Homeopathy, does it work?

Does homeopathy work?

Poll ended at 13 Jul 2019, 9:10am

Yes!
5
9%
Tend to yes
2
3%
No!
49
84%
Tend to no
1
2%
Worth a try if normal treatment fails
1
2%
Don't know yet
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 58

brynpoeth
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Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby brynpoeth » 30 May 2019, 9:10am

Medical experts, health ministers and doctors seem to have a lot of opinions, some mainstream doctors assert that homeopathy is rubbish (I rather dislike the way they insist on injections for immunity against transmittable diseases too)
But there seem to be plenty of practising homeopaths
I think in medicine and science there is a lot that is not understood, people are so different, one should always be ready to change one's opinion

Especially interested in informed opinions by medics and those who have been treated homeopathically

You have one vote which may be changed
Last edited by brynpoeth on 30 May 2019, 9:44am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 30 May 2019, 9:24am

Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.
It then dilutes this substance so much that it is unlikely that there is a single molecule left.
How can it possibly work?
The only way it might help is because of the placebo effect, which is amazingly powerful. In trials sugar pills do as well.

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horizon
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby horizon » 30 May 2019, 9:40am

Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.


Hmm. Seems you're not a fan of vaccinations then. :wink:
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 30 May 2019, 10:07am

horizon wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.


Hmm. Seems you're not a fan of vaccinations then. :wink:


Glad I spotted the wink, or I might have launched into a long explanation of the differences in the theories.

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fossala
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby fossala » 30 May 2019, 10:30am

I don't know how to articulate myself in a way to not come across as a [rude word removed] so I'll tell a joke.

What do the call alternative medicine that works?

Medicine.

tatanab
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby tatanab » 30 May 2019, 10:40am

It might do, I do not know but, from personal experience ---- 30 years ago I had a stomach problem which the doctor diagnosed as "almost an ulcer" (my words). The side effects of the drugs he gave me were at least as unpleasant as the problem itself. I went to a homeopath who gave me a couple of types of tablet (contents I do not recall) plus some "slippery elm" to eat, which I could not because I could not stand the texture. Within a couple of weeks my symptoms had all subsided and I was fine. I do not know if the homeopathy worked, I do not know if they were effectively placebos, I do not know that if the doctor had given me a placebo that might have worked, I DO know that when your health is suffering no cost is too great to put it right even if it is all in the mind.

I have not used a homeopath since, but I did try acupuncture for pain relief from a frozen shoulder. That did not work - for me.

brooksby
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby brooksby » 30 May 2019, 10:55am

Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.
It then dilutes this substance so much that it is unlikely that there is a single molecule left.
How can it possibly work?
The only way it might help is because of the placebo effect, which is amazingly powerful. In trials sugar pills do as well.


IIRC the dilution is something like one cup of 'stuff' in a sphere the size of the solar system...

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 30 May 2019, 10:55am

Here is an article on homeopathy by Ben Goldacre.
I hope that it was published in The Guardian does not make some think it must be biased.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/nov/16/sciencenews.g2

The item in his Bad Science blog on cycle helmets is very good.

ANTONISH
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby ANTONISH » 30 May 2019, 1:20pm

Simon Singh - "what's the harm?"

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 30 May 2019, 1:55pm

ANTONISH wrote:Simon Singh - "what's the harm?"


It's good practice for swallowing guff.

“Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.'

I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!”


It is better to subject ideas to a strict standard than to take into your brain random nonsense.
Last edited by Mike Sales on 30 May 2019, 1:56pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cugel
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Cugel » 30 May 2019, 1:56pm

Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.
It then dilutes this substance so much that it is unlikely that there is a single molecule left.
How can it possibly work?
The only way it might help is because of the placebo effect, which is amazingly powerful. In trials sugar pills do as well.


All research seems to support the placebo effect as the operative element of any effective homeopathy. Astonishingly, the placebo effect still works even if the patient realises the "medicine" only has a placebo effect and not a direct effect! That's very surprising but perhaps demonstrates the power of the mind to respond to even the slightest of suggestions in making the body do things. I suppose that's how advertising and propaganda are so successful. If you want it to be true, it will be.

