Homeopathy in Childbirth - objections from hospital midwife

(335 Posts)
Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 16:18:51

I have booked a doula for my (hopefully) imminent labour. We have been to see a homeopath together and plan for her to throw remedies in my mouth whilst I'm in labour.

I was told yesterday by a very reliable source (my hairdresser!!) that a friend of his recently delivered at the same hospital and when her doula started giving her homeopathic remedies, the midwife got very worked up and asked her to stop. I'm not sure whether or not she did, but the hospital is now undertaking an internal inquiry (whether generally or into this particular case, I'm not sure). The patient apparently was perfectly happy with her care from both the hospital and the doula so I think it's for the purposes of clarification rather than a big witch-hunt.

I'm slightly concerned that because of this there will be generally twitchy atmosphere about someone not employed by the trust giving a patient any sort of medication. I've added to my birth plan "I would like to use homeopathic remedies in labour and am happy for my doula to administer them". Do you think that's adequate or should I go further? Should I write out a list of the remedies I'm taking in with me, the name of the homeopath who dispensed them and a more sweeping waiver? Or is that the litigator in me speaking? grin

I have quick labours so won't be able to waste time debating with them. My doula is well-known at the hospital and I think will be very good at this sort of advocacy. And I have a good relationship with the hospital although as it's a big teaching hospital there's every chance that in labour I won't be looked after by anyone I know.

Any thoughts would be v welcome.


mrsmalumbas Sat 07-Jun-08 16:31:53

Hi there - a doula really shouldn't be "giving" anyone anything, even homeopathics as that would be considered outside the scope of practise (unless of course she is a fully trained homeopath). A doula can of course help a client to take homeopathics (i.e open bottles, etc) if that is something she and the client have discussed first and if it is something the client wants. It's not clear from your message which way round this might have happened and it sounds like maybe the midwife got her knickers in a bit of a twist, perhaps not knowing what the doula was giving. Perhaps there were other reasons, maybe she and the doula did not hit it off for whatever reason. Anyhow I think what you've written in your birth plan sounds fine as the impetus is coming from you although it might also be worth checking out with the hospital beforehand via your midwife (after all your hairdresser may not be aware of the full picture!) Just out of interest what remedies are you planning on using and for what - just interested? Of course you could always take the remedies when the midwife is out of the room but perhaps that would be a bit tricky and not the best way of establishing trusdt with your caregivers!

fransmom Sat 07-Jun-08 16:32:51

you need lulumama xx

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 16:53:45

Mrsmalumbas - this is what's in my homeopathy kit:

ipecac 30c projectile vomiting, PPH

nat mur 30c - resentment

pulsatilla 30c - weepy, self-pitying, wanting to give up and go home

aconite 200c - fear

kali phos 6x - exhaustion

caulophyllum 200c - when cervix is slow to dilate (need to check circs in which I take each strength)

caulophyllum 30c

arnica 30c - pain, bruising, shock. Take 30c twice a day before labour (about a week before)

arnica 200c - take as required during labour and after

I've also got a tincture called hypercal to put on a flannel on the perineum after the baby has arrived - apparently it's good for cuts etc. Also good diluted for bathing umbilical cord.

I used aconite last time and found it very useful.

I suspect you're right that it was probably a one-off situation where a nervy midwife and a confident doula just didn't get along. I want my doula to throw things into my mouth as the stage of labour when I think I'll be most in need of homeopathy is transition when I tend to panic and lose the plot - which is the reaons I've engaged a doula in the first place as I want her to anticipate that sort of reaction. So I don't want to depend on being sufficiently with-it to think "oh yes, I'm getting hysterical, time for the aconite".

Fransmom - yes, I need Lulumama! She has probably heard all about it as it's the hospital that's just outside her "catchment" area! When I phoned my doula to tell her, she'd already heard about it and knew all the individuals involved! (apart from the hairdresser!).

Turniphead1 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:00:51

Gosh, when I was in labour, my midwives were the ones administering the homeopathic remedies to me last time. I am sure that the same situation won't arise again. Best of luck with the labour.

diplodocus Sat 07-Jun-08 17:06:59

Rolf - if things aren't going too well sometimes they want to stop the woman taking anything orally incase she goes to theatre. Could it have been because of that (although obviously the midwife should have explained this)?

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:12:15

Rolf: please, please, please find out more about omeopathy as it's complete bollocks. If it works, it's purely as a placebo. Don't waste your money. If you knew the principle of how it's supposed to "work" you'd laugh and be a bit embarassed. Honestly!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:22:58

But it's your labour, your birth experience and you should be allowed to use whatever takes your fancy as long as it doesn't hurt you or baby. Homeopathy contains no active ingredient, so it's completely harmless.

jamila169 Sat 07-Jun-08 17:37:33

Don't know why she got so worked up, i would have though tthat would have been the case if the midwife had been asked to adminster the remedies, as they're unprescribed -if it's just a case of a doula facilitating her client to use the remdies then that doen't involve anyone else. that's the way I've done it - midwives were quite happy as long as they are not involved in administration(unless they have done the appropriate course and are then covered by the nhs liability insurance). Putting it in writing, i.e. 'my doula will be facilitating my use of homepathic remedies during labour, I am happy to allow her to do this' or words to that effect.
BTW hypercal tincture is great, dilute it in mineral water, stick it in a spray bottle and apply after you've been for a wee - if you were so minded, you could make it yourself, by steeping marigold flowers and st john's wort (hypericum perforatum) in vodka

"If it works, it's purely as a placebo"

Well, in which case you're winning on all fronts aren't you? You're receiving a treatment that brings you relief from your symptoms, with no side effects (because of course it's proven completely useless).

Seriously Seashell - try to take wider view on this issue. Plenty of drugs which are prescribed now by doctors are ineffective for a significant percentage of people who use them, plus have dangerous side effects - really widely prescribed drugs like Prozac. You'd never consider telling someone not to use them on the strength of this.

We all know there's no clinical evidence that treatments are effective but that doesn't mean people don't find them extremely helpful. If they do help and there's no evidence that they cause harm (as is the case with homeopathy) then I'd say that gives them a big advantage over many conventional treaments, which are also often ineffective for a proportion of those who use them AND can have serious side effects as well.

purpleduck Sat 07-Jun-08 19:05:31

My son used to be allergic to cats
he got homeopathic treatment, and was very quickly NOT allergic anymore.
It happened too fast for him to have simply grown out of it. Also BEFORE the treatment, his symptoms were getting worse and worse.

Just because don't yet know HOW it works, doesn't mean it does.

They used to think the world was flat y'know, because they didn't have the tools to see any different.

Just because we (as a society) know alot more than we did, it doesn't mean we know EVERYTHING!!!

purpleduck Sat 07-Jun-08 19:06:36


doesn't mean it doesn't work

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 19:15:56

I'm a doula and take my homeopathy kit with me to labours. My clients have a full antenatal pack that I give them with homeopathy info in and if they choose to use it they are welcome to. I have 'reminded' the dad about the homeopathy and he then asks his partner/wife if she wants anything.

Its her choice - but the option is there.

I have never had any midwife object - normally the opposite.

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 20:10:27

Yes, I was very surprised too - I've only ever come across very positive views of homeopathy from midwives. One of our community midwives has recently qualified as a homeopath and the whole team is very keen on recommending homeopathy. The more I think about it, the more likely this "situation" at the hospital seems to have been a one-off.

Seashell - I found homeopathy helpful in my last labour, don't care whether it was the real deal or placebo! If it helps me and doesn't harm me or the baby I'm happy. Will save my forenic mind for a less emotional situation smile

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:17:21

Not sure Seashell is aware of Mumsnet philosophy! As a midwife and mother with two natural births with nothing but homeopathy I'd say it works! Rolf if you're unfortunate enough to come across an ignoramus please ensure your doula ensures you are looked after by someone more open minded by insisting on a change of midwife or asking for a supervisor of midwives be called. Good luck x

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:22:07

Or stay at home.....you can banish the dinasaurs from your abode!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 20:22:38

Tittybangbang- Prozac is not alternative medicine. In controlled, doble-blind experiments it has shown to be effective significantly more than placebo, whih in scientific terms it means that it works for many people.
Homeopathy is nothing like prozac, as every trial involving homeopathic "drugs" has shown it no more effective than placebo= i.e. some people get better because they think they have taken some medication.
Anything that is proven to work is accepted as conventional medicine, not alternative.

Purpleduck,glad your son got better, but I promise you he would have got better with a pill of, well sugary nothing, which is what homeopathic medicines are.
Oh and the people that used to think the earth was flat are exactly the type of people that today would advocate the use of unscientific methods including quackery medicine!

Just to recap the principle on which homeopathy is based: putting one molecule of a herb into the equivalent of an ocean's worth of water (can't get more dilted than that!), and that single molecule "reminds" the water of its experience in the past with that particular molecule... it's a ludicruous idea and anyone that endorses it hasn't got a basic grasp of science.
Boots are now being accused of quackery as they're selling homeopathic remedies.
Sorry but you're gullible!
Rant over grin [smug emoticon]

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 20:24:58

seashell, what do you mean by "supposed to "work" you'd laugh and be a bit embarassed. Honestly!"

why would the OP be embarassed FFS

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 20:30:48

Hertsnessex, I meant "embarassed" in the nicest possible way, like when someone realises they were a bit naive...

Carmenere Sat 07-Jun-08 20:35:01

You know seashell I largely agree with you but find your tone repulsive. Logically and scientifically homoeopathy can't work, that doesn't mean there isn't a homeopathic effect of some sort that works on some level. Who am I to rubbish others experiences? Who are you to?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 20:37:42

Rolf I found caullophylum really helpful during my labour with ds3. I don't think I even told the midwives.

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 20:39:08

Again dont think Seashell is aware of mumsnet supportive non judgemental philosophy! As a midwife observing the effects of hospital births,pharmaceutical and obstetric intervention,inability to bond and breastfeed as a result and the ensuing post-natal depression and poor mothering, I think I know who's gullible! Have we a misogynistic intruder in our midst!

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 20:44:07

well quite indie. orthodox medicine is so great it almost certainly contributed considerably to my son's severe disability. But hey ho, it was all double blind placebo trialed. So that's OK then.

(PS I am a scientist by trade).

Rolf- hypericum is good for post birth healing as well (I had drops and added to the bath).

hertsnessex Sat 07-Jun-08 20:44:44

well said indiehendrix! (some of my clients needed you)

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:01:49

rolf it is your birth and you should be able to feel empowered and proactive in the process and if a doula and homoeopathy facilitate that *great

the efficacy of homemopethy is indeed dispurted hotly, likely to be placebo effect. some people swear by it and other's not.

but research paper of Dr Reilly 12 pts at Glasgow homoeopathic hospital pts reported subjectively favourable outcomes. in reduction of chronic conditions eg pain management and psychiatric conditions

too much of medical assessment is a rushed assessment, due to time pressure's, case loads - unsatisfactory for both pt and staff

lulumama Sat 07-Jun-08 21:06:59

Rolf you don;t need me here ! grin

MW never said anything when i gave my client her arnica tablets t'other day.

seashell... so what if it is a sugary pill of watery nothingness?? if the positive effect it has on the body is positive, then the way that positive effect is brought about is nothing to feel naive or gullible or embarrassed about

how very rude and judgemental of you to refer to people using homeopathy in such a condescending and patronising manner.

you might be technically correct in what you say about homeopathy,but if people choose to use it and get a positive experience from it , so what?

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:13:32

i completely agree that if the intervention brings about the desired effect then that is positive. just because homoeopathy is not sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline does not make it rubbish

seashell did you know that if an anaesthetist talks to pt prior to an op the need for post op pain relief is reduced and post operative obs are less critical eg lower BP

a non invasive non medicinal intervention that works!

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 21:20:48

Indiehendrix - I have Group B Strep so have decided to go to hospital so I can have IV antibiotics. Although there is a chance I won't get there in time as I have quick labours. It's the panicking in transition that I particularly want to try to deal with and I feel that I'm giving that my best shot - doula, homeopathy and hypnotherapy

(Seashell I can imagine what you have to say about hypnotherapy grin. Shall we just take it as given that you have poured your pint of bitter over my head?).

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:30:05

my friend was offered hypno-birthing on nhs

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 07-Jun-08 21:32:03

Interesting about the anaesthetist SM. Can quite believe it. I had 3 sections, the one that went 'wrong' (in all sorts of ways) was my elective (so should have been straighforward) - but I didn't 'bond' with that anaesthetist (all the others were lovely).

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 21:40:44

Oh, what a lot of ado about nothing(as it is ENERGETIC!!!)! Am homeopathic student of nearly 3 years, I guarantee it works, problem is that lots of people don't know how to prescribe/find the right remedy - they try it once at home rather than seeking help from a professional homeopath! Anyway, I've given up trying to persuade/convince people, homeopathy finds those who deserve it! Had constitutional treatment from my homeopath throughout pregnancy and as a result such a FAB birth - I had a friend there who had been told what to do in case I was scared, in pain, giving up ect., but she was really disappointed cos she didin't need to give me anything at all!!!! I myself took some Arnica afterwards, good for shock to the system, also great cos baby will get it if you breastfeed and it will heal birth - trauma. Also took Hypericum for few days as I had a small tear and that makes it heal really fast ( Had 2 stitches that came out 3 days later as was already healed!!!baby's umbilicuas healed in the same time too, midwife was amazed) The Calendula Lotion or Hypercal (Hypericum & Calendula)Cream works miracles, too. If you have to have episiotomy or caesarean make sure you take some Staphisagria afterwards (quite high potency or repeat often). Just do what feels right for YOU, best of luck!

indiehendrix Sat 07-Jun-08 21:42:44

Hi Rolf
I don't know what provisions are like in your area but you are right ..home or hospital you are unlikely to get the iv's in time with your fast labours you lucky woman!
If the time between membrane rupture and birth is short its likely your babe will be unaffected and you are doin everything right...you re gonna be fine x

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 21:45:06

i saw homoeopath when pg and postnatal, and unfortunately NADA, no discernible changes did not work for me

works for some, not for all

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 21:45:31

Oh, forgot to mention that I also took Secale which deals with any side effects from Syntometrine ( the injection they sometimes give you for the afterbirth) I tried to avoid having it but had to, so that dealt with it nicely.

Minniethemoocher Sat 07-Jun-08 21:54:03

My gynaecologist told me to take arnica after an operation, so he obvious believed that homeopathy works!

sarahmsqt Sat 07-Jun-08 22:00:54

I agree, doesn't work for everyone...flower remedies are another option, Rescue Remedy being most popular choice or try Australian Bush Flower remedies, Confid Essence is great for helping you let go...in my case it stopped me worrying...I knelt on the floor mooooing like a primeval beast with every contraction towards the end and I enjoyed it rather than being embarassed!

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 22:24:28

indiehendrix, I'm not attacking people, just their opinion and what would MN be like if we couldn't have a debate.
I accept that it can work for some people, just like a placebo might do, nothing more nothing less. Stil, it's great for those people for whom it does work.
Carmenere,you say you largely agree with me and then you go on to saying that there might be "a homeopathic effect of some sort that works at some level"... errr hmm
But everyone's free to swallow whatever pill they believe is going to work for them... I'll stick to conventional medicine for now, you can buy arnica by the truckload if you think it does help.

NiceShoes Sat 07-Jun-08 22:34:49

conventional medicine is indeed also flawed. good evidence based medicine is evolving and recognises it's deficits and well documented errors too

i don't whole heartedly place trust in any intervention. medicine is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon - bit of a complex art/science really

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 07-Jun-08 22:41:56

Homeopathy is bollocks, of course, and the fact you panic over what the hairdresser told you, hundreth-hand information, just shows you're prepared to accept anything anyone says. Sorry, not my usual posting style... Good luck with the birth, though, have whatever helps. I think the inquiry into said incident is probably some exageration.

mazzystar Sat 07-Jun-08 22:44:31

rolf - is it lwh by any chance?

I personally would say that I intended to use homeopathic remedies, with the assistance of my doula. And that these had been dispensed by a qualified homeopath.

