to think homeopaths really just make money out of the gullible?

(1000 Posts)
WidowWadman Sat 08-Jun-13 20:59:47

A remedy made from diluted bits of the Berlin Wall - seriously, that's surely just a test to find out how far they can push it, isn't?

exexpat Sat 08-Jun-13 21:06:53

YANBU - but they are not necessarily doing it consciously (though I expect some are). I know one or two homeopaths who genuinely believe in the whole thing, and get very upset if you point out the lack of scientific evidence. It really is more of a belief system than a type of medicine.

Lweji Sat 08-Jun-13 21:16:16

Alternative name: Murus Berlinensis
I wonder what it does.
For a splitting headache?

Lweji Sat 08-Jun-13 21:17:59
WidowWadman Sat 08-Jun-13 21:18:12

Oh, yes, I'm sure some of them believe. But how much willing suspension of disbelief do you need to believe in a remedy made from a construction made in the 1960ies and torn down in 1989?

HumphreyCobbler Sat 08-Jun-13 21:19:29

I am sure that most of them believe in it and it is not a cynical attempt to make money out of people.

But it is SUCH bollocks. I have a friend who is always pushing it onto me, insisting it will sort stuff out and implying that I am a bit stupid for not taking it. It takes a lot of self control to be measured in my response.

Salbertina Sat 08-Jun-13 21:22:28

Yanbu. But then according to much research, the placebo effect is v powerful, so if someone thinks something will work then it is much more likely to do so Plus a sympathetic ear and time may seem more of a comfort than a rushed 5-10min slot with GP.

GrendelsMum Sat 08-Jun-13 21:29:24

I completely agree with Salbertina. DH once (to keep his mum quiet) had an appointment with a homeopathist for a chronic health problem he has, which the GPs had sadly been very little help with. He said that although the homeopathy was bollocks, the bloke was absolutely great, and that it was the first time someone had sat down and talked about how he managed the problem day to day, talked to him about preventing flare ups, actually sympathised about how painful it was, and gave him lots of useful tips.

The sad thing is that the GPs didn't have the time or perhaps the knowledge to do this.

SybilRamkin Sat 08-Jun-13 21:30:39

YANBU - double blind trials have found no evidence whatsoever that it works. But I expect it's useful for doctors with hypochondriac patients with whom they can do nothing.

ForkInTheForeheid Sat 08-Jun-13 21:34:27

In case anyone, like me, is wondering what diluted Berlin wall is supposed to cure...


There has even been a remedy made from a piece of the Berlin Wall. My homeopath had this remedy, and says it was so powerful she had to keep it away from her other remedies, out in the garden shed.

According to an editorial in the International Homeopathic Internet Journal, “Berlin Wall has many symptoms that fit the psychological aspects of that wall, a split between two worlds. The wall in Berlin seems to have been immersed with the psychological emotions and thoughts of humankind.”

OP Yanbu.

CailinDana Sat 08-Jun-13 21:40:00

My mil believes totally in it. When i was depressed she put me in contact with her homeopath and paid for a consultation which involved a few lengthy chats on the phone and resulted in a concoction being sent in the post. As far as i can see the benefit people experience comes from the indepth questions the homeopath asks - the consultation is more like a counselling session. The potion usually requires some sort of pointless ritual - eg shake 10 times then bang on the table then drop on the middle of the tongue. There's a magical element to it that suits a certain mindset. The effect is psychological imo but that doesn't mean it's not real. It did nothing for me but i know mil gets comfort from it despite it never having had any physical benefit for her whatsoever.

minouminou Sat 08-Jun-13 21:40:32

She had to keep it in her shed?
But surely her shed would have fallen down, or anyone touching the remedy would have developed a terminal case of mullet hair?

crashdoll Sat 08-Jun-13 21:48:21

My mum believes in it. I had tonsillitis or an ear infection every few weeks as a child. Repeated doses of antibiotics left me with chronic thrush and diarrhoea. She decided the GP was useless and used to take me to a homeopath instead for remedies. To be fair, doctors were more antibiotic happy in those days! I used to get better after taking the sugar pills but I probably had self-limiting illnesses that would have got better anyway. hmm My thrush and diarrhoea stopped because I wasn't on ABs anymore, although she truly believe the homeopathy had healed my immune system. I had my tonsils out eventually and all the infections stopped.

Ragusa Sat 08-Jun-13 21:59:17

YANBU. I know homeopaths offer counselling and comfort but it is the blatant dishonesty in it that irks me. The practitioners must know it's bollocks?

I think the confusion between homeopathy and herbal meds doesn't help. Some people conflate the latter with the former, which is a shame because herbalism has active ingredients while homeocrockathy really doesn't.

Elquota Sat 08-Jun-13 22:01:20


It's alarming that the NHS has spent millions of pounds on (useless IMO) homeopathy over the years.

Balaboosta Sat 08-Jun-13 22:36:03

Unbelievable. YANBU.

MangoJuiceAddict Sat 08-Jun-13 22:44:36

I compeltely agree! My sister was considering homeopathy to treat her DS's skin condition but I thought it seem a bad idea. I asked my father in law, a doctor (who has been studying/working in medicine for 45 years), his opinion and he believes it is a complete waste of time and money. No comparison to good, modern drugs. My DH (also a doctor) sees it as a complete waste of time too, infact everyone except for homeopaths (the ones making money from it! hmm ) sees it as a waste of time and money.

WidowWadman Sat 08-Jun-13 22:45:10

minouminou bwahaha

megsmouse Sat 08-Jun-13 22:47:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

puffinnuffin Sat 08-Jun-13 22:53:11

Arnica is fantastic though. You can visibly see the difference it makes after a bad knock or fall (particularly the cream).

primallass Sat 08-Jun-13 22:56:28

I had a marked improvement of a 6-week postnasal cough after 2 days of homeopathy. It got worse on day 1 then better 2 on day 2, as the directions said. If you are desperate then who cares why/if it works.

WidowWadman Sat 08-Jun-13 22:56:38

puffinmuffin - arnica is used as a herbal remedy, which is one which contains actual ingredients, and as homeopathic remedy, which contains feck all.

I don't know what the evidence is for the herbal remedy working, but the homeopathic version can't work.

minouminou Sat 08-Jun-13 23:16:32

Any improvement of a condition that's observed after the start of homeopathic treatment is down to regression to the mean which is the natural improvement and worsening of a condition around a midline. In chronic conditions, symptoms wax and wane, and people attribute the waning to the homeopathy.

GrendelsMum Sun 09-Jun-13 20:07:00

Well, the odd thing is that the homeopath my DH saw did appear to genuinely believe that it would have a positive effect.

Which seems strange, but there's nowt as queer as folk.

LoSiento Sun 09-Jun-13 20:14:03

Homeopaths, mediums, religious organisations, all convenient places for fools to part themselves with their money.

caroldecker Sun 09-Jun-13 20:19:50

where herbal remedies work (willow bark) they are converted into 'modern' medicine (aspirin). The rest is just pot pourri

noddyholder Sun 09-Jun-13 20:22:48

My sister is a homeopath and I am a huge cynic but some of her successes have been truly jaw dropping. She gave my ds one pill and after years of hysterics he got on a plane calm as could be.

Thumbtack Sun 09-Jun-13 20:30:50

I totally agree that it's a load of rubbish.

But I also swear by that 'teetha' homeopathic teething powder. Dunno how that can work but it seems too.


GrendelsMum Sun 09-Jun-13 20:31:35

On the other hand, if the placebo effect can improve well-being, then logically, shouldn't we be making the best possible use of it?

Which means making use of homeopathy and anything else that has an effect.

timidviper Sun 09-Jun-13 20:32:56

There are a lot of people who believe it works and are happy with the effects they have seen from it so why should it matter to you or anybody else? I think there are a lot of allopathic medicines that are more placebo than anything else too and they are paid for by the NHS so I don't really mind who takes what when they pay for it themselves.

seeker Sun 09-Jun-13 20:34:46

"where herbal remedies work (willow bark) they are converted into 'modern' medicine (aspirin). The rest is just pot pourri"

Or soup grin
Homeopathic teething powders are very sweet- that's why they work!

LeGavrOrf Sun 09-Jun-13 20:36:22

That link which fork posted made me die.

Apparently the homeopathic effects can be had by writing them down on a piece of paper and putting it under a glass of water and then praying, or simply wishing positive things to happen.

This reminds me of Nancy Mitford's father's habit of writing the names down of people he hated and then putting the pieces of paper in a box or a cupboard, thereby causing their death or misfortune.

noddyholder Sun 09-Jun-13 20:36:33

Herbal and homeopathy are not the same thing

RikeBider Sun 09-Jun-13 20:42:43

Gullible, desperate and, um... hypochondriacs grin

However, many/most homeopaths DO believe in it, so I wouldn't say it's a scam. Like religion really (except Scientology, that one is a scam).

Homeopathy does work for many people because:
- belief/placebo is a powerful thing
- people like being listened to
- people go to see homeopaths with vague, non-serious complaints that tend to clear up eventually anyway

Homeopathic teething powders work because they are sweet and crunchy and feel nice on your gums. Sugar would work just as well. I keep a packet of magic white chocolate buttons in the fridge as pain relief for children's bumps and bruises - works like magic smile

meddie Sun 09-Jun-13 20:44:28

The homepathic teething powders work because they are just sugar and in infants sugar is an effective pain relief, we use it all the time for babies undergoing blood tests and cannulation. It has something to do with the 'sweet message' to the brain over riding the pain message.
You might as well rub some caster sugar on their gums and it would be a lot cheaper too.

Thumbtack Sun 09-Jun-13 20:51:26

Oh, okay! Thanks for the heads up on teething powder, good to know. You may have saved me a small fortune. wink

Thumbtack Sun 09-Jun-13 20:55:32

Actually thats what you meant wasn't it? I was gullible about the teething powder, wasn't I? blush

VenusUprising Sun 09-Jun-13 20:57:34

Well I'm a scientist, and as far as I know, homeopathy works for me.
I don't know know it works, but it does. I also know a lot of other people scientists and reasonable rational people for who it works too. Some of them also take medicines made by pharmaceutical companies, to varying effect.

As far as I'm concerned we haven't looked at it properly. Make of that what you will fellow scientists grin

I guess it's ok to have an opinion about religion, but as a scientist I can't say how some people seem to get relief/ comfort / cures from that either. And yet they do.

Perhaps we should store up our unsubstantiated opinions for a MN desensitisation inoculation or something!

But seriously, it's not a very productive discussion if we are all banging on about our opinions on something being crap despite others saying they have had benefit from it now is it?
[I recommend pulsatilla 30c three times a day to chillax! (and to also get rid of that sty on your upper eyelid, and to buck yourself up if you're a blond timid type!)]

<wafts off in clouds of insence to inspect how my HOC clear summer séance veils go with my white coat>

BabetteAteOatmeal Sun 09-Jun-13 20:59:40

Wow LeGavrOrf thank you for the tip - several names now in my wardrobe, mwah hah hah...

RikeBider Sun 09-Jun-13 21:02:53

There's no denying people benefit from it Venus! The placebo effect is very strong, it's comforting and reassuring to have a kind person listen to you and care and sympathise when a GP wants you in and out in 5 minutes and probably can't really offer you anything for whatever issue it is anyway.

However, it doesn't work because like cures like, water has a memory and if you slap it with a leather strap and then dilute it so many times that there is no molecules of the active ingredient left it actually becomes stronger.

Elquota Sun 09-Jun-13 21:03:48

I think it "works" for some people as a placebo.

caroldecker Sun 09-Jun-13 21:03:59

No genuine scientist can believe in homeopathy. Science works by a guess (hypothesis) which is then tested. If it fails the test it is wrong, regardless of who's hypothesis it is or how much you 'like' the idea.

Homeopathy has been tested multiple times and never has any beneficial result been found, therefore the hypothesis is wrong.

Anyone who disagrees with this does not believe in the scientific method and therefore is not a scientist.

Lazyjaney Sun 09-Jun-13 21:21:05

The science of homeopathy is rubbish, any benefit is from the p,acebo effect.

But, I think the effect of someone listening, talking it through etc is probably very attractive to people who use it. (I think the less science you know the better it feels smile. )

philosophicmum Sun 09-Jun-13 21:21:37

Berlin Wall is just the tip of the iceberg. I kind of wondered whether this could be a joke, so I went to what seems to be a 'reputable' homeopathic online shop and yep, they sell Berlin Wall sugar pills. So I looked through their list of available choices and I also found the following homeopathic remedies: brillo pad, viagra, fabric conditioner, exhaust fumes, blue ringed octopus, budgie feathers, fire, glucose (the only truthful one of the lot), hairspray, goldfish, and something called gossipium. I'm tempted to buy some brillo pad pills and see if they help with the washing up.

CoteDAzur Sun 09-Jun-13 21:27:21

Exactly what caroldecker said.

CoteDAzur Sun 09-Jun-13 21:28:31

"homeopathy works for me"

What does that even mean? Does it work or not?

As a scientist, would you say that paracetamol works or that it works for you?

squoosh Sun 09-Jun-13 21:31:13

I know someone who paid a man £200 to walk around her whilst banging a drum. It was to unblock her chakra . . . . . . . . or something.

Perseis Sun 09-Jun-13 21:31:48

The placebo effect is a genuine healing tool for some conditions though. And homeopathy engages the placebo effect. If people believe in it, I don't really mind if they take it. It's not going to hurt them.

I had a very funny conversation the other day with someone trying to get me to try homeopathy about how I can't use homeopathic remedies because I think it's bollocks, therefore the only thing that makes it work (placebo) isn't going to work on me.

squoosh Sun 09-Jun-13 21:34:19

Ignorant question alert: Is acupuncture considered to dwell within the realm of homeopathy?

lurcherlover Sun 09-Jun-13 21:34:44

Venus - we "haven't looked at it properly"? Really?

Homeopathy has been tested extensively in double-blind trials. As a scientist, can you suggest a better method of conducting an experiment with a drug?

In every single trial, homeopathy was shown to have no effect at all. Not surprising, since the "science" involved requires water to have a "memory" hmm. It doesn't work.

Funny how even homeopathy believers never offer it up as a cancer cure, or one for TB, or epilepsy...

ShadowStorm Sun 09-Jun-13 21:37:32

YANBU. Homeopathy is nonsense.

When it 'works for people', then that's either because of the placebo effect, or because they've got some non-serious condition that would have cleared up by itself anyway.

RikeBider Sun 09-Jun-13 21:39:54

squoosh acupuncture involves needles, not magic water.

Though as I understand it there isn't much science to back it up - eg. "proper" acupuncture isn't more effective than randomly jabbing needles in anywhere.

Perseis Sun 09-Jun-13 21:39:56

squoosh no, acupuncture is a different thing entirely. And has actually been proven to work in scientific tests (although no one is quite sure why it works).

exexpat Sun 09-Jun-13 21:52:48

I'd be interested to know what kind of scientist you are, VenusUprising? Because the concepts behind homeopathy appear to have absolutely nothing to do with modern science - they are more the kind of magical beliefs and hypotheses which passed for science and medicine in the 18th century, and since then have been tested and proven false multiple times.

AmberSocks Sun 09-Jun-13 22:16:46

I have used homepathic remedies,its not something i would of seeked out and paid for but my friend is a homepath and gave me some advice and its always worked for me.

I dont see how they are money grabbing anymore than normal medication,its all to make money after all.

I think the fact that a placebo can cure you proves that you can cure yourself!its all in the mind.

CoteDAzur Sun 09-Jun-13 22:23:42

Placebo doesn't cure anything that won't go away on its own.

caroldecker Mon 10-Jun-13 00:10:49

Agreed the placebo effect does not cure self-limiting illnesses, but, for example, a placebo compared to no treatment can make people feel better quicker.
Also the placebo effect also works even if people are aware it is a placebo
here and here is some evidence of the 'care' effect discussed above - ie people feel better if listened to and cared for

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 08:28:04

As far as I'm concerned we haven't looked at it properly. Make of that what you will fellow scientists

No scientist worth their salt would say this.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 08:37:10

The problem is that we have looked at it properly.

We've looked at accupuncture properly now too.......

Perseis Mon 10-Jun-13 08:46:14

Seeker that's really useful, I'd always been told that it was one of the alternative therapies that science could show to work.

[off to find out if there is a subset of conditions that it works for or if studies don't cover that detai]

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 08:49:00

Up until quite recently, it was thought that acupuncture was a CAM that actually worked in some cases. Not any more - it's gone the waynof all the others. Placebo.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 08:56:29

Crashdoll: I had tonsillitis or an ear infection every few weeks as a child. Repeated doses of antibiotics left me with chronic thrush and diarrhoea. She decided the GP was useless and used to take me to a homeopath instead for remedies. To be fair, doctors were more antibiotic happy in those days! I used to get better after taking the sugar pills but I probably had self-limiting illnesses that would have got better anyway. My thrush and diarrhoea stopped because I wasn't on ABs anymore, although she truly believe the homeopathy had healed my immune system. I had my tonsils out eventually and all the infections stopped. I think this is one of the reasons homeopathy is so great, if you combine it with a willing suspension of disbelief, as widowwadman says. It gives time for problems to heal on their own and it harnesses the tremendous and mighty placebo effect. It's more alarming that millions of pounds is spent on doing harm, while this is just spending millions on "not doing harm", the first rule of medicine. I think your average conventional dr doesn't like it, not just because it doesn't make sense, but because it doesn't make sense and "works" anyway.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 08:58:03

Cote d'Azur - but they might not go away without at all the placebo effect.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:02:23

Look at this for example, and people complain about homoepathy?

Trills Mon 10-Jun-13 09:02:23

You don't have to be terribly gullible to fall for it. The human brain is not very good at statistics.

If you take something and then you feel better then it is natural to think that the thing that you did made you better. It could be the placebo effect. It could be that you were going to get better anyway.

I imagine that homeopaths are split between those who are actively conning people and those who are innocently (yet uselessly, and often harmfully) thinking that they really are helping.

It also seems that a lot of people on this thread don't understand what "placebo" means.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:04:24

Crumbledwalnuts- it's perfectly possible to complain about both!

Although I would check anything printed in the Daily Mail before I applauded or complained.......

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:04:49

Personally I think you have to be gullible to fall for the idea that homeopathy is one of the big problems of the health service.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:06:43

It's just so easy to find this stuff, it jumps out from the papers all the time. And people still get all exercised and self-righteous about homeopathy. I don't get the priorities, it's more about felling all clever and "aren't those other people stupid" rather than any interest in health problems faced by Britain.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:06:56

Not a ringing endorsement of homeopathy, though, is it? "Well, there are other things that are useless as well........"

