Homeopathy4health

4 May 2008

Homeopathy ‘as effective’ as standard care for eczema

I know it’s been reported on other blogs but I thought I’d include it on mine as well, for completeness sake.

UK GP website Pulse reports:

Homeopathy is as effective as conventional therapy in children with eczema, concludes the first prospective cohort study to compare the treatments.

The German study in 118 children with eczema found conventional treatment by GPs was equally as effective as homeopathic treatment in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life.

Symptom scores, as assessed by patients or their parents at one year, were not significantly different, although physician scores for eczema signs and symptom scores were significantly improved in the homoeopathically treated group.

The authors said this trial in primary care provided good evidence for the use of homeopathy for the treatment of eczema and gave a ‘more realistic picture’ of eczema therapy than that seen in a placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial.”

The research is published in the latest issue of Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal. Which describes itself as:

“Complementary Therapies in Medicine is an international, peer-reviewed journal that has considerable appeal to anyone who seeks objective and critical information on complementary therapies or who wishes to deepen their understanding of these approaches. It will be of particular interest to healthcare practitioners including family practitioners, complementary therapists, nurses, and physiotherapists; to academics including social scientists and CAM researchers; to healthcare managers; and to patients.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine aims to publish valid, relevant and rigorous research and serious discussion articles with the main purpose of improving healthcare. The journal believes that good healthcare needs to be based on clinical judgement and the available evidence on what is safe and effective, integrating conventional and complementary therapies as appropriate.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine publishes a variety of articles including primary research, reviews and opinion pieces. Recognising that some forms of CAM present novel and complex interventions, the journal encourages the exploration of the methodology of research. It believes that researchers should always aim at employing high ethical and methodological standards, and also welcomes small or exploratory studies that make a contribution to the area. Well conducted studies with negative outcomes are also welcome if they inform patient care. The journal welcomes considered opinion pieces that reflect genuine disagreements but remain respectful of the views of others.

Each issue features original, high quality research on complementary medicine, an abstracts sections with details of recently published research of high importance, as well as information and experiences on intregrating complementary medicine into mainstream care.”

Sounds like my kind of journal.

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2 April 2008

Homoeoprophylaxis – a Proven Alternative to Vaccination by Dr Isaac Golden

Visit Nourishedmagazine for the full report of a doctor’s analysis of data on the use of homeopathic remedies to build up immunity to specific diseases:

By Dr Isaac Golden

“I prepared my first formal program of homoeopathic remedies to prevent infectious diseases in 19861. In the following 20+ years, tens of thousands of Australian children have been immunised homoeopathically – a method called homoeoprophylaxis (HP) – using programs from myself as well as other practitioners across the country. The method itself is over 200 years old, and has considerable clinical and research experience to support its claims.

In 2004, I integrated 18 years of data collection from parents of children using my program with 4 years of doctoral research at Swinburne University in Melbourne. The purpose of this article is to share with you the findings of this and other research into the effectiveness and safety of HP.

He concludes:

The Safety of Homoeoprophylaxis

Homoeopathic medicines are usually prepared using a series of dilutions and succussions (firm striking of the container holding the liquid remedy against a firm surface). The remedies are called “potencies” because at each stage they become energetically stronger. After the 12c potency, no molecules of the original substance remain, yet the remedy is energetically stronger. Pharmaceutical advocates cannot understand this, because their paradigm forces them to believe that as the number of molecules of a substance decreases in a medicine, the medicine becomes weaker. This is true if the kinetic energy of the succussion is not correctly applied, and a simple dilution only is prepared. But we are making much more than a simple dilution.

Doctors agree that homoeopathic potencies cannot be toxic, and so physical safety is not an issue. However, some homoeopaths have expressed concerns over the years as to whether the long-term use of the remedies in my HP program is energetically safe. Many people who are not bound to the pharmaceutical paradigm understand that energy can produce real and tangible effects, and if misused can cause problems. One important part of my research at Swinburne was to check the long-term safety of HP.

This was done by examining 5 markers of overall wellbeing in children aged between 4 and 12 years of age – asthma, eczema, ear/hearing problems, allergies and behavioural problems. These were compared to a range of early childhood markers, including breastfeeding status, birthweight, APGAR scores, as well as to 4 possible immunisation methods – vaccination, HP, general/constitutional prevention, and no prevention at all. That gave 20 (5 x 4) possible combinations of health conditions and immunisation methods. The data was processed using Odds Ratios and Chi Squared Probability tests.

Once again, the full results are reported in detail elsewhere8, but the main findings are as follows:

  1. In 19 of the 20 possible measures of health, vaccinated children were less healthy than other children, usually by a significant amount (the 1 measure favouring vaccination was not statistically significant). The most dramatic single finding was that vaccinated children have a 15 times greater chance of becoming asthmatic than children using HP, with P>99%, a highly statistically significant finding.
  2. Children using HP were generally at least as healthy (and often more healthy) as children who used constitutional/general immunisation or no immunisation at all. The HP group were not exclusively from people who were extremely health conscious. Regularly, parents using my HP program say that it is their first introduction to homoeopathy and to natural medicine in general.
  3. Parental estimates of general wellbeing were very high in the HP group – at least as high as in other groups.
  4. Not all HP programs give consistent results. When comparing children using my HP program to those using other HP programs, the levels of both effectiveness and safety were lower in the group using other programs. So it is advisable to check the basis of a HP program before committing to it. Programs using daily doses of low potencies provide less effective long-term prevention than programs using infrequent doses of (appropriately selected) high potencies.

We may conclude from the parts of my data which were statistically significant (P?95%), that HP is associated with an improvement in general health, compared to other immunisation methods (as well as no immunisation at all), and that this figure is significantly better when compared to vaccinated children. Therefore we may conclude that the evidence suggests that the use of an appropriate long-term HP program does not lessen the health of children, and evidence suggests that it may in fact assist the maturation of the immune system by gently challenging the system in the first 5-6 years of life.”

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

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