Rolf Sat 07-Jun-08 22:51:56

Cristina - I'm not panicking. I'm adopting a proactive approach to what may prove to be a sensitive atmosphere at the hospital. And if my birthplan needs re-drafting I wanted the input of people who may have some experience of such sensitivities and who adopt a less legalistic drafting style than I do. Like your name, by the way.

Mazzystar - yes, it's LWH. (It's MrsDarcy with a new name smile).

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 22:57:03

Mazzystar, you say that the homeopathic remedies were dispensed by a "qualified homeopath"... you can get "qualified astrologists", doesn't make astrology true!

In a sense homeopathy is dangerous, when people rely on it to cure an illness/disease instead of getting "real" treatment, thus making their situation worse.

Seashell71 Sat 07-Jun-08 23:03:12

Scottishmummy, I completely agree that an anesthetist should speak to patients and this very likely has beneficial effects, this I'm sure can be backed by evidence. So, scientifically proven to work (unlike, you guessed it, homeopathy).
Lulumama, like I said everyone's free to buy sugary pills of nothingness (a very accurate description on homeopathic remedies) if they believe they can work then we can't underestimate the power of the mind.

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:06:38

well Dr Harold Shipman was a GP and registered with GMC as an accountable professional.however he did not dispense any orthodox treatments.in fact he was a megalomaniac monster who abused his position of trust and status

i don't think any total adherence to any orthodoxy is good. imo advisable to retain an air of inquiry and distrust

not good to passively go into "you doctor me patient" role

mazzystar Sat 07-Jun-08 23:11:31

well hello again mrs d - congratulations - haven't seen you for a very long time - have had dd in that time! my experience at lwh was that they were absolutely fine with my use of homeopathic remedies, I included quite strong statements in my birth plan - but I think it was more for me in some ways. Will you see a consultant? If so may be worth getting their support too?

seashell - homeopathy is a highly regulated form of complementary medicine, and to describe oneself as a homeopath one must be highly trained and belong to a professional body. the nhs actually run 5 homeopathic hospitals and many specific conditions are now routinely referred to homeopaths.

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:14:50

glasgow homeopathic hospital NHS hospital with thriving research group

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:18:05

the most common referrals to homoeopathic hosp's are chronic pain, psychological issues, enduring and unresolved difficult to resolve diagnosis (these are costly to NHS and cause pt considerable anxiety)

ScottishMummy Sat 07-Jun-08 23:26:13

i don't think good treatment/intervention needs to be so rigid one size does not fit all.

homoeopathy has a register of practitioners BUT is not a protected title so worryingly anyone can call them self a homoeopath

"Tittybangbang- Prozac is not alternative medicine. In controlled, doble-blind experiments it has shown to be effective significantly more than placebo, whih in scientific terms it means that it works for many people."

This is from a report from the Guardian earlier this year:

"Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class, according to a major review released today.

The study examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. The trials compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo or sugar pill.

When all the data was pulled together, it appeared that patients had improved - but those on placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs.

The only exception is in the most severely depressed patients, according to the authors - Prof Irving Kirsch from the department of psychology at Hull University and colleagues in the US and Canada. But that is probably because the placebo stopped working so well, they say, rather than the drugs having worked better. "

So much for controlled, double-blind experiments eh?

"Homeopathy is nothing like prozac"

No - because it's not dangerous and addictive for a start!

"as every trial involving homeopathic "drugs" has shown it no more effective than placebo= i.e. some people get better because they think they have taken some medication."

Yes - ^they get better^. Who cares how! Who cares if they're 'gullible'? If they feel better/are better then it's 'mission accomplished. And without any nasty side effects.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 09:25:57

"In a sense homeopathy is dangerous, when people rely on it to cure an illness/disease instead of getting "real" treatment, thus making their situation worse."

This is utter rubbish. A chunk of training for a homeopath involves giving them the skills to recognise when they need to advise a patient to see an orthodox doctor. I have heard of cases where the patient themselves refuses- but this is usually because of previously shit experiences at the hands of the medical profession and not the homeopath's choice.

The homeopath I know very well for example was able to persuade someone infected with HIV to take AZT. Something that orthodox doctors had failed to do.

"some people get better because they think they have taken some medication."

Well that can't have been the case for my severely autistic son as at the time I tried homeopathy for the first time with him (I was desperate and I didn't believe in it) it worked spectacularly despite him having no concept of what a medicine (of any sort) actually was.

Paracetamol has a huge placebo effect to it as well. If I have a headache and take a paracetamol I don't really care whether it's the placebo bit or the active ingredient that is getting me better. As long as the headache goes.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 13:25:15

"when they need to advise a patient to see an orthodox doctor." I like your use of orthodox doctor, as if homeopaths were still doctors, just a little bit different.

As far as I'm concerned, good luck to homeopaths, we all need to make money somehow and if you've got people skills and the gift of the gab, why not? As long as they keep within their limits of knowledge.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 14:35:30

Er no that's not what I was suggesting at all. I used "orthodox doctor" to make the point that they were being taught when the patient really needed to go to their GP (as opposed to an alternative complementary practitioner). TBH the last thing most homeopaths want to be compared with is a doctor.

'As long as the keep within the limits of their knowledge'. Have comes across more people in the orthodox medical profession working outside of their limits of knowledge than alternative practitioners tbh.

MarsLady Sun 08-Jun-08 14:38:27

a doula shouldn't be administering the homeopathic treatments. Will your partner also be there?

Hard to read entire thread as I'm taking advantage of free internet access on my phone.

MarsLady Sun 08-Jun-08 14:43:37

I carry a homeopathic kit which my clients are welcome to use. And my scepticism about homeopathy was put to the side when I saw the positive affects on DD1

MsDemeanor Sun 08-Jun-08 14:45:10

How can it be 'misogynistic' to say homeopathy doesn't have, nor could have, any effect? A homeopathic 'remedy' has no active ingredients whatsoever. None.

MsDemeanor Sun 08-Jun-08 14:48:16

I'm a complete sceptic about homeopathy. Of course if someone else wants to take it, that's absolutely their choice. It is clearly harmless and if it makes you feel better great. But I think to accuse anyone who has seen that no proper study has shown it to be effective of 'misogyny' is daft.

Rolf Sun 08-Jun-08 15:05:58

Marslady - my DH will be there but I think the doula will be more on the ball about the homeopathic remedies. Hopefully most of the time I'll be fine making the decisions for myself and I can just ask her to hand things over. But if things get particularly fast and furious (as my labours tend to) I need her to do my thinking for me.

Actually, that's the time when I'm most likely to want the aconite so I could always add to my birth plan that I want her to give me aconite during transition.

I think she'll handle the situation fine - she has a very gentle, non-confrontational manner but knows what I want and will be good at making sure I get it, without creating tensions. So pleased I have booked her smile

Agree that most people who advocate homeopathy in childbirth are people who have seen its benefits, eg midwives, doulas, multips...

littlepinkpixie Sun 08-Jun-08 15:10:26

scottishmummy "Dr Harold Shipman was a GP and registered with GMC as an accountable professional.however he did not dispense any orthodox treatments."

I know this is a bit o/t but i thought that one of the reasons that it took so long to detect what Harold Shipman was up to was because in many areas he worked normally, and many of his patients thought he was an excellent.

not really relevant to the debate at hand I know....

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 17:26:24

point being just because someone appears to be upstanding member of society does not mean they necessarily are. he abused his trust. medicine does not necessarily = can do no wrong

purpleduck Sun 08-Jun-08 17:42:53

"Purpleduck,glad your son got better, but I promise you he would have got better with a pill of, well sugary nothing, which is what homeopathic medicines are"

Seashell, my son was under two he did not know what he was being treated for, so I don't think the placebo arguement works.

Ok, so homeopathic medicine doesn't have anything beneficial in it that we can test

I think it just means that we don't have the means to test it yet.

For MILLIONS of years, herbal medicine the only medicine available, and was largely effective. Still worked, even though they did not know WHY it worked.

I think it is arrogant to assume that we now know everything.

purpleduck Sun 08-Jun-08 17:42:53

"Purpleduck,glad your son got better, but I promise you he would have got better with a pill of, well sugary nothing, which is what homeopathic medicines are"

Seashell, my son was under two he did not know what he was being treated for, so I don't think the placebo arguement works.

Ok, so homeopathic medicine doesn't have anything beneficial in it that we can test

I think it just means that we don't have the means to test it yet.

For MILLIONS of years, herbal medicine the only medicine available, and was largely effective. Still worked, even though they did not know WHY it worked.

I think it is arrogant to assume that we now know everything.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 17:45:39

Given that homeopathy doesn't actually have any clinical effects, I can't imagine they are overly concerned. Perhaps they are worried about having someone who thinks they are some kind of expert getting in the way.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 18:04:28

Purpleduck - homeopathy has nothing in common with herbal medicine. Worlds apart. The reasoning behind WHY homeopathy "works" is stated very clearly. It's just totally bonkers. It's not that homeopaths say "it might work, we don't know how", it's "it does work and this is how" and then comes the string of garbage about milionth time dilution and curing like with like and the rest which I'm too bored to type out just now.

Getbackjimjams - so homeopaths wouldn't want to be considered a tiny bit like a real doctor? So why confuse things with using terms like "treatment", "cure", "medicine" and the like?

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 18:05:56

"Perhaps they are worried about having someone who thinks they are some kind of expert getting in the way." Yes, but when you hear the info diluted (homeopathy, get it? boom! boom!) through so many sources, God only knows if there was any issue at all or something that got made up in the chain transmission.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 18:08:24

It's worrying if midwives endorse it, but they are only human.

We now teach about homeopathy in GCSE Chemistry, so hopefully common sense will seep through eventually.

littlepinkpixie Sun 08-Jun-08 18:23:40

Purpleduck - you dont need to know about placebos for them to work. He doesnt need to know what he was being treated for. Also, his improvement may have been coincidental.
That is why effectiveness of medicines is usually tested with trials involving lots of patients, the experience of one person doesnt allow you to say if something works or not.

You mention that homeopathic medicine has nothing of benefit in it that we can test for. I think that you are right about that. It is also true to say that homeopathic medicine shows no beneficial effect over placebo - even if we dont know how something works or what the active ingrediant is, that doesnt mean that convential medicine wouldnt embrace it if it had a beneficial effect.

reikizen Sun 08-Jun-08 19:21:30

I use homeopathy at home on myself, children and cats. Great stuff it is too as far as I'm concerned. Not sure how cats can have a placebo effect but ho hum what do I know. I can't believe the trust some people on this thread are putting in medical trials and the medical profession in general. Look at most medical trials with a bit of knowledge about the subject and you'll be amazed by how flawed they are and how you end up knowing less than you did when you started reading them!
The more I learn about medicine (I'm a student midwife) the less I trust it, tbh. I 'm hoping to go on to practice homeopathy at a later stage as I'm convinced it can help us claw back some control over our births in this increasingly medicalized environment.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 20:39:33

"with a bit of knowledge" A little bit of knowledge IS a dangerous thing, they say. Point proven here yet again.

And who says cats improve? The cats themselves or could it be the human owner who believes in this stuff and paid for it and tried it and isn't now going to say he was a mug so of course he sees vast improvement. Cruel IMO if a vet would have been more appropriate. But they are more expensive too. Something to do with their training and having some real knowledge.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 20:41:23

So Reikizen, if you don't believe in medicine what the hell are you doing training as a midwife? I'm sure chanting and such like ciost less. Is it because the only credibility comes from having soome medical (midwifery in your case) training? Why not just go with homeopathy and save yourself and the taxpayer a fortune training.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 20:45:41

I have yet to meet a homeopath who would like to be thought of as a 'doctor'. It's certainly a title they've never bestowed upon themselves (unlike say chiropractors) and the very first essay in homeopathic training is usually to identify the differences between homeopathic/orthodox treatment and definitions of health.

Homeopathy originated somewhere between blood letting and orthodox medicine as we know it. So their terms were in use before modern day medicine. It's all there to read to this day.

Homeopathy originally became popular because it killed fewer people than the alternatives available at the time. Orthodox medicine likewise has become popular because there are obviously things is does very well. Surgery for example, bacterial infections (although whoops they certainly forgot the potential problems with overuse of antibs and we're paying the price now- they were warned at the time- by evolutionary biologists) and so on. However there are many areas that orthodox medicine can't offer a great deal. Many viral infections for example, chronic pain, psoriasis, close to my own heart- ASD, dodgy backs. There are some situations when I'd choose an alternative practitioner over orthodox medicine, likewise there are times when I'd choose orthodox (and an alternative practitioner would no doubt push me that way too).

I'm much more careful about orthodox medications now. DS1 is paying the price. I'm no longer blase about side effects/knock on effects of pharmaceutica. There are times when of course you accept that the benefit outweighs the risks but I personally prefer to hold off these days. Once bitten.

littlepinkpixie Sun 08-Jun-08 20:47:24

It is actually illegal for you to treat your cats with homeopathy

animal laws


getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 20:49:42

little -0 I think it's just practitioners who can't treat animals using homepathy unless they're a vet (think this is more to do with protecting vets paypackets though ) I think owners can give remedies themselves.

MsDemeanor Sun 08-Jun-08 20:53:01

The placebo effect works on the observer as well as or instead of the patient - ie if you look for an improvement you tend to find one. Also, many conditions wax and wane and people do improve all by themselves. There are no proper studies that show homeopathy works better than a placebo, which must tell us something, surely? Even homeopaths admit there are no active ingredients in the 'remedies', which makes it very different from herbal medicine. Orthodox (or real!) medicine uses many plant extracts. I agree medicines that are effective may also cause damage. Homeopathy cannot cause damage, but that's surely because it has no effect.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 20:54:30

littlepinkpixie - what a fascinating linkwink compelling reading

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 20:56:57

Good link - now I know what farriers do Seriously, though, I had no idea you couldn't give your own animal an injection. I don't have a pet and I haven't got any injections around but still interesting to see how humane & dignified the law expects animals to be treated.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 20:58:45

<<<The placebo effect works on the observer as well as or instead of the patient >>>

which is the sentiment behind double blind testing. Neither the patient nor the observer knows what is being tested.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 21:02:31

But ST that sounds too much like proper science and, you know, some people just put their trust in science too much. Sheesh! When you could just go with what the hairdresser told you he heard from the last person on his chair.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:06:24

LOL, when I go to the hairdresser, she is completely stumped for conversation with me. I think New Scientist puts her off.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 21:08:12
ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:09:51

What jury?

Not the scientific one!

A midwife cannot stop you using stuff like that in labour. She may well feel she wants to advise you that she has no knowledge of their safety (or lack of safety) or usefulness so can't guide you on their use. She may well document that she's told you this.

I've looked after women who have bought their own remedies along and as long as they understand that I can't have anything to do with administering it or advising them on it then they can do what they want. Some midwives of course have done extra training and can administer homeopothy.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 21:10:50

lol bad science is a riveting read on homoeopathy

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 21:12:05

Well I'm a scientist, and there are plenty of GP's etc who use homeopathy (in fact my first ever prescribed remedy came from a GP).

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:13:46

Doesn't mean they are prescribing based on science. Some are slaves to emotion, just like the general public.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 21:15:30

slave's to emotion,mmmm sounds Dirrty Yes please

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 21:15:31

Well having watched one child's life destroyed by conventional medicine (and I'm not talking vaccinations before you all get up in arms) I'm happy to go with being a slave to emotion.

mazzystar Sun 08-Jun-08 21:15:32

I'm really taken aback by various people's -ranting- entrenched views on this thread.

Given that the op wanted advice on how to best have her wishes respected in labour - not whether homeopathy was appropriate for that situation - its really quite rude to be quite so dismissive.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 21:16:33

I agree mazzystar. But it's always the way. Somewhere between the intellectual posturing there's something useful I think.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:17:35

So don't throw your scientific credentials around if you don't believe in the scientific method.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 21:19:12

there are 5 NHS homoeopathic hospitals

Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital
Cotham Hill, Cotham, Bristol BS6 6JU
0117 973 1231

Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital
1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XQ
0141 211 1616

Tunbridge Wells Homoeopathic Hospital
Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1JU
01892 632801

Department of Homoeopathic Medicine
The Old Swan Health Centre, St Oswald's Street, Old Swan
Liverpool L13 2BY
0151 285 3707

Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital
60 Great Ormond Street
London WC1N 3HR
020 7391 8891

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 21:22:49

Which is a big great shame IMO. Prince Charles believes in this stuff too. It doesn't add to its credibility either.