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:09:01

this from eight years ago

I didn't say homeopathy was useless, I said it allows time for things to heal on their own and harnesses the mighty power of placebo. I think you didn't read that part.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:10:43

This is just one of the many, many trerible things that happened at Stafford.

Mia4 Mon 10-Jun-13 09:12:06

YANBU, I'm not sold on homoeopathy by far, though I do believe that a numer of the herbal medicines work.

Mia4 Mon 10-Jun-13 09:12:52

homoeopathy and herbal medicines being separate entities but often lumped together, I mean

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:14:42

If you think killing people while pretending to make them better is merely "completely useless" then you are a lot harder on homoepathy than on conventional care, Seeker.

LisaExpress Mon 10-Jun-13 09:16:40

By way of illustration as to why homeopathy may appear to work for some:
It's long been the aim of NHS Cancer Networks to get as many patients as possible onto suitable clinical trials of either new drugs, or different cocktails of existing drugs. The trials are not against at placebo as a rule, for ethical purposes, just new therapy vs old established one. The reason that there's a push to get patients onto trials where they may well be given the same therapy as a non-trial patient is this: The trial patients have better outcomes regardless of whether they got the new therapy or the old one.
It's impossible to prove exactly why that's the case but it's likely to be a combination of longer appointments with someone who is really listening, plus closer monitoring.
Homeopathy, despite being scientifically bollocks, is warm and touchy feely and sometimes that alone can make a huge difference.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:21:47

Conventional medicine gets things wrong. But it usually doesn't. And should be called to account when it does.

Homeopathy is always useless.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:21:53

Personally I think you have to be gullible to fall for the idea that homeopathy is one of the big problems of the health service

Who said that?

And, really - that's your argument? Some aspects of modern medicine are not perfect so no one has the right to dismiss as arrant nonsense homeopathy?

How ridiculous.

If homeopathy works, how come everybody who drinks water (including all animals) isn't being continually cured of everything? Oh - have to tap it first!

And I would be very careful trawling through the tabloids for evidence to support your arguments. Ben Goldacre found that something like 80% of all DM medical articles are either completely wrong, or deeply flawed and misleading.

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 09:24:50

I am certain that if homeopathy was state funded and the homeopath had 10 minutes to see a patient, then it would never work, ever. In my opinion any benefit is due entirely to placebo effect and the nice feeling of someone being able to spend ages listening to you. Oh and the fact that it costs money. Things that cost money are often viewed as being more effective, it's our way of protecting ourselves from the feeling that we've been ripped off.

I think homeopaths have a valuable role in treatment though, because let's face it we can all do with a bit of listening and TLC now and then. But it's very wrong to tell people it will cure serious illnesses, and patients should only ever been seen if they've already consulted a doctor about the symptom, to make sure it's not serious. And it should only be offered to people who can spare the cash!

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:25:43

Well, CrumbledWalnuts - please feel completely free to drink a useless bottle of water instead of any modern medicine next time you're seriously ill.

YANBU, I'm not sold on homoeopathy by far, though I do believe that a numer of the herbal medicines work

As Tim Minchin put it - we have a name for herbal/alternative medicines that have been proven to work. It's medicine.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:27:27

And it shouldn't be caught up in magical thinking.

We need a new name for it. Counselling isn't appropriate- Listening Therapy?

Like that Monty Python sketch where you pay for a 15 minute argument.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:32:47

Ellie - that was mine smile = and really? You think killing hundreds of people and making hundreds more seriously and permanently ill while pretending to care for them is merely "not perfect"?

How ridiculous.

And the links are from the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Independent. There are plenty more - I could go on and on.

It would be better if people focussed their anger on the real problems. It might give a nice warm feeling to be scientifically right on the nose, and it's very easy to sneer, but it would be better to actually challenge the problems that are actually killing and harming people. That is a lot, lot harder.

And I didn't say homoepathy works - I said it harnesses the mighty placebo effect allow the body time to heal itself. I think perhaps you didn't read that part of my post either.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:32:52

Oh, and for anyone who thinks homeopathy is "harmless" - HERE

Absolute bullshit will always hurt someone somewhere. Modern medicine would have saved most, possibly all, of the people on this list.

Wowserz129 Mon 10-Jun-13 09:34:02

Homeopathy is total rubbish! It makes me mad when I think about the utter crap some homeopaths are allowed to say to people about curing cancer etc... hmm

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 09:37:34

crumbled you're wrong about doctors not liking homeopathy. We love it. It gets hypochondriacs with self-limiting or non-existent medical problems off our backs. They give patients the time and attention we aren't able to, given that we see so many more people. What we don't like is homeopaths who claim to be able to treat actual illnesses, so patients get more and more ill and eventually see us when they're really poorly. That doesn't benefit anyone.

Some of them also take medicines made by pharmaceutical companies, to varying effect

Homeopathic 'remedies' are made by pharmaceutical companies too. Don't kid yourself that people are making them out of the kindness of their hearts. They are made to make money out of the gullible

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:38:36

You think killing hundreds of people and making hundreds more seriously and permanently ill while pretending to care for them is merely "not perfect"?

What a lot of bollocks.

Medicine is a human endeavour, like science. It's crap, but OF COURSE it goes wrong sometimes. But it tries to get things right, and largely succeeds.

Do you have the vaguest idea how many people it has saved over the past 200 years? How many diseases it has eradicated?

It is a trillion times more effective than stupid, pseudo-medicine that panders to dumb people.

I'd bet big, big money that the moment your life is threatened or you're seriously ill, it is modern medicine you'll rely on. This is always the case with "big pharma" conspiracy theorists.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:39:39

I'm sorry - after dismissing the Daily Mail did you really just link to that site? What on earth are its credentials? Does it have any? It didn't seem to from your link. Can you clarify?

Are you seriously saying the hundreds and probably thousands of people killed by conventional care are some kind of acceptable sacrifce to "modern medicine"? Really? Because they don't seem to bother you at all?

"Makes you mad" wowser? I can think of a lot worse things in health care to infuriate you.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:40:58

"Are you seriously saying the hundreds and probably thousands of people killed by conventional care are some kind of acceptable sacrifce to "modern medicine"? Really? Because they don't seem to bother you at all?"

Nope. Not saying that. Nor is anyone else of this thread.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 09:41:18

Bless you Imagine - and you don't mind at all when they resolve problems you simply can't? Which all your drugs and expertise fail at? Homeopaths do gt them off your hands don't they? Off to the homeopath and never back to you - because their problem is resolved.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 09:43:48

"Bless you Imagine - and you don't mind at all when they resolve problems you simply can't? Which all your drugs and expertise fail at? Homeopaths do gt them off your hands don't they? Off to the homeopath and never back to you - because their problem is resolved."

I'm sure she's happy to concentrate on the seriously ill, and leave the homeopaths to deal with the conditions it works best for- mild back pain, bloating, feelings of general unease and mild anxiety.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:47:03

Are you seriously saying the hundreds and probably thousands of people killed by conventional care are some kind of acceptable sacrifce to "modern medicine"? Really? Because they don't seem to bother you at all?

No, I'm not. I haven't even implied it.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 09:54:47

Oh - and on the website I linked to, click on the "Where is the science?" link and read the scientific papers.

Snorbs Mon 10-Jun-13 09:55:10

Homeopathy is not risk-free. It can harm people. It does this by encouraging them to stop or avoid taking proper medicine in favour of bullshit.

If you're basically well and are just a bit worried about a minor rash then, sure, go along to your friendly homeopath and get charged a lot to have someone in a white coat go "There, there" at you and sell you some sugar pills. There are cheaper ways of achieving the placebo effect but what the hell.

Many homeopathic doctors claim that their sugar pills can prevent malaria (as Simon Singh reported). How dangerous is that?

Even worse, people take this bullshit for cancer because they're told that it will cure them without the nasty side-effects caused by chemo- or radio-therapy. And they die as a result.

Moreover, encouraging people to ignore science in favour of woo-woo bollocks diminishes society as a whole. Steve Jobs would likely still be alive if he'd had his pancreatic cancer treated promptly rather with wasting months on special diets, acupuncture and herbal remedies.

Yes, medical science makes mistakes as do doctors. But there is no correlation between "Medical science makes mistakes" and "Therefore we should ignore science entirely".

As was written in the Telegraph a while back, if we can prosecute someone for selling fake bomb detectors, how are homeopaths allowed to stay in business?

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 10:03:09

Yes crumbled I'm thrilled when homeopaths help. As I say, they have a role, for people with enough money to pay, and minor self-limiting conditions, or as Seeker says, general unease and such like.

Life is hard and we can all do with some help at times, which is why we have spa days and relaxing holidays.

But it's important to remember that all the chat and attention in the world won't help ischaemic heart disease or diabetes or pneumonia, nor will a teaspoon of water with a molecule of granite in it, and any homeopath who says otherwise is very harmful.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:08:42

Ellie - bollocks? You said it "wasn't perfect" as a direct response to links showing the death and harm caused by conventional care. That was something you said.

And how many diseases has it eradicated, exactly? Have you got a list? And how many people has it harmed along the way? Seeker says no one is describing the harm caused as a sacrifice to the modern medicine and its progress - I think your posts come dangerously close.

You can bet what you like. I don't use homeopathy at all and probably never will. But when people fulminate to their hearts content about it while passing off serious harm and death as "not perfect" - well I think it's gullibility or hypocrisy.

DoesBuggerAll Mon 10-Jun-13 10:09:08

The thing is, homeopathic products are great value. You only have to buy a remedy once and you've got a lifetime supply. When the bottle is 90% empty, simply top it up with water and shake a few times and you've got another batch. If you are particularly enterprising you could make more of it and sell it.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:11:02

Imagine - people go to homeopaths with chronic conditions which conventional and pharmaceutical care hasn't helped over many years. Homeopathy - by what function I don't know, placebo and listening care - often manages to resolve them. What kind of GP dismisses such people as hypochondriacs?

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 10:11:13

Ha ha yes that's true doesbuggerall, and of course it gets more effective each time it's diluted!

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:13:19

Ellie - there's a scientific paper for Mrs Trellis of North Wales who says a homeopath told her friend to stop taking her asthma medication and her friend died? Is there really?

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:13:57

So, lets go back to an era where there were no antibiotics, no cure for polio, diptheria, smallpox, TB no anti retrovirals for Aids, no treatment for heart disease, lung diseases or cancer, just sugared water.
It is a 20/21st century, western indulgence to eschew conventional medicine and I bet we'd all be running for it if it were all taken away from us, don't you think?

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 10:14:12

crumbled I'm not saying that everyone who sees a homeopath is a hypochondriac, but there's no doubt that they do make up some of a homeopaths case-load. I've been very clear in saying that what they offer can be of benefit to many people, as we all need care and attention now and then. But claims beyond giving time, care, listening and support are immoral and wrong.

Pfaffer Mon 10-Jun-13 10:15:03

I have, over the years, lost whatever psychological filter I used to have which allowed me to accept that people derive comfort from paying money to calm people with time to listen to them and the ability to tilt their heads just so.

It saddens me that so many people have lost the critical faculties they need to sort the wheat from the guff.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:15:06

One of the problems that leads to so many mistakes is the complacency and self-righteousness of doctors and the industry of conventional care, which isn't hard to find. Perhaps if there was a little less of it, and a little less sneering, some of those problems might not be with us.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:16:17

"But claims beyond giving time, care, listening and support are immoral and wrong."

There's more than these: there's the placebo effect, which has just as much impact with pharmaceutical medication but without the side effects. Without the claims you might not have the placebo.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:19:52

"Homeopathy is always useless."

I can't believe you said that. It obviously isn't.

Pfaffer Mon 10-Jun-13 10:21:08

Good doctors are good. Bad doctors are bad. Neither of those facts really has anything whatsoever to say about the morality of selling a known placebo to unhappy people.

Trills Mon 10-Jun-13 10:21:13

the placebo effect, which has just as much impact with pharmaceutical medication

No. No it doesn't.

Chandon Mon 10-Jun-13 10:21:51

Yes, the attention and listening combined with the placebo effect definitely mean that homeopathic, or whatever you name it, can be beneficial.

As long as they do not make false claims I have no problem with it.

Poor od GP's are allowed to spend only 7 minutes per patient, that incldes calling them in, sitting down an writing prescription.

I once went to a "natureopath", as part f a promotional scheme for an alternative yoga club, and he sat down with me as if he had all the time in the world, asked lots of questions and really seemed to listen to me going on about my back problems. It was lovely and soothing and a nice experience.

Chandon Mon 10-Jun-13 10:23:07

Agree with Trills....placebo effect is not the same, or as good, as real medicine.


juneau Mon 10-Jun-13 10:23:29

I agree. I was moaning to a mum at the school gate last month about my allergies. I'm very allergic to tree pollen and have a month every summer when I'm a mess - eyes swollen shut in the mornings, can barely breathe, itching and sneezing, etc. She recommended I go and see a woman who had 'cured' her DH of his allergies, so I said 'Great, please send me her number'.

I made an appt with the woman and was, naively, expecting standard allergy testing (needle with allergen on poked in my arm to see which ones I reacted to). But no, I had, unwittingly wandered into the office of a NAET practitioner. The crystals hanging from the ceiling when I walked in should've been enough to make me say 'Sorry, I've made a mistake' and walked out again.

One and a half hours of the most unbelievable mumbo-jumbo then ensued, after which this crazy woman identitied that I had 15 separate allergies, most of them to things I've never had a problem with in my life and, incredibly, included my own husband and younger son!!!! Not surprisingly, I told her where to stick her follow-up appointments at £45 a time to clear all of these 'allergies', all of them requiring separate appointments, of course. Lesson learned. I felt very stupid afterwards for not doing my research. I'm now getting a referral via my doctor to a real allergy clinic.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 10:23:38


Exactly what are you saying? Do you even know?

We should abandon all modern medicine should we, because sometimes it goes wrong?

Shut all the hospitals, close the dental surgeries, cease all research into cancer & heart disease? Because things sometimes go wrong, we should completely ignore the far, far, far more times it goes right?

Your attitude is quite astonishingly ignorant. And the fact that you need me to tell you about illnesses & diseases that have been eradicted by science suggests that you have no fecking idea what you're talking about.

People routinely died of dental abscesses until antibiotics - never mind things like pneumonia & scepticemia. Small pox is gone thanks to science - polio is close to eradication, and would be gone by now if it wasn't for woo-mongering idiots.

Without modern medicine, there's a 50% chance you, personally, would not have survived your childhood. This is basic history - clue yourself in, for crying out loud.

But fine - you hate medicine so much, stop using it. We both know you won't, though....nowt so hypocritical as a scientific ignoramus.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 10:24:21

As snorbes pointed out, some homeopaths claim their pills can cure/prevent malaria. Homeopathy is not only bollocks, it's dangerous bollocks. People who believe in this nonsense need to be told why homeopathy does not and cannot work before they risk their lives/ their children's lives.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:27:40

I object to vulnerable people spending money on an unproven 'scientific' treatment. And the ill and vulnerable are the most likely to be exploited like this.

Fine is you call homeopathy 'placebo, time and counselling', not so good to propound it as a 'science' or a cure.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:28:21


"It is ethical to use a placebo in medical treatment?

In clinical practice, physicians may prescribe placebo treatments with or without the patients knowledge that they are receiving an inactive therapy. Psychologically, the patient may be encouraged that they are receiving a treatment for their ailment that they believe will have beneficial effect, and in turn the placebo may actually provide some relief. However, the effect would not be due to a pharmacological action attributed to the chemical composition of the medicine. Placebos have been used in treatment of sleep, anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain and other disorders. The therapeutic use of placebo or sham treatments in medicine is very controversial.

In one survey, only three percent of U.S. physicians reported using actual sugar pills as placebos, but 41 percent said they had used over-the-counter painkillers and 38 percent said they had used vitamins as placebos for their patients. Sixty-eight percent of physicians described the placebo to their patients as a potentially beneficial medicine, and roughly two-thirds of the doctors felt the practice was ethical.4

In another study, physicians used reduced doses of anti-inflammatory medications mixed in combination with a placebo to successfully treat psoriasis patients. Combining active drug with placebo may be effective in diseases that involve the mental state and immune system, including asthma, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. Reducing doses by combining with placebo treatment could also reduce side effects, addiction potential and cost."

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:31:24

"Exactly what are you saying? Do you even know?"

Of course I know what I'm saying. I'm saying it's hypocritical to fulminate and focus on homeopathy as a problem of hyper-importance when there are so many problems with conventional care which harm and klll a lot of people. Compared to those, homeopathy is a minor issue. Considering its benefits, an even more minor issue.

My side point is that it's simple self congratulation that feeds the fulmination against homeopathy. Such campaigning anger should be better directed against real, important, harmful and dangerous problems.

Pfaffer Mon 10-Jun-13 10:34:13

Is there any reason why we can't express disgust at the charlatanry and immoral money-making nature of homeopathy, and have a go at unethical modern medicine as well?

eg Ben Goldacre manages it superbly. It's just not what the OP asked about in the thread.

Trills Mon 10-Jun-13 10:34:28

It's not hypocritical to address something that is a problem, even when there are other problems in the world.

If that were the case, then it would be hypocritical to spend time or effort or thought on anything except the world's biggest problem - and who gets to decide what that is?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:36:01

The thread asks about the gullible: I think it's gullible to latch on to homeopathy as disgusting, bollocks, immoral, charlatanry etc etc.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:36:52

It is hypocritical to make it a much bigger problem than it is, when there are huge, massive, terrible problems with a treatment you purport to support in its stead.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:39:48

What are thes huge, massive, terrible problems you speak of Crumble? Cure for Polio, TB cancer, heart disease, Aids, infection, septicaemia?

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 10:39:53

You are completely missing the point - yet again.

We've ALL acknowledged the placebo effect. It's fascinating and real - and has a marked effect on self-limiting illnesses.

But can it cure cancer? Diabetes? Heart disease?


But people, in desperate times, have a habit of believing precisely what they want and it's pathetically easy to convince a vulnerable person that diet & homeopathy will cure their cancer. It won't and can't.

This is what makes homeopathy dangerous - not that someone takes it for their bad back, but because others will take it to cure their (or worse, their childs) asthma.

