Homeopathy4health

15 June 2008

Homeopathy, Medicine, Science and Cognitive Dissonance

Given that more and more people globally are using homeopathy with benefit for all kinds of ill-health; its effectiveness in treating epidemics: cholera, influenza (here and here); its integration into the Indian medical system; and the World Health Organisation reporting that it is the number 2 medical system in the world (but you won’t find that report anywhere, it’s been buried), I can only conclude that the reason why conventional medics and scientists might genuinely (rather than wilfully because of love of science itself, self-interest or pharmaceutical allegiances taking priority over the health of patients) refuse to use and investigate homeopathy is because they are suffering from what is termed ‘cognitive dissonance’. www.learningandteaching.info describes it well:

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become “open” to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners’ current beliefs and “reality”.  
Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go “over the top”, leading to two interesting side-effects for learning:

  • if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget’s terms.             
  • and—counter-intuitively, perhaps—if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are less likely to concede that the content of what has been learned is useless, pointless or valueless. To do so would be to admit that one has been “had”, or “conned”.

Ordeal is therefore an effective — if spurious — way of conferring value on an educational (or any other) experience. “No pain, no gain”, as they say.

  • the more difficult it is to get on a course, the more participants are likely to value it and view it favourably regardless of its real quality.
  • ditto, the more expensive it is.
  • the more obscure and convoluted the subject, the more profound it must be. This has of course been exploited for years to persuade us of the existence of the emperor’s clothes, particularly by French “intellectuals” and “post-structuralists”. (I recently came across the wonderful phrase “intellectual flatulence” which perfectly describes such rubbish.)

It is not, however, so much the qualities of the course which are significant, as the amount of effort which participants have to put in: so the same qualification may well be valued more by the student who had to struggle for it than the student who sailed through.”

As medicine and science is very hard to get into and arduous to study, it seems to fulfill several of the above criteria.

29 April 2008

Eighth new homeopathy hospital in Indian state opened by Finance minister

The New India Press reports that more people in the growing Indian economy will benefit from cost-effective homeopathic treatment in the state of Andhra Pradesh:

TIRUPATI: Finance Minister K Rosaiah inaugurated Positive Homeopathy Clinic here on Monday. It is the eighth homeopathy hospital set up by Dr Manu’s Group in the State.

Speaking on the occasion, Rosaiah said homeopathy was a costeffective system of medicine. The Centre and the State Government are making every effort to promote the Indian systems of medicine.

Ayush is one step in this direction. The State Government launched Rajiv Arogyasri scheme to provide corporate medicare to the poor people. The novel health scheme was appreciated by other states, he said.

The Finance Minister appreciated Positive Homeopathy Hospital chairman Sreekar Manu for setting up the hospital in Tirupati to provide better medicare to people.

Sreekar Manu said the main objective of the hospital was to provide quality medicare to people at an affordable cost. Former Assembly speaker Agarala Eswar Reddy, hospital directors AM Reddy, Kiran Kumar, Tariq Mahmood and others were present.”

As I reported before “Homeopathy is integrated into the general system of health care in India and our study shows that one in ten consumers have consulted a homeopath in the last year.” Global TGI Barometer January 2008 Issue 33

14 March 2008

Consumer attitudes towards alternative therapies and homeopathy around the world

Global TGI Barometer January 2008 Issue 33

A combination of reduced faith in conventional treatments and the growth in availability of alternative remedies has led to a rise in the popularity of alternative medicine around the world. 

Using the latest research from Global TGI, we investigate consumer attitudes towards alternative therapies in different parts of the world.

Divergent attitudes

The results of the studies suggest that acceptance of alternative therapies varies a good deal from country to country. This is likely to be caused by a combination of cultural factors and variance in the regulation of its use.

Focusing on the proportion of consumers in each country who say that they ‘trust homeopathic medicine’, we see a considerable divergence of opinion. Almost two thirds of consumers in India** say that they trust homeopathy compared with less than a fifth in the US and Great Britain.