As you say, the dilution of things causing symptoms similar to those exhibited by the illness (whatever it is) is an old medieval idea, derived from the Doctrine of Sympathies and similar notions about the "hidden" relationships between things that look or otherwise seem alike.

A similar sort of thinking goes on in some Chinese medicine in which, for example, rhino horn is said to cure impotence.

The history and details of this pre-scientific attempt to find the hidden relationships between the things of, and events in, the world is elucidated in great detail within Michel Foucault's "The Order of Things", in which he contrasts the old way of analysing these relationships with the modern scientific fashion of doing so. One fascinating element of this study is that The Doctrine of Sympathies and similar thinking still infects (scuse pun) much scientific medical thinking and diagnosis today ... not just the homeopathic variety. We never throw out old ideas really - we just adapt them to the new mode.

Someone's going to ask for an example now. :-)

Cugel

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Cugel
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Cugel » 30 May 2019, 2:00pm

brooksby wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.
It then dilutes this substance so much that it is unlikely that there is a single molecule left.
How can it possibly work?
The only way it might help is because of the placebo effect, which is amazingly powerful. In trials sugar pills do as well.


IIRC the dilution is something like one cup of 'stuff' in a sphere the size of the solar system...


They get over this one by suggesting that the homeopathic molecules initially present in the solvent (usually water) somehow realigns the molecules of the water to have medicinal effect, even though the molecules of the homeopathic substance that "realigned the water molecules" is iteself now gone.

This is a well-known variety of explanation from the fruit-loopery catalogue of mad explanations.

Cugel

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 30 May 2019, 2:07pm

Cugel wrote:
They get over this one by suggesting that the homeopathic molecules initially present in the solvent (usually water) somehow realigns the molecules of the water to have medicinal effect, even though the molecules of the homeopathic substance that "realigned the water molecules" is iteself now gone.

This is a well-known variety of explanation from the fruit-loopery catalogue of mad explanations.

Cugel


These same water molecules, in their aeons long existence, have been in contact with a huge variety of substances, some noxious, some repulsive etc. Do they not retain memories of these? Perhaps it is the essential shaking by a practitoner of this crazy therapy that sorts things out.

reohn2
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby reohn2 » 30 May 2019, 2:14pm

Cugel wrote:......All research seems to support the placebo effect as the operative element of any effective homeopathy......
.....Astonishingly, the placebo effect still works even if the patient realises the "medicine" only has a placebo effect and not a direct effect!......
Cugel

A bit like the Brexit bus suggestion then :wink:
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Cugel
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Cugel » 30 May 2019, 4:42pm

Mike Sales wrote:
Cugel wrote:
They get over this one by suggesting that the homeopathic molecules initially present in the solvent (usually water) somehow realigns the molecules of the water to have medicinal effect, even though the molecules of the homeopathic substance that "realigned the water molecules" is iteself now gone.

This is a well-known variety of explanation from the fruit-loopery catalogue of mad explanations.

Cugel


These same water molecules, in their aeons long existence, have been in contact with a huge variety of substances, some noxious, some repulsive etc. Do they not retain memories of these? Perhaps it is the essential shaking by a practitoner of this crazy therapy that sorts things out.


Many homeopaths are doing a bit of cheating, I think.

Of those I talk to about their having gone to the homeopath (usually because they have a nagging thing due to their own poor habitual behaviour) they tell about not just the homeopathy phial but also about the various advisements to change diet, take a herb or two and so forth. The rascally homeopath knows that bodies generally heal themselves given the right behavioural regime of the inhabitant of that body, particularly a diet with all the necessary nutriements and without the nasty stuff such as 10lbs of white sugar a week.

There is (or used to be) a means for a genuine quack of the normally-qualified ilk to get an extra homeopathy certificate from one of the big London hospitals. Homeopathy remained pukka in Blighty for far longer than, say, astrology because of support by the Royal Spongers. How does such a homeopath reconcile the two (homeopathy and normal medical practice)?

Mind, many homeopaths are merely self-declared, with no qualification other than a label they stick on their breasts. Some may have read a book on the subject. In Blighty, this allowed as some sort of clever free enterprise.

Cugel