Homeopaths must be forced, under the law, not to lie about the efficacy of their "treatments". And if they are not lying, just deluded, then they need to be educated. As does the general public.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:41:44

Smallpox, Diptheria, I could go on..

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 10:43:09

I don't think anyone's arguing with the fact that the placebo effect exists. It's just that clinical trials need to show an effect above and beyond the placebo, hence double blind testing (although from my limited knowledge I understand there are some concerns re requirements to report all data from trials, not just data that shows the drug working).

The question of whether placebo effect alone should be used in conventional medicine is an interesting one. I think there's a bit of a catch 22, in that the 'scientific' theory behind things like homeopathy, and other alternative therapies is either dubious (mystical), or takes a couple of elements of actual research research and misinterprets it. But people need that dubious element to believe in something and therefore get the placebo effect.

I get what you're saying crumbled, but it does sound as though you ate arguing that medical advances in general are a bad thing because there are sometimes problems. Even if those problems are very serious, it is surely awful, but outweighed by the good that advancements have achieved.

Some examples you give - eg staffs - are not to do with medicine as such, but more human mismanagement. They're both important, but you're conflating them. Obviously these things should not be ignored, but that's a separate discussion to one on homeopathy?

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:43:19

Well said Ellie

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:43:38

There is no cure for smallpox, polio or diptheria DystopianReality.

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 10:44:26

And yes to those people highlighting the danger that claiming the powers of homeopathy can cause for serious illness.

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 10:47:45

Sorry am a slow typer. Also agree with those saying that you can think about more than one problem at once and it's nonsensical to shut discussion down on one thing by pointing attention to another problem elsewhere.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:47:47

Ellie - I think your post is utterly misguided and deeply complacent. You can't deny anything I've said in my posts - nothing at all. Instead you are using straw men to fuel that complacent, self-righteous and may I say deeply intolerant argument. If you were to use such campaigning intolerance against the harm and death caused by conventional care it could probably do a lot of good.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 10:48:25

'Cure, treatment, irradication' whatever, ir works...

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 10:50:39

There is no cure for smallpox, polio or diptheria DystopianReality

There doesn't need to be a cure when the diseases have been eradicated with vaccination programmes - quite obviously hmm

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:51:43

Oh yes you can think about more than one problem at once - but once I leave this thread you'll probably stop and just go back to thinking about how clever it is to know that homeopathy doesn't have a pharmaceutical basis. I'm off now to a normal day but first I'll repeat myself - it's hypocrisy to fulminate about homeopathy and dismiss death and serious illness caused in many hundreds and probably thousands of people by conventional care as "not perfect" or even "useless". It should make people much, much more angry than homeopathy - and the reason it doesn't, is because it's not an easy target. It's complicated, and difficult, and offers less opportunity to sneer. But it should make you much angrier, all the same.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:53:18

Polio has not been eradicated: indeed, Acute Flaccid Paralysis is on a rise matched almost exactly by the decline of polio in some areas.

I'm off Ellie, but if you do have a list of diseases which have been cured, I'll look later.

TheCraicDealer Mon 10-Jun-13 10:54:30

You're making it out that we can't get annoyed on behalf of vulnerable people being taken advantage of by homeopaths while at the same time being aghast at the treatment of other vulnerable people in hospital by bone fide doctors. Eh, yes we can. Start a thread and we can discuss it there in more detail if you like.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 10:57:34

You can do what you like Craic: I'm just pointing out that you're kidding yourselves when you do itsmile now I really am off.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 10:58:59

Ellie - I think your post is utterly misguided and deeply complacent.You can't deny anything I've said in my posts - nothing at all

No. And I don't need to. I agree with you - we all do. Sometimes modern medicine goes wrong. Are you happy now?

But quite how you've taken this bloody obvious observation and used it to imply that, therefore, no one should complain about homeopathy is beyond me. The two things are not connected at all.

And you've determinedly ignored the several times that I've pointed out that YOU, almost certainly, make full use of modern medicine when it suits you. Would YOU PERSONALLY ignore the advice of an oncologist if either you or one of your family was diagnosed with cancer? Would you head straight to the homeopathy clinic?

No, you wouldn't. You'd be desperately grateful to modern medicine then, wouldn't you?

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 10:59:53

Crumbled - the latter does make me angry and I agree it's very serious. I just think it's a strange thing to try to shut discussion down on a specific topic because you'd rather discuss something else. As craic says, you're free to start a thread too.

Crumble, You claimed to be a scientist. You don't happen to be employed in homeopathy do you?

AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 11:07:44

I just typed a big long post but i deleted it,i am just going to say,eat some raw garlic!It cures everything!

AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 11:09:04

Ellie-dont assume,i know 2 people personally who were diognosed with cancer who went no where near a hospital,both are now back to full health!(not sure if homeopathy was involved but there was no modern medicine at all)

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 11:12:04

Ellie-dont assume,i know 2 people personally who were diognosed with cancer who went no where near a hospital,both are now back to full health!(not sure if homeopathy was involved but there was no modern medicine at all)

Who diagnosed their cancer & who confirmed it was gone if they went nowhere near a hospital?

I don't believe it. Sorry.

TheCraicDealer Mon 10-Jun-13 11:17:07

eat some raw garlic!It cures everything! - yeah, but the girl who sits beside me in work will hate me. Will stick to AB's.

squoosh Mon 10-Jun-13 11:19:08

Didn't Steve Jobs attempt to cure his cancer by eschewing mainstream medicine and embracing homeopathic 'remedies' instead?

AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 11:45:45

Ellie im guessing they were diognosed at a hospital?but they didnt have chemotherapy or anything they would offer.Im not knowledgable on cancer but i do think there should be more focus on what causes it instead of just how to cure it.

AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 11:47:35

people who have antibiotics always seem to get ill again really soon!one mum from the school and her son have constantly had skin/chest/ear infections since september last year,they are constantly on antibiotics,if that was me i would wonder why i kept getting ill not just swallowing down pill after pill and hoping it goes away.

i know its anecdotal but my kids have never had any antibiotics or painkillers or vaccines and they never been ill,the odd runny nose yes,but never actually poorly.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 11:53:14

Amber, spontaneous remission of many different types of cancer is well known and well-documented. We don't yet know how or why it happens but it is being actively researched.

In the meantime, if I was to be diagnosed with cancer (and I have been in the past), I wouldn't just be crossing my fingers and hoping it would go away. It might, but the odds against that happening are far, far greater than I am prepared to accept.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 12:00:39

Anyway, back to 'harmless' homeopathy:
The average life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa is 30 years less than that of the developed world.  This represents a humanitarian problem of immense proportion that will take much wealth, effort and ingenuity to solve.  It requires the production and dispersal of life saving medicines and the cooperation of the United Nations health agencies and often unstable governments.  What it does not need is are homeopaths from Europe and America whose persistent delusions, and idiotic confidence, can and will kill. 

Homeopaths like this one
Whose acolytes promote him and fundraise on the BBC

eccentrica Mon 10-Jun-13 12:03:41

Amber i know 2 people personally who were diognosed with cancer who went no where near a hospital,both are now back to full health!(not sure if homeopathy was involved but there was no modern medicine at all)

So you don't know if, how, where or by whom they were diagnosed. Did they have biopsies, for example?

You don't know if they took homeopathic 'remedies' or not.

You don't really seem to know very much about this considering you're posting about it in a public forum which might be read by someone with cancer, or their relatives.

What types of cancer does each of them have? What stage was it at when it was diagnosed? Where, how and by whom were they diagnosed as "back to full health"?

Incidentally what is your theory about what causes cancer?

AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 12:04:34

do really need that though?or do they just need better standards of food water and basic healthcare?

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:04:46


I can't really be bothered to do your research for you, but:

Small pox has been eradicated worldwide (do not underestimate how important this has been to our species).

Large parts of the world are now free of polio - we are very close to eradicating this entirely.

This is also the case with measles, diphtheria, malaria, hookworm, rubella, and BSE. Like anything in science, it's a progression & if anything is holding up complete eradication of these, it is superstition & woo, and the ignorant, anti-science rubbish spouted by people like you.

You also have to take into account the treatments & medicines that prevent deaths that used to be common - bacteria killed millions and millions of people. Fighting them with antibiotics has saved more lives than can be counted.

Diabetes & asthma - once major, major killers - are mostly controllable now.

Fairly routine surgeries now save people from situations that would almost certainly have killed them a few centuries ago - caesarian sections, appendectomies, tonsillectomies and so on.

Understanding of germ theory has made surgery infinitely safer. Modern anaesthetics has allowed highly invasive procedures to take place that would have killed people previously - heart surgery, transplants etc.

As every year passes, the cure rate for cancer is steadily rising. Early diagnosis is getting better & treatments are becoming more effective.

My mother had cervical cancer. She was cured.
I was saved from a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy when I was 21.
My son had asthma attacks severe enough to require hospitalisation more than once in his childhood.

If either three of us had relied on a bottle of water that might, perhaps, contain a single molecule of onion juice, we'd be dead. And you know we would.

It saddens me that I have to explain all of this to a supposedly educated person.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:06:28

Ellie im guessing they were diognosed at a hospital?but they didnt have chemotherapy or anything they would offer.Im not knowledgable on cancer but i do think there should be more focus on what causes it instead of just how to cure it

Cancer research looks at both, Amber.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 12:13:09

Amber, was yourlast response to my 'Africa' post? Have you read the links? Homeopaths are promoting their quackery as treatment for HIV/AIDS and malaria INSTEAD OF EFFECTIVE TREATMENT. Look at the video in my second link. They are nothing more than a cult, spreading their tentacles throughout the impoverished of Africa.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:13:26


If one of your children had pneumonia and was fighting for their life in hospital, would you refuse antibiotics for them?

If your children have no taken them thus far, it's because they haven't needed them.

Well, some homeopaths are as thick and gullible as their patients, so not consciously conning the fuckwits who go to them. But most are just cheerful con artists, and some are even well-intentioned con-artists as in they know they are peddling crap but also know that a bit of 'there there', some harmless advice about eating well, taking exercise and relaxing etc, is what the patient is really paying for.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 10-Jun-13 12:21:16

I find this website tells me all I need to know

I am an expat and as a result am forced to live in "woo" land because there are far too many trailing spouses who like to get a correspondence course in woo and then peddle it to other trailing spouses with far too much money and time on their hands and lots of imaginary ailments (albeit not enough time to do some critical thinking it seems). Ah well- look at it this way. It generates some much needed GDP.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 12:22:44

The best "shark jumping" homeopathy, was the remedies that were prepared and distributed by hooking up on a gizmo to a puter that "collected" the "vibrations" so a remedy could be ....wait for it....emailed to you grin

It was a few years ago now, and may have died a death, but at the time the lack credudulous response from the "homeo-medical" community was breath taking. It was all "exciting advancement" and precious little "WTF?"

If memory (my own, not the magic memory of water) serves, distribution was in the mpeg format.

The reality is that we have no "new" water. It has all been going round and round the water cycle since the water cycle started (expcet the stuff locked away for millions of years in glaciers perhpas). All known substances have been diluted, bashed arpund, diluted some more, bashed some more, diluted and so on and so on into the entire body of available water we have on the planet.

If the belief of "water memory" were valid every single drop of water coming put of a tap, plopping on our heads as rain, or going up our nose when in the sea or a pool would be the highest possible potency of all possible rememdies. We'd be effectively overdosing on all known rememdies with each sip from a glass or unexpected mouthful of seawater.

I swear it's like hoempaths have never looked at the water cycle, the force of impact water goes through when in it, all the contact with all known elements and compunds over millions of years and gone hmm "hang on a minute".

Or maybe they think the bible that the original rememdies got bashed on was a special kind of "impact" that nature couldn't hope to replicate when it rained drops from on high onto the ground or crashed waves repeatedly against rocks for centuries.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 10-Jun-13 12:25:12

carpe I have a friend who pays someone to "send her energy". I shit you not.

meddie Mon 10-Jun-13 12:26:47

This is my favourite homeopathic sketch of all time

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:27:18

The best "shark jumping" homeopathy, was the remedies that were prepared and distributed by hooking up on a gizmo to a puter that "collected" the "vibrations" so a remedy could be ....wait for it....emailed to you

grin grin grin

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 12:32:24

But, but, but... even if there were any validity in the 'memory of water' bollocks, they now dispense sugar pills instead of water (so much more convenient) so does sugar now have a 'memory' too?

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 12:33:23

I's quite simple really.

The belief that homeopathy works is just that. It is a belief, a faith. Telling homeopathy believers that is doesn't work is like telling religious believers that there is no god; they will come up with numerous examples that there is.

It is a delusion. However, if you want to take out the fact that it can't work scientifically, it can and will work for certain things, but the belief in it is crucial.

Moreover, complementary therapies and conventional ,orthodox medicine are not mutually exclusive.

The only thing lots of us object to is the applying of 'stupid science' to it, and the exploitation of vulnerable people to it's brainwashing leading them to spend money in an unimformed way.

Snorbs Mon 10-Jun-13 12:36:44

The sugar pills have had magic water dripped on them.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 12:41:10

Yes Snorbs but the magic water has evaporated, so the magic sugar must be remembering the memory of the magic water <brain explodes>

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:41:35

I'm glad water doesn't have a memory - think of all the shit, puke and piss memories I'd have to ingest with my morning coffee.


BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 12:43:49

brew for Ellie

Like the corners of my miiiiiiiind
Misty water-coloured meeeeeeeeeemorieeeeeees...

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 12:45:31


AmberSocks Mon 10-Jun-13 12:49:20

hypothetically,why would my children get pneumonia?thats what im saying,prevention,rather than cure.

I havnt said anywhere im against medicine,i do believe it has its place,and i would use it after doing research for alternatives and if it was the last/only resort.

Snorbs Mon 10-Jun-13 12:51:46

Bore, I see your point. Hmm. It really is just an incredible load of bollocks, isn't it? Or maybe it's such an incredibly small amount of bollocks that its effects are magnified hugely...

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 12:53:47

My 12 year old hasn't ever had antibiotics either- and my 17 year old has only ever had them once..

This is because a) they are both very lucky in having excellent health (if I was superstitious I would touch wood at this point) and b) because I believe that generally speaking most things a normal healthy child gets wrong with them get better on their own with a bit of warmth, rest and cosseting. Sort of homeopathy without the sugar pills and the magical thinking, really.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 12:59:15

Amber Because they can and might.

As someone who has had their 1 year old in ITU with pneumonia (following a very light anaesthetic 3 days earlier for a blocked tear duct), the very last thing I was going to do was to explore alternatives before opting for intrvenous life-saving antibiotics. Septicaemia doesn't give you the luxury of time

TheCraicDealer Mon 10-Jun-13 13:02:40

i would use it after doing research for alternatives and if it was the last/only resort.

Steve Jobs thought that too, and he left it too late. Just sayin'.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:03:07

grin Snorbs
And I do so love it when people see my point <pathetically thrilled>

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 13:04:15

hypothetically,why would my children get pneumonia?thats what im saying,prevention,rather than cure

Yes, of course prevention is always better than cure. That's why we send them to school in warm coats, make them eat their veggies and wash their hands after the loo.

But human beings are susceptible to illness - and healthy children do get pneumonia or other infections, I'm afraid. We are very, very lucky that this is no longer a death sentence as it would have been in the past. And we have antibiotics to thank for that.

I am studiously ignoring your assertion that you haven't had your children vaccinated, by the way, because I don't want to derail. I can only hope that that's because you've been given sound medical advice not to for some reason and not because you've believed some bullshit off the internet.

ilovexmastime Mon 10-Jun-13 13:05:01

This April Fool's blog posting tells you what real scientists think of homeopathy:

I particularly like the made-up scientist's names and the fact that the Bodmin Institute is actually an old mental assylum!

cory Mon 10-Jun-13 13:12:39

I would be very interested to hear what I should have done to have prevented the pneumonia I contracted aged 14. I had an excellent diet, wore sensible clothes, did healthy exercise and was not subjected to any abnormal conditions of any kind. I just got pneumonia following a cold. I heard afterwards that that particular virus had led to pneumonia in several other local teens. What sort of prevention would we be talking about if vaccination is not permissible either?

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:13:29

Loved the names!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 10-Jun-13 13:15:16

My study of homeopaths has led me to the conclusion that their proliferation comes from people wanting respect without the responsibility or hard work, so if you say you're a doctor, people tend to have quite a lot of respect, but at the same time you have to work long hours, the pay's not great (vs other careers you'd be bright enough to do) until you're a consultant and if you get it wrong, or just not 100% right, you might kill someone. If you're a homeopath, you can pretend to be wise and educated, get the gratitude of gullible people and there's no risk of killing anyone with your magic water, plus you can probably earn what a junior doctor earns working 10-4pm. The best thing is it only takes you 6 mo to train vs. 6 years.

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 13:18:01

I know someone who genuinely believed that her children would not get head lice because their systems were so strong because they weren't vaccinated and had regular homeopathic treatments. She got a rather nasty surprise.....

VenusUprising Mon 10-Jun-13 13:20:44

Well all I can say is that as a scientist, homeopathy works for me. I don't know how it works, but it does work for me.

I have had really severe allergies to grass, tree pollen, dust, mould and animal dander.

And I tried all the normal allopathic remedies, steroids, inhalers: dilators and steroids, decongestants, antihistamines. But the only thing that cured me was homeopathy. I can now go out in summer without dying, and I have a cat too.

So ner!

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:20:53

Yes, RichMan, goes for all the other alternative quacktitioners too. The scary thing is how readily and uncritically it is accepted and promoted by many some.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 13:23:41

What branch of "science", Venus?

It's just that you would be the very first scientist that I have ever encountered who ignores the scientific method and the importance of peer reviewed data in order to say, "Well, it works for me so it works. QED".

seeker Mon 10-Jun-13 13:23:48

Venus- so why has it never worked when properly tested? And how do you explain the fact that it has absolutely no active ingredients? As a scientist?

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 13:31:54

I would damned well whole heartedly believe well, peddle to guulible muppets in something that allowed me to charge upwards of £55 an hour for a consultation, and then £££ for pretty little vials of feckin water - because it is water, nothing more, nothing less.

Send it to any lab, and let them analyse it...It. Is. Water.

Trills Mon 10-Jun-13 13:33:12

I think that a lot of people don't know what "works" actually means.

I took it and then I felt better does not mean it works.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 13:34:43

venus - " I don't know how it works, but it works for me " is not something a scientist would say. What kind of 'science' do you do?