And Mazzystar - Rolf did say all thoughts on this welcome. Noone has been nasty. I just questioned whether she should get all panicky about some chit-chat from the hairdresser. So better than having advice from internet strangers she should establish facts - if there were any - first.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 21:28:07

i am neutral about it. scientifically yes it has no evidence base but i think used in conjunction with other treatments it can be effective for some pts.

maybe the fact that the average consultation time in homoeopathy considerably exceeds that given by GP or hospital doctor. the fact that an adequate time is allocated in itself is beneficial

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:28:33

It's all a sad (and worrying) indictment at the status of science in our society.

Ah well, there's nowt daft as folks

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:32:01

Any benefit is down to a placebo effect or feel-good factor.

I was at a First Aid course yesterday, and the trainer mentioned the feel-good factor several times. For example, giving someone a bandage instead of a plaster can be instrumental when it contributes to feel-good. Or the kid that gets to be a pirate after treatment for a very minor headwound.

This is different from placebo - perhaps it is associated with the amount of attention and the validation of feelings.

CoteDAzur Sun 08-Jun-08 21:33:29

Some of you might be surprised to hear that there is a $1 million reward out there to whoever provides evidence that it works.

BBC program 'Horizon' conducted its own scientific experiment to try and get this money. They failed, just like every other experiment.Here is the link.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:37:44

It's impossible to prove anything in favour of homeopathy.

A substance that has similar symptoms to the illness that it is supposed to treat so that the body's own immune system can kick in sooner (aside: childbirth is not an illness)...

Dilute it 100x, 10000x, 1000000x etc, until you no longer can guarantee a single molecule of the active ingredient.

Honestly, why does anyone think this might work?

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 21:37:53

"It's all a sad (and worrying) indictment at the status of science in our society."

I agree. Funny to read that those who believe in homeopathy are quite happy to down any amount of homeopathic pills during labour or whatever, as long as they believe those pills are effective and have no side-effects. In other words, if they act like medicine would act ideally (which of course isn't the case because taking something is bound to do things to you different to taking nothing like in homepathy). Oh, and quite happy to accept some other set of experts' opinions and advice, even if it's the same old, same old set of remedies they give everyone else too. I mean how many silly names can you come up with for sugar pills? Yep, sad to see science being replaced by all this silliness. At least it's not harmful, I suppose, and can even do some good emotionally etc.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 08-Jun-08 21:38:14

I personally believe science (medicine especially) has lost an understanding of the power of observation. Or perhaps more accurately studies that rely on obervations don't make it into high impact factor journals. Of course that is sometimes appropriate but not always. I love reading journals like medical hypotheses - there's some great ideas in there. Currently if we don't understand something we find ways to 'prove' that it's incorrect. The example I know best being various autism/environmental links.

Went to an autism conference a few weeks ago. Over 1000 scientists in attendance. I expected to be frustrated, but in fact came away very excited. Within the walls of the conference (even if it doesn't make into journals) there was a lot of serious discussion about things I had thought would be taboo. So the role of vaccinations in triggering autism was discussed. So much about environmental triggers- and lots and lots of progress being made in that area. The reasons for gut problems were discussed. Many people were taking a holistic view and these are beginning (sloooowly) to be published. It was all very encouraging. A little depressingly - in the main this seemed to be because in the last few years parent led groups are starting to fund a lot of autism science. So the studies are beginning to get funding - and of course things that are parent led start with the anecdotal and with completely unscientific observation. The methodologies being used now are robust - but they're beginning to explain the observations - the observations that have been dismissed as parent's imagination for the last 10 years.

IN the autism field at least basing research on observation seems to be paying dividends. Too late for ds1, but maybe it will be in time for ds2 and ds3 when they have to make decisions about any kids they have.

Off topic but some thoughts.

ScottishMummy Sun 08-Jun-08 21:38:55

research undertaken that the colour of drugs prescribed can affect the reported effectiveness

The studies on perceived action of coloured drugs showed that red, yellow, and orange are associated with a stimulant effect, while blue and green are related to a tranquillising effect.

The trials that assessed the impact of the colour of drugs on their effectiveness showed inconsistent differences between colours. The quality of the methods of these trials was variable. Hypnotic, sedative, and anxiolytic drugs were more likely than antidepressants to be green, blue, or purple.

Conclusion was Colours affect the perceived action of a drug and seem to influence the effectiveness of a drug.

individual belief and expectation of treatment can alter outcomes

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:39:15

"First, do no harm..."

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 08-Jun-08 21:39:24

"Honestly, why does anyone think this might work?" Because lots of the believers think it's just a kinder, milder version of some herbal medicine. I've heard it so many times this one.

ScienceTeacher Sun 08-Jun-08 21:43:06

Ah, bunny friendly...

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 13:12:41

jimjams - I went hmm at this statement:

"I personally believe science (medicine especially) has lost an understanding of the power of observation."

... because, of course, the scientific method is all about observation - with large numbers, control groups, double-blind tests - whereas any claim re effectiveness of homeopathy is anecdotal - "My niece had allergies and homeopathy helped" - which ignores multitudes of people on whom homeopathy had zero effect.

Then I realized you have in mind the autism/vaccines issue.

The problem there is not that science has 'lost an understanding of the power of observation'. It is just that the needed experiments are not yet done. We need to see studies that focus on children who have regressed following vaccines. They keep doing experiments on the infant population at large, and declaring that yet another study 'proved' vaccines don't cause autism hmm

Why are the experiments on population at risk not carried out? I don't know. Pressure from Merck et al? Scientists unwilling to be crucified like Wakefield?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 15:20:24

I wasn't really thinking about autism/vaccination in particular. I was thinking more generally than that.

I do believe that science is very poor at observation- in that as soon as we observe something we can't explain it is discounted. And if it's something that doesn't sit comfortably with current theories it comes under heavy criticism. And is almost impossible to secure funding for research. This has certainly been the case for autism and vaccination (until now) but also for any observations coming from parents for example research into gut issues- such as gut bacteria is now yielding lots of interesting results - potentially very important results- but it is parent funded research and this is stuff that has been discounted and ridiculed for years. I've lost count of the number of rolled eyes I've encountered at saying that ds1 is gluten free. But I get the pleasure of watching him beat his head on concrete when he eats the stuff. Peanuts too - and peanuts are preserved in something that the proper controlled research is now showing to be potentially problematic. Taking observations as the starting point is a good way to be scientific. Dismissing something without investigating it because you have no theory for it is not a good way to do science imo. And it's a way that a lot of science is currently carried out. That's a problem with the way it's funded.

Outside of autism I always mention Helicobacter and stomach ulcers. The (nobel prize winning) scientist was ridiculed for that theory. In the end he had to infect himself to get people to take notice.

Yes of course the anecdote is not the be all and end all - but at the moment there's a huge reluctance to take on observations and examine them scientifically. The vaccination stuff is being investigated now - using macaque models. The first study cost involved giving macaques the equivalent baby vaccination schedule. Vaccinated macaques were late developing a sucking reflex (and there were other differences). The control group was ridiculously small - but apparently the protocol used was the standard in vaccination testing- using monkey models is expensive. A bigger study is now in progress- it is costing millions and it is parent funded.

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 17:38:38

I agree with you that theories that challenge current understanding have a hard time being taken seriously. Or that if there is no theory to explain why, the results of some experiments might be ignored - for a short time, until they get to be verified/repeated.

None of this applies to homeopathy, however.

Proper scientific experiments have been done to test whether or not homeopathy is effective. The result is that it is no more effective than placebo - i.e. it doesn't work.

This is very different than not doing any tests or getting a positive result and ignoring it.

Not only do experiments show it to be ineffective, but our understanding of physics also says it should be ineffective. If you dilute a solution to the point of '1 drop in olympic pool', '1 drop in the Atlantic Ocean', and even '1 drop in all the seas of the world', then quite naturally, that solution should have no effect whatsoever.

So... why believe in homeopathy?

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 17:41:00

The only way homeopathy can work is if water has memory of substances it has once contained - which, incidentally, is the claim behind homeopathy.

Stop and think about this ludicrous claim. If water indeed had such a 'memory', no water would be safe to drink.

It is fantasy, pure and simple. A profitable one, for some.

Pruners Mon 09-Jun-08 17:51:21

Message withdrawn

thebecster Mon 09-Jun-08 17:52:09

I know Masuru Emoto's work on the memory of water is not scientific, but I do think it's beautiful. I believe in homeopathy because it works for me and my DS. If it didn't I'd stop using it. But I respect other people's opinion's. DH thinks it's bunk, but he saw me have homepathic remedies through labour then tells people 'She didn't need any drugs or anything! She didn't even have gas and air'. Had a ton of remedies though! Good luck to the OP - you sound like the sort of person who will be able to make your wishes unequivocally clear to the hospital, so can't imagine you'll have a problem.

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 18:05:19

That is called 'placebo' effect.

Mind over matter can be quite impressive. Congratulations on yours.

I quit smoking five months ago, in a similar way - spent hours reading websites that talk about the horrors of dying from smoking, and convinced myself that I am not a smoker anymore.

I had No Cravings Whatsoever. It is a miracle, but it happened to me. It doesn't mean that the water I was drinking at the time had a molecule of nicotine from a cigarette butt someone dropped in a pond a year ago.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 18:43:29

What happened to the clustering of molecules in water at low dilutions? Last read something about that in the New Scientist years ago (before I'd ever used homeopathy). Was that work replicated?

As I said before when I take paracetamol I don't really care whether its the placebo effect (and there's a big on with paracetamol) that makes my headache go. I just want my headache gone. I'm the same with homeopathy. If it works I'll use it again. I don't really care how it works. It's has one several occasions had pretty big positive effects in this family (having started using it out of desperation whilst not believing). TBH I don't care if people sniff about double blind trials. It works for us and hasn't yet left any of my children non-verbal and with severe learning difficulties (unlike western medicine). I don't insist that people have to use it. Nor am I particularly interested in sharing our successes or converting people. I don't really care what people do in their won family and I'm always amazed that people get so opinionated about others doing something that has no effect on them.

I'm far more worried about the side effects of drugs (whether conventional or alternative). Western medicine has contributed massively to ds1's severe disability so I don't rush to give my kids anything these days (conventional or alternative). If they're getting something I want to know what the potential side effects are versus the potential benefit is etc etc. My biggest fear is that ds1 will develop epilepsy. He's very high risk. I won't want seizures but I'm not keen on anti convulsants - truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'd probably have to take the drugs but also investigate alternatives such as diet.

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 20:48:06

What 'clustering of molecules in water at low dilutions"? Are we going to have to review elementary physics here?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 21:09:22

Oh stop being so rude cotedazur I was talking about this article in the New Scientist and wondering whether there was ever any follow up work on it. I read the article about a year before I used a homeopathic remedy, filed it away in my mind as an interesting study and have never followed it up. I thought that there would be people queuing on here that could point me in the direction of studies showing how and why this study was flawed. I'd be interested to read any follow up studies if there are any.

Incidentally whilst searching for that article I came across this one with some major limitations as stated in the abstract. But perhaps the cash strapped NHS should be investigating further to see if indeed it can be cost saving?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 21:21:21

This is an interesting study as well from the BMJ

caused a flurry on the BMJ letters page as well Haeve only skimmed but looks interesting. There are other studies like this out there, but I have work to do.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 21:25:55

And I think this response pretty much sums up my view tbh. I love doctors who are prepared to take this attitude. My old GP was like this and ds1's current paed is.

"Brian J Lipworth,
Professor of allergy and respiratory medicine
Asthma and Allergy Research Group,Dept Clinical Pharmacology,Ninewells Hospital ,Dundee
Send response to journal:
Re: Re: The science of homoeopathy

I'm not really too bothered as to the science of homeopathy-as I would be quite happy for my patients to benefit whatever the mechanism,whether it be a "placebo" effect or not.If homeopathy is a form of expensive placebo and it makes patients feel better,then I'm all for it,especially if has no adverse effects.There are many patients I see with allegic rhinitis who clearly do not benefit from conventional therapies or who get side effects.A more mature attitude is to admit the limitations of conventional pharmacotherapy and suggest patients try elsewhere. To deny patients this opportunity is to assume a stance of extreme arrogance .If we can get the answers from RCT's that homeopathy is of benefit in allergic rhinitis then we should include in guidelines that it is a possible option for alternative therapy irrespective of the "science"."

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 09-Jun-08 21:39:39

"If we can get the answers from RCT's that homeopathy is of benefit in allergic rhinitis then we should include in guidelines that it is a possible option for alternative therapy irrespective of the "science"." Note the if that statement starts with and the "science".

I think the latest was that Prozac works in moderate or severe depression.

CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 21:44:59

From your link:

"a whole new dimension to just about the simplest chemical reaction in the book - what happens when you dissolve a substance in water and then add more water."

That is not a chemical reaction!!! shock How can any publication with the word 'scientist' in its name say that?

And this is also from your link:

- "Other researchers failed to reproduce Benveniste's experiments"

- "Benveniste himself does not think the new findings explain his results because the solutions were not dilute enough. "This [phenomenon] cannot apply to high dilution," he says."

Meaning: Experiment results might very well be wrong, and even the guy who did them says it doesn't apply to large dilutions like in homeopathy.

Even if it turns out that some molecules cluster when diluted, that doesn't explain homeopathy is effective. It only means that maybe one in a million pills will be effective.

Like this comment says:
How Does This Help?
By Bob

Tue Nov 13 16:53:59 GMT 2007

(...) if I dilute by a large enough amount voila I have a single crystal of the soluble substance sitting in a huge vat of otherwise empty water.


CoteDAzur Mon 09-Jun-08 21:49:45

I wasn't being rude, by the way, but just asking if we needed to go into the basics. Maybe we do. I don't mind it, if you are interested.

Such as, why dilution is not a chemical reaction.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 21:53:40

Beneviste's study was different one. To do with memory of water, not clustering of molecules. I know that his hasn't been reproduced.

The clustering experiments were not related at all to homeopathy when done. The authors didn't discuss homeopathy in the paper. I was simply wondering whether they'd followed up with further work in this area.

Anyway since it seems that no-one knows the answer to that I will google one day when I have time.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Mon 09-Jun-08 21:54:31

oh cote stop being so patronising.

grouchyoscar Mon 09-Jun-08 22:05:53

Rolf I wanted my BF to provide aromatherapy during my labour. I was shocked to find out that she couldn't as she wasn't covered by insurance. Seems the hospital gets very skitish as should anything go wrong in the labour they would be liable.

I spoke to the head of midwiffery at the hospital, Told her what I would like to happen and asked what the hospital required. I then obtained her aromatherapy cert and insurance for her and took them in. Copies went on my notes and I got what I wanted. A very skeptical MW had her mind changed when she saw how beneficial the therapy was grin

See if you can contact the head honchos at the hospital and talk it over. Chances are they will be happy to support you, so long as their backs are covered

BF is now in her 3rd year on a midwiffery degree at the same hospital! Result all round I think grin

Best of luck with getting the birth you want

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 01:21:37

Rolf, I used homeopathy in labour, administered by friends. Midwife wrote of the apparent positive effects in my birth notes. WRT your situation, maybe either approach the hospital to see what their current opinions/preferences are regarding homoepathy.... then use your waiver writing abilities to construct a short para in your birthplan aimed at covering their fears and absolving them of responsibility?

WRT homeopathy debate on this thread, all very interesting, mostly above my head! I do Reiki though so a general faith in energy based healing. IME have seen homeopathy and Reiki work on youngsters and animals (inclusive of what you might call double blind settings) and though obviously a basic argument in comparison to some profered here.... I don't understand how a placebo effect can be used to degrade the potential healing properties of either in these situations.

