less potential of side effects and a greater chance of a positive long term outcome. This setup seems to make little sense to me from my homeopathic point of view, and I wonder how many people “out there” feel the same way? If there are any of you who feel as strongly about homeopathy in Australia as we do at the Harbord homeopathic Clinic, then there are a number of ways to show your support. Here is a link that is still valid and if there are enough people who send in their positive experiences about homeopathy, the NHMRC may reconsider its rather heavy handed approach: http://www.atms.com.au/tag/homeopathy/
Support The Aurum Project to wave the Australia Homeopathy flag
Dedicated to homeopathic research, The Aurum Project is looking at the next stage in its ear research in children. A pilot study is to be designed comparing the use of homeopathic treatment of recurring ear infections and glue ear, to conventional treatment. In order to conduct that important research, the Aurum Project relies on funding from generous supporters.
Here’s my call to action: can you please donate just $30 to homeopathic research in Australia by becoming a member of the Aurum Project. OR a recurring monthly donation of just $5 really does make a difference. That is, it really makes a difference when we all give the cost of one coffee a month. Members will receive updates on the latest homeopathy research. To donate to help support Australian research, please click here.
Your Support Is Needed
Our clinic wants to ask you to help support Fran Sheffield, regarding her stand for Homeopathy. She has an upcoming court case in which she is making a stand for all of us (homeopaths and the public) in Australia.
On November 18, she will be in the Federal Court of Australia defending homeopathy against claims by the ACCC that homeopathy is a misleading and deceptive practice. But because we as homeopaths and the organisations that represent us have chosen appeasement and conciliation in recent years rather than firm statements of what we know to be true, it will now make our defence in Court so much harder.
Her fight is your fight and $11,500.00 has to be raised over the next week to fund her legal team’s final preparations.
If you are a homeopath, someone who uses homeopathy, or an allied alternative health practitioner we hope you will help as the outcome of this case will affect you. If the ACCC is allowed to stop us sharing important homeopathic information that is in the public interest a precedent will be set that allows them to do the same with you – as a practitioner you can look to a future in which you will be limited in what you say, and as a user of alternative therapies you will be restricted in what you can hear.
Instead of capitulating under the pressure Fran decided it was time to draw a line in the sand and say, enough is enough – this far and no further! The erosion of our rights as homeopaths and the rights of our patients has to stop. We hope you agree.
We realise that this is a difficult time for everyone but this is a serious situation that will affect you all. It is important for each of us that a strong defence is mounted in this case. Can you see your way clear to donating $100 before the end of this week to ensure that happens? If $100 is too much, please consider giving what you can – any amount would truly be appreciated and will certainly make a difference. Contributions to the Fighting Fund can be made in one of the following ways:
1. Donate by card over the phone at 02 4304 0822 (International callers: +612 4304 0822)
2. Make a PayPal payment to: firstname.lastname@example.org – remember to add FIGHTING FUND in the comments section and we will send you a receipt.
3. Direct deposit funds into the following designated account – be sure to email email@example.com with the amount and FIGHTING FUND in the subject line if you would like a receipt:
Westpac Account: Fighting Fund
BSB: 032 627
4. Fax your credit card details and the amount you want to give to 02 4044 0153 (international faxes: +612 4044 0153)
5. Mail your cheque to:
7b / 1 Pioneer Avenue
Tuggerah NSW 2259
Ph: (612) 4304 0822
Support for keeping complementary medicine courses in universities continues to increase. “Removing complementary medicine courses from universities will not reduce public demand, but it may reduce their educational rigour”, says an editorial in the 16 July issue of the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA). “We can see great danger for the public if complementary medicine practice is allowed to develop outside mainstream education”, Professor Stephen Myers and coauthors wrote.
Professor Myers, from the natural medicine research unit at Southern Cross University, was responding to an editorial published in the 5 March issue of the MJA by Alastair MacLennan, from University of Adelaide. In that article, Professor MacLennan, from a group called Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM), condemned the growth of Australian university based complementary medicine courses.
According to Professor Myers, “the real benefit of an appropriately mentored and approved university education is the exposure of students to the biomedical sciences, epidemiology and population health, differential diagnosis, safe practice and critical appraisal”. In another article in the same issue of the MJA, Professor Paul Komesaroff, from the Department of Medicine at Monash University, and coauthors wrote that the MacLennan editorial exceeds “the boundaries of reasoned debate and risk compromising the values that FSM claims to support”.
Professor Komesaroff said that while there was now an extensive evidence base in relation to complementary therapies, the concept of evidence-based medicine was highly contested and debated within Western medicine itself. It is not appropriate, he argued, for doctors or scientists with a particular view of medicine to impose those views on the whole community; rather, they should respect the rights of individuals to choose the approach to health care they feel is suitable for them.“It is important that those who seek to be friends of science do not inadvertently become its enemies. We call on the members of FSM to revise their tactics and instead support open, respectful dialogue in the great spirit and tradition of science itself”, Professor Komesaroff wrote.