SirRaymondClench Mon 10-Jun-13 13:38:19

I used to give Homeopathic remedies to my old arthritic horse and it helped her symptoms massively.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 13:39:53

To be fair though, LaQueen - it's water that's been very vigorously shaken and tapped. This is very important. Saying it's "just water" makes the whole thing sound stupid or something wink

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 13:42:05

Oh, yeah...right...I forgot about the speshul tapping procedure.

It's very important not to forget to tap the tap water.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:48:03

Venus In my younger years (child and adult) I had severe seasonal allergies. Now I don't. It's called spontaneous remission and is well-documented. I don't know how it happens but I expect an immunologist could explain it.

Some children with a history life-threatening anaphylaxis eventually 'grow out of it' but I wouldn't recommend treating them with homeopathic remedies instead of 'allopathic'* adrenaline and hydrocortisone in the meantime.

*You do know this is a pejorative term, right?

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 13:49:12

Bore same here. Some years my hayfever is really annoying...other years it barely registers.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:50:41

But LaQueen, as I pointed out earlier, the water is dripped onto sugar pills and then the water evaporates, leaving just... the sugar pill.

'Tis truly wondrous.

eccentrica Mon 10-Jun-13 13:51:07

Venus Like others on this thread, I find it extremely hard to believe that you're a scientist. What work do you do, and what are your qualifications? (You've been asked this already, and ignored it.)

I have yet to meet "a scientist" who thinks you can entirely ignore the need to prove that A causes B simply because B follows A. Do you have any idea at all what QED actually means?

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:51:48

Cross-posted, LaQ

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 13:53:13

I'm not a scientist, just a nurse, but even I understand that correlation does not = causation.

LisaExpress Mon 10-Jun-13 13:55:19

When I was 16 I had a temp job filing accounting firms in an office. I genuinely believed I was an accountant.grin
I wonder does Venus do science somewhere? [Wink] Thus making her a scientist?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:00:51

"Crumble, You claimed to be a scientist. You don't happen to be employed in homeopathy do you?"

Binky I think you made all this up.

Ellie: I didn't ignore it - I said I don't use homeopathy.

"Large parts of the world are now free of polio - we are very close to eradicating this entirely." Actually you need to read up on this - my post will help you if you start there. As polio has gone down with opv in some areas, the increase of unspecified acute paralysis exactly mirrors the decline. Which seems to indicate that either polio was overdiagnosed in the first place, or there is something very wrong with the vaccination programme.

"This is also the case with measles, diphtheria, malaria, hookworm, rubella, and BSE." I think you are exaggerating here, and to little effect: you ignore the side effects and what's more argue against a case I haven't made.

"Like anything in science, it's a progression & if anything is holding up complete eradication of these, it is superstition & woo, and the ignorant, anti-science rubbish spouted by people like you."

That's nice. Enjoy the nice warm feeling of self-righteousness it gives you while you ignore the terrible suffering inflicted by conventional care. Yes - ignoring.

"You also have to take into account the treatments & medicines that prevent deaths that used to be common - bacteria killed millions and millions of people. Fighting them with antibiotics has saved more lives than can be counted." That's great - I've used antibiotics. But I try to avoid them because their overuse has caused problems in itself. We could go there if you like.

"Diabetes & asthma - once major, major killers - are mostly controllable now."
\\ - look at the rise in asthma deaths from 1958 -1995

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:02:12

And calling people who go to homeopaths "fuckwits" is lower than low.

"after doing research for alternatives" suggests that if you found something that worked you would use it. Medicine is the collection of all the things so far that work. If your alternative worked then it would be medicine.

Usually though when people say 'alternative' they mean "I've no reason to think it works, but my hairdresser/Greengrocer swears by it". Why would people take health advice from a hairdresser or a Greengrocer and dismiss the advice of a doctor?

TheBreastmilksOnMe Mon 10-Jun-13 14:02:26

I completely agree by the way that it's a load of tosh and from what I understand, homeopathic medicine is a substance/chemical/product diluted down so many times that it only contains the 'blueprint' memory of what the original substance/chemical/product was so that the body is able to work with it and provide a cure. The more dilute it becomes, the more potent.

If that is so and homeopathy genuinly did work then wouldn't we all be 'cured' from every ailment going due to people pissing it out, and it finding its way back into our water system again by the natural cycle of our water???

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 14:03:25

Venus is usually a sensible and intelligent poster, so if she says she's a scientist then I believe her. It just makes me sad that intelligent people who should know better are prepared to suspend their critical faculties in favour of woo and magical thinking. Homeopathic hospitals, anyone?

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:03:28

it's water that's been very vigorously shaken and tapped

Ahhh, but....The entire body of available water has been vigerously shaken and tapped by going round the the water cycle again and again and again.

With dilution after dilution after dilution of every known element and compound being brought into contact with it ....for millions of years.

So all water is shaken and tapped.

Thus rendering references to "extra" shaking and tapping a touch redundant.

Bringing us back to "just water" grin

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:04:46

Excuse Wiki: "Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States[1] and the eighth worldwide.[2] Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor prognosis: for all stages combined, the 1- and 5-year relative survival rates are 25% and 6%, respectively;[3] for local disease the 5-year survival is approximately 15% [3][4] while the median survival for locally advanced and for metastatic disease, which collectively represent over 80% of individuals,[4] is about 10 and 6 months respectively.

Didn't Steve Jobs live for eight years after diagnosis?

LisaExpress Mon 10-Jun-13 14:04:54

"And calling people who go to homeopaths "fuckwits" is lower than low."

Admittedly it's not naice but it's probably fair enough.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 14:05:10

I'm not a scientist, just a nurse

Oi - there's no "just" anything about being a nurse - and you apply science, which makes you a scientist in my doctors, dentists, vets and so on. (I realise this isn't the strict definition, but it works for me).

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:05:54

Like I said, lower than low. Last resort, lazy, unpleasant, insulting, empty of argument.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Mon 10-Jun-13 14:06:56

Equally I don't agree that conventional western medicine is the be all end all either. It is suppressive and has a long way to go. I believe our doctors miss out on the 'whole' person and only take account of the immediate physical symptoms.

Most of our illness begin in the energetic body and work their way to the physical but that is my own personal belief and probably a bit 'out there' for most people.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 14:08:10

Excuse Wiki:

In October 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer,[201] and in mid-2004, he announced to his employees that he had a cancerous tumor in his pancreas.[202] The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually very poor;[203] Jobs stated that he had a rare, far less aggressive type known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor.[202] Despite his diagnosis, Jobs resisted his doctors' recommendations for mainstream medical intervention for nine months,[169] instead consuming a special alternative medicine diet in an attempt to thwart the disease. According to Harvard researcher Ramzi Amri, his choice of alternative treatment "led to an unnecessarily early death."[201] According to Jobs's biographer, Walter Isaacson, "for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his pancreatic cancer – a decision he later regretted as his health declined."[204] "Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He also was influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, before finally having surgery in July 2004."[205] He eventually underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy (or "Whipple procedure") in July 2004, that appeared to successfully remove the tumor.[206][207][208] Jobs apparently did not receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.[202][209] During Jobs's absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple, ran the company.[202]

In other words, without the woo crap he'd probably have been cured. He, himself, regretted his earlier actions.

Pardon me, Crumble. It was Venus who claimed to be a scientist.

If you don't use homeopathy and you don't believe in conventional medicine what do you do if ill?

Snorbs Mon 10-Jun-13 14:11:21

I used to give Homeopathic remedies to my old arthritic horse and it helped her symptoms massively.

There's a curious thing about the placebo effect. It can work on observers.

Eg you have a horse that has a problem. You give some pointless "treatment" to said horse. Your perception of the efficacy of this treatment can be skewed because of subconscious expectations on your part.

Strictly speaking this isn't so much the "placebo effect" as it is confirmation bias but the end result is much the same. You give a treatment to someone/something because you are told it will help, you then have an in-built expectation that it will have some beneficial result. So any observation that reinforces that belief is afforded much more significance than observations that go against it.

It's for precisely this reason why most medical trials are done double-blind. It's not just the patient who is prevented from knowing whether they were given the "real" treatment or the placebo, the person recording the results of that treatment doesn't know which is which either. That way the recorder's subconscious biases are avoided. It's only when all the results are in and the data is analysed that the matching up of treatment type to results is performed.

eccentrica Mon 10-Jun-13 14:12:44

Bore I know what you mean, but incidentally I've never heard of a scientist who calls themselves "a scientist" either, rather than say, a physicist, a biologist, an engineer, a research chemist etc. etc.

In any case she is wilfully or otherwise utterly ignoring scientific method, evidence, and all the tenets of science to make her ludicrous claims. So even if she is a fully qualified and working "scientist" it doesn't really matter in the end, because she isn't in this case.

Even more astonishing are the posts from CrumbledWalnuts who in the interests of arguing the (completely non-disputed) point that "some people have died or become ill as a result of medical treatment" is claiming that the incidence of polio has not gone down, and that diptheria, measles etc. are no less of a problem now than they were 100 years ago. Amazing grin shock

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:16:18

Ramzi Amri had nothing to do with Jobs' treatment - nothing at all.

Excuse Pfizer:

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are different from exocrine tumors of the pancreas (pancreatic
adenocarcinoma), which account for about 95 percent of all pancreatic cancers.5
Pancreatic neuroendocrine
tumors are slow growing tumors3
that are fairly rare and are reported in two to four people per million annually
worldwide6,7 and account for approximately 22-28 percent of all neuroendocrine tumors.8,9 The incidence of
pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors appears to be rising, due in part to heightened awareness of the disease,
improved diagnostic techniques and an increased rate of incidental diagnoses during evaluations for other
conditions.10,11 For patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that have metastasized, prognosis is poor,
with a survival of only 1-3 years

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:16:53

Binky: who said I don't believe in conventional medicine? Did you make that up too?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 14:17:35

See you later smile

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 14:18:46

Conventional medicine saves people's lives

Unfortunately, the NHS which is free at the point of service does not have the time to indulge the 'whole person'. It's a shame it can't, but it is trying to save you, alleviate your symptoms, distress or even sometimes listen to you.

Homeopathy has never saved lives, but remind me next time anyone wants to resuscitate me with conventional medicine, fluids remember the terrible things that orthodox medicine does. I'll take the risk.

Crumbledwalnuts, I got your post muddled up with Venus's one about being a scientist, but you appear to be mixing me up with Binkybix so I guess we're even smile

As for conventional medicine you seem to be dismissing it as dangerous and ineffective so I was just asking what your position was.

LisaExpress Mon 10-Jun-13 14:24:20

Ramzi Amri is a lead researcher and was approached for his professional opinion, which was that Jobs wasted time looking for "alternatives" when conventional medicine would have had more chance of saving him.

Inertia Mon 10-Jun-13 14:25:57

To be honest, I'm amazed that homeopathy has manged to avoid being classified as fraud- I guess homeopaths are careful about how they word their claims. Funny how they only mention the memory that water retains of the supposed homeopathic cure- I've never seen any consideration of the memory that water might retain of an oil spill, or the sewage works.

As has been pointed out, patients can gain enormous benefits from 3 things which are often bound up with homeopathy- the placebo effect; the fact that many illnesses clear up over time in patients with a well-functioning immune system; and spending time with somebody who actually has time to listen to the patient about their problems. Surely it would be a better use of NHS funds to stop all homeopathy funding, and instead spend the money on (for example) extending GP appointment times, so that the medical professional with an overview of the patient's health also has sufficient time to discuss health concerns with the patient.

meddie Mon 10-Jun-13 14:27:16

I am starting my own branch of Alternative medicine. Its called The blue hat model.
When I had a bad cold I went the shop for some aspirin. While I was standing in the queue a lovely lady in a blue hat sympathised with me.
When I went home I felt much better.
Therefore ladies in blue hats alleviate bad colds. I am going to employ an army of them to visit people in there homes and go 'there there'

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 14:28:47

For patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that have metastasized, prognosis is poor
with a survival of only 1-3 years

Yes - that have metastasized, as Jobs' had done. If he'd been treated before that had happened, he'd have stood a good chance of a cure.

Ramzi Amri had nothing to do with Jobs' treatment - nothing at all Neither did you. But I'll take the word of a Harvard Researcher (you know, an expert) over yours, thanks.

Someone pinch me, please? Am I actually talking to a person who is apparently arguing that modern medicine causes more harm than good?


Fuckwit IS rude. I won't call you that.

You are ignorant though. Embarrassingly so.

I agree that taking into account the 'whole person' would actually be a good thing, but the phrase ''whole person' has come to mean "Never mind the broken leg! look at the state of his chakra! Quick somebody fetch a crystal"

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 14:39:31

As polio has gone down with opv in some areas, the increase of unspecified acute paralysis exactly mirrors the decline. Which seems to indicate that either polio was overdiagnosed in the first place, or there is something very wrong with the vaccination programme

A source for this please.

That's great - I've used antibiotics. But I try to avoid them because their overuse has caused problems in itself. We could go there if you like

No - completely agree with you on this. I try to avoid them for the same reason.

Regarding diabetes & asthma - did I say they'd been cured and are no longer problematic? No - they are largely controllable now which they weren't at all a century ago.

Suzieismyname Mon 10-Jun-13 14:39:51

Has Venus told us which area of science she works in?

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 14:40:38

This is reminding me of the Young Earth Creationist threads.

What is really exercising me though is not so much the worried well throwing away their money on sugar pills remembering water which remembered something else; it is the obscene way this garbage is being touted in African countries as a CURE for malaria, HIV, TB and infant diarrhoea
It is criminal, in my opinion, and yet it s being promoted and supported by homeopathic communities in this country.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:43:11

I agree that taking into account the 'whole person' would actually be a good thing

It's not to be sniffed at. I went to what I think was a homeopathic college (in Tunbridge Wells) in 1988.

They cured me.

Unfortunatley that can't be attributed to magic water, cos I had zero understanding of homeophathy at the time and didn't take the pills. I was too scared to. It was a poisen name and I was worried it would kill me despite claims to the contrary.

Plus they wanted me to give up coffee and mint toothpaste cos back then those were claimed to interfer with the pills effectiveness. Over my dead body was I giving up coffee to take a potentially lethal poisen.

What worked was the two hour consult. I was in a very bad way emotionally at the time. For the first time in 4 years somebody was willing to ask questions and actually listen rather than close me down, hustle me out the door ASAP to make room for the next patient.

Sounds stupid I know. But the sheer relief of being heard and not shunted aside had an amazing effect. I think there is a case for having a coucelling and medically trained nurse placed within health regions, so patients who might normally be told to bugger off with a placebo or just ignored can be refered to a listening ear and get the benfits of the homeopath style consult.

It might be very expensive, but some costs could be clawed by better management of just the frequant flyers, let alone the people with a blip that can be halted from decending into a more fixed state with intervention. And the benefit of doing it within the mainstream health system is that if somebody does have a serious but missed pathology they are aren't going to be enticed to risk their health or life on snake oil. They can be referred straight back to the relevant consultant.

GirlWiththeLionHeart Mon 10-Jun-13 14:59:44

I've bought some teething granules for my ds, are these homeopathic or herbal? I'm guessing the placebo affect doesn't work on small babies in pain

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:05:40

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:09:37

Backonlybriefly: perhaps I did smile Conventional medicine IS often dangerous and ineffective. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:11:28

"Am I actually talking to a person who is apparently arguing that modern medicine causes more harm than good?" No - but it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:18:18

As I've said before conventional medicine saves lives, I've yet to see homeopathy save lives, it does no harm because it does no good.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:24:10

'but it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy.'

Tell that to someone who has overwhelming septicaemia, a heart attack, a dissecting aorta.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:28:26

"It does no good" - oh yes it does.

"Tell that to someone who has overwhelming septicaemia, a heart attack, a dissecting aorta." It doesn't matter what straw man arguments you come up with, it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 15:29:51

No - but it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy

I don't accept that. You are making a deeply flawed comparison.

That's exactly the same as saying - well, chemotherapy sometimes kills people who are being treated for cancer, while reading their auras never does. So reading the aura of a cancer patient is safer than giving them chemotherapy. That is what you're saying.

Modern medicine CURES & ALLEVIATES very, very often. Not always, of course - but often enough that it makes the whole endeavour worthwhile.

Homeopathy NEVER does, unless it's something minor and self-limiting. And we know why - because it's proven bullshit.

I have seen your link re: polio and I will have a proper read & research tomorrow as I don't have time now (not ignoring it, in other words).

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 15:31:22

it does no harm because it does no good

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It does no harm....because it DOES NOTHING. Praying to the FSM does no harm either.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:33:24

But the three senarios where we have established it's value would not apply in the above, would they?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:34:12

Be careful: you are moving dangerously close to the claim someone said you weren't making earlier. That the "good" is worth the sacrifice of the "harm". It isn't Ellie. Come back and say that when you've done a little more research into the harm: count the number of deaths, the amount of damage, and come back and say that.

It's not a flawed comparison - it's a flat statement of truth, and modern medicine, by the way, rarely cures.

Homeopathy often DOES alleviate - how, who knows, but by harnessing the power of the body's own immune system through placebo and attention - but it certainly does.

You seem to be lashing out somewhat with phrases like "proven bullshit". Maybe time to step away and come back when you've read up some stuff.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:35:26

See this is the mistake, the idea that it does nothing. The frustration and the inability and unwillingness to accept that it does something, we just don't know what. You can't control it so you hate it, frankly.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:36:17

But in the overall scenario, it does more harm than homeopathy, doesn't it?

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:37:13

'and modern medicine, by the way, rarely cures. '

There is no point in arguing with such a deluded state of mind.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:38:06

I haveasked you for a list of diseases cured by modern medicine, Dystopia. Do enlighten me.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:41:22

Want something else to get cross about in Africa?

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 15:45:36

Crumbledwalnuts, I got your post muddled up with Venus's one about being a scientist, but you appear to be mixing me up with Binkybix so I guess we're even

Yeah! Poor binkybix!

Can I just be clear: crumble - are you claiming that the medical world has caused more harm to human-kind than good?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:46:14

Perhaps I can get you started. None of these disease are cured by modern medicine, despite the exciting title.

(The most effective treatment available under modern medicine is penicillin, a treatment discovered, not invented, and which we are rapidly throwing away by over-prescription.)

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:47:20

Oh dear Binky do keep up.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:11:28
"Am I actually talking to a person who is apparently arguing that modern medicine causes more harm than good?" No - but it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy.