OTOH, yes! Homeopathy and Herbalism (which I have a deep interest in) are completely different. It's not the first time I've come across the two being bundled together on MN, including a lady who was given homeopathic advice WRT birth by a herbalist?! <shakes head and walks away>

madamez Tue 10-Jun-08 01:27:33

Oh come on, homeopathy is a total con and you would be better off spending your money on a good book, chocolate or gin. The only things that get 'better' after homeopathy treatments are things that would get better anyway and a good kick in the jacksy would work just as well.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 02:13:50

Can't see how a good book, chocolate, gin or a good kick in the jacksy would be useful or 'allowed' in the labour ward in this case TBH. Unless they're bribes/threats aimed at a non-compliant midwife? hmm

Ach, each to their own, some'll never believe, some never wont.

AussieSim Tue 10-Jun-08 07:52:24

It is with great hesitation that I post a response here - seeing that Cote has already made her views so clear and having been personally attacked by her on an earlier thread for my views and experience of alternative remedies.

But here goes ... I was being treated by a naturopath/homeopath and an acupuncturist throughout my last two pregnancies (DS2 and DD) with supplements and herbs etc. Also I had DS1 in Germany where homeopathy is much more widely accepted and even our Paediatrician prescribed homeopathic treatments for DS1.

My last two pregnancies and births were very healthy and uneventful compared to my first when I had only conventional mainstream medical treatment.

For immediately following the birth of DD I had Arnica to help with repair of the pink bits and Phytolacca to ward off blocked milk ducts/mastitis which I have suffered with previously. I also used the aconite to help me manage stress during the pregnancy and immediately following and found it to be very effective. I am very pleased not to have had to take antibiotics or to have had to sit on a doughnut pillow or to have even suffered the baby blues in the period following DD's birth.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 09:07:50

I always laugh at the 'save your money' 'money would be better spent' etc etc as homeopathic remedies are so cheap About £4 for a bottle that will last years.

Interesting from the link above that it seems to have the potential to save the NHS money as well.

Your experience mirrors mine AussieSim, but I have learned not to share it .

The letters page of the BMJ that I linked to above makes really interesting reading. Not so much from the actual discussion but because it was really easy to pick out which doctors I would want to see- and some that I thought would be wonderful- and which ones I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I don't really tolerate arrogance from doctors these days- not after everything we've been through with ds1 courtesy of conventional medicine.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 10:07:35

AussieSim –in Romania there’s a big fashion for medical doctors to train up in alternative medicine as well. I think this is to boost personal income, which is still low otherwise. I can’t for the life of me think how they can take leave of their scientific senses quite so much, but I suppose at least they won’t have ignored other signs and will give homeopathy in addition to conventional treatment and after a proper diagnosis. I think this is the case in Italy too, but then I wonder if it’s because they have an overproduction of doctors who find hospital employment difficult.

As for bottles of water lasting ages – well, it would, wouldn’t it?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 10:14:51

They're not bottles of water.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 10:23:13

It IS water, though, isn't it? Plus one molecule of "remedy" or, okay, a whole cluster

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 10:24:37

PMSL @ "bottles of water"! Classic.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 10:25:46


getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 10:28:46

In fact I wouldn't use any liquid that had been opened years previously.

Perhaps the doctors in Romania work on the principal that their job is to help someone feel better. If homeopathy does that why would they argue with it. Better than making people feel worse which many conventional drugs do. According to this thread prozac is little more than placebo (or is it all placebo? Haven't really followed the prozac argument). At least people taking homeopathic remedies aren't risking psychosis as a side effect

Some UK doctors work on that concept of health as well. They tend to be very good doctors.

75% of people want more CAM available on the NHS. Medical students are now given the chance to learn about CAM during their training (at least they do at my local medical school).

This GP's surgery has been much praised for its integrated approach, because it is providing patients with access to therapies that they want. And they go away feeling better - without risking side effects. That's what matters to them -and ultimately is what should matter to doctors.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 10:30:15

Er no I have never bought homeopathy in a liquid form. I have dissolved it in water occasionally to give, but rarely.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 10:30:52

Sorry! feeding necessitating one handed typing hence brief replies. Water is involved in process, is tablet form (i.e. sucrose base) at consumer level though.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 10:34:54

Agree with jimjams and FWIW, the Faculty of Homeopathy provide a booklet (free if you're interested!) listing all doctors, nurses, dentists providing homeopathy. Here. In the U.K.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 10:43:08

JimJams - here's from your own linnk "The General Medical Council’s position has been clear for the past five years: It is open for any family doctor to employ a complementary therapist to offer NHS treatment his practice provided the doctor retains clinical responsibility and accountability." So it's the doctor keeping clinical responsibility and accountability. If someone asks for homeopathy and the doctor refers them they are very unlikely to sue (no side effects) and might get them off his back too. Win-win situation. As long as serious stuff has first been discounted or treated with conventional medicine, as treated by a doctor. Things which I agree with and have said so many posts back.

How do you compress diluted water to make tablets?

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 10:45:59
getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 10:52:10

Actually that's not a true homeopathic remedy - not in the sense that a homeopath would the word - as it uses a mix of remedies. You so get remedies such as secretin in liquid form but it is rare. I've never used one and it is not normal practice.

I don't think you're really that interested in how homeopathic remedies are made though are you?

Luckily I think many doctors are interested in patient's health rather than just 'getting them off their backs'.

My old GP noticed for example that carers had higher rates of attendance at his surgeries than none carers. So he set up a support group. I think his main aim was to improve carers health rather than get them off his back hmm. Being a doctor and all that and good ones generally being interested in the health of their patients.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:06:20

Jimjams - you have such a downer on conventional medicine. As a doctor (soon going back to practice, hurray) I am interested in people's health, including emotional wellbeing. I think a carers' group is a good idea, I do voluntary work for a children's charity and use it too, so I know how helpful that is. I would stop short of selling homeopathy, though.

So what I linked to isn't real homeopathy because it contains herbs. Whereas, of course, you trust that all the stuff from China or wherever is the real stuff, because the person selling it to you told you so.

CoteDAzur Tue 10-Jun-08 11:07:15

Actually, we all know how 'homeopathic remedies' are made.

Take a teensy bit of toxic substance. Chuck it in an olympic swimming pool, stir.

Take jars out of that pool and chuck them in other, separate such pools. Repeat until you run out of swimming pools.

Then make sugar pills with that water, which by now is so diluted that it contains maybe one molecule of initial substance per swimming pool.

Make sugar pills with that water.

Sell to gullible open minded persons.

Voila! smile

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:07:38

So how are tablets made from water? As you can see, I generally read the links you post, as long as they're reputable.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:09:59

CoteDAzur - you're right, I'd forgotten the active ingredient which is also the carrier for all that water. Could it be the sugar giving people a high?

ghosty Tue 10-Jun-08 11:12:38

<<jumps in head first>>

I read recently that 60% of orthodox treatments have not been scientifically proven ....

I believe that we should be using 'Complementary medicine' ie not using an 'either/or' mentality but using all things available to us. Doctors should recommnend alternative therapies to their patients before suggesting things like steroids for example (something that happened to me recently) and also alternative therapists should send people to the doctor if they can see they can't help. All alternative medicine has a place IMO, as does 'orthodox' medicine (I don't go running off the the doctor every time my child has a sniffle, I will use other methods first but I won't go to my homeopath if I break my leg)

Dr Barbara Starfield gave some worrying statistics in the JAMA (July 26, 2000;284(4):483-5) : The third major cause of death in the US (after heart disease and cancer) is orthodox medical treatment, including unnecessary surgery, medication errors in hospitals, other errors in hospitals, infections in hospitals and the biggest killer: Non error, negative effects of drugs.

<<hugs jimjams>>

CoteDAzur Tue 10-Jun-08 11:13:28

It's the psychological effect of believing that what you just took will have an effect.

There will always be demand for snake oil and its myriad reincarnations. People who believe in these products cannot be swayed by logic, any more than you can convince a true believer that religions are invented by man and God probably doesn't even exist.

Such is human nature. Sigh.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 11:14:30

Cote, you missed out succession.... a wave machine maybe?

faculty of homeopathy and homeopathy trust

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:15:18

"I read recently that 60% of orthodox treatments have not been scientifically proven"

I don't know how the % is worked out (what is the denominator, how many orthodox treatments are there in the world for all diseases etc) but at least they have a scientific basis that could, presumably, be tested.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:19:01

Ghosty - I took my DD1 to a paediatrician in Romania a couple of years ago. She had worms. She was only 1 and a bit and the paed prescribed some herbal stuff. Given my DD1 was so young, I thought that was an acceptable way to go. Side-effects from conventional treatment would have been worse than the pain of worms IMO. I'm not totally closed to the idea of complementary therapies, but it's homeopathy that really makes me go shock and

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 11:20:33

I don't have a downer on conventional medicine. I am wary of it because it destroyed my son's life. If you scroll back through this thread you will find I have commented on my excellent GP and ds1's current paed who is great. That's hardly a big downer. I like doctors who will discuss situations openly. Good ones do. When ds1 had a suspected broken ankle (couldn't be x-rayed) the very excellent A&E consultant talked us through the options, explained the difficulties and potential problems with each approach then left us to make the final decision - whilst reassuring us if we chose to do nothing (which we did) that we could change our mind at any time and he would ensure the notes were clear that he needed to be seen by a senior doctor and plastered immediately.

That - in my opinion- is good doctoring. Listening to patients, adjusting to individual circumstances and not sneering at people for using things that's haven't been through double blind trial. A previous GP has given ds2 a homeopathic remedy herself- she didn't 'sell' it to us.

I do think that conventional drugs require double blind trials because they come with major side effects in many cases. But that's not the case for many CAMs. Take another alternative approach that we've used with ds1. - Diet modification. 6 years ago we had to endure all sorts of raised eyebrows. Now, 6 years later the work is being done which is starting to explain the reasons that parents sometimes see the beneficial effect of diet. Very nice. It's all being published in peer review journals. But ds1 couldn't wait 6 years. I dread to think what state his head would be in if he'd been repeatedly hitting it on concrete for the last 6 years. So we looked, decided the risk of side effects was negligible and he has benefitted from that approach.

If something works for us (conventional or alternative) and if the side effects don't outweigh the benefits then I'll use it.

As for the medical profession. I have met some truly awful doctors. - I think most of us have. We all have our horror stories. Although increasingly these days I seem to meet good ones. They must be improving the training.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 11:24:09

Why does homeopathy make you go I've linked to a study that shows that in one GPs surgery at least it saved the NHS money, it makes people feel better (whether through placebo or not- it makes people feel better) and it has no side effects.

Why would you rather shove someone full of a conventional drug if you can 'get them off your back' with a cheap safe alternative?

Hi ghosty. Have been meaning to email you for ages.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 11:29:16

Was the herbal stuff tested? I wouldn't use herbal stuff without knowing that it had been tested properly, had a decent supplier and was being prescribed by someone who had studied herbalism properly etc.

Guess we're all different.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:30:46

Jimjams - I know about your son's situation, it just seems you always, always have negative things to say about medicine and doctors. It gets a bit weary reading so many anti-medicine comments on MN.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:35:46

How would you know if it was tested? How would you know how decent the supplier was? Maybe you Jimjams would look into it, in fact i'm sure you would now, but take the average person using all this stuff. You read about people saying "my best friend gave me something, i can't remember what it was" and so on. Totally, totally gullible. That does make me shock and

I wouldn't shove drugs down anyone w/o good reason. But I wouldn't prescribe homeopathy either. They can buy that on the high street w/o my endorsement.

CatharsisItIs Tue 10-Jun-08 11:35:48

If you find it weary Cristina, why read them? This, for many people (not just Jimjams!) is realism. Conventional doesn't always cut it and more than occasionally, gets it very, very wrong.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 11:37:41

Well I've made plenty of positive comments about individual doctors over the years as well.

And if you know all about my son's situation then I guess it would be fairly easy to work out why many of my comments about medicine are negative. It's not really rocket science is it?

Unless you want me (and the other's who make anti-medicine comments - usually with very good reason) to lie then I'm not sure what the answer is.

It's gets fairly wearing reading the sneery snide comments about the gullible fools who use homeopathy as well.

I find switching off the computer helps.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:40:28

Why read them? Because I don't know what they'll say before I read them, will I? I don't deliberately go on threads to get me riled up e.g. I stay away from Religious threads but if it had a title that made it look like more than God stuff, i might open it.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 11:41:33

Okay, bye then, switch it off. I have work to do too.

bumpbumpbump Tue 10-Jun-08 11:53:08

Brilliant article on homeopathy. Read it and see.

(As our drinking water is recycled I'm seriously hoping water does not have a memory!!)

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 12:06:05

Oh I can't be arsed to read Ben Goldacre. He has written such crap about the MMR that's just blatantly wrong. I'm afraid it shook my trust in him.

He has a real thing about homeopathy being used to treat HIV in Africa. The homeopath I mentioned earlier who persuaded someone to use AZT was working in Africa on the project that Ben Goldacre has got his knickers in a twist about. I don't think he has a very good understanding of how the project works at all. It works alongside conventional medicine (and indeed along side traditional African medicine that many people use). It doesn't aim to replace it. In a relatively rich country like Botswana patients are able to access drugs like AZT (because the govt pays for it- not the case in all countries) and then also use homeopathy and traditional medicine. They can access homeopathy because the homeopaths are volunteering their services. The users queue to see the homeopaths and are enthusiastic about the project. No-one is forced to attend.

The homeopath I know stayed with people whilst they died from AIDS etc. How awful huh? What a blood sucking leech. She wasn't being paid for it either - she was paying to go there. I don't really understand what it is that offends Ben Goldacre so much about that project as it only seems to do good. Both in terms the direct work from the project itself and the indirect work in supporting the work of conventional medicine (such as encouraging people to take the conventional drugs they're given).

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 12:24:19

Here's some info about the project he hates so much It might be of interest to some.

If you follow up on some of the links to the letters you'll see how much talk there is about working in partnership with local agencies and also how the increasing availability of anti retro viral drugs is discussed in positive terms. Homeopathy is then used to relieve the side effects of those drugs.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 12:34:23

You say ARVs are freely available in Botswana, but given how expensive these drugs are in the UK, and what a much higher % of the population in Botswana or other African countries are infected, i wonder if ARVs are really easily accessible to all people with HIV infection. If not, they may well believe that H pills are similar to ARVs, especially if closer to their won culture and tradition.

I liked the article v much (Goldacre's).

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 12:44:38

No that's not true Cristina. Botswana has diamonds which is why it has the money to spend on ARV's. It is the only African country (AFAIK) that has made ARV's freely available. Its the only one that can afford to. I have been to a talk on this and once patients get to a certain stage (I think assessed on cell counts or some other measure) they are entitled to receive free ARV's.

They are self-referred to the homeopathy clinic either from the medical doctors (it started working alongside them) or by word of mouth.

In Botswana they're apparently in general not remotely interested in how medication works. Which is why they've always used traditional African medicine alongside western medicine. And why it is important that the homeopaths do encourage the use of ARV's - as they do. Does it really matter if there's a belief that remedies are the same as ARV's if there is no other alternative? It just provides another means by which the patients might be introduced to the idea of ARVs. Was certainly the case in the example I've given.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 12:50:36

"Does it really matter if there's a belief that remedies are the same as ARV's if there is no other alternative?" I meant that people may not have access to ARVs but have access to homeopathic pills and think that they act similarly so won't go for the ARVs since they aren't easily available anyway. I didn't know Botswana had a good public health system.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 12:54:05

Here's some info about when patients can access the drugs.

It started in 2001 with drugs made available for pregnant women and has expanded since.

Botswana has a very overstretched public health system. Which is of course being further stretched by HIV. That was a big part of the reason for starting the homeopathy project. To provide support for these massively overstretched resources.

However it seems as though people will walk 100's of km for treatment (both homeopathic and conventional- and I think they go for both at once).

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 12:57:10

And as I've said repeatedly when the person I know came across a man who despite being very ill had walked a very long distance to see her and was refusing ARVs, she treated him and persuaded him to go to the clinic and accept the ARVs. I'm not going to tell you how she did it as it seems too personal to put out there, but its the sort of thing that would have been very difficult for a conventional doctor to do because of time restraints.