Homeopathy supporters…

In India, alternative treatments are a well established means of combating illness, with an impressive 94% of people saying that they have faith in alternative remedies. Homeopathy is integrated into the general system of health care in India and our study shows that one in ten consumers have consulted a homeopath in the last year.

Other strong supporters of homeopathy can be found in Latin America and the Middle East. Around half of the population in Brazil, Chile, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates say that they trust homeopathic medicine.

…and cynics

In many countries, particularly in Europe, consumers are less convinced. At 15% agreement, Britons are the least trusting of homeopathy, and only 1 in 10 say that they prefer alternative medicine. Even in Germany, the birth place of homeopathy, just 27% of people trust this kind of treatment. France is the European market in which people are most trusting of homeopathy.

Why go alternative?

There are many reasons why many consumers are increasingly turning to alternative remedies to complement more conventional medicine. One theory is that consumers are choosing more and more to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. The internet has had a large impact in this respect, with consumers being given access to unlimited health information online. In the US for example, where we have seen a slow but steady increase in the proportion of people who say that they ‘prefer alternative medicine to standard medicine’ over the past five years, a third of the population now gathers healthcare information on the internet.

At the same time, people are becoming increasingly health-conscious. Taking Brazil as an example, 9 out of 10 people who trust homeopathic medicine say that they would pay anything where health is concerned, and one third claim that friends ask for their advice on health and nutrition matters. In Germany and Great Britain, half of those who trust homeopathic medicine believe that they should do more about their health.

Who uses alternative medicine?

According to Global TGI research, people aged 35 and over are generally more likely than their younger counterparts to turn to alternative medicine, and acceptance of the practice appears to increase with age. In Germany for example, 30% of 45-54 year olds say that they trust homeopathic medicine, compared with just 20% of 18-24 year olds. The research also shows a clear gender divide, with women generally more in favour of alternative medicine than men. In Chile for example, women are 24% more likely than men to say that they trust homeopathic medicine.

An alternative cure

Homeopathy is typically used to treat chronic or recurrent conditions and our research shows that people who have faith homeopathic remedies are generally more likely to have suffered from such complaints. In the US for example, homeopathy supporters are 57% more likely than average to suffer from eczema or psoriasis, 29% more likely to have asthma and 22% more likely to suffer from allergies or hay fever. In France, people who have suffered the same ailments were found to be 50% more likely than average to have consulted an alternative health practitioner in the last 12 months.

Base: Individuals aged 18+

* Respondents from urban areas only

** Respondents from ABC socio-economic groups in urban areas

10 December 2007

Growing acceptance of Homeopathy – under threat in UK

Homeopathy is gaining acceptance in large economies such as India and France.  Unfortunately a small group of skeptic scientists  are impeding its use in Britain by a concerted propaganda campaign against NHS homeopathic hospitals, homeopathy and homeopathic professionals.   Is it moral to prevent the UK taxpayer access to a form of medicine that many people find effective worldwide?  Will we all end up having to go abroad for treatment?

Homeo biz to touch $500m: Times of India 10th December 2007

‘Sujata Dutta Sachdeva | TNN

New Delhi: For years, it has grown quietly in the shadows of the pharma industry, settling for second place to allopathy. But now things are changing fast. Finally, the Indian homeopathy industry is coming out on its own. Estimated to be worth Rs 1,250 crore, the industry is now growing at 25-30% and by 2010, it’s expected to touch Rs 2,600 crore. In fact, more and more people are turning to homeopathy as a first line of treatment, especially for chronic ailments. That’s because it has effective remedies for many diseases now. Perhaps this explains the sudden mushrooming of practitioners in every corner of urban India. Realising its importance, many hospitals too have started enlisting homeopaths in their panel of doctors.
   Interestingly, not only India, the homeopathy industry has seen exceptional growth across the globe. The size of the global industry has gone beyond Rs 135 billion and it’s growing at around 25% per annum. At Rs 45 billion, France has the largest homeopathy industry in the world. This was revealed by a study done by Assocham. ‘

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