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 15:50:38

Wow, you're rude crumble.

At least I can keep track enough to not attribute posts incorrectly.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:53:14

Well, we've talked about the role of antibiotics in curing infection.

Some childhood leukaemias can be cured.

TB can be cured

Many people are surviving various cancers, that is, they are diagnosed, treated and survive. That is a cure in my book.

Teratomas (testicular cancers) have a very high cure rate. Given the balance of probability, I would opt for treatment and possible cure over homeopathy.

Many many illnesses can be cured these days that could not in bygone days. That is the progression of conventional medicine applied with a robust evidence base behind it.
Of course, it doesn't always work, but that is no reason to eschew it. We are continually making headway.

Salbertina Mon 10-Jun-13 15:55:47

I live in Africa and am rather cross that ARVs are not available to the millions who desperately need them due to unaffordability and government ignorance. It is way too easy (and dangerous) to take modern medicine for granted. Here for many it is still a luxury!

VenusUprising Mon 10-Jun-13 15:55:58

Well that's what I'm saying gals, it works for me and others, so we haven't figured out how it works for me and others, have we?

Maybe you don't know many scientists, but I do, and they also haven't a clue how the homeopathy they take works for them either.

It's a challenge isn't it? Can you get your heads around it?!

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 15:56:44

Ah, yes, I forgot to add AIDS

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 16:16:22

But venus what kind of scientist are you? Do you agree that science should be guided by the principle of falsifiability? If so, how can you believe in homeopathy? Maybe you mean you are a pseudoscientist.

exexpat Mon 10-Jun-13 16:18:13

I see Venus still isn't telling us what kind of scientist she is. I'm beginning to wonder if she's one of the people in white coats on make-up counters who spoutslots of pseudo-scientific jargon to make you buy expensive moisturiser.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Jun-13 16:19:21

Maybe you don't know many scientists, but I do, and they also haven't a clue how the homeopathy they take works for them either.

Well, here are a few suggestions:
Placebo effect
Regression to the mean
Self-limiting illness
Incorrect original diagnosis
Magic water

Why would any self-respecting scientist plump for the last suggestion?

Remember, homeopathy works on the principle that 'like cures like' so if you want to cure asthma, you find something that causes problems breathing. Except giving something that causes problems breathing would be bad, so you don't give it. You take your poison and put the equivalent of a drop of it into an ocean of water, stir it all up, take a drop out of the ocean, bottle it and take that instead.
Even before you get to the ridiculous dilution bit, why would a poison that causes breathing problems cure breathing problems???

exexpat Mon 10-Jun-13 16:24:31

I also wonder what crumbledwalnuts would do if she was diagnosed with, say, type 1 diabetes, or lymphoma, or HIV- accept the risk of possible harm from modern medicine, or take some sugar pills because they can't hurt her - except for the small matter of allowing her to die from lack of effective treatment?

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 16:25:25

"Be careful: you are moving dangerously close to the claim someone said you weren't making earlier. That the "good" is worth the sacrifice of the "harm". It isn't Ellie. Come back and say that when you've done a little more research into the harm: count the number of deaths, the amount of damage, and come back and say that."

*Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 15:11:28
"Am I actually talking to a person who is apparently arguing that modern medicine causes more harm than good?" No - but it does cause a hell of a lot more harm than homeopathy.*

At the risk of you being unnecessarily sarcastic towards me again, can I ask a genuine question about the two quotes from you which are above crumble?

You seem to agree that modern medicine has done more good than harm (quote 2) but also seem to be saying that despite this it's not worth doing because it does some harm.

If you agree that on balance it's done good, why don't you think it's worth taking some harm for more good. I genuinely don't understand your logic on this (or why this issue means people should not discuss homeopathy).

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 16:25:54

Sorry - bold fail on second quote.

Gracelo Mon 10-Jun-13 16:28:57

Well, I'm a biologist and I know loads and loads of scientist and I have yet to find a homeopathy believer amongst them. But science isn't a poll, it doesn't matter how many are for or against it, it comes down to who has the better arguments and data to support their arguments. I can't see homeopathy providing the reasoning and the data to make me change my mind any time soon.

LisaExpress Mon 10-Jun-13 16:29:39

If modern medicine did more harm than good, then why is their published paper after paper demonstrating that patients with say, cancer, survive by being treated and die faster if they're not treated? Genuinely curious.

Binkybix Mon 10-Jun-13 16:32:35

But in the overall scenario, it does more harm than homeopathy, doesn't it?

Not necessarily if you look at net effects - ie both could do harm and good. Modern medicine could do more harm in absolute terms (because its used more, actually has active agents etc etc) but still have a much greater net benefit because it does a hell of a lot more good too.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Jun-13 16:32:39

Forgot to add to my list of suggestions of why homeopathy works:

Success of other intervention incorrectly attributed to homeopathy

E.g. My rash went away as soon as I took the pills and switched washing powder

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 16:33:40

Maybe you don't know many scientists, but I do

My sister has a PhD in a scientific ology. Her husband has a degree in sicence and was a sicence teacher at secondary school before he changed direction. The bulk of their friends are scientists who work in sicentific fields. Half of my husband's family are in sicentific fields. I teach a large chunk of the Masters and PhD students in the various science faculties at the local uni. I've never heard any of them expressing opinions that do excactly as NobleGiraffe point out

Placebo effect No
Regression to the mean Nope
Self-limiting illness Crap
Incorrect original diagnosis What bollocks
magic water Ohhhhhh....I bet that's the reason !

I think "as a scientist", and as I pointed out, I am surrounded by the buggers (no offence to scientists, but you have an annoying knack of seeingnthrough made up statistics and ruining my argument in wine fueled post dinner "discussions" which is annoying), you are pretty much in a tiny minority by leaping on the last as the most plausable explanation.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 16:40:26

Be careful: you are moving dangerously close to the claim someone said you weren't making earlier. That the "good" is worth the sacrifice of the "harm". It isn't Ellie

No. You accused us of ignoring & not caring about the harm that modern medicine can sometimes cause. We denied this....we acknowledge it and we care.

I think all of us would stress that the good IS worth the harm....that's the point. The good massively outweighs the harm in this instance.

and modern medicine, by the way, rarely cures I don't think I've ever seen a stupider comment anywhere on MN. Ever. And having spent several weeks talking to a young Earth creationist, that's really saying something.

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 16:45:53

I categorise them the same way as I do "mediums" etc -

A) The ones who genuinely believe in what they're doing, ie the stupid ones.
B) The ones who know they're lying about the whole thing.

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 16:47:07

Modern medicine rarely cures? Wow that's scary. All those years of study, and 22 years as a doctor, has all been a waste of time for me? I guess I'd have been better off making very weak squash and selling it for a fortune. Oh well, you live and learn!

SybilRamkin Mon 10-Jun-13 16:57:36

Arf at Imagine! grin

Robinsons is on offer in Sainsbury's at the moment if you want to get in on the act? grin

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 16:59:42

I am very old quite mature. As a student nurse I nursed several young men with testicular cancer. They all died. Now, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they don't. Just one example.

PixelAteMyFace Mon 10-Jun-13 17:02:23

I used to be very sceptical about homeopathy.

Then one day I was chatting to a pharmacist and happened to mention that both my DS had unsightly warts on their hands which had resisted several treatments, including being cauterised three times by a dermatologist.

He suggested I try homeopathy, which was a special interest of his. I was a bit sceptical but thought I`d give it a go as everything else had failed.

He asked very detailed questions about diet, family life etc and gave me two tubes of little sugar pills for each boy.

My DS1 was a cynical teen, DS2 was too young to have views on the treatment, but they both took it anyway.

The warts on both boys` hands began to shrink after a few days and had totally disappeared within three weeks.

I was amazed (and hugely relieved) and no longer know what to think, as it obviously worked, we had the tangible proof - but how? confused

K8Middleton Mon 10-Jun-13 17:08:25


K8Middleton Mon 10-Jun-13 17:09:01

^^Magic medicine for everyone. It's quite potent so careful!

eccentrica Mon 10-Jun-13 17:11:08

Pixel I refer you to the multiple posts on this thread about the many different ways in which homeopathy can seem to work.

Placebo effect - Just being given a pill by (what seems to be) a medical professional can make people get better in some cases, this is proven
Regression to the mean - over time, everything tends to revert to the average
Self-limiting illness - lots of illnesses would get better and go away regardless of any 'treatment', the fact that they get better AFTER homeopathic treatment does not mean they got better BECAUSE OF homeopathic treatment


You did not have proof that homeopathy CURED the warts, you just had the coincidence of time. For proof, you would need to show that it works in a double-blind test - i.e. you give one group of patients homeopathic 'treatments', another group a placebo, and see if there's any difference in recovery. The person giving the treatment must also be unaware of which group each patient is in (hence 'double blind'). Homeopathy has been put to this test and has failed every single time. Of course it has. There is no possible way that it could have any effect, it would violate every law of physics, biology, and chemistry.

The 'detailed questions' about your life are there to make you feel better, like someone is paying attention to you and really cares, and is giving you a personalised treatment plan.

In fact they are giving you pills made of sugar, which have been dipped in water. That's it. Really, literally. In 2010 many protesters swallowed bottles and bottles of homeopathic 'remedies' in public in order to show what total nonsense it is

Also incidentally, no one who was actually sceptical would have bothered with the treatment, so (not meant in a nasty way) you weren't really very cynical at all smile

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 17:12:00

Pixel That is anecdotal, not 'tangible proof'.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 17:12:52

we had the tangible proof

Self limiting condition.

Give several hundred people with warts sugar pills. And the same number again give nothing. Some will find the taking of the sugar pills will coincide with the death of the warts. As will a similar number in the "not getting sugar pills" group".

"Proof" is a not a sample of two taking the same treatment for a self limited condition. Especially if the condition had also faced an onslaught of other treatments that might have recently kicked in in terms of effective wart murder around the time that the sugar pills were given.

The case for making a Very Big Deal out of school children leaving the system with a solid understanding of the scientific method is very strong.
With any luck they will be able to put their parents striaght when magic water starts being added to the family drawer of cures and pills.

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 17:15:29

Oh, yes, I remember, all those people taking 'overdoses' of homeopathic remedies outside major branches of Boots. Great fun.

pinkmoomin Mon 10-Jun-13 17:16:21

Gosh, so many bigoted views on this.

I put my head on the block and confess I use homeopathy in an attempt to reverse some of the vaccine damage done to my severely autistic 6 year old DS.

I was sceptical at first, and no, it hasn't cured him. But, I have seen some astonishing results that convinces me that despite there being no rational explanation it is not woo. I really don't care if 99% of you think I'm a fuckwit, homeopathy has helped my DS more than any respected medical professional has been able to.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 17:26:21

bigoted views

If you have the facts, pound the facts.

If you have the law evidence, pound the law evidence.

If you have neither the facts nor the law evidence, pound the table.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 17:28:20

Gosh, so many bigoted views on this

Thinking rationally does not make us "bigots". Don't be so rude & offensive.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 17:30:34

We don't know everything about everything in this world and some things may be hard to believe as we are all so conditioned to just accept what doctors/lawyers/newspapers etc say but just sometimes you have to give other things a chance. It is not an alternative it is complimentary. My doctors are amazingly open to all of this even though I have had 2 transplants heart disease and cancer! I have tried many things

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 17:33:02

My younger daughter develop some very unsightly warts on her eyelids that started as barely noticeable, but over the course of 18 months became quite prominent and obviously needed to somehow be removed, so we were referred to a dermatologist. I was fairly desperate to get it sorted for her, and the several week wait was frustrating, but I didn't want to risk any non-medically supervised home treatments and didn't try anything at all myself.

The appointment was for Christmas Eve. On the morning of the 18th December, she woke up to find that they had all fallen off/disappeared during the night. It was quite incredible, and I'm sure that if I had been trying some woo medicine like homeopathy while we waited, that I would have attributed their sudden 'cure' to that.

For a condition that can spontaneously resolve, it is far more likely when it does it would have done so anyway, rather than the inert pills and magical thinking having had any effect. We just tend to think in that way though because it gives us a feeling of control.

Ellie (and others)- I have been really impressed on this thread by your calm and rational approach. I think I would have lost patience some time ago.

crashdoll Mon 10-Jun-13 17:34:14

Of course homeopathy can do harm. hmm I went to see a homeopath, she told me that my conventional medications were interfering with her 'remedies' and suggested I come off them. I ignored her and didn't go back. I have an autoimmune conditions and without conventional treatment, I would get damage to my joints and some organs. How was my experience not harmful?!

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 17:38:02

Pink- bigoted opinions are formed in the absence of evidence. In this case, the evidence overwhelmingly leads to the conclusion that homeopathy is nonsense. Therefore having a negative opinion of homeopathy/homeopaths is not bigoted. Unlike your opinion of western medicine/doctors.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 17:41:14


You and pleanty of others

Far chance that homeopahty will ever introduce M&M confereneces or other accuntability measure to limit harm.

In Big Alt the bottom line is the bottom line and precious little could distract them long enough to think beyond earnings, profit margins and new income streams.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 17:42:05

crashdoll very unlikely a decent homeopath would say come off your other meds!

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 17:43:14

I have had extensive conventional treatment and am not cured. Never will be.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 17:44:01

A decent homeopath ? grin

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 17:44:39

BOF it was a Christmas miracle. Obviously wink

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 17:46:23

Noddy Conventional medicine can cure some, not all conditions. Give us another 100 years and it might be able to cure your illness; homeopathy never will.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 17:50:15

in your opinion smile

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 17:51:50

Oh Blimey...(wanders off wearily)

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 17:57:00

Wow you are pretty angry for someone who is so SURE grin

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 18:02:53

Homeopathy harmless?
worth a look especially the first youtube link, which gives details of the Coroner's findings.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 18:05:47

in your opinion

No. In fact. It's just water.

Homepathic remedies are just water and sugar. If the theory worked then all the water we have ever had availble to us since humanity began....would be a potent homepatic remedy for known ills.

Becuase nature via the water cycle has reproduced (for millions of years) exaclty the same process that homepathic pill factories have been using for a couple of hundred.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:07:21

I know what it is I don't use it myself but have seen great results in some who do. The sugar and water are irrelevant its all about the imprinted memory.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:09:43

Why are all those who are against it so angry and a bit fish wifey? Just let people do their thing or you will need more than a sugar pill to bring your blood pressure down

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 18:10:05

noddy - like Solid, I am also sure homeopathy and the rest of the 'magical stuff' is nonsense. And I also get frustrated that some 300 years after the Enlightenment we have to have discussions over the magical properties of special water. There is no place for supernatural thinking in 2013. It holds back progress. This makes me cross.

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 18:11:48

"Imprinted memory".

FFS. does anyone really believe this? Really?

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:13:19

grin yes some people really do. I think there is plenty of room for magic water. People believe in all kinds of things why so cross

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 18:13:42

The imprinted memory thing is errant nonsense, seductive and pseudo-scientific though it sounds.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 18:14:44

The sugar and water are irrelevant its all about the imprinted memory

How does shaking and repeated dilutions result in "memory" in a facotry that sells stuff, but not when the water cycle does exactly the same of charge ?

DystopianReality Mon 10-Jun-13 18:15:17

Noddy yes there is room for magic water...have you read the whole thread?

OliviaP Mon 10-Jun-13 18:17:59

I think it is like mediums (the ones that talk to the dead, not the ones that lie about their clothes size), most are well intentioned and put a lot of emphasis on coincidence, but the are a few out and out frauds out there.
I did find this for anyone who believes in such things. Cleaning spit?

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 18:22:02

There is no place for supernatural thinking in 2013. It holds back progress. This makes me cross

Here, here.

And the smug "it's all just your opinion" nonsense makes me angry.

An "opinion" based on a solid foundation of evidence is NOT equal to an opinion based on precisely in the case of homeopathy and God.

Unless you're willing to argue that the "opinion" of someone who argues that sun orbits the Earth, is equal to the "opinion" that, actually, the Earth orbits the sun. Which few sane people would be willing to do.

Amazed that no one has misquoted Shakespeare at us yet, though. This is a law of woo threads, isn't it? A bit like Stalin & Hitler being raised ad nausea on the religion ones.

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 18:22:19

Mumspit! Brilliant! grin

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 18:23:03

ad nauseum

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:25:17

But the people who want to use it aren't half as angry as those who don't! You should all chill safe in the knowledge that you have it all sewn up scientifically and let the woo people get on with it.

TiggyD Mon 10-Jun-13 18:26:13

You are being very reasonable.

Homerpaths are being very silly indeed.

Why doesn't all water have the imprinted memory of shit then?

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:31:34

Maybe it does I am an interior designer how would I know?

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 18:32:17

You should all chill safe in the knowledge that you have it all sewn up scientifically and let the woo people get on with it

Oh, OK. Never mind the countless cases where people have avoided medical treatment in favour of homeopathic treatment and died. The silly billies. Where's the harm? You are quite right hmm

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 18:34:39

Noddy there are a few reasons why people get fired up about this subject.

Its partly because it is potentially harmful, if used for serious illness instead of conventional medicine. This means that people, sometimes vulnerable people like children who haven't been able to make the choice for themselves, suffer needlessly.

It is also because there is no evidence to support its benefit, which means that people are being parted from their money, which maybe they can ill afford, on the basis of promises that can't be delivered.

It is also immensely frustrating when people in our privileged western society discount medical research and tried and tested treatments, dismissing them as if they were the whim of some crazy meddlesome scientist.

The fact that it isn't just harmless stuff makes people very angry about it.

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 18:45:59

There is a very long list of specific cases in which people have been harmed by homeopathy. And I don't think it even goes into the harm that's been done by its inappropriate use in developing nations.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 18:46:28

It is personal choice. I have had extensive conventional treatment and some of it does more harm than good too.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 19:03:28

That site has been linked to a number of times - what are its credentials? Someone said there were scientific papers on it - what, to justify that Mrs ABC said someone told her something about homeopathy and they died? I could link to a thousand DM articles and you'd criticise their provenance. What are the credentials of this site?

I'm with noddy, except (sorry Noddy) I don't believe it's to do with memory imprints.

There is a very important distinction between managing conditions and claiming a cure. This is why I've made this distinction - there is such faith, blind faith, that modern medicine "cures" and in fact it does so very rarely, if at all.

It treats, and manages, and controls.

I can help you out, by the way - a range of parasitic conditions could be considered cured, but they aren't really diseases. Still there's no doubt a number of cheap treatments have revolutionised health for some in tropical and developing zones.