The aim of the project right from the beginning has been to support existing services, not replace them, and the importance of ARV's in treating HIV is understood and recognised and their use is encouraged.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 12:58:55

Thanks, JimJams. I'll read up on it. DH works for an oil consultancy who works in Africa and he's much better informed than me.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 13:00:13

And that's just how it should be.

madamez Tue 10-Jun-08 20:55:44

Herbalism has some merit. Aromatherapy has some merit (if nothing else, a nice massage with nice smelling oil tends to make a person (except if they are like me and absolutely hate massage) feel better.

Homeopathy is like voodoo, astrology, crystal healing and iridology - a completely useless load of wank for which some practitioners charge extortionate sums of money from stupid vulnerable gullible desperate people.
All woo-peddlers fall in to three categories: crooks, lunatics and well-meaning idiots. Of the three, you are best off with the crook as what he/she wants is your money so he/she will want to make the treatment pleasant and non-damaging so you will keep on coming back. the idiot may do you harm inadvertently, and the lunatic may do you harm out of.. well, lunacy.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 21:15:06

oh this is so dull. Many people use homeopathy without ever seeing a practitioner. Many get the remedies for free from their GP. Of all the alternative therapies homeopathy is one of the cheapest. It's not a get rich quick scheme. If you want to make money as a CAM practitioner you'd be better off becoming something like a chiropractor - you can charge more for a much shorter session.

But this seems to be the way with homeopathy. We'll slag it off for what we think it is. So:

(1) we'll slag off the Maun project for persuading people to not use AVR's when it does nothing of the sort In fact it does the opposite and encourages the use of ARV's
Positive comments about ARV's and about working in partnership with conventional medics are easily found on the website.For example this comment from a newly qualified homeopath who worked out there: "Also, having seen the extent to which ARVs and homeopathy complement each other, I realised that collaborating with allopaths can bring very positive results for patients." - it's hardly slagging off standard treatment).

(2) We'll slag it off as a waste of NHS resources - except oh maybe it doesn't

(3) We'll slag it off as being some quick get rich scheme - when there's no evidence for that at all. My whole family sees a homeopath- we have about 3 consultations maximum per year (although she does give me free advice during acute illnesses). She is not getting rich from us.

(4) OK in that case we'll try the 'homeopath's tell people to stop cancer drugs' approach. Except that's not true either. Every homeopath is trained in when to refer- what symptoms to look out for. The last review I read of a book about homeopathy and cancer was about using homeopathy to relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy etc.

And when that all fails we'll just tell people (who - whatever you think about homeopathy are doing no harm to anyone) that if they use it they're stupid idiots. Nice.

CoteDAzur Tue 10-Jun-08 21:33:20

I prefer:

(5) We'll slag it off because it's nonsense


(6) We'll slag it off because it doesn't work

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 10-Jun-08 21:38:24

JimJams - what's got into you with this Maun project? Nobody has referred to it on here but you. You have compiled a list of accusations that haven't been brought on this thread. Sounds dramatic, but it's mostly in your head. You keep escalating this.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 10-Jun-08 21:48:24

It was mentioned briefly in the Ben Goldacre article. It something I happen to know a bit about. If you google you'll find it's come under attack- as something that prevents people accessing ARV's which is utter bollocks.
(2), (3) and (4) are accusations that have been made on this thread. Although I agree most of the attacks have been of the 'only an idiot would use it' variety.

So how about the people who use prozac? If that's just placebo are we going to attack them for being idiots? (especially as it is something that comes with pretty hefty side effects)

CristinaTheAstonishing Wed 11-Jun-08 09:07:09

Prozac is prescription-only. I'd hope it would stop being prescribed if proven to be not effective. The latest (Spring 2008) was that it works in moderate-severe depression.

CoteDAzur Wed 11-Jun-08 10:33:58

Prozac does contain an active substance, and it actually does something when ingested.

Whether or not it is as effective for all types of depression is a separate issue.

Your 'remedies' have nothing in them (except sugar) and they do nothing.

Apples and oranges.

"They do nothing."

Well sorry to rain on your parade, but the vast majority of people who use these therapies say otherwise. They say these therapies make them feel better and improve the quality of their lives.

You can argue about clinical effectiveness until you're blue in the face, but you can't argue with an individual's perception of how they feel and how much they value a treatment.

"Prozac does contain an active substance, and it actually does something when ingested."

Yes - so does rat poison. Doesn't mean you want to take it!

Bridie3 Wed 11-Jun-08 12:00:01

I've had mixed results with homeopathy over a period of 11 years. It seemed to prevent my daughter's ear infection from recurring when she was an infant. Arnica also helped me heal after my caesarian (and my GP recommended it).

However, my son was seen by homeopath over a period of years from infancy onwards for various ailments. They treated him for excema over some months, but he actually then developed asthma, considered by homeopaths to be much more serious, as it is 'internal whereas the excema is on the surface.

I didn't go back again.

binsky Wed 11-Jun-08 12:54:32

I have been reading this thread with great interest and felt it was about time I put my opinion forward. I haven't read every single post (there are so many!) but it seems that a recurring theme is "ok, it can't be proved, but if it works then who cares?".

Well, I care. I think if a substance is claimed to have a certain effect then people should be able to have some reassurance that there is factual accuracy in that, and not just as a placebo effect. I don't understand how there can be such strict advertising standards over relatively inconsequential things like face creams and shampoos but when it comes to the claims made for alternative therapies there doesn't seem to be an equivalent.

I understand that this is a very emotive issue particularly when we are talking about childbirth and other issues/illnesses that conventional medicine doesn't seem to have the answer for. I think a lot of the perceived judgmentalism (is that a word?!) from some of the posts is actually borne out of exasperation, and the feeling that people are entitled to have more than anecdotal evidence to support the treatments they are taking.

meemar Wed 11-Jun-08 13:09:08

Binsky, I think the difference is that makers of homeopathic rememdies are not allowed to make claims on the product that it will cure or heal an ailment. They aren't allowed to advertise to this effect either.

People can read about homeopathy in books and learn about what specific remedies can be used for. It is up to them if they then go on to buy those remedies.

It's the same for essential oils and vitamins and some herbal remedies.

Nismy Wed 11-Jun-08 13:17:55

I agree with the last post, if i am paying for a treatment I care about whether or not there is objective evience about whether or not it works. There is none for homeopathy and in scientific terms there seems little sense behind how it is claimedto work. obviously people feel that they get good results and that's great for them but doesn't mean that people have no right to be sceptical or deserve to be shot down for being so. What is so wrong about wanting evidence? Incidentally, my scepticism does not mean that I blindly embrace all things that allopathic medecine has to offer. It is often very flawed in my experience, especially in terms of how HCPs relate and talk / listen to their patients.

Nismy Wed 11-Jun-08 13:20:24

I meant I agreed with Binsky's post, spent so long typing that another post appeared! There is much better evidence for aromatherpy, herbalism and vitamins btw altough they are still controversial

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 13:23:15

I think there's also a confusion about what using homeopathy actually means.

If - as meemar has said you choose to read up on homeopathy/follow a friend's suggestion and go out and buy homeopathy then you can. A 10 years supply of arnica pills will set you back about 4 quid.

If you go for a homeopathic consultation it's much more involved. It lasts about an hour, you talk through whatever you want to - so in effect you're having some sort of couselling on top. It doesn't focus on the physical. It doesn't remotely try to recreate a standard medical consultation. And a lot of the training is in this area. You don't tend to go in and say 'I've got a sore knee what can I have?' (although a GP who uses homeopathy might get that sort of questions and chose to prescribe something homeopathic).

People are entitled to be in full control of their own health. I use homeopathy for various health and mental health issues, I see my doctor /GP if I need a prescription/want something checked out/need a referral. I see a chiropractor if my back goes. I never have the slightest confusion about who I should see. Homeopathy hasn't altered my GP consultations at all -I still see my GP for all the things I would every have seen him or her for. Homeopathy is something that I use additionally not instead of. And this is the way that everyone I know who uses it approaches it.

A good homeopath can be someone who fits in in this role - and not just by prescribing remedies- but by being someone who listens, talks and discusses aspects of your life. And tells you if you need to be referred back to a GP (just like chiropractors/osteopaths etc do).

A homeopath who just shoved a pill at someone would be unlikely to be an effective homeopath. I also happen to think that GP's/consultants who shove stuff at you and don't listen are not effective doctors This was made very obvious to me when I saw 2 consultants over one matter- was transfered half way through because we moved. The first consultant was absolutely brilliant - he didn't actually give any treatment (other than talk) but he did his doctoring and he did it bloody well. The other consultant was one of the most unpleasant people I have ever sat in a room with. He did actually do some physical treatment but I left feeling worse than when I went in.

There are many aspects to health. And some of them can't be judged from p values.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 13:24:51

I don't think anyone has been shot down for being skeptical. I don't give a monkeys whether anyone believes in it or not. I think it would be nice to not be met with sneering for using it though.

I personally don't believe in God. I don't sneer at those that do.

binsky Wed 11-Jun-08 14:17:17

So just to clarify...

1) no-one knows how homeopathy works

2) no-one knows whether or not it works

3) no-one claims that it works

...so why are people taking it?

ScottishMummy Wed 11-Jun-08 14:23:32

POM such as prozac are subject to rigourous monitoring and reserch. homeopathy is not subject to the same rigours

fluoxetine (Prozac) is a SSRI Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors. In depression certain neurotransmitters are relatively lacking. One of those is serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT. The SSRIs slow down the process of returning the serotonin to the end of the neuron it comes from. This leads to the chemical remaining in the vicinity of the receptors for longer, making it more likely that enough will build up to set off the impulse in the next neuron.

Thus, the SSRIs work by allowing the body to make the best use of the reduced amounts of serotonin that it has at the time.

BUT the New Scientist 26 feb 2008

SSRI are recommended by NICE as appropriate pharmaceutical intervention for depression

GlaxoSmith Kline and all pharmaceuticals companies send millions researching,advertising,promoting these medications

BUt feb 26 2008 The antidepressant Prozac and related drugs are no better than placebo in treating all but the most severely depressed patients, according to a damaging assessment of the latest generation of antidepressants", this of course is majorly contentious and being disputed by SmithKlein

but phew it got people goin

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 14:34:31

Well to be fair homeopathy doesn't have the side effects that conventional drugs can have- so it doesn't need rigorous clinical trial testing. New remedies go through a detailed process called proving but I doubt that people are that interested in what that entails on here. And if they did they would ridicule it.

binksy- people use homeopathy for the same reasons that people have always used any medications- whether conventional or witchdoctor or talking therapies or whatever. It makes them feel better. This has always been the case. If something works for someone then they will use it. Ultimately as a user of medications/therapies of any type I'm more interested in how I feel that what a clinical trial says.

The only exceptions to this are drugs which make you feel worse (such as chemo) but might have a very profound and potentially life saving or prolonging phgysiological effect. Or drugs which might have potentially nasty side effects- such as seizure medication - but could prevent something even worse happening.

For those drugs I personally would get interested in clinical trial results - and in side effects, and in the risks of not having medication.

But for other less powerful or less toxic drugs I'm simply interested in how they make me/the kids feel.

binsky Wed 11-Jun-08 14:53:10

Jimjams, please don't assume that because I don't hold your point of view I think your opinion is invalid. If you are willing to describe it then I would very much like to hear what proving involves, not to ridicule it but because I have an enquiring mind and am genuinely interested.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 15:16:36

Thanks binsky - you may be a lone voice on here though

I can give a brief background as to how I started to use homeopathy. I grew up very conventionally- never used any CAM at all. Until my back went in my early 20's and I started seeing a chiropractor (as well as having some physio).

That was about it until my early 30's. By that time we knew that ds1 was likely to be diagnosed as autistic. He has what I call a 'biomedical' type of autism- in that it was probably environmentally triggered (won't go into that here) and that he has a physiology that deals with things differently from expected. This is quite common in autism- so friend's kids have had to return for operations at later dates because sedatives made them hyper etc, or other research at Birmingham uni has shown that for some autistic children paracetamol is not metabolised in a normal fashion etc. Basically there is a group with autism who appear to have all sorts of metabolic differences (may be one probelm causing cascade effects). Anyway ds1 had had a lot of conventional drugs by the time he was 2 - partly because of repeated infections and partly because of some nasty things he caught.

It got to a stage where I felt we needed to explore a different approach. I bought a 'natural family health guide' and went through it- it pretty much covered everything. There was some basic info about homeopathy and I bought a basic kit.

Fast forward ds2 was born. Ds1 would not sleep (having been a very good sleeper). At bed time he would stand and scream for 5 hours (literally) then would fall asleep exhausted and wake up 2 hours later screaming again. He was distraught. After 2 weeks I was distraught as well. (Especially as ds2 was ill as well). I picked up my natural health guide o lok up some aromaptherapy that I thought relax him. And instead stuumbled across an autism entry which gave some homeopathic suggestions. I picked one that fitted him and gave it to ds1 at lunch time.

That night he went to bed straight away with no screaming. Erm coincidence I thought. Anyway he woke up in the night screaming again.

I'd read in the book that you give the minimum so the next day I didn't give anything. Bed time again. Screaming the place down. So I gave one. He did his screaming until midnight routine then fell asleep but slept all night and didn't wake.

So the next day I gave one at lunch time and one at bedtime. He went to bed straight away and slept all night.

So I was left with a situation where I didn't really quite believe what I had seen. But to be honest I didn't really care. In ds1 I had a child who I didn't feel comfortable giving any conventional medication to unless he really desperately needed it. He had apparently responded to something I didn't believe in and in a very dramatic way.

So my thought process was that I didn't understand how it could possibly have worked, but with the exception of leg about to drop off scenarios it was probably worth another try if something arose in the future.

So I tried it again - and it's continued to work for us with results that make it worth using again. And a big one for me - it hasn't actually damaged any of my children (ds1 is non-verbal aged 9 - which we think was related to conventional medicine- obviously with genetic predisposition).

That was rather long. And I'm aware that I've opened myself to ridicule. And no doubt someone will provide it But recently I was talking with someone who works in Health Psychology and he said that people have always used what works best for them. That's how medicine evolves and how a new method usurps an old. (It's how conventional got bigger than homeopathy - it saves more lives- I don';t think anyone would deny that). And for our family using homeopathy at times when conventional medicine can't offer us anything has improved our health. So we continue to use it.

I'm hoping to get ds1 some shiatsu soon as well- as he craves deep pressure. I have found someone who has worked with severely autistic kids (which in actually the most important factor) and I hope he will be able to benefit from it.

Ds1's issues and difficulties with conventional medicine has meant we've had to take a different approach. And for us it has worked.

bundle Wed 11-Jun-08 15:21:23

binksy there are a lot of people making money out of it..

meemar Wed 11-Jun-08 16:07:18

binsky - I have used homeopathy for myself and my children because for various reasons.

When the babies were teething and I didn't want to keep giving repeated doses of paracetamol. When DS2 suffered from eczema we tried it because creams from the GP were useless and I didn't want to give steroids.
I used it for morning sickness and I tried if for DS2's hay fever.

In some cases the homeopathy helped, and in other cases I didn't notice any difference in symptoms. I personally don't care whether it is scientifically proven to work or not. It is another tool in the first aid kit as far as I'm concerned. And if it helps then that's great.

There are some conventional medicines which don't actually do anything either - cough syrup is the most obvious one.

And Bundle,yes, people make money from homeopathy without doubt - they are selling a product and that's business. But as long as those using it are clear about what they are doing I don't see a problem with that. As mentioned before, homeopathic products aren't allowed to be labelled as a medicine on the packaging. People who go looking for the remedies are those who have researched or been recommended to do so. There is no hard or misleading selling getting people to use homeopathy.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 16:14:26

I don't know any homeopaths who drive a BMW hmm

If your motive in life is to make money then I wouldn't touch homeopathy with a barge pole.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 11-Jun-08 16:15:14

You have the same approach as me meemar.

bundle Wed 11-Jun-08 16:15:52

but <<<there's nothing in it>>>>

"binksy there are a lot of people making money out of it.. "

Yes - and there are a lot of inadequate GP's earning 125K and more a year out of the public purse to patronise, and misdiagnose their patients, but nobody seems to worry particularly about that.

