Finding a Good Homeopath

It is always good to get an alternative opinion and mode of treatment. Homeopaths and alternative practitioners can help balance your treatment modalities. But it can also be difficult to find the right person for your journey into alternative health.

Many of the best homeopaths, are not necessarily medical doctors, although being a medical doctor does not exclude being a good homeopath. 

Most likely you have been referred by a friend who has had great results. Homeopathy, because of the overwhelming nature of Drug Company sponsored medicine is more  grass roots at the moment. Homeopathy has a wonderful track record of results and safety with over 200 years of results.

So what should you look for in a good homeopath?

Well, first you should ask some questions when you make your appointment. It is even better if the homeopath has a web site that you can look at to see where he has trained. Many homeopaths have trained at colleges and some are self trained with the addition of many courses and studying with teachers. Medical Doctor homeopaths are frequently self trained or have taken additional courses in homeopathy.

In India, and a few other countries training is different. In India, there are over 200,000 homeopaths, most have been trained in special homeopathic medical schools. In the west, this is not the case, as above.

Its important to see that individuals who are practicing are increasing their knowledge base. Both methodologies, and the number of, as well as information on homeopathic remedies is increasing dramatically. The homeopathic profession is currently rapidly evolving and changing for the better.

Some of the new training may include studying with teachers such as Rajan Sankaran, Jan Scholten, Masimo Mangliavori, Louis Klein, Will Taylor, Jeremy Sherr and teachers who are students of these teachers. Ask to see if they have recently been involved in any continuing education.

Make sure the homeopath will accept your Medical Doctor’s advice. It is important to keep your relationship with your medical doctor and to stop medications only with the advice of a medical doctor and monitoring by him/her.

Give homeopathy 2-3 visits and by the 3rd visit you should know if you have a good rapport with the homeopath and if she/he can help you and be a good resource as well as a healing modality for you.

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Two New Studies Disprove Lancet’s Anti-Homeopathy Conclusions

Two new studies conclude that a review which claimed that homeopathy is just a placebo, published in The Lancet, was seriously flawed.  

George Lewith, Professor of Health Research at Southampton University comments: The review gave no indication of which trials were analysed nor of the various vital assumptions made about the data. This is not usual scientific practice. If we presume that homeopathy works for some conditions but not others, or change the definition of a ‘larger trial’, the conclusions change. This indicates a fundamental weakness in the conclusions: they are NOT reliable.’

The background to the ongoing debate is as follows:

In August 2005, The Lancet then published an editorial entitled ‘The End of Homeopathy’, prompted by a review comparing clinical trials of homeopathy with trials of conventional medicine.  The claim that homeopathic medicines are just placebo was based on 6 clinical trials of conventional medicine and 8 studies of homeopathy but did not reveal the identity of these trials.  The review was criticised for its opacity as it gave no indication of which trials were analysed and the various assumptions made about the data. When Lancet was questioned about the study’s manipulation of data and the proclaimed anti-homeopathy bias of the individual who did the study, Egger, the editors responded, “We were aware of Dr. Eggers bias prior therefore it was accepted.”

Sufficient detail to enable a reconstruction was eventually published and two recently published scientific papers based on such a reconstruction challenge the Lancet review, showing that:

·       Analysis of all high quality trials of homeopathy yields a positive conclusion. 

·       The 8 larger higher quality trials of homeopathy were all for different conditions; if homeopathy works for some of these but not others the result changes, implying that it is not placebo.

·       The comparison with conventional medicine was meaningless. 

·       Doubts remain about the opaque, unpublished criteria used in the review, including the definition of ‘higher quality’.

 

The Lancet review, led by Prof Matthias Egger of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Berne, started with 110 matched clinical trials of homeopathy and conventional medicine, reduced these to ‘higher quality trials’ and then to 8 and 6 respectively ‘larger higher quality trials’.  Based on these 14 studies the review concluded that there is ‘weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions’.

 

There are a limited number of homeopathic studies so it is quite possible to interpret these data selectively and unfavourably, which is what appears to have been done in the Lancet paper.  If we assume that homeopathy does not work for just one condition (Arnica for post-exercise muscle stiffness), or alter the definition of ‘larger trial’, the results are positive.  The comparison with conventional medicine was meaningless: the original 110 trials were matched, but matching was lost after they were reduced to 8 and 6.  But  the quality of homeopathic trials was better than conventional trials.

This reconstruction casts serious doubts on the review, showing that it was based on a series of hidden judgments unfavourable to homeopathy.  An open assessment of the current evidence suggests that homeopathy is probably effective for a number of conditions including allergies, upper respiratory tract infections and ‘flu, but more research is desperately needed.

Prof Egger has declined to comment on these findings.