Have much more, must go.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 19:26:50

Here is a link to an article about the risks of homoeopathy. The article appeared in The Lancet, which is the most respected medical journal in the world (with a 5-Year Impact Factor of 33.8, if you're interested). All articles have to go through a rigorous peer-review process.

crashdoll Mon 10-Jun-13 19:33:45

Crumblewalnuts Conventional medicine may not cure but it can treat, manage and control unlike homeopathy. Sugar pills will not halt the progression of my condition (nor many others), however you dress it up.

noddyholder Mon 10-Jun-13 19:34:00

Crumbled I have my tongue firmly in cheek at times wink.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 19:34:56

This article appeared in the British Medical Journal (BMJ): Dutch doctors suspended for use of complementary medicine

Patient died after being told to stop medicine From The Telegraph newspaper

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 19:40:00
CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 19:53:11

If someone charged a vulnerable elderly relative of mine a vast amount of money to tile their roof, and didn't actually tile the roof at all but the elderly relative THOUGHT it had been fixed, and was happy, would that make it ok? Of course not.

That's why I get downright angry at any sort of woo merchant, especially those who charge money.

Perseis Mon 10-Jun-13 19:58:11

It's dumb tax, to an extent. Yes, trading standards should come into play at some point (getting what you paid for, no false advertising etc) but if someone is stupid enough to refuse conventional medical treatment and they suffer as a result then Darwinism is working, no?

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 20:06:52

Peresis No. Aside from the finding the idea stupid people deserve to die a bit grim, what if they refuse conventional medicine on behalf of their children?

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 20:07:27

My lovely Mum (otherwise an intelligent, well educated woman) goes to a homeopathic doctor 4 times a year, paying £55 a time, for the experience.

For this £55, she gets to relax for 60 minutes, in a peaceful, tastefully decorated room with naice music playing in the background and luffly views of a park.

She gets to talk entirely about herself for 60 minutes, while the very charming doctor (ahem) gives her his undivided attention, smiles, nods and makes all the right, suitable sympathetic noises...essentially he makes her feel listened to and pampered.

At the end of the session, he gives her a very naicely wrapped bottle of tap water carefully distilled, precious homeopathic remedy...and my Mum goes home feeling very soothed, and really quite relaxed and nicely energised, after the encounter (let's face it, who wouldn't...)

Bizarrely, for an otherwise quite cynical, skeptical Mum stoutly ascribes her improved mood after each session on her sugar special tablets hmm

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 10-Jun-13 20:11:12

My granny used to claim the same effect from a nice dose of Syrup of Figs, LaQueen grin

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 20:11:48

LaQueen a massage or therapy session would deliver the same well-being benefits and would not involve magical potions.

ShadowStorm Mon 10-Jun-13 20:15:36

Sadly, being intelligent, well educated - even with a scientific education - doesn't stop some people believing utter nonsense.

I met an ex-GP (she'd taken early retirement) at a party a while back. Her new occupation involved diagnosing allergies. But not via something vaguely scientific such as blood tests or whatever. No. She said that she would have a telephone consultation with the patient, and then dangle special crystals over a list of allergens, and this would tell her what the patient was allergic to.

She seemed to be completely and genuinely convinced that this was an accurate and sensible way of diagnosing allergies. And this was a woman who was intelligent enough to get into medical school, and had then gone through medical training.

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 20:18:57

Knetish I know, I know...and deep down, I suspect my Mum knows this, too. But, she enjoys the entire exprience, and is a grown adult, with her own money...what can I do hmm

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 20:24:49

I ascribe homeopathy, in the exact same bracket of science as the bonkers, vaguely scientificky names that comsetic companies come up with, to market new products...

"Oh, yes this new face cream has this amazing new chemical compound called silkenicity, with added molecules of plumpazons - and together, they combine to make your skin more silky, and more plump..."

It's what I call Fisher Price Science grin

ToysRLuv Mon 10-Jun-13 20:28:05

Upon my return home from the maternity ward, the visiting midwife recommended I buy arnica tablets from Boots to help heal my Caesarean scar. I didn't realise they were homoeopathic until found them in that shelf. I did buy them, in the end, I guess to please her. Don't know what possessed me. I know they are sugar tablets. The instructions were ridiculous (tip straight from bottle to mouth without touching it hmm ). I think I took a few because they tasted nice and then binned them.

Am now a bit angry and sad at an NHS midwife recommending homoeopathy. What a load of rubbish.

LaQueen Mon 10-Jun-13 20:29:05

Dh and I were at university with a lot of medical/dentistry students...a lot of DH's mates are doctors/dentists...I currently work in a clinical setting with dentists...several relatives are qualified HCPs...

Not one of them...not a homeopathy any credence whatsoever. But, hey...what do they know...

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 20:30:29

Hahahaha chortling at LaQueen's silkenicity and plumpazons!! grin

ToysRLuv Mon 10-Jun-13 20:30:45

I remember a recent anti-ageing facial cream commercial that claimed to have used "DNA science to create a new revolutionary cream". Surely they mean biology .. hmm

munkysea Mon 10-Jun-13 20:32:15

Erm, does anyone else find it rather distasteful that this woo-merchant is selling distilled bits of the Berlin Wall? I mean, it was erected to stop people escaping a communist dictatorship in East Germany, and over a hundred people died trying to cross it.

ToysRLuv Mon 10-Jun-13 20:38:59

It's probably not a real wall piece.. Whatever the case, I just find it ridiculous.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Jun-13 20:40:39

Toys confusingly there are two types of arnica, homeopathic arnica which is bobbins, and herbal arnica that might help with bruising. Hopefully the midwife meant the herbal stuff.

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 20:59:07

I love the term "bobbins" but I've never used it.

I shall remedy that before the week is out.

Perseis Mon 10-Jun-13 21:01:27

Kentish Did I say they deserve it anywhere? I just think it's a natural consequence, and there is only so much that can be done to force people to behave in a certain way - if you value any kind of civil liberties you have to let people be stupid if they choose to. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it enjoy the view, as they say.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 21:08:38

I have an annoying habit of posting this on virtually every woo thread - but I love it so much & it's so very apt.


LiegeAndLief Mon 10-Jun-13 21:12:04

Venus, I am a scientist. I know loads of scientists. I am married to one, friends with many and work with more. I know one scientist who "believes" in homeopathy and she is a bit of a loon.

I refer you to the wonderful Tim Minchin:

Alternative medicine has, by definition, either not been proven to work or been proven to work. You know what we call alternative medicine that had been proven to work?


LiegeAndLief Mon 10-Jun-13 21:12:39

Ha ha x post Ellie!

ToysRLuv Mon 10-Jun-13 21:16:04

I don't think there are herbal Arnica pills. At least not at Boots, 3 years ago. I know there is a herbal arnica cream, but that's not what the midwife recommended.. I have absolutely no issues with herbal medicine (with the safe, approved stuff), as that is what modern medicine evolved from.

KentishWine Mon 10-Jun-13 21:18:02

Apologies if I misinterpreted your post, Perseis.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 21:47:37

Homeopathy obviously helps some people, somehow, probably placebo, probably the time taken - it obviously, somehow, harnesses the power of the body to heal itself. The lack of interest in how this works is really rather depressing. The thread is almost a parody of the phrase "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". People like to think they "know" what "cures" disease (and obviously there's quite a basic mistake going on for a few people about what a cure actually is). They also like to sneer at an easy target. It's not difficult to assert there's no scientific or pharmaceutical basis for homeopathy. That's the easy part. The hard part is the next bit - and that's asking: if there's no pharmaceutical basis, and people still benefit - what is it doing, and how. Can we harness that and use it in a different way.

Some people here clearly don't even understand that someone can be cured, or a health problem cleared up, without the use of pharmaceutical products. It's very sad, and very old fashioned.

With regard to the links posted: I could sit here all night and post links of how "modern", "conventional" "western" medicine, whatever you like to call it, and conventional treatment, have harmed people, and damaged people, and killed people, many hundreds of people, thousands of people, sometimes vulnerable people (Imagine) "like children who haven't been able to make the choice for themselves, suffer needlessly." Please don't forget that many "tried and tested" treatments have ruined lives. I did post a few such links, earlier: and it wouldn't be hard (although very time-consuming) to post link after link after link. We can just take it as read that it's many, many more than homeopathy. There were also links about how immune system conditions have soared over the years.

The comments flying about, stupid, fuckwit, nonsense, supernatural (by the way Ellie it's "hear, hear") I think are rather childish and smug.

CarpeVinum Mon 10-Jun-13 21:49:29

Alternative medicine has, by definition, either not been proven to work or been proven to work. You know what we call alternative medicine that had been proven to work?

just cos I love hearing that quote in its original context

PixelAteMyFace Mon 10-Jun-13 21:50:26

eccentrica - I`m fully aware that warts will eventually disappear by themselves, but it seems a strange coincidence that they just happened to disappear within days of starting the homeopathic treatment - and for both boys, at the same time, not just one!

DS1 was very sceptical about the treatment as silver nitrate and liquid nitrogen (three times) had both failed. The dermatologist said that some warts just don`t respond to treatment.

I tried homeopathy as a last resort so that I could truly say I`d tried everything to rid my sons of those hideous warts that were making them feel self-conscious. I didn`t expect it to work, but thought I`d at least try it as it wouldn`t do them any harm <shrugs>

In France people are much more open to homeopathy than in the UK, and I know of two French-trained doctors in the small town where I live who will prescribe homeopathic remedies for minor problems if the patient so wishes. I have tried homeopathic cough syrup and found it to be as useless as any other grin and the homeopathic sedatives to help me sleep were also a waste of money.

But if I got warts I`d give homeopathy another try...

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 21:51:04

Sigh. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 21:51:43

And that was just a response to CarpeVinum. Pixel, good luck with the whole wart thing.

apostropheuse Mon 10-Jun-13 21:53:51

really need to read thread titles more carefully. was a tad confused when I read it as Am I being unreasonable to think sociopaths make money out of the gullible

Speed reading isn't always a good thing. grin

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 22:05:20

The placebo effect is indeed fascinating. We know that this explains why many people feel that homeopathy works for them. It doesn't mean that homeopathy has some actually-existing physical or chemical curative quality, or that there is some magic involved that science has not yet discovered.

A little knowledge may indeed, as the cliché goes, be a dangerous thing. But it's certainly less dangerous than eschewing all rationality and surrendering to ascientific nonsense, and believing that this is actually characteristic of superior insight.

Walnuts: I'm not sure what your ranting about proper medicine is based on. Is your point that some medicines' side effects harm some people who take them (while curing many others)? Is it that medical professionals sometimes make mistakes? The thing is with conventional medicine, as opposed to superstitious bullshit: conventional medicine evolves, is tested, medicines with side effects are replaced by ones with fewer side effects, more effective medicines are developed and this is all based on a process of testing, re-testing and evidence. Whereas homoeopathy is bullshit, has been proven to be bullshit (has failed every single test performed) and remains bullshit.

It's also true that a lot of ailments simply get better, after a while. If you have a bit of a tummy upset or a cold, it will get better whether or not you take conventional medicine. It will get better whether you take homeopathic remedies or not. But if you take a conventional remedy, you will probably get better a bit faster and the intensity of your symptoms will decrease a bit.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Jun-13 22:31:51

The lack of interest in how this works is really rather depressing

Who isn't interested, crumbled?

Loads of research has been done into the placebo effect, an injection is more potent than a pill and so on. Here are some interesting findings:

"Now, after 15 years of experimentation, he has succeeded in mapping many of the biochemical reactions responsible for the placebo effect, uncovering a broad repertoire of self-healing responses. Placebo-activated opioids, for example, not only relieve pain; they also modulate heart rate and respiration. The neurotransmitter dopamine, when released by placebo treatment, helps improve motor function in Parkinson's patients. Mechanisms like these can elevate mood, sharpen cognitive ability, alleviate digestive disorders, relieve insomnia, and limit the secretion of stress-related hormones like insulin and cortisol.

In one study, Benedetti found that Alzheimer's patients with impaired cognitive function get less pain relief from analgesic drugs than normal volunteers do. Using advanced methods of EEG analysis, he discovered that the connections between the patients' prefrontal lobes and their opioid systems had been damaged. Healthy volunteers feel the benefit of medication plus a placebo boost. Patients who are unable to formulate ideas about the future because of cortical deficits, however, feel only the effect of the drug itself. The experiment suggests that because Alzheimer's patients don't get the benefits of anticipating the treatment, they require higher doses of painkillers to experience normal levels of relief.

Benedetti often uses the phrase "placebo response" instead of placebo effect. By definition, inert pills have no effect, but under the right conditions they can act as a catalyst for what he calls the body's "endogenous health care system." Like any other internal network, the placebo response has limits. It can ease the discomfort of chemotherapy, but it won't stop the growth of tumors. It also works in reverse to produce the placebo's evil twin, the nocebo effect. For example, men taking a commonly prescribed prostate drug who were informed that the medication may cause sexual dysfunction were twice as likely to become impotent.

Further research by Benedetti and others showed that the promise of treatment activates areas of the brain involved in weighing the significance of events and the seriousness of threats. "If a fire alarm goes off and you see smoke, you know something bad is going to happen and you get ready to escape," explains Tor Wager, a neuroscientist at Columbia University. "Expectations about pain and pain relief work in a similar way. Placebo treatments tap into this system and orchestrate the responses in your brain and body accordingly."

In other words, one way that placebo aids recovery is by hacking the mind's ability to predict the future. We are constantly parsing the reactions of those around us—such as the tone a doctor uses to deliver a diagnosis—to generate more-accurate estimations of our fate. One of the most powerful placebogenic triggers is watching someone else experience the benefits of an alleged drug. Researchers call these social aspects of medicine the therapeutic ritual."

Long article here

CalamityKate Mon 10-Jun-13 22:52:17

It's "Alternative medicine has, by definition, either not been proven to work or been proven not to work".

Sorry, pedantic but omitting the second "not" changes the whole thing.

ShadowStorm Mon 10-Jun-13 22:53:02

Yes, the placebo effect is indeed fascinating.

I read somewhere - can't remember where right now - that researchers had found that expensive branded paracetemol worked better as pain relief than generic cheapy unbranded paracetemol, despite them having the exact same active ingredients.

They'd put that down to the placebo effect. Something to do with people expecting expensive medicine to be more effective, so it was....

I'll have to have a look for where I read that when I get a minute.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 23:09:44

(by the way Ellie it's "hear, hear")

Who fucking cares?

The odd typo is excusable - your embarrassing and spectacular ignorance is not.

Sigh. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing But none at all is considerably worse.

As BOF says

But it's certainly less dangerous than eschewing all rationality and surrendering to ascientific nonsense, and believing that this is actually characteristic of superior insight

ImagineJL Mon 10-Jun-13 23:12:10

Capsules work better than tablets, coloured capsules work best, and drug names should have a Z or an X in them to achieve maximum benefit apparently.

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 23:14:05

Zovirax must be the absolute dog's bollocks then, Imagine grin.

CoteDAzur Mon 10-Jun-13 23:14:32

"In France people are much more open to homeopathy than in the UK, and I know of two French-trained doctors in the small town where I live who will prescribe homeopathic remedies for minor problems if the patient so wishes"

I'm in France, too, and have had this conversation with many a pharmacist. They have all said that it is of course rubbish but as long as people want to buy it, they will happily make money selling it.

Nobody who has actually studied biology and chemistry, let alone medicine, can actually believe in homeopathy which is completely at odds with all of those disciplines. When doctors prescribe it, it is prescribed as placebo.

And why not? It doesn't cost much and sugar pills can't hurt you.

(Because it is a lie, that's why not. That's my two Euro centimes anyway.)

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 23:16:47

"The odd typo is excusable - your embarrassing and spectacular ignorance is not."

Hair hair, Ellie wink

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 23:40:40

Ellie and Solidgoldbrass: as you seem to have descended beyond the point I would stop talking to people in real life, I'll have to leave it there with you and we can agree to disagree.

"The placebo effect is indeed fascinating. We know that this explains why many people feel that homeopathy works for them."

Firstly, people don't feel it works - it does actually work. How? Is it the placebo effects alone? Is there an element of holistic attention? Is there something else?

"It doesn't mean that homeopathy has some actually-existing physical or chemical curative quality, or that there is some magic involved that science has not yet discovered."

That is not what I'm suggesting at all. Straw man. That's the easy part.

"A little knowledge may indeed, as the cliché goes, be a dangerous thing. But it's certainly less dangerous than eschewing all rationality and surrendering to ascientific nonsense"

That's moot: there's no question about the damage done by "all rationality" and scientific "tried and tested" treatments.

"and believing that this is actually characteristic of superior insight."

It might be nice to think that because you know there are no active chemicals inside a homeopathic pill you therefore know everything there is to know about homeopathy. With many people - including, for example, the researchers into placebo you mentioned, it doesn't stop there.

I think the NHS harnesses the power of homeopathy very well. It's carried out in a clinical environment, with approved people, access to medical records, and (I assume) training and guidelines (as it's under the NHS) to ensure that recommendations aren't given that interfere with vital conventional treatment.

Oh dear BOF, I've just seen that you agreed with Ellie's very rude comment. Well I've typed all this out now, so we'll just have to agree to disagree as well.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 23:43:48

By the way Imagine: perhaps you could have a conversation with Trills who believes conventional treatment pharmaceutical treatment has no placebo effect.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 10-Jun-13 23:48:22

And so, with that, YABU op. A lot of people know exactly what they're getting and engage in a willing suspension of disbelief. And for many others - perhaps the more you believe, the greater the benefit.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 23:51:35

Can I ask why you have continually ignored my question to you about your own personal access to modern medicine?

You genuinely seem to think that the world would be better off without it (demonstrating historical as well as scientific ignorance to a quite breathtaking degree), so please tell me that you won't be calling a paramedic if you have a heart attack - or wasting the time of ImagineJL and her colleagues when you've got a severe attack of the shits, or an embarrassing boil on your bottom. Please reassure me on this point, because I'd truly hate to think of you as a hypocrite.

Oh - and it's OK. SGB and I are quite used to people not wanting to talk to us.....but we carry on regardless usually wink

BOF Mon 10-Jun-13 23:54:08

"Is there an element of holistic attention?"

Yes, of course. Which contributes to the placebo effect. Nobody denies this- in fact a few people have specifically brought this up.