Luckily for me I've now found one who's got good clinical skills and the ability to listen - a rare beast indeed. Of course you have to wait 3 weeks for an appointment with her because everyone else has sussed out that she's an outstanding doctor, whereas most of the other doctors in the practice are --half-wits-- very poor.

"If your motive in life is to make money then I wouldn't touch homeopathy with a barge pole."

No - go into general practice where you'll spend your day handing out unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics and antidepressants instead.....

You'll be quids in.


meemar Wed 11-Jun-08 16:35:50

bundle, I know what you're sayinggrin. I watched the Horizon programme which showed the solutions were so diluted they were literally nothing.

But, the chamomilla teething granules helped both DSs instantly. I have seen an egg-size bruise on DS2's head disappear with arnica. And I have seen a dramatic change in an acute flare-up of eczema in DS2 after a course prescribed by a homeopath. (Of course sceptics will argue that it wasn't the homeopathy that made any difference).

I also found that it was not helpful for long-term help of the eczema, It made no difference to my morning sickness and when I used it for chicken pox the symptoms were not relieved.

So I fully accept that there is no proof that it works in the laboratory sense of 'proof'.But while my personal experience has shown that it can make a difference, I will continue to use it if I think it's worth a try.

thebecster Wed 11-Jun-08 16:53:42

Definitely homeopathy is not a 'get rich quick' scheme - has anyone seen the French movie "La Crise"? Just reminded me of the scene where a wife is screaming at her husband for becoming a homeopath because they don't make enough money any more.

I second jimjam and meemar's experiences with homeopathy, just wanted to add a few more of mine.

I mentioned that I used it in childbirth & didn't need anything else and someone said that I'd clearly just used willpower plus placebo - but I wasn't taking homeopathy for pain, it was to speed the labour, get things moving. Since labour was only 3 hours, I guess it worked for me. Of course it could be my enormous pelvis that helped smile

I had interstitial cystitis for 5 years - gp prescribed course after course of a/bs and eventually said 'You're just going to have to live with this, it's the way you're made'. My homeopath sorted it out and I haven't had cystitis since - I've gone from having one attack per month to having had none for 7 years.

DS (aged 2. He can't say 'placebo') was in and out of hospital with wheezing/asthma attacks needing steroid tablets and nebuliser, plus up to 20 puffs of salamol per day. He's been seeing homeopath and hasn't even needed his salamol for the past month.

I had night cramps - before pregnancy - about 5 years ago. Dr couldn't explain it initially, but eventually prescribed quinine as I was waking with leg twisted wrong way around with muscle cramp within 2 hours of falling asleep & was exhausted - it happened every time I fell asleep, like torture. The quinine caused major side effects - I lost the sight in my right eye (temporarily thank god! But I still don't have night vision in that eye). I went to homeopath and she sorted the cramps out without my needing to go blind. Occasionally the cramps come back - I take homeopathic remedy and it sorts it out.

And finally... I was told by many doctors that I would never be able to have children. A combination of PCOS and damage from when my appendix burst as a child. I told my homeopath I was sad about it, she said 'Well, no promises, but let's try something...'. And my little DS was conceived that month (after never having used contraception with DH in the previous 6 years of relationship, since I knew I couldn't get pg).

Homeopathy might not be scientific. But I find it's darned useful when we're poorly.

bundle Wed 11-Jun-08 20:58:51

i never said it was a get rich quick scheme. but it's literally selling "nothing" but placebo (which of course has a v powerful effect), an effect which i think the nhs could use to good effect

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 12-Jun-08 00:48:17

Thebecster - am I reading this right? Have you stopped your son's asthma medication and giving him homeopathy instead?

niceone1 Thu 12-Jun-08 10:50:12

Not to be judgemental but you're not treating your son's asthma with homeopathy in lieu of asthma medication...?

It's essentially a glass of water, certainly won't do you any harm but if a doctor has prescribed medication for a medical condition I would trust him/her and take it.

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Jun-08 13:00:17

thebecster - You have seen some very bad doctors. Who says this for cystitis: 'You're just going to have to live with this, it's the way you're made."?!?! shock

I had monthly cystitis, just like you. Then went to a gynecologist, who said the microbe was probably in the vagina, reinfecting the urinary track during every month's mestruation.

Treatment took a week or so. I haven't had cystitis since then. This was eight years ago.

Moral of the story: Change your GP. His incompetence does not mean the whole medical profession is useless.

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Jun-08 13:18:02

And re conception and PCOS - PCOS does not mean total infertility.

A friend has this. She didn't have periods for years. Then she got pregnant (surprise!), had a DD. Pregnant again, had M/C. Pregnant again, had a DS.

A woman's psychology contributes significantly to fertility and even timing of her periods. I know couples who TTC'ed for years without success, then finally gave up and decided to adopt and got pregnant right away. Several times, when I thought I could be pregnant, my period just wouldn't come. Then I did a pregnancy test, saw the negative, and menstruated within hours.

So, it sounds like you got pregnant because you believed in the powers of your homeopath, not because whatever she gave you cured the PCOS.

Twinkie1 Thu 12-Jun-08 13:25:42

Haven't read all of this so excuse me if I am repeating something but if somehting happens in childbirth that has a negative effect on the mother or baby how the hell are they going to know if it is the homeopathy that has done it or the conventional medicine and then it could all become difficult if one had to be prven over the other in court etc....?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Thu 12-Jun-08 13:29:40

If something happens in childbirth they usually just lose the notes.

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Jun-08 13:32:42

There will of course be no such problem in court, because homeopathy demonstrably has no effect, positive or negative.

fabsmum Thu 12-Jun-08 13:39:37

"but if a doctor has prescribed medication for a medical condition I would trust him/her and take it"

You might be interested in this report from the Independent newspaper.

Special report: Prescription medicines

Each year, Britons are dying in their thousands because of the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Reported deaths are up 155 per cent in a decade – and experts are seeking new safeguards. Nina Lakhani reports

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Thousands of patients are dying each year as a result of side effects from pills prescribed by GPs and hospital doctors.

And while the number of deaths from suspected adverse reactions to prescription drugs has more than doubled in the past 10 years to 973 last year, medical experts warn that as few as one in 10 deaths and other serious complications are being reported.

Doctors' poor prescribing skills and repeated failures to recognise accurately adverse drug reactions in patients have seen deaths multiply by about two and half times since 1996.

Experts are calling for a revamp of the current warning systems designed to alert doctors to potentially lethal prescription drug treatments.

They believe tens of thousands of patients suffer life-threatening, disabling or other serious reactions that need hospital treatment because of a failure to spot and report many dangerous side effects and drug interactions quickly enough.

One study estimated that the equivalent of all the beds from seven general hospitals – 5,600 places – are occupied with patients suffering from drug reactions at any one time, costing the NHS more than £450m each year. Researchers believe around 70 per cent of adverse reactions could be avoided through better training, computerised prescribing systems and staff spending more time talking and listening to patients.

The latest revelations follow The Independent on Sunday's exclusive report two months ago highlighting the dramatic rise in the number of drugs that doctors are now prescribing.

The report in August showed that the NHS faced an £8.2bn bill for prescription medicines in England in 2006, as doctors issued 51 per cent more drugs than they did 10 years earlier.

But today's revelations highlight a 155 per cent rise in reported deaths from adverse reactions to prescribed and over-the-counter drugs – a far steeper increase that will shock the both medical profession and patient groups.

An international conference on drug safety which convenes in Bournemouth tomorrow will hear that "too little progress" has been made in the past 15 years in training doctors to use medications more safely.

Professor Saad Shakir, director of the Drug Safety Research Unit at Southampton University, said: "Doctors need to know how to use medications – this is the most important ethical responsibility for us. Surgeons wouldn't conduct an operation they haven't studied and trained for, and these same standards should apply to medications.

"The competence of doctors in understanding medicines, knowing when and how to use them and how to recognise problems is as essential as training a surgeon in how to perform an operation. Using medicine should be a part of medical training and the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of doctors."

The British Medical Association said last night that the figures amounted to a "wake-up call" and is calling for better training in the medical profession. Dr Peter Maguire, deputy chairman of the BMA Board of Science, said: "This big rise in fatal and serious adverse drug reactions should be a wake-up call to all doctors. We have a large number of new medications, but there are also fake drugs coming into the market, and more and more people are using herbal and over-the-counter drugs, as well as all the existing prescription drugs. On top of that, people are living longer and we have the situation of polypharmacy, where we treat people with several medications.

"In recent years, there has been less pharmacology taught in medical schools, but if you consider the growing number of drugs available and the trend towards combination therapies, then this does seem to go against the grain."

But some experts argue that the task of knowing all potentially harmful drug reactions is beyond doctors, and that computerised prescription systems must be used.

Professor Lucian Leape, patient safety expert from the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, said: "The trouble with education is that it is never 100 per cent effective. The best way is to use a computer system that doesn't forget which medication the patient is allergic to, or that they have impaired kidneys, whereas the doctor may be considering 30 different things.

"By using a correctly programmed computer, we believe you can reduce prescribing errors by 90 per cent."

Many of the reported deaths are linked to older common medications such as aspirin, rather than newer drugs. Doctors and patient groups believe the danger lies with interactions between new and old drugs, which are increasingly combined to treat older patients with multiple diseases. Age Concern warns that elderly patients are more likely to suffer from side effects and are less likely to tolerate a combination of medications.

A failure by doctors to make the difficult distinction between adverse reactions and disease symptoms can prove potentially fatal, as patients may be given drugs that are more harmful than helpful. According to patient groups, doctors and other health professionals do not always take the suspicions of patients and relatives sufficiently seriously.

Penny Bunn was prescribed anti-depressants by a psychiatrist in 1998 when she was a slim 30-year-old broadcast assistant at the BBC. Five years later, she was in hospital with kidney and liver damage, weighing 20 stone. Eventually she was diagnosed as suffering adverse reactions to her prescribed drugs.

As well as serious weight gain, she experienced blurred vision, vomiting, jaundice, irregular periods, agitation and difficulty passing urine. But because none of these symptoms was recognised as adverse drug reactions, Ms Bunn was prescribed more and more medication, eventually leaving her close to death.

She said: "We now know that I am allergic to all anti-depressants. However, rather than even consider this as an option at the time, the consultant psychiatrist continued to blunder blindly on, misdiagnosing all the reactions I was having as being evidence of further psychiatric disorders.

"No medical personnel ever mentioned anything about side effects or interactions, yet I now know some of the medications I was given are not meant to be used together. How the psychiatrist managed to sit there, as I changed before his eyes, and never cotton on to the fact that there was something horribly wrong with what he was doing, I do not know."

Munir Pirmohamed, professor of clinical pharmacology at Liverpool University, said doctors' failure to spot adverse drug reactions was the most important reason for the under-reporting of the problem.

He said the Yellow Card scheme – as the warning system is known – had improved public safety by encouraging more reporting, but that this alone was not good enough: "The Yellow Card scheme needs to be complemented by other methodologies so that we can detect adverse drug reactions sooner rather than later."

Drug trials include relatively few tests on healthy individuals over a short period of time and may not pick up any number of adverse reactions. And interactions between new and older drugs are not tested during clinical trials, so these dangers can only be identified after a drug is licensed and in effect "tested" in the real world.

Professor Shakir said that the current drug safety systems were "... about firefighting and damage limitation, whereas it needs to be more proactive, and though this is starting to take place we don't know the impact of this yet."

Doctors and patient groups stress that people should not stop taking their prescribed medications, but that there is a need for them to be more alert and assertive with their doctors, especially as demand grows for quicker access to new drugs.

Professor Pirmohamed said: "If people are going to get earlier access to new drugs, then an increase in serious adverse drug reaction is a worry, but this is a debate for everyone, including patients, who are often willing to take the risk in order to get access to new drugs more quickly."

Some experts are calling for the pharmaceutical industry to be given more responsibility in this post-marketing surveillance and a more pro-active approach than the Yellow Card scheme, which has been underused since it began over 40 years ago. Drug companies are not currently responsible for monitoring a new product once it is licensed for use, nor do doctors and other professionals have to report any side effects in their patients.

But Professor Shakir said: "I believe identifying, responding to and reporting adverse drug reactions should be included in NHS targets, so that doctors see it as part of their job."

Deadly side effects

The drugs most often reported to have produced fatal reactions in patients (1996-2006)

Clozapine: an anti-psychotic

Infliximab: an anti-inflamma-tory

Diclofenac: an anti-inflammatory

Warfarin: prevents blood clots

Olanzapine: an anti-psychotic

Venlafaxine: an anti-depressant

Aspirin: prevents blood clots

Methotrexate: treats cancer and rheumatoid arthritis

Paroxetine: an anti-depressant

Rofecoxib (Vioxx): an anti-inflammatory

Source: MHRA

The risks

'Dad had a right to know about the side effects'

Retired RAF Squadron Leader Charlie Bootle (right) died in 2001 from an adverse reaction to Methotrexate.

Sqn Ldr Bootle had been taking the well-known medication for rheumatoid arthritis for three months. His daughter, Amanda, describes the events leading up to his untimely death.

"My dad was a fit 72-year-old and a keen sailor who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. He started to feel breathless out of the blue and when it got worse after a couple of days he and my mum worked out it could be the medication, so they went straight to his GP, who sent him to hospital.

"He kept telling the doctors what he thought but they wouldn't listen because he was just the patient. In the meantime his condition deteriorated so quickly he was dead within days. The hospital told us they didn't warn patients about all the risks of the drug in case people didn't take it, but this is a doctor playing God. My dad had a right to know.

"He should have been allowed to make an informed choice and know what side effects to look out for. That could have saved his life. The National Patient Safety Agency has since issued safety alerts but it scares me that while this drug saves lives, many patients still don't know all the risks. Doctors have to tell their patients: everyone has a right to know." NL

'How can patients take in complex information?'

Chris Steele is a GP and resident doctor on ITV's 'This Morning'.

"I had to miss my slot on 'This Morning' last week as on Tuesday I developed a problem with my heart. It was beating slower than usual and started skipping beats. I went to my local A&E, where I was given an ECG and other tests, and then diagnosed with an adverse reaction to Atenolol, a common medication for high blood pressure, which I've taken for 10 years.

"The medication hadn't changed but my heart has got weaker with age so I am more susceptible to side effects. What worries me is that I'm not sure a normal patient would have noticed or acted on the symptoms so quickly. I'm a doctor so I knew I needed help and that my condition could have developed into cardiac failure. The whole area of medication side effects, interactions between drugs, herbal remedies and foods is a nightmare.

"Doctors don't have the time to keep up to date with all the information out there or to extract all the relevant information from patients in a 10-minute consultation. It's just not possible.

"And how can we expect patients to comprehend the complicated information in the medication leaflets provided? Many elderly patients cannot even read the small print. This is such a complex issue and I really don't know what the answer is." NL

The Pill Epidemic
Deaths from adverse reactions to prescription drugs have doubled in ten years. What should be done about this? Are pills handed out too easily? Should doctors receive more training in how to spot adverse reactions? Or should patients be educated to better detect these in themselves?

littlepinkpixie Thu 12-Jun-08 13:47:14

Some people do take rat poison. The drug warfarin is a rat poison.

niceone1 Thu 12-Jun-08 14:03:59

fair enough I was a little sweeping in my statement that if something is prescribed you should just take it - doctors do get things wrong. However in the case of an asthmatic child, which was what I was referring to, I think it would very unwise to stop taking the prescribed medication without asking your doctor and instead self-medicate with homeopathy (if this is indeed what is happening in this case)

thebecster Thu 12-Jun-08 14:48:38

To clarify above - my son doesn't need his asthma medication since he started homeopathy. If he needed conventional medicine, I would give it, just as I gave it when he was ill before he started homeopathy, and that's what his homeopath (and any homeopath) would support too. I have a salamol inhaler handy at all times, one in my handbag, one in the flat, one in his changing bag, and there's one at the nursery he attends. So if he was wheezing he would have it straight away. He has been seen by doctors with follow up appointments at hospital and GP surgery who have all said to give salamol immediately whenever he wheezes, but nothing otherwise. Conventional medicine doesn't have anything else to offer besides steroids which he has had in the past, but which no doctor would prescribe high doses to a baby except in extremis - and now that we aren't in extremis since taking the homeopathy, that means no steroids. Which is very good news.

