Tuesday, 27 October 2009

GP Supports Homeopathy

Why homeopathy works at my practice
23 Oct 09

(article taken from Pulse, a magazine for GPs)

Dorset GP Dr Tim Robinson explains why he's a firm believer in homeopathy in
general practice.

I have been incorporating homeopathy into my general practice for almost 15
years.

I have found homeopathy effective as an alternative to conventional medicine for
problems in all the systems: respiratory, digestive, skeletal, hormonal, skin
and mental/emotional health. It is also extremely useful in situations in which
conventional medicine is ineffective or non-existent such as bruising, recurrent
cold sores, chilblains, leg cramps, glandular fever, growing pains, teething,
infantile colic and children with bedwetting and sleep problems.

Incorporating homeopathy into my general practice has also reduced my referral
rate to secondary care, as well as saved my drug budget. Along with these
advantages I believe that I have benefited through dealing with my heart-sink
patients more effectively. Homeopathy has enhanced my communication skills and
resulted in a greater ability to connect with my patients.

The provision of a homeopathic service in routine general practice is very
straightforward. As with all consultations the patient presents their particular
problem or set of symptoms from which I make a diagnosis and decide upon a
management plan for the case. If I consider homeopathic treatment is an
appropriate, safe and valid alternative I offer my patient the choice at that
point.

I usually point out that although we homeopaths don’t yet know how it works,
years of homeopathic experience support its effectiveness. When I am offering
the homeopathic choice I back it up with the fact that it won’t do any harm and
if it doesn’t work we still have conventional medicine to fall back upon.
Patients are usually receptive to this and grateful for the choice.

Homeopathic prescribing is perfectly possible within the standard 10 minute GP
consultation time. The prescription is usually based upon one of a number of
possible prescribing strategies. For example some specific conditions respond to
specific medicines, such as Arnica for bruising or Cocculus for car sickness. I
may also prescribe on ‘local’ features of a condition i.e. those features that
are individual to the case, for example joint pains that are better for heat and
movement (Rhus Tox rather than Bryonia).

Homeopathy has received a lot of slating over the last few years. Our critics
discredit homeopathy by saying that patients improve (yes, they admit they do
improve) because of long and repeated consultations. As I have described, my
homeopathic consultations are mostly seen within standard 10 minute GP
appointments. The additional psychotherapeutic effect that can be gained from
long consultations does not apply in this situation.


I audited my homeopathic prescribing over a year and demonstrated the wide range
of conditions that homeopathy can be prescribed for (1). I assessed the outcomes
from the homeopathic treatments by scoring the degree of improvement. I was
pleased to find that 78% of those patients treated noted an improvement. These
results support the use of homeopathy within my NHS general practice. It was
also pleasing to find that this improvement was of the same magnitude as other
outcomes studies performed in homeopathic hospital outpatient clinics. (2, 3, 4,
5)

Despite the consistency between these independent outcomes studies, the sceptics
are still unconvinced. It is often said in the media that there are no clinical
trials in homeopathy that show a positive effect. This is simply untrue. A total
of 138 randomised controlled clinical trials have been done, in 71 different
medical conditions – 60 had a positive outcome, 68 weren’t statistically
conclusive and only 10 were negative. We openly admit that the medicines are
often so dilute there are none of the original molecules left in it but how do
you explain that these same medicines have a measurable effect in laboratory
experiments with allergy response blood components? (6,7)

The sceptics also claim that patients improve (yes, they still state that they
improve!) because we only treat conditions that get better on their own with no
treatment. Those of us who have been treating patients with homeopathy for long
enough will know that we successfully treat many long-term conditions that have
previously shown no sign of improvement over long periods of time.

We are also accused of deliberately misleading our patients; as I described
earlier, I deliberately tell my patients that we don’t understand how homeopathy
works and leave it to them to decide between conventional and homeopathic
treatment.

My final annoyance with the sceptics is that they accuse us of being dangerous
and treating inappropriately by discouraging childhood immunisation and
recommending homeopathic vaccination. Members of the Faculty of Homeopathy are
all statutorily registered healthcare professionals who operate within very
clear policy guidelines which unequivocally advocate conventional medical
immunisation.