I'm sorry if you feel offended by my being a bit rude about you (and I admit that I have been): I apologise. I am just frustrated by your solid conviction in what I consider to be a load of old hooey.

EllieArroway Mon 10-Jun-13 23:54:13

Crumbled is disappointed in you, BOF - she expected better. You've let her down, you've let the thread down....but most of all, you've let yourself down sad

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 11-Jun-13 00:04:55

Ellie: please refer to my response above.

Bof smile: apology accepted. Don't worry, it's not the offence, it's just that the desire to talk to someone evaporates under certain circumstances.

I think you mistake my "solid conviction". I certainly have a conviction that homeopathy helps a lot of people: I certainly have a conviction that it contains no pharmaceutical active ingredients: I certainly have a conviction that the best way to harness whatever power it does have is under controlled conditions in the NHS: and I certainly have a conviction that people who dismiss it are also prepared to dismiss as paltry the terrible problems caused to many people as insignificant. And I certainly have the conviction that that would be hypocrisy.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 11-Jun-13 00:06:01

Should read: "I certainly have a conviction that people who dismiss it are also prepared to dismiss as paltry the terrible problems caused to many people by conventional treatment.

BOF Tue 11-Jun-13 00:16:19

Hmm, I disagree with you there. I've been involved, for example, in a campaign to make sure that the awful events in Staffordshire are never repeated. That doesn't mean that I reject all the benefits of science and modern medicine though.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 11-Jun-13 00:24:22

Bof, neither do I. And well done to you on Stafford. But too many people have used phrases like "sometimes modern medicine goes wrong" or "not perfect" - when talking about the toll of conventional treatment - compared to the much more aggressive and hate-filled language directed at homeopathy. It's clear which they consider to be more significant (wrongly) as an agent of harm.

BOF Tue 11-Jun-13 00:32:48

I think that's because the subject of the thread is homeopathy, to be fair. If the topic was medical disasters, you'd find plenty of posts expressing passionate opposition.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 11-Jun-13 01:03:53

crumbled that's because whilst conventional medicine can harm, the balance is still in its favour if you look at how many serious diseases have been eradicated over the last century or so. Homeopathy doesn't have that track record. It's all about feeling better because someone had a nice chat to you and listened to your ailments, which is great, but then we should be honest and look into how we can incorporate that into treatment plans, rather than pretending that homeopathy works as it is supposed to. I actually dont have a problem with people wanting to go down that route because they are sick of being in and out of the GP surgery in 8 mins flat or not being able to get an appointment for 10 wks. I have a problem with the pseudo-science that homeopathic advocates like to lecture me with over dinner. If they just said "it works because people believe it does- isn't the mind a fascinating thing?" I'd wholly agree with them.

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 11-Jun-13 06:19:54

I could sit here all night and post links of how "modern", "conventional" "western" medicine, whatever you like to call it, and conventional treatment, have harmed people, and damaged people, and killed people

Conventional medicine gets the high-risk jobs and is used a lot more widely, so you're proving nothing here. When homeopathy is being used comparably and getting better results then you might have a point. Except it never will be, because not enough people are stupid enough or ill-informed enough to start treating serious conditions that way.

I'm also not sure what relevance your points about the placebo effect have. Homeopathic doctors charge people money for treatments that are 100% proven not to do what they claim. Magic water would defy the laws of science. It is simply bollocks. Just because, coincidentally, some people may be helped through the placebo effect does not lend any credence to homeopathy. You could argue that it means we should find a way to better dispense placebos to harness this. But it does not make it ok to charge people money for lies, potentially life-threatening advice and tap water.

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 11-Jun-13 06:23:57

Hmm, x-post because I forgot to refresh the thread last night.. <catches up>

Curlew Tue 11-Jun-13 06:26:59

Of course more people die when being treated by conventional medicine than when being treated by homeopathy! That's because they have things wrong with them that have the potential to kill them- rather than backache, bloating and biliousness.

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 11-Jun-13 06:29:27

But too many people have used phrases like "sometimes modern medicine goes wrong" or "not perfect" - when talking about the toll of conventional treatment - compared to the much more aggressive and hate-filled language directed at homeopathy. It's clear which they consider to be more significant (wrongly) as an agent of harm.

hmm So if we all agree that chemo sucks even if it cures you, that anti-depressants can be damaging to mental health, that childbirth sometimes results in incontinence and it sucks that we still don't have perfect contraception, then by your standards are we allowed to say that homeopathic "doctors" are liars and charlatans?

Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 06:41:51

I don't understand what you suggest we do with regard to medicine crumble. Are you suggesting we are not using it at all because there are drugs which cause harm? That we are not using, say, antibiotics because in some people they cause bad side effects? Maybe I need to read the thread more carefully but I honestly don't understand what you suggest we do to tread life threatening illnesses for which we have drugs which cure the majority of patients but harm a handful of others.
There has been lots of work done on homeopathy and it has never resulted in any support for it. If there is more work to be done maybe the companies which profit from selling HP stuff should put the money and the work in, just as pharmaceutical companies have to show efficacy for their drugs. They are not going to do it because a. people buy HP if there is proof or not b. they fair well know that they won't be able to show it works (and then claim it lies in the "special nature" of how HP works that they can't show it), or c. if against all expectations they do show efficacy then suddenly this actually becomes proper medicine with all the regulation and licensing issues which make drugs so expenisve and their massive profit margin will shrink. There would be no good outcome for them whatsoever.

Binkybix Tue 11-Jun-13 08:24:25

Crumbled - it comes back to the point you keep ignoring about net benefit from both types of treatments, not absolute harm. You say you think modern medicine has been a good thing on balance, but the the rest of your argument doesn't follows that logic.

People are not dismissing the harm that conventional medicine can do - its acknowledged, the fact it should be minimised and negligence dealt with strongly is acknowledged. It's just that a) people are not prepared to throw away the net benefits and b) people can care about more than one thing and here want to discuss homeopathy. Remember that this thread started by a treatment that uses the Berlin Wall!

I don't think anyone has denied the placebo effect (using at short hand for all the ways homeopathy could work) here. So it's about harnessing that without the fear of challenging the supposed homeopathic mechanism, and the harm that belief in that can do.

As a wider point I think it is important to challenge belief in non-evidence based thinking in this sort of context to enable progress - so the argument against challenging homeopathy isn't just about what harm that treatment may not - it's about a framework of thinking.

Binkybix Tue 11-Jun-13 08:26:07

Gracelo - I'd watch out. When I asked crumble to clarify a similar question I got a rather sarcastic retort, although it's actually far from clear.

blondecat Tue 11-Jun-13 08:36:26


Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 08:44:26

I'm battle-hardened when it comes to HP discussions binky smile
I agree with your point about "framework of thinking" and it's a bit strange to accuse scientists of being bigoted for sticking to their scientific principals. Mind you, this is mostly happening to biologist, maybe because it's considered a soft science. Doesn't happen to physicists as far as I can tell.

scarletsalt Tue 11-Jun-13 09:52:29

crumbled what the fucking fuck are you on about?!

ImagineJL Tue 11-Jun-13 10:26:27

The argument that conventional medicine has harmed more people than homeopathy is like saying that driving a car is more dangerous than jumping off the Empore State Building. Far far more people have died in car accidents than jumping from the Empire State building, but that doesn't make the jumping safer. It's all down to numbers. Very few people have had adverse outcomes from homeopathy because very few people use it for anything other than mild or self-limiting conditions. Pretty straightforward really.

Balaboosta Tue 11-Jun-13 11:29:25

Thank you, this has been a great thread. (speaking from the pro-modernity camp)

Mimishimi Tue 11-Jun-13 13:17:56

I always thought it was rubbish. I remember when my mum got into it and a bottle of something for colds and every time we started to get one, she'd urge us to to put two drops of the stuff onto our tongues. Slipperly elm bark tincture or somesuch. Always did think it was just water. It never did anything but then she got into vitamins and recommended large doses of Vitamin C and those did help grin. I'm sure slippery elm has it's uses as a vitamin but not in the diluted form of a tincture.

LaQueen Tue 11-Jun-13 13:32:28

Of course some GPs and pharmacists, are happy to repscribe/recommend homeopathtic gubbins...

Firstly, sugar pills are a damn sight cheaper than conventional medicine.

Secondly, the GP knows they won't do any harm, simply because there's nothing in them.

Thirdly, they are well versed in how effective placebos can be. So, if a patient presents with vague twinges, sniffs, tingles...whatever, the GP understands that giving the patient a pill for it (any pill, sugar ones are best because they're cheapest...but some tap water in a little vial, if probably just as effective, if not cheaper)then there's a very high likelihood that the patient's vague little ailment will soon disappear.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 14:30:32

Trouble is, LaQueen it perpetuates uncritical thought and acceptance of pseudoscience and magical thinking as being in some way valid. Leading to all the detoxing, immune-system-boosting, colonic-irrigating, crystal-healing, ear-candling, tuning-into-vibrations, kinesiology, medical-establishment-conspiracy-theory bollocks. That makes me stabby.


DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 14:31:32

Crumbled It is 'A little learning is a dangerous thing'.

ouryve Tue 11-Jun-13 14:32:52

YANBU. The only science involved is that of preying on the desperate.

DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 14:39:54

Mimishimi Did you read the article in the Guardian magazine last weekend about the dangers of large doses of vitamins esp Vit C? It made sobering reading

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jun-13 14:46:50

How large a dose? Vitamin C is water-soluble so excess amounts are peed away and it's pretty hard to overdose on it.

It amazes me that some people wonder what the problem is with irrationality and disinformation. Should we abandon education so that people can think 2+2 can equal anything they like? (sadly we seem to have made a start on this) When the guy fixes your car do you want someone who understands the internal combustion engine or someone who has a really shiny crystal to wave over it?

By learning what works we moved out of the caves. Nearly everything we do is possible because someone worked out how things really work. This is also known as science.

Think about how many woo powered mobile phones, DVD players and space shuttles there are...

There! that's didn't take long did it.

If we let irrationality spread we could have windologists suggesting that people leave upper storey rooms via the window instead of 'conventional stairs'. That's no sillier than calling a priest instead of an ambulance or a homoeopathist instead of a doctor. Though the practitioner would have to be sure to be paid in advance.

Maybe I'll start up a business. I can show statistics on the numbers of people injured by falling down stairs. Also I've seen people leap from high windows without injuring themselves. Granted that was a fictional film, but hey! fiction is just alternative truth isn't it.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 15:02:44
LaQueen Tue 11-Jun-13 15:11:25

Oh I agree with you Bore - it makes me grit my teeth, to hear my (otherwse sane, lovely) Mum witter on about how much her amber gris has helped her stiff shoulder...

FFS Mum, you were in Mensa. Get a grip.

DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 15:12:58

Mimishimi Apologies, it merely stated that there was no benefit in taking it and absolutley no effect on the prevention, duration or severity of the common cold or indeed other upper respiratory chest infections. It did however talk about the increased risk of dying from cancer (spec lung cancer) and heart disease from taking extra doses of Vit A, E and Beta Carotene.

The article was an extract last saturday from 'Killing us softly; the Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine' by Dr Paul Offit. It's published on 20th June by Fouth Estate, if anyone's interested

DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 15:15:43

Thank you for the link, Bore

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 15:34:55

I'll certainly lookout for the book - looks like it focuses on one of my other favourite bugbears - the "If it's natural it must be good" bollocking bollocks.

Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 16:07:59

Bot bore at least natural stuff doesn't have "chemicals" in it wink

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 16:14:18

That's true, Gracelo, no chemicals whatsoever. Oh No. All good and natural.

Sometimes I despair at the lack of very basic scientific knowledge, I really do.

LaQueen Tue 11-Jun-13 16:14:42

Ah, yes...that little homily...natural stuff doesn't have chemicals in it.

[puts head in hands...cries a bit...]

Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 16:17:57

"energy" is really my big bugbear. You always know when the term energy is mentioned in a woo context that it's bollocks.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 16:32:32

Only if it's negative energy, though, eh, Gracelo?

DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 16:37:37

To echo Balaboosta, this has been a great thread, nothing has ever (other than vaccination threads) kept me so attached to the screen and keyboard. Thanks WidowWadman

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 16:38:06
BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 16:40:21

Oh Dystopian, you really should have been on the Young Earth Creationist Threads!

Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 16:43:54

I so do bore smile

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 16:50:03

How does energy become blocked?
Is this a new branch of physics?
Why hasn't this utter rubbish died a quiet death yet? I worry that it's going to get worse, with science teaching deteriorating.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 16:55:41

That's my worry too, minouminou

Gracelo Tue 11-Jun-13 16:57:10

I don't know minou it's as baffling as negative energy.

I have to say I'm always quite heartened when I see MN threads about these kind of topics because there is usually a majority arguing pro-science. I'm on a German parenting forum as well and there I have been at times the only one arguing against HP and the likes. It's depressing.

exexpat Tue 11-Jun-13 17:09:00

It's 'homeopathy awareness week' next week, so there's probably going to be a lot of woo-promotion around, but luckily lots of people are also now promoting genuine awareness of homeopathy, ie that it is nonsense. This was a blog from last year - I love the video of the homeopathic overdosers.

LaQueen Tue 11-Jun-13 17:13:33

Anytime anyone tries to explain to me about how they polish their feckin chakra, I have to stop them and explain back 'I'm sorry, I think you're confusing me with someone who is incredibly stupid.'

ThereAreEggsInMyViolin Tue 11-Jun-13 17:18:30

It is a complete load of old bollocks.

Blocked energy, my arse!

lashingsofbingeinghere Tue 11-Jun-13 17:23:05

This just about sums up the sheer idiocy of homeopathy Mitchell and Webb

KentishWine Tue 11-Jun-13 17:32:08

That sounds painful, ThereAreEggs! smile

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 17:39:54

It is heartening to be amongst so many like-minded souls smile

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 17:41:02

Although 'like-minded souls' makes no sense whatsoever grin

CalamityKate Tue 11-Jun-13 18:26:06

LOVE that Mitchell and Webb sketch grin

Smudging Tue 11-Jun-13 18:35:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DystopianReality Tue 11-Jun-13 18:50:31

Fantastic lashings!

NurtureMyBaby Tue 11-Jun-13 19:51:08

It's a complete load of old bollocks. Wether they are knowingly making money out of the gullible (and vulnerable) or they genuinely believe this shit works must depend on the individual homeopaths. I've come across a lot of nonsense peddled by homeopaths and I really find it hard to work out where they are coming from, I suspect most of them must know its bullshit and are just in it to make money.

Honestly homeopathy is my pet hate. At least choose an "alternative" medicine that sounds vaguely feasible and doesn't defy all logic.

lurcherlover Tue 11-Jun-13 19:54:14

Here's another pet hate whilst we're on the subject of woo: amber teething necklaces. I can't believe people actually put those on their babies.

aladdinsane Tue 11-Jun-13 20:03:37

Its the jumping up and down 15 times and turning around that activates the memory in the water - do you people not understand that!!grin

scarletsalt Tue 11-Jun-13 20:11:19

How about this for bullshit:

KST Chiropractic treatment

It is just about believable that the weird gun/drill thing she uses really does 'tap the bone into the correct place'. But the method that she uses to find out which specific area to treat is to wave her hands around the clients head in a woo way. In other words she has no idea what she is doing.

And the best part is, in her other videos, clients say that they have to come back about every 2 weeks - what a rip off! People bring their kids too - no way would I let her near my baby!

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 20:17:46

That video has just made me very angry.
I know where she can shove her drill.

NurtureMyBaby Tue 11-Jun-13 20:21:29

lurcherlover I agree, another pet hate of mine. Worse in a way as they are directly dangerous, unlike homeopathy which is just water.

Lomaamina Tue 11-Jun-13 20:22:24

Not only is it nonsense, it's fraudulent, dangerous nonsense.

Have a look at the excellent blog by Professor David Colquhoun - example here:

and the equally excellent blog (and books) by Dr Ben Goldacre - example here:

Lomaamina Tue 11-Jun-13 20:23:50

n.b. I (and other, more qualified people) say it's nonsense because people have rejected conventional therapies that can cure serious illness for 'alternative' therapies that cannot.

Curlew Tue 11-Jun-13 20:26:22

Has anyone noticed that the peddlers of all things woo are now starting to talk about "harnessing the placebo effect"? It's becoming increasingly difficult to defend CAM in tems of it actually having any physical effect, so they are trying to claim placebo for their own.....

Lomaamina Tue 11-Jun-13 20:34:42

Yup. Placebo is the new drug of choice grin.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:14:18

"why would a poison that causes breathing problems cure breathing problems???"

I don't have knowledge of this. But isn't it similar to the concept of vaccination, where the immune will fight the diluted element and protect and cure the disease?

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:24:51

Claig, vaccinations work because your immune system "knows" how to formulate the right compounds/cells/ enzymes already, and the vaccination introduces the bacteria/virus for it to practise on. Your immune system makes a few different trial runs, usually, until it comes up with the right stuff.

This just isn't the case with homeopathy. It's just water. The homeopathic model is just not possible...chemically of physically.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:25:26

....or, not of.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 11-Jun-13 21:26:54

Reading this thread is making me seriously consider going into business peddling alternative therapies. There are a lot of potential customers around it seems.

Personally I'll stick to proven medicine for myself and my family though.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:26:59

Does the water retain the memory of the diluted elements that were in it?

If so, isn't it a bit like a vaccine?

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:27:27

No and no.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:27:35

Is it just water or is it water plus memory?

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:28:03

Ha, Anne.
Turn yer taps on, luv!

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:28:26

Water doesn't have memory.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:28:34
Badvoc Tue 11-Jun-13 21:32:52

Homeopathy contains all the ingredients of expensive urine.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 11-Jun-13 21:37:19

minou - I'm eyeing up my jam jars as we speak!

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:38:29

This is interesting, but is ten years old, and I can't find any sign that this Rey guy has managed to reproduce it.
Let's say it's at a quantum level, then, and a compound that causes, say, stomach pain, gives water a particular kind of memory.....why would this memory cure stomach pain?

The memory/vibration/whatever in the water is vanishingly unlikely to bear any resemblance to the chemical pathways that cause the illnesses that can lead to stomach pain, or to the chemical pathways that can make them go away.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:39:16

Jam jars! Balls to that! Sell 'em a thimbleful a go!

BOF Tue 11-Jun-13 21:42:17
claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:43:02

"why would this memory cure stomach pain?"

I don't know. But I do know that water is a magic substance that scientists haven't even got near to really understanding.

Have you not watched that amazing Russian documentary on water and how even holy water seems to have an effect?

There are thousands of mysteries that still remain to be discovered. Water is an amazing substance and there is still much to understand about it.

I don't know if homeopathy works or not, but I won't dismiss it until we know much more.

Mimishimi Tue 11-Jun-13 21:46:09

Thanks for the link to the Guardian article. The photographer is a McBurney as am I. There aren't too many of us around. I wonder if she's related? grin

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:46:10

Water is an amazing substance, you're right!
But....I think we've had a good go at homeopathy.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 21:51:22

Also, sticking with the quantum level idea....I notice that homeopathic remedies are taken at the same sort of intervals as regular meds. Meds with predictable, measurable half lives, peak serum concentrations and so on.
How come this tiny, teeny, quantum energy memory thingie keeps the same schedule? Why can't you just take one pill and be memory-ised forever? Or for, say, until all the cells you had at the time of dosage had been seen off by apoptosis?

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 21:59:45

"Why can't you just take one pill and be memory-ised forever?"

For the same reason that you don't take antibiotics just once but have a course of tablets over several days, because it is an accumulation effect.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 11-Jun-13 22:04:45

Yes, Claig, but I've been drinking water for over 40 years. Every day!

That water has passed through people with all diseases known to humankind. It has touched every herb and mineral.

I must, therefore, be immune to all diseases, known and unknown.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 22:06:15

But what I'm trying to get at as well is why the time scale of this quantum jobbie is the same as conventional meds. Our conventional medicines are delivered at the intervals they are because we want to strike a balance between optimum therapeutic levels, their half lives, and not knacking our livers.
The amount if water (forget about the compound) in an hp pill is mega-minute....just how many if the buggers do we need? Why are we not given them via a drip? Or just I e mega dose?

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 22:07:52

Sorry, I missed out half of what I wanted to say there!!!
Why is our macro timescale used on what is a micro or even nano phenomenon?

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 22:12:43

"But what I'm trying to get at as well is why the time scale of this quantum jobbie is the same as conventional meds."

But it doesn't have to be. I presume that the initiators did it this way. It doesn't mean that it may not work if they used a different schedule and time scale.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 22:22:53

But these hp doctors are claiming to get amazing results from this's ever tried readjusting the intervals? To improve results?
It just seems too much of a coincidence.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 22:27:06

I don't know enough about it or what the HP doctors claim.

All I am saying is that I don't rule out that there might be something in it.

KatyDid02 Tue 11-Jun-13 22:31:32

I am sceptical about it, or at least I was. Then I had major surgery and used only homeopathy afterwards as I have an allergy to all painkillers bar one and was up and about as normal after two days.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 22:32:20

Ok, fair enough.
Right, well, nice setting the world to rights!
Ladies, I am away to me nest! Goodnight.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 22:34:16

I'm back.
What were you taking, Katy?
When you say up and about, and major surgery....can you give us more details?

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jun-13 22:40:36

How can you be allergic to all painkillers? Like, all opiates, all anti-inflammatories, paracetamol, etc?

Have you tried all analgesic compounds known to man?

Are you also allergic to dissociatives like ketamine?

Surely, your doctor can't have just left you after the operation with a few sugar pills.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 22:40:51

Re: the memory of water. If such a thing existed (which it doesn't) that still would not explain the fact that the 'homeopathic' sugar pills don't have any of the magic water in them! It has evaporated! <bangs head on ipad>

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jun-13 22:41:54

The water has obviously passed the memory to the sugar.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 22:43:43

Yes Cote, so it is magic sugar grin

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Jun-13 22:56:50

No not magic. That is just condescending to stuff you don't understand. Shame on you.

It is the vigorous tapping that releases the quantum energy of the sugar.

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 23:05:55

You forgot about the saddle, Cote.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:07:33

You are right, Cote. I am chastened.

<vigorously slaps self, thereby releasing masses of pent-up quantum energy>

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:09:01


Steady on there shock

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 23:09:37

You know about the saddle?

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:12:07


minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 23:13:58

Right, deffo off to bed now.
I'm going to have a medicinal solution of magic cocoa powder, mixed vigorously with sugar and water, then subjected to non-ionising radiation......

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 11-Jun-13 23:16:38

Can I interest you in a jam jar of magic water, minou?

minouminou Tue 11-Jun-13 23:19:07

Shit off.

Actually....that can be the name of your best-selling remedy for diarrhoea.
Diluted toilet water, placed in a bottle and banged repeatedly against your head until relief (or a coma) is obtained.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:21:05

I think I shall have a nice glass of water with the memory of gin and lemons.

Here's an article that addresses, inter alia Claig's query about homeopathy principles being similar to vaccination.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 11-Jun-13 23:24:20

I'm not going to pay you cash royalties for your ideas you know minou, but I am willing to let you have a lifetime's unlimited supply of my remedies.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 23:40:04

I must admit, I find it hard to see how it could work and how Hahnemann managed to find out which compound worked for what illness etc. It doesn't seem to make sense.

Here are some articles that seem to see some role in it

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 23:42:01
BOF Tue 11-Jun-13 23:46:12

We definitely need a Skeptics' Corner and a Woo Merchants' Chakra.

claig Tue 11-Jun-13 23:51:41

"A woman I'd known my entire life told me that a homeopath had successfully treated her when many months of conventional treatment had failed. As a sceptic, I scoffed, but was nonetheless a little intrigued.

She confessed that despite thinking homeopathy was a load of rubbish, she'd finally agreed to an appointment, to stop her daughter nagging. But she was genuinely shocked to find that, after one little pill, within days she felt significantly better. A second tablet, she said, "saw it off completely".


So, I started reading about homeopathy, and what I discovered shifted my world for ever."

I think this may merit further investigation shock
I shall read on and see what happens shock

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:52:08

Claig, the first article was written by a homeopath. The second refers to a study conducted at a homeopathic hospital and the third is from 2001.

I liked this comment on the first article:
^Rachel is to be commended for her correct insight that properly conducted scientific trials are the only way to establish the efficacy of homoeopathy.
In this she is in agreement with Dr Goldacre.
Yet she says the result of such trials support homoeopathy, he says the results in question destroy its credibility.
Unfortunately then, having not got the time to read the studies, I have to make my judgement based on what I know about the authors.
Dr Goldacre: A prolific writer (and author of a bestseller about the interpretation of evidence), well-respected (by almost everyone except homoeopaths it seems), a skeptic on ALL matters of evidence, whether they concern homoeopathy or 'mainstream' medicine.
Rachel Roberts: I know nothing about her except that she is a homoeopath.
It's always regrettable to have to judge the person rather than the research itself, but in this case I am going to trust that Dr Goldacre is more likely to have correctly interpreted the research.^

KentishWine Tue 11-Jun-13 23:53:22

Claig in your first link (to the guardian article) the author sounds like she had a mental breakdown. I think her family should have intervened at thd point she wanted to give up her phd to study magic potions.

The ''hospital' in the second article has since been closed on account of it providing magical potions instead of medicine.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 11-Jun-13 23:54:03

BOF I've been wondering about a MN Sceptics' corner too!

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 12-Jun-13 00:16:14

BinkyBix: if you're still reading: you were actually rather nice and quite interesting earlier and I mixed you up with some of the ruder posters. Sorry about that smile

claig Wed 12-Jun-13 01:04:22

Interesting 50 minute documentary on does water have memory. Also discusses homeopathy.

Wooers will love it. I'm not so sure about septics!

RationalThought Wed 12-Jun-13 01:35:51

Thanks claig. I've only watched 10 minutes and haven't laughed as much in ages. I will save the rest as a treat for tomorrow.

claig Wed 12-Jun-13 01:59:13

RationalThought, are you sure you are understanding it correctly. I don't think it is meant to be a comedy! grin

Morloth Wed 12-Jun-13 04:40:10

I don't think there is anything to be done though.

People are stupid.

Homoeopathy is the latest version of snake oil.

Darwin was right you know.

aladdinsane Wed 12-Jun-13 06:13:12

I think the comment about Rachel in the guardian article was correct
Becoming scientist would be hard work - she stumbled upon something that would pay her well for a load of bollocks
If homeopathy works we are all in the shit - if our water has a memory of everything that has passed through it we are drinking crap, blood, all sorts of disease and god knows what else, bits of rat

Gracelo Wed 12-Jun-13 06:36:00

Does the water evaporate on the sugar pills or does it kind of dissolve into the sugar and therefore pick up the memory of the sugar? I've been wondering about this before.

Curlew Wed 12-Jun-13 06:46:25

Claig- are you sure it's not meant to be a comedy?

Inertia Wed 12-Jun-13 06:54:49

Katy I genuinely can't work out if your post is ironic or an actual defence of homeopathy.

You had a medical condition so serious it required surgery, yet it was the homeopathic treatment that expedited your recovery ? No credit given to the skills of the surgeons and the theatre nurses, the sterile conditions and instruments, the diagnostic tools that enabled the HCPs to figure out what was wrong ?

You were not tempted to drink water imprinted with the memory of a heart rather than undergoing all that inconvenient surgery ?

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 07:41:42

It's possible that if Katy did avoid strong painkillers that she felt more alert after the surgery.
We need more details.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Jun-13 07:56:53

I remember feeling unexpectedly great after major surgery - I wasn't aware they'd given me a morphine suppository! grin

I can't remember who posted the KST chiropractic video upthread but omg I just watched loads. That little nail gun thingy! The hand waving around the head to diagnose points of tension in the back!

People are bonkers.

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 08:28:39

Then I had major surgery and used only homeopathy afterwards as I have an allergy to all painkillers bar one and was up and about as normal after two days

I had surgery for an ectopic years ago. When I came round from the anaesthetic, they gave me painkillers (up my bottom!) as a matter of routine, but I refused anything further because I didn't need them. I was also up and walking within a day. I certainly didn't use homeopathy.

Human beings are very resilient, especially when we're young.

And for those saying, "Well, water is mysterious and we don't know everything" - it's not that mysterious, not to a fully qualified chemist. And an awful lot of experiments have been done on homeopathy which have shown, again and again, that it doesn't work. Certinly not beyond the placebo effect.

Being "open minded" shouldn't mean giving credence to absolute rubbish. That's called being gullible.

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 08:29:10


Curlew Wed 12-Jun-13 08:31:33

Homeopaths will be claiming endorphins next.......

BOF Wed 12-Jun-13 08:31:51

Absolutely. Being open-minded is one thing; allowing your brains to spill out is quite another.

Gracelo Wed 12-Jun-13 08:45:04

It's the details about HP that can quite annoy me too.
So, there are aqueous homeopathic dilutions of elemental sulfur available. Really? How? I have made growth medium for sulfur-metabolizing microbes before and sulfur is practically insoluble in water, even to disperse it fairly evenly is almost impossible. How do HP manufacturers manage to do something that I and as far as I know every other microbiologist who has tried have failed to do?
I know this is minor in the grand scheme of the argument but it bugs me.

Binkybix Wed 12-Jun-13 08:51:08

Crumbled. No worries - my user name seems to be easily mixed up with others. It's happened before!

Ragusa Wed 12-Jun-13 09:11:55

"Allowing your brains to spill out....." grin grin grin. That's good, I am going to use that smile

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 09:27:40

Is that guy taking the piss with his activated water? There's just another chemical agent in it that's changed the structure of the ink so it doesn't reflect blue light anymore.
Could be in there quite innocently. Did he say ceramic pipes? Some calcium salts could have got into that water.....they'd change the ink colour.

Shitting hell. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!

differentnameforthis Wed 12-Jun-13 11:23:06

Crumbledwalnuts You can post news article after news article about the fuck ups of the NHS/medical profession. Of course, with the amount of patients seen each day/operated on each day, there will be errors. There shouldn't be, but there will be! But still, the medical profession is not claiming to be anything it isn't in most circumstances.

To counteract this, have you read on here, stories from at least 2 posters who were left with life long breathing issues because their parents tried to fix/treat their asthma with homoeopathy?

My friend doesn't vaccinate, she believes that major illnesses can be warded off with good hygiene & homoeopathy. Before her son was 2, she almost lost him due to sever dehydration due to whooping cough. Then again, he was severely dehydrated due to rota virus (we vax for that here). Hospitalised for a few days either time. Still, she thinks homoeopathy is the answer.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 12-Jun-13 11:25:37

Being too open-minded allows anyone to dump a load of old rubbish in grin

differentnameforthis Wed 12-Jun-13 11:34:13

I'd bet big, big money that the moment your life is threatened or you're seriously ill, it is modern medicine you'll rely on. This is always the case with "big pharma" conspiracy theorists

Oh yes, my friend was happy for modern medicine to bring her son back from severe dehydration, twice. But she will shun modern remedies that could have prevented it getting that bad in the first place.

crashdoll Wed 12-Jun-13 11:52:30

LOL at your Daily Mail link Claig
"Homeopathy works, says researchers." Willing to bet my left arm that the researchers did not include a broad range of medical professionals. It lacks major credibility.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 12-Jun-13 12:14:27

Although, the DM did carry this story today (which is actually worth reading), as a result of which, I've just signed up with The Nightingale Collaboration

Gosh, think I have just become an anti-woo activist! grin

Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 12:20:51

Sorry, only made it to page 3 so if this has already been posed, excuse my laziness.

But if it hasn't, this sums up everything I think about homeopathy.

Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 12:26:55

I didn't take any painkillers after my lumpectomy - the hospital loaded me down with loads of great stuff to take home. I just didn't feel any pain, so I didn't have anything.

This is nothing to do with homeopathy, which I detest and deride. I just didn't need any painkillers. our bodies react differently. I do agree there is a considerable link between mind and body. Maybe if I had expected and/or feared pain I would have felt more.

magdalen Wed 12-Jun-13 13:11:34

Gracelo wrote:
"It's the details about HP that can quite annoy me too.
So, there are aqueous homeopathic dilutions of elemental sulfur available. Really? How? I have made growth medium for sulfur-metabolizing microbes before and sulfur is practically insoluble in water, even to disperse it fairly evenly is almost impossible. How do HP manufacturers manage to do something that I and as far as I know every other microbiologist who has tried have failed to do?
I know this is minor in the grand scheme of the argument but it bugs me."
I used to work in an ultra clean laboratory, where we had to be incredibly vigilant about possible contamination. If homeopathy works the way it's supposed too they would need the same level of cleanliness and anti contamination protocols. I haven't seen any evidence this is the case.

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 13:14:48

...and even if they managed those levels of cleanliness - as soon as the bottle is opened, the pills will start absorbing all sorts of stuff from the atmosphere - water molecules tainted with the memory of passing through Hitler's dinkle.......washing Anne Widdecombe's knickers.....

Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 13:19:41

Ok, I am not drinking ever again.

But presumably I will be ok because I can chew on some dried fruit which will retain its memory of water and thus will my body be replenished.

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 13:22:46

Get someone to email you the vibration of water and download it - you'l be reyt.

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 13:24:01

washing Anne Widdecombe's knickers

Why do I find that a more disturbing & horrific thought than Hitler's dinkle?


Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 13:24:22

thanks. I am not happy with anything passing my lips that's been near anyone's gusset. Unless the homeopaths can sell me a bottle of something that James Marsters may once have bathed in.

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 13:25:10

Welcome to my world, Ellie, welcome to my world.....

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 13:29:40


Don't fret. You don't even have to bother a [[ BREATHARIAN".

I realise this doesn't have the support of the science community, but really, what do they know? As Shakespeare said....."There are more things, Horatio blah blah..."

Seriously, for such an intelligent species, some people are amazingly stupid.

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 13:30:19


Tsk. That's what I meant. Ahem.

Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 13:42:15

Didn't some poor woman die because she was a breatharian and said she was getting all her nutrients etc out of the air?

But if water has a memory and we are 90% water then there must be some memories of some bloody good meals floating around me, so maybe I will give it a go.

At least my homeopathic friend didn't even try to push any remedies on me when I got my cancer diagnosis. Which was lucky for her otherwise she would have been trying to research which flower remedy was good for a punch on the nose.

Spero Wed 12-Jun-13 13:44:32

I stand corrected. Several people have died following this nut job breatharian theory.

Adults are old enough to be responsible for their own lunatic decisions. Its when they involve children and anminals that I get frustrated.

LaQueen Wed 12-Jun-13 13:47:25

Breatharian ...(rocks back and forth, whimpering...)

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 13:51:01

Its when they involve children and anminals that I get frustrated

Yes, and there are many reports of children dying of things like diabetes & pneumonia (things they could have been saved from) because of their ignorant & arrogant parents.

Badvoc Wed 12-Jun-13 13:51:19


exexpat Wed 12-Jun-13 13:58:44

A child died from eczema because her parents insisted on using homeopathy. Quite rightly they were prosecuted.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 12-Jun-13 14:00:38

But Jasmuheen has proved on TV she can exist without food or water. If people die trying to emulate her then they are just not doing it right.

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 14:09:44

I know someone else said this upthread, but I think it's worth repeating - a lot of this dangerous nonsense is rooted in the idea that science, somehow, can't really be trusted. That it's arrogant, pretends to know everything, when really it doesn't, and doesn't give due respect to ideas that can't be tested in the lab, etc. etc.

This is such a common misunderstanding of how science actually works that I think it should be directly addressed in schools.

Before they start learning about photosynthesis and the life cycle of frog spawn, children should be taught about what the scientific method actually is, how it works, how it polices itself and why we can trust it's conclusions.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 12-Jun-13 14:12:42

Actually, was trying to think who Jasmuheen reminded me of. It's this woman.
Same patronising yet sweetly-reasonable, girly voice. Same smiling mouth, same cold, dead, shark eyes...

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 14:15:06

Oooh - Bore.....I knew before I clicked the link it'd be her.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 12-Jun-13 14:17:26

YY Ellie - We can dismiss them as nutjobs but they are gaining dangerous footholds

EllieArroway Wed 12-Jun-13 14:18:26

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Wendy Wright.

Just, just...................grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

minouminou Wed 12-Jun-13 14:20:43

I get annoyed by the assumption that all scientists are unimaginative Aspergery nay-sayers who want to pin everyone and everything down and pigeonhole it in a test-tube/Petri dish blah blah blah....y'know...stifling everyone's free spirit and all that shite.

you only have to look at holographic theory and the fact it's been looked at (and looked for) to realise that a lot of science is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out there and utterly bonkers! Loads more amazing than silly-arsed water-memory and constipated chakras.