In the meantime he takes homeopathic remedies morning and night and hasn't needed anything else for a month. We're off to homeopath this afternoon, I think she'll be very pleased with him smile

I'm glad he doesn't need the strong drugs any more although I'd give it if he had the slightest wheeze and I'd take him to hospital as before. But I'd call his homeopath on the way and she'd meet us there - she arranged this when first treating him but hasn't needed to do it since he's improved so drastically on the remedies so we aren't going to the hospital all the time any more.

He finished the course of steroid tablets prescribed by the dr, hence am not giving those any more. They had horrible side effects - he only slept for 10 hours in 48 when he had the first dose (injected at hospital) - and each was just a one hour burst of sleep then he'd wake up screaming and biting himself, punching us etc. But of course we gave them to him, even though it was heartrending to give him something that was plainly doing him so much harm, but was necessary at the time.

We're just glad that we're not doing midnight rushes to the hospital any more.

Btw I didn't just have PCOS, I also had damage from when my appendix burst as a child. I won't go into the anatomical details as I find it a bit upsetting, but DS really is a miracle and if my belief in my homeopath (different homeopath to DS) was what did it I still bless her for it.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 12-Jun-08 18:05:10

"He has been seen by doctors with follow up appointments at hospital and GP surgery who have all said to give salamol immediately whenever he wheezes, but nothing otherwise." "He finished the course of steroid tablets prescribed by the dr, hence am not giving those any more." Could you contemplate it was those that made him better for the time being? Oh no, that would be just so...conventional.

Side-effects are distressing, esp. in such a little child.

sarahmsqt Thu 12-Jun-08 20:14:10

Can I just point out that homeopathy properly prescribed NEVER treats a disease / condition as labelled by allopathic medicine (conventional)but treats the WHOLE person and ideally the causation of the illness. So, no wonder the trials never work, after all we ARE all different and if I get a cold I will have certain symptoms whereas anyone else who picks up the same cold will probably have different symptoms (temperature, sore throat etc) I'm sure you all realise that you can have for example a sore throat that hurts every time you swallow or it stings or it's swollen or it's inflamed or red or or or...and as homeopaths we take ALL these symptoms into consideration, so patient A gets one remedy, patient B a different one as they are presenting individual symptoms, therefore double blind trials are useless....

sarahmsqt Thu 12-Jun-08 20:22:40

Also, what do you do when your little one bumps their haed? That's right you rub it better/put your hand over the bump, maybe even applying light pressure - that is homeopathic treatment, curing like with like! In a sense you are re-applying the force of the impact, of course much gentler, but still...I also recommend you look up this

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 12-Jun-08 20:25:01

Sarahmsqt - my goodness you're talking some bollocks on there. And you're not even being paid for it. I can't imagine when you're in full flow.

sarahmsqt Thu 12-Jun-08 20:39:37

Dear Cristina you astonishing person, thank you for the use of such beautiful language , do you get paid for that? Enjoy your life & all the best for the future (sincerely) x

CoteDAzur Thu 12-Jun-08 22:04:31

Sarah shock shock shock

Are you really unaware that you sound insane?

Kiwifern Fri 13-Jun-08 07:59:15

I had a water birth and the only thing I used throughout my 14 hour labout was Clary Sage and it was the best experience of my life. You don't take in internally, but with a good breathing technique and applying it to a towell (or some such) it can really help calm you down. But with all things, what works for one doesn't work for all - and for all I know, I could have done the whole thing without it, but I rather liked the smell.
Go with what feels right for you - you could take in 100 tinctures and hate them all, but don't listen to negativity on any subject before childbirth as it just adds to your angst. Be positive and love what you're doing and you'll breaze through.

EnergyhealerMum Fri 13-Jun-08 09:08:34

There is no reason why you should not use homoeopathy during your labour, and no reason why, with simple instructions, that your doula should not give you the remedies. I am a trained midwife and used homoeopathy throughout my labour (it is SO excellent for making labour efficient and dealing with any fear or shock or exhaustion, and great for Mum and baby afterwards). Many homoeopaths, my sister included, will provide women with a "labour kit" of remedies, plus simple, clear instructions. You do not need a trained homoeopath to be there. There is no legal requirement or anything like that.

The important point is that this midwife's reaction came from fear and ignorance. You need to discuss the issue with the hospital/midwives and say that this is what you are going to do (This is YOUR labour after all, your body, your baby) and that you will need a midwife who is happy with the situation. In actual fact midwives are not supposed to refuse to treat women just because they don't like something. They are supposed to be an advocate for the woman. The hospital can contact the ARH (Association for Registered Homoeopaths) if they need any reassurance. Homoeopathy of course is so great because it has NO side effects and does not interact badly with conventional medicines.

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 13-Jun-08 14:06:30

Thanks for your kind wishes, dear Sarah. Thanks for loving my username too. As with all usernames, mine is a true depiction of my wonderful self.

Qally Fri 13-Jun-08 17:16:03

If double-blind trials involve qualified homeopaths dispensing what even they don't know are real/placebo pills, I can't see why those trials aren't valid. I also find it rather telling that nobody's ever been able to nab that million - quite an incentive, I'd have thought. BUT - given labour seems to be so affected by state of mind, does it really matter if it's the placebo effect that helps? I mean, isn't the placebo effect a proven physiological response to a psychological stimulus, so very real? Whatever helps sounds wonderful, frankly. Personally I'd rather restrict my alternative therapies to head massages for tension headaches, which I believe has medical evidence in favour, because I am an innate sceptic so wouldn't benefit from any placebo element, but if people want to use a totally harmless system of belief to aid their health alongside conventional treatments, well, so what? Who suffers?

I really hate it when people disbelieve the (very strong) evidence on vaccination safety, purely because it's innocent kids that potentially suffer, and not the person making the decisions on treatment. It's not akin to refusing a treatment that exclusively affects you, or even your own children; it's making decisions that fly in the face of the overwhelming bulk of the evidence, on a public and not a private health issue. Homeopathy, though, can't harm anyone and will help some, due to feelgood/placebo - sure, I think some of those in the treatment business are cranks, but they're well-meaning cranks, who genuinely care for their patients and believe in what they're doing; as has been mentioned, it's not a route to riches. As long as conventional medicine is practised alongside when necessary, it does no harm, and may do some psychological good. So why the anger?

Rolf, is it possible that the midwife didn't know what was being administered? Some herbal remedies are contraindicated alongside some conventional, I think, and if I were a midwife and someone suddenly started giving unprescribed drugs to a woman in labour without that being agreed prior, I'd be a bit - hold up - too. So if she knows at the start that, during transition, your doula will be administering your treatments and why, yours will probably be okay, maybe? Anyway, I hope so and that you have a good labour.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Fri 13-Jun-08 17:46:46

"I really hate it when people disbelieve the (very strong) evidence on vaccination safety"

Which very strong evidence would that be? I'd love to see it. Cochrane found that MMR safety trials were completely inadequate. Adverse reactions are known to be hugely under-reported. And if vaccinations are so effective then I don't see why innocent kids would suffer. Mumps vaccination may well have increased the number of adults catching mumps (when it's potentially more dangerous). It remains to be seen whether Hib will do the same (the vaccination that was meant to last for life has been found to not last to the end of 2 years). And so on and so forth.

I be more prepared to see it as a public issue if there was back up for when it goes wrong. But when it does you're on your own Jack.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Fri 13-Jun-08 17:48:47

This is a direct quote from the Cochrane report on MMR:

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate."

Hardly very strong evidence of safety.

CoteDAzur Fri 13-Jun-08 18:06:52

As another 'innate sceptic', I'm with Qally on most of what she said, but I'm with jimjams on the vaccine issue.

MMR is safe for the vast majority of infants, but a small percentage does regress following this vaccine. As long as the proper studies aimed at finding which children are at risk, it is unreasonable to expect parents to roll the dice and put their babies at risk of permanent damage 'for common good'.

lolsypops Fri 13-Jun-08 18:08:09

Seems to me that there are the believers and the non-believers and never the twain shall meet. That is fine tho, everyone to their own. In my experience having a non harmful remedy to believe in certainly helped me. In short, I was diagnosed with MS 11 years ago & took a homeopathic remedy after consultation at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital instead of the beta interferon that could have been prescribed to me by my consultant. I had nothing to lose, try it and see... I have not had any further attacks. Whether it is a case of mind over matter or not I really don't care. I'd much rather have taken it than have to inject myself with Beta Interferon that has not been extensively tested on women of child bearing age, isn't guaranteed to have an affect and also costs £10k to prescribe.

In my first pregnancy I took Arnica for the extensive bruising and it cleared up in a few days. Also my DS lost the forceps bruising across his face in a day or 2 as I bfed him. I fully intend to have homeopathic remedies to hand this time around too & would support anyone else in this decision.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Fri 13-Jun-08 18:26:30

Yes I would agree entirely with that cote.

And ditto the baby jabs too really. I'm not anti vaccination. But i am anit mass vaccination with no attempt to screen for infants at higher risk who need a modified schedule. That could be done now fairly cheaply.

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 13-Jun-08 22:05:11

"The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate." You'll think I'm nit-picking here but the fact that the design and reporting of safety are inadequate doesn't mean the safety itself is inadequate.

Qally - "but if people want to use a totally harmless system of belief to aid their health alongside conventional treatments, well, so what? Who suffers?" There's an interesting point made in Goldacre's artcile referred to earlier. It's about medicalising an otherwise non-existent condition, which may not be such a good thing. Homeopaths jump in when medicine ends its job. As in the asthma example above. Or even the MS one. Why not allow yourself some breathing space and consider yourself "cured"?

It's worrying how women ask for evidence and information in decisions such as childbirth (tell me, tell me, how many operations have you done? I'm so clever the exact numbers will make total sense to me) but put on blinkers when it comes to homeopathy (often having bugger all idea what they are prescribed or even the difference between homeopathy and herbal medicine).

CoteDAzur Fri 13-Jun-08 22:15:03

I'm still reeling from "what do you do when your little one bumps their haed? you rub it better/put your hand over the bump - that is homeopathic treatment, curing like with like!" shock

To think that there are people on this planet who expect help from this woman and others like her.

I shudder to think what she offers a burn victim - hot air from a hair dryer? Like cures like, right? hmm

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 13-Jun-08 22:29:22

CoteDAzur - I liked that post too. Patronizing isn't limited to the medical profession. But it's alright if it comes from someone else, isn't it?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Fri 13-Jun-08 23:35:16

No of course it doesn't mean it's not safe. It does mean there isn't very strong evidence for vaccine safety - the post I was replying to- and the knowledge that we have about its safety has come after it's been rolled out on general release and given to millions rather than before.

And combinations are rarely tested. This was conclusion from the first international symposium on vaccine safety (very pro vaccination). Most of the safety data is drawn from analysing the components in isolation. This (imo) is not really good enough.

The MMR brand that caused the most problems has been withdrawn. (For causing too many cases of aseptic meningitis- although it's also the brand that has been linked to the worst cases in the whole MMR/autism thing as well). With better safety testing perhaps it wouldn't have been out there in the first place.

lolsypops Sat 14-Jun-08 11:14:27

A direct quote from my neurologist "If you believe in it, it will be stronger than anything I could ever give you". 11 years on, I DO consider myself cured and can breathe freely thanks Cristina. Funnily enough conventional medicine offers no cure for MS. I agree with Energyhealermum it is your labour & your body & your baby and everyone is different. Labour is all about being relaxed as possible whether that be thru the conventional or the alternative route or a mix of the two.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 11:58:09

I'm sincerely pleased for you, lolsypops. You obviously had a great neurologist.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 14-Jun-08 12:55:05

I know someone with MS who uses homeopathy very successfully as well lolsypops.

lolsypops Sat 14-Jun-08 14:14:53

Yes I did, the most well respected Professor of Neurology in this country as it happens! Unfortunately (for those that rely on it alone) there are still many instances where conventional medicine DOESN'T have all the answers.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 17:41:37

lolsypops - What did you take to 'heal' your MS? I have two friends who suffer from MS, and would love to pass the information to them.

One of them is quite advanced. She can walk only with crutches, and has lost the feeling in part of her face.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 17:49:57

The problem is that homeopathy doesn't have all the answers, either. In fact, homeopathy doesn't have any answers, only vague suggestions - 'like cures like', 'more dilution makes stronger', etc.

Don't ask HOW or WHY, though, because homeopathy has no answers to those questions.

lolsypops Sat 14-Jun-08 19:58:17

Whether it was the Homeopathic remedy or a case of mind over matter I really don't care (as I already said). The fact is it gave me something to believe in when another neurologist in the dept categorically told me that Beta interferon was my only hope as my MS would never get better. (I was suffering from an attack that left me unable to walk unaided, had double vision, lack of feeling in various parts of my body and basically the outlook was not good.) The Homeopath at the hospital I was referred to (by my doctor) was also a Neurologist by training and after a 2 hour consultation he prescribed me with Pulsatilla. I had nothing to lose so tried it instead. That was in 1997 and I have not required anything else since after previously requiring steroids for regular attacks. Again I am not suggesting it was definately the homeopathic remedy or that the same treatment will work for everyone with MS, they shouldn't self prescribe it anyway, but at the end of the day it helped me when conventional medicine held it's hands up and said your illness will never go away and even the Beta interferon will only lessen your attacks by about 1 per year. I also don't expect to change anyone's mind about homeopathy, it is your choice whatever works for you... There are countless accounts on the internet of people who have used alternative therapies for MS, no one has a definative answer but at least there are alternatives to try. Anyway this all very far from the original post but is the reason why I am happy to be open minded on the subject.

fangle1 Sat 14-Jun-08 20:02:03

so can anybody (preferably a homeopath)recommend remedies to take during labour? already planning to take arnica pre and post and hypericum to aid healing

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 14-Jun-08 20:24:47

If someone wanted to try a homeopathic remedy for MS they would have to see a homeopath.

As Sarah has pointed out homeopaths don't prescribe 'remedy X for condition Y' - that's not the philosophy behind the medicine. It works from something acute and simple such as bruising (arnica) high temp with bright red cheeks (belladonna) but for something as complicated as MS it would need a proper consultation of at least an hour (as lolsypops had).

Pulsatilla is a remedy that was prescribed a lot for ds2- nothing to do with MS obviously.

I'm so pleased your hompeopath was able to help lolsy- the person I know with MS using it must have been impressed as he's now training to be one

fangle - you can buy labour kits (this is something that it's quite easy to self prescribe). see examples of the sorts of remedies you would want them to contain here

I had real problems in both labours with contractions dying out. (ds2 was elective section) I found that in my labour with ds3 (when I used homeopathy) caulophyllum quick started them every time the contractions stopped (in ds1 they eventually stopped dead). I was under time pressure because of broken waters and ended up with a section but the caulophyllum was quite spectatular imo.

If you're at all scared get some aconite as well. It's great for 'fear of death' - my friend suggested it to me when I turned into a gibbering wreck at the mention of another c-section. - and it did help.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 20:28:51

jimjams - re "I found that in my labour with ds3 caulophyllum quick started them every time the contractions stopped"

What do you mean 'quick start'?

How soon after you took these 'remedies' did contractions come back?

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 14-Jun-08 20:32:01

Within 2 minutes.

But I was replying to fangle who wanted to know which remedies should be in a labour kit. I wasn't actually trying to persuade anyone whose not interested.

Caulophyllum is a standard one that should be in there and in my experience is useful. Some people take it pre-labour as well fangle-starting about 10 days before due date.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 20:39:56

Looking for 'Pulsatilla', I came across this website describing the 'polycrests'.


Please read through at least the first two, and say if I am being unreasonable to think that this is the most astonishing con to have survived into the 21st century.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 20:44:36

This website.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 20:50:50

jimjams - You know that whatever you ingest cannot affect your body within 2 minutes, right?

Sit in stomach & break down by stomach acids.
Go down into and get digested by small intestine.
Slowly be absorbed by intestinal walls.

