Recent NHMRC report on the "Evidence on the effectiveness of homoeopathy on clinical conditions " appears to question the effectiveness of Homoeopathy to deal with many health conditions encountered by people.
As a homoeopath with over 15 years successful practice experience and as an ex- academic and scientist ( medical science ) , I feel compelled to question the relevance of the report to science and philosophy of homoeopathy practice in Australia and elsewhere in the world.
It is important to understand as to why patients choose homoeopathy for healing their health conditions? In my several years’ experience as a Homoeopath, I have found patients seeking homoeopathic treatment are very intelligent, well informed and are genuinely interested in improving their health conditions. They want to lead a lifestyle free of medical drugs.
Majority of the patients seek homoeopathy after being treated by several medical specialists and have been on medical drugs for several years without improvement in their health conditions and generally experiencing ongoing deterioration of their overall well being.
They feel discouraged and disillusioned at the way the medical drugs are being prescribed to them without being informed of evidence of clinical trials, effectiveness on their bodies and contraindications.
Patients therefore make their own choice to consult homoeopaths. Patients do not seek homoeopathy and waste their hard-earned money just to be heard or feel good by smelling rose petals and lavender oil. They are interested in recovering from their illness. None of these intelligent, well-informed patients seek homoeopathy just because they read the clinic signboards during their morning walks. They are willing to invest money as they have got feedbacks from friends and relatives who have benefited from homoeopathy therapy.
The patients have witnessed their friends and relatives succumb from slow and continuous administration of medical drugs for several years and hence do not wish to go along that path.
With the help of the homoeopathy therapy, the patients are able to get relief from their chronic sinus conditions, headaches, irritable bowels, anxiety, depressions, chronic skin eczema, severe gout and arthritic pains, chronic fatigues, chronic liver problems, several women are able to conceive and raise family after repeated failure of IVF, patients with severe paralytic hands and legs from injuries get well and move on in life, women with menopausal symptoms experience a new healthy life after menopause.
Patients who bring their children see the benefit in healing anger, depression, focus and concentration problems, bedwetting and other growth related conditions that could not be healed by the conventional medical drugs.
The patient’s friends and relatives see the healing effects of homoeopathy on their family members and hence also seek the homoeopath for their health conditions.
I have had patients who have told me that if homoeopathic medicines are only Placebos as described by the Medical Professionals, how chronic health conditions they have suffered for so many years with medical drugs get healed with the homoeopathy medicines? They are able to witness their improved health conditions with biochemical and X-ray results.
Patients say that as long as homoeopathy treatment is able to offer them relief from their chronic health conditions and enable them to lead an optimal well being life without medical drugs, they don’t care about the NEGATIVE PROPAGANDA ABOUT HOMOEOPATHY by Medical Professionals.
In regards to why the NHMRC report is not relevant to science and philosophy of Homoeopathy, I would like to emphasize that homoeopathy therapy is wholistic involving mind, emotions and body and is highly individualised. It is based on each patient’s constitution and state of the vital force/vital energy. Understanding of constitution and vital force requires extremely high level of knowledge and experience of Medical Science such as anatomy, patho-physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology including immunology as well as relationships between psychosomatic conditions of the patient, lifestyle, ancestral influences and stresses (emotional as well as anthropogenic stresses).
Constitution of each patient is unique and in simplistic description would depend on pathophysiological state, emotional state, and mental state and inherited conditions of the patient.
A professional homoeopath uses highly skilled consultation technique to analyse and identify the constitutional state of the patient. make an assessment of the strength of the vital force and match the information with right medicine and potency using the philosophy of Similia Similibus Curentur to heal the patient to optimal well being state.
The philosophy of Similimum ie like cures like is highly individualized, based on the constitutional state and vital force of the patient . Therefore medicine and potency that is suitable for one patient with major symptom of, for example, earache may not be suitable for another patient with different constitutional state and vital force even if the major symptoms are similar.
Therefore, undertaking a study to evaluate effectiveness of homoeopathy on clinical conditions by randomized trials giving same medicine and same potency to group of patients as against placebo has absolutely no relevance to scientific and philosophical basis of homoeopathy practice.
In my view research is needed to answer two primary areas of lacunae of information in homoeopathy:
(a) whether the solution prepared in vivo as homoeopathic medicine can be defined as medicine as per pharmacological definitions and as per physico-chemical and electromagnetic properties of the solute and the solvent, and
(b) whether the medicine is able to cause improvement in clinical symptoms of the patients.
With regard to first lacuna, research scientists have initiated studies utilising advanced knowledge generated by nano-pharmacology and String Theory elsewhere in the world ( where influence of medical drugs is not high and hence Government funds for Homoeopathy research is available ) . Considerable funding is needed in Australia to advance this research.
With regard to the second lacuna, it is important to understand that the methodology of the study would require administration of individualized medicines and potency; and measurement of components of constitution before and after administration of the medicines. Also, the monitoring of data would need to continue for considerable period of time, as different individuals would heal at different pace based on their metabolic states.
Using Placebo with different constitutions and vital force as shown in the NHMRC study would have no scientific impact in understanding clinical functions of homoeopathy treatments.
In my opinion, allocation of appropriate research funds is more critical before pronouncing homoeopathy as ineffective. The homoeopaths and those seeking homoeopathic treatments are hard working taxpayers, contributing to taxpayer funded Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme for Medical Drugs.
I would like to ask why homoeopathy should not receive tax payers funded research grants to advance the understanding of scientific principles governing homoeopathy?