The Faculty of Homeopathy offers training at various levels, the first of which
is a short course leading to the Primary Health Care Examination. Passing this
exam enables you to join the Faculty as a Licensed Associate and to use basic
homeopathy in your general practice.

In an ideal world there would be even greater provision of homeopathic treatment
in the GP setting. I know that it would bring great benefits to our patients,
ease the NHS drug bill and pressure on hospital services. It would also increase
the enjoyment and effectiveness of practising as a GP; the quality of life of
all parties involved would be enriched.

For more information about training in homeopathy, go to
www.facultyofhomeopathy.org

References :
1. Robinson TW. Responses to homeopathic treatment in National Health Service
general practice. Homeopathy 2006; 95: 9–14.

2. Spence D, Thompson E, Barron S. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a
6-year university hospital based outpatient observational study. J Altern
Complement Med 2005; 5: 793–8.

3. Clover A. Patient benefit survey: Tunbridge Wells Homoeopathic Hospital.
British Homeopathic Journal, 2000; 89: 68–7.

4. Richardson WR. Patient benefit survey: Liverpool Regional Department of
Homoeopathic Medicine. British Homeopathic Journal, 2001; 90: 158–162.

5. Sharples F, van Haselen R, Fisher P. NHS patients’ perspective on
complementary medicine. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2003; 11: 243–248.

6. Belon P, Cumps J, Ennis M, et al. Histamine dilutions modulate basophil
activation. Inflammation Research, 2004; 53: 181–188.

7. Chirumbolo S, Brizzi M, Ortolani R, Vella A, Bellavite P. Inhibition of
CD203c membrane up-regulation in human basophils by high dilutions of histamine:
a controlled replication study. Inflammation Research, 2009: e-published, 6 May.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Chris Rock Gets it Right

Watch this video for a few facts and a few laughs. Chris Rock gets it spot on.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Science Catches up with Homeopathy........At Last!

For those with an inquiring scientific mind please click here

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Charles Darwin and Homeopathy

Of course, we all know who Charles Darwin is and what he is famous for, but how many of us know that he used homeopathy successfully to overcome a severely life-limiting disease?

Whilst Darwin was traveling around South America he developed several symptoms including sickness, stomach pains, heart palpitations, frequent fainting spells and severe boils amongst others. These symptoms got progressively worse until it reached a point where he was "unable to do anything one day out of three." Indeed his illness was so limiting that he was unable to attend his father's funeral in 1848.

No orthodox doctors of the time could diagnose his disease, and their treatments were not helping him, even making him worse. One day someone suggested to him that he try a Dr. James Gully. Gully was an "alternative" physician of the time and practiced homeopathy, hydrotherapy and nutrition. Darwin decided to take a trip to this physicians health spa.

Darwin in his own words says "I grieve to say that Dr.Gully gives me homeopathic medicines three times a day, which I take obediently without an atom of faith." However, even though Darwin showed initial scepticism towards the treatment, within a couple of days he reported "I Have already received so much benefit that I really hope my health will be much renovated."

Darwin's health improved to the point where he managed to go a whole month without any vomiting, a first for him, and was able to go on 7 mile walks. 4 months later Darwin says that he was "of almost perfect health."

His symptoms very rarely returned throughout the rest of his life, and when they did he would go back to his physician Dr. James Gully and receive more homeopathic treatment.

Later on into Darwin's life he conducted his own experiments into homeopathically prepared solutions. He would treat the Drosera plant with solutions diluted past Avogadro's constant and would be continually amazed by the results seen.

There is a certain irony to this of course, as there are many enthusiasts of Darwin's work out there, such as Richard Dawkins, who also want to routinely "bash" homeopathy. They claim it be Ascientific and a "pseudo-science," which of course is incorrect as we now know, yet without homeopathy Darwin may never have been well enough to continue his scientific investigation into the evolution of life.

I'll leave you with a few questions, why is it that the fact that Darwin was so successfully treated with homeopathy always left out of the history books? Where has homeopathy's place in history been cast aside to? and Why?

References and Further Reading

Ullman, D, 2007, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy, North Atlantic Books USA