It won't happen in 2 minutes.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 14-Jun-08 21:04:48

cote - the whole point about homeopathy is that it isn't particulate. It classes itself along with acupuncture as an energy medicine.

I'm not quite sure what the point of this discussion is tbh. I'm not trying to force feed you a remedy. I don;t care whether you try it or not. Your health your choice.

You don't know anything about homeopathy and have never tried it but don't believe it. Fine. I have a science background, I know that it can;t be explained using current theories but I have used it and it has worked for me. So however much you repeat the science to me (which I already know) then it's not going to overide the fact that I have used it to good effect and will continue to do so until it stops working. Same as everyone else on this thread who are using it because it works for them. I'm not sure why that is any of your business tbh.

As becster said way back "Homeopathy might not be scientific. But I find it's darned useful when we're poorly."

ScienceTeacher Sat 14-Jun-08 21:09:13

My contractions always came within 2 minutes and I didn't take anything at all. hmm

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sat 14-Jun-08 21:09:56

What after stopping for half an hour? I think you've misunderstood what I said.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 21:23:46

jimjams - What do you mean 'it isn't particulate'? Why ingest it, then?. Just hold them in your hand. Or line them on your tummy.

Are you saying me that you have a 'science background' but you believe there is some sort of energy to be obtained from these pills which have exactly the same ingredient, whatever the name on the bottle, and it cannot be detected by any means we know of?

I have tried homeopathy, by the way. Absolutely nothing happened. Surprise.

Your beliefs are none of my business as long as we are clear that this is faith. Whenever you or someone else makes statements of fact ("It works") rather than of belief ("I believe in it"), it is open to challenge.

I can't help having an inquisitive mind. And I really can't help it that homeopathy has no answers.

CoteDAzur Sat 14-Jun-08 21:25:42

"Though Pulsatilla is well-known to all homeopaths, we often have some difficulty in recognizing a Pulsatilla case, especially if we expect always to see the typical blond, blue-eyed, mild and tearful patient.

When a man needs Pulsatilla, he is generally a soft, gentle type of man. The Pulsatilla patient requires strong support from those around her. The patient is easily dominated or influenced."


Don't tell me you believe any of this hokum.

ScienceTeacher Sat 14-Jun-08 21:25:51

The energy comes from the sugar, of course!

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 21:54:20

That website is scaaary. I can't belive anyone can believe in such rubbish. I really can't. Where's the dignity in being treated like an idiot if those are the kind of words and patronising language being used? As for "energy medicine", what can I say? Words fail me.

Lolsy - my cousin has MS and she's tried all sorts of alternative stuff. She's even taken to religion and become a bloody nun FFS. The MS is still there. So much for mind over matter.

sabire Sat 14-Jun-08 22:18:54

So Cristina - would you advise people NOT to use homeopathy?

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 14-Jun-08 22:22:41

Maybe she turned to religion for the support?

Anyway, interesting discussion. Herbal remedies do work dont they? Aloe Vera, Arnica, witch hazel etc? No idea about homeopathy. I think the two may have been confused because they arent the same.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was:

Pruners, isnt "diplodocus" a dinosaur??? [confused]

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 14-Jun-08 22:24:54

Oh, lol at myself blush

Doh! I completely misread your post pruners and have only just realised after clicking 'post' grin

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 22:29:25

Frankly, I don't care what people take. I just think it's a very, very stupid thing to do. But it's not my money, not my time, not my hopes, not my body, not me being treated like an idiot by some patronising con artist, based on such things as my complexion or the colour of my eyes and being sold sugar pills supposedly made exactly for me and my condition. But I think the discussion brought up the need people have for more time from their healthcare provider and perhaps a good friend to talk things through.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 22:32:37

VVVQ - I don't know why she turned to religion. She'd always beeen quite religious. A very nice and clever girl, well travelled etc etc. Then she got MS and it totally took over her life and energy, both physically and as a focus to her life. She spent weeks at a time in various convents then at some stage she became a nun. A Greek Orthodox one and is not in a convent, still at home with her parents. I'm not sure how it works exactly.

sabire Sat 14-Jun-08 22:39:10

"Frankly, I don't care what people take. I just think it's a very, very stupid thing to do."

What - because it's dangerous?

Or because it DEFINITELY won't make them feel better?

Or because you think they'll DEFINITELY get something from their GP which will do them more good - whatever their condition?

Why do you think people use homeopathy? Given that it's free to see a GP and conventional medicine is generally pretty cheap on prescription?

Most of the people who I know who use homeopathy are perfectly sensible, normal people with good social networks and reasonable relationships with their GP's. Do you think that someone has to be socially inadequate or something to consider using alternative treatments?

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 23:42:25

Sabire - I think someone who uses homeopathy couldn't have read about it. If they'd read about it, they couldn't believe the crap.

MamaTama Sat 14-Jun-08 23:44:35

I've read all the comments on this thread & would just like to add my voice to the pro-homoeopathy people & to offer a personal response to the OP.

My mum trained as a homoeopath many years ago & the sullen teenage sceptic in me was converted when I crashed head first into a lamp-post when riding my bike at the age of 13. I really hit hard & when I hobbled home my mum, after ruling out concussion, immediately tried to give me some high potency Arnica & something else for the shock. I remember screaming at her "I don't want any of your hippy medicine!" but was eventually convinced to take what she was offering, albeit very reluctantly. Although I was hurt I was really hoping that her remedies (literally the size & shape of a couple of grains of sugar, salt, sand or whatever) wouldn't work so I could mock her some more & vent my self-righteous anger in her direction but I had to eat my words when I felt much better: the swelling on my forehead went down within an hour & there wasn't a black eye in sight the next day (I was sure I'd wake up to a massive shiner).

Anyway, that was how I came to believe in the power & efficacity of homoeopathic remedies, I was so anti-anything my mum was into at the time there's no way it could have been a placebo effect.

I have since been attracted to/very interested in alternative/complementary therapies & have also used a variety of them (including homoeopathy/Tissue Salts, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, reflexology & acupuncture) to help relieve allergic symptoms, combat stress, ease muscular tension, recuperate from invasive dental treatment & most recently to prepare for, support me during & recover from the birth of my DS (1st child) who is now 9 months old.

Dear Rolf,

All I can say is follow your heart/intuition on this one.

I wrote a detailed birth plan which acknowledged & showed respect for the expertise & experience of the midwives attending my birth but was assertive & very clear in expressing my desire to have a natural labour & birth with no conventional medical/surgical intervention unless absolutely necessary.

I made specific reference to the homoeopathic remedies I would possibly need to use & gave express permission to my birth partners (2 old, good friends with 8 & 4 children themselves) to administer them to me. They had talked at length with my mother about this & I was confident they would be able to choose the appropriate remedies if I myself was unable to.

I had also been following a hypnobirthing programme & asked for all present to be very careful in the language they used around me, particularly regarding the word "pain" which I didn't want mentioned at all & gave alternative words & phrases that I would associate positively with & not be fearful of (the only person who showed complete disregard for this was the booking in nurse who didn't have take the time to read the paper I handed her on my arrival at the labour ward reception).

In the end though I was blessed to have 2 very open-minded & sensitive midwives who really honoured what I had written & did everything they could to make my birth experience as I wished it. One of them was a trained homoeopath herself but did not intervene when my friends were giving me the remedies (I took Caulophyllum to help me reach that magic 10cm as it had taken hours for me to get to just 3cm, Kali Phos towards the end when I was exhausted & needed a boost, Arnica 200c just before & a couple of hours after delivery & 30c for a few days either side of my due date to help the healing process). I spoke to her about it afterwards & she said she was listening to them discussing what to give me & was happy with the decisions they made based on her observations but I never thought to ask her at the time what she would have done if she had strongly disagreed with their choices.

Interestingly I asked the midwife girlfriend of a another good friend of mine to look over my birth plan before I finalised it & one thing she said was that it might initimidate some less experienced midwives or annoy some of the more traditional old-school ones. She herself thought it was really good as it showed I had done a lot of research & knew my mind but had also taken into account the unpredictability of the whole thing & used words like "prefer", "ideally", "aim" etc. to convey my acceptance of the fact that things might not go as I hoped & that I & my birth partners would be willing to listen to their professional judgements in the event of any significant complications.

I passed the kit on to another friend who had a baby girl 4 weeks ago & she was very pleased to have had it too (although she used different remedies at different points she found it equally helpful)!

It is your right to choose how you approach this. I really hope you have a great birth & that you will have the confidence to use whatever you think will provide you with relief & support when you most need it, & that the hospital staff will be as accommodating as those at the (NHS) Birth Centre I attended.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 14-Jun-08 23:49:32

OK, the other alternative is they had a knock to the head when young. V childish, MamaTama, but I couldn't resist it.

MamaTama Sat 14-Jun-08 23:58:47

Oh dear Cristina, if i had the energy I'd feel sorry for you! wink
I think you're missing the point of the OP & I personally don't want to waste time trading jokes jibes.

sabire Sun 15-Jun-08 08:39:30

Cristina is firmy entrenched in the fine tradition of Western conventional medicine in that she clearly considers the individual's perception of their own health and wellness as the least signficant part of the evidence puzzle when it comes to assessing the efficacy of treatments. In other words - like a good few medics I've encountered, she's a reasonable scientist but has the emotional intelligence of a housebrick - hence the arrogant contempt she's shown for the experience of those people on this thread who've spoken of how homeopathy has given them and their children significant relief from their symptoms.

I do hope you're not a GP Cristina and that you never go into this branch of medicine. You need to stick to something that doesn't regularly involve you in having to deal with the full range of complex human situations.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Sun 15-Jun-08 10:08:50

No cote.

I used my first remedy expecting nothing to happen. There was rather a big positive effect (and no negative effect at all). Which as I explained earlier left me rather perplexed although I strongly suspected conincidence. . So later, the opportunity came to try homeopathy again and my goodness it worked again. After I'd used it a number of times and found that it worked each time with no bad effects I stopped worrying about how it worked and just got on and used it when appropriate.

No faith. I have no emotional investment in homeopathy- if it stops working I'll stop using it.

I do find it staggering that some of the most patronising people on this thread are worried about being patronised by a con artist. I've never felt patronised by any homeopath I've ever met (and I've met quite a few although have only consulted 2). I can't quite say the same about doctors. I'm surprised its seen as a 'very very stupid things to do' given so many positive stories on this thread. Surely controlling MS with a sugar pill is better than some full on conventional medicine. It seems that a neurologist thinks so.

I have to agree with sabire really. But also add there are many conditions that conventional medicine has little/nothing to offer. If patients choose to take control of their condition and seek out alternatives and try things that they think might help. Pouring scorn on them when they find something- whatever it is- is terrible, terrible doctoring.

I had a GP once who was remarkably offended that I wanted to go and see a chiropractor about a back I was in absolute agony with. "well if you must waste your money" she huffed as she handed across more pain killers. Well I went anyway. The weird thing was she referred me to a physio - but the physio used maniuplation in the same way as the chiropractor. The chiropractor just did more of it. I realised then that she didn't really know what she was talking about.

lolsypops Sun 15-Jun-08 11:22:46

I am so glad your friend found that alternative medicine helped their MS JimJams. Anyone with the condition will know that the conventional route has little to offer. The fact that mine is now cured, dormant, healed whatever you want to call it is of relief to me and surprise to others. As I said, can't say exactly what stopped it all but it wasn't conventional medicine - I didn't take any. Divine intervention maybe? Who knows, I really don't care, I have a normal life back and that is all that matters to me. Sincerley sorry that Cristina's cousin hasn't found any relief, perhaps if the religious route doesn't work out she should ask her GP for a referral to a homeopath.

lolsypops Sun 15-Jun-08 11:53:55

P.S Rolf - Have you had your little one yet? Do let us know the outcome!

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 16-Jun-08 11:52:41

Sabire - I am both clever and affectionate. You are not my patients here so allow me to act in a personal capacity. Warning: this may include arrongance.

MamaTama - come on, you must have expected such a comeback with your intro. It was just too funny. Read it again when you're not in a happier mood.

Lolsy - she's tried everything, orthodox and un-orthodox. MS still there, up and down, as with MS, but still there.

Interesting article in today's Telegraph.

LaLaB Mon 23-Jun-08 07:41:51

homeopathy is a fabulous treatment and generally effective in 75% of cases...although there is no evidence to prove that it works if you take it a week before..for bruising 200c arnica 2-3 daily after birth works, & bellis per is deep tissue healer too. i took homeopathy only lat week at the birth of my beauiful little girl ( at a major London Teaching hospital).....the doctors were fine with me taking homeopathy(I had to have a planned c-section unfortunately, but have made an amazing recovery), some midwives were sniffy and some ok..it's all down to personal beliefs, once you have a qualified homeopath's advice then there should not be a problem.
For the record, the Royal London Homepathic Hospital was established in London, homeopathy has been availible on the NHS since the 1940s and there is a women's clinic run by a fabulous set of GPs who are fully trained homeopaths...they also run lectures every month for pregnant women...on the use of homeopathy during pregnancy/childbirth. Any women's 'problems' you can get your GP to refer you the clinic for treatment............so all you 'Seashells' out there know what to do!it doesn't work for everyone but that's not to say it doesnt work......

LaLaB Mon 23-Jun-08 07:50:10

I forgot to add that acupuncture for example is a 'conventional medicine'in China.When I lived in another city I saw a Chinese GP who ran a private practise out of her home, acupuncture was part of the training in the way trainees do a stint in A&E, obstetrics, surgery etc.....it's considered normal practise in Japan too.....and like anything I firmly believe part of your body's response is down to how good the person carrying out the treatment is.......a bit like teachers for example, you have an awful teacher and you will really dislke history/art/whatever subject...have a good teacher and they will hep you flourish...GPs, homeopaths..all fall into that category too- some have natural flair for their job, some dont.

Pruners Mon 23-Jun-08 07:53:06

Message withdrawn

CoteDAzur Tue 24-Jun-08 10:03:18

"homeopathy is a fabulous treatment and generally effective in 75% of cases"

Is there a name for this planet you live in, where homeopathy is 'effective in 75% of cases'? smile

Seriously, what is your source for this claim? Where did this 75% figure come from?

I suppose you are not aware that there is a 1 million USD reward for whoever proves that homeopathy works better than sugar pills. It's still not claimed. What does that tell you?

littlepinkpixie Tue 24-Jun-08 10:10:15

"homeopathy is a fabulous treatment and generally effective in 75% of cases...although there is no evidence to prove that it works " grin

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 24-Jun-08 10:10:34

Have NEVER heard of that Pruners. Would be interested though. No, the first remedy I used (as described above) was common old silica. Think I struck lucky with it....

Quite a few people have used homeopathic secretin with children with autism, but I never have (in part because I'm not going for an autism 'cure'). And I've always used homeopathy to help ds1 in ways that aren't really related to his autism (if that makes sense).

sabire Tue 24-Jun-08 10:41:09

"Interesting article in today's Telegraph"

Is that your paper of choice then?

Figures really....... hmm

Did YOU complain to mumsnet about the post in which I made the point that your comments on this thread show you up as someone who lacks an understanding of the complexity of human experience, and who therefore is probably not well suited to general practice?

A mother has posted here about her struggles with her severely autistic child and one of the things - homeopathy - that's given her and her family some help. You've responded by saying that homeopaths are 'con artists' (ie - criminals who deliberately set out to exploit unwell people), that homeopathy is 'stupid' and 'crap' and that people who use it are naive. You've manage to completely ignore almost everything she says about the impact of homeopathy on her son's behaviour and general health as though it's somehow irrelevant to the discussion that's going on here.

And no - we're not your patients. Thank god. In my my experience doctors who have no respect for the feelings and experiences of individuals as regards their own health and treatment, are the very worst sort of doctors because they DON'T listen. They come to every encounter with a patient with a narrow agenda, and everything that falls outside of that or presents a challenge to their view of how human beings 'work' is disregarded, no matter how significant to the patient.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Tue 24-Jun-08 11:01:11

Ah but I'm just a mother sabire. Which means I'm incapable of knowing that my son regressed (I just didn't notice much about him before obviously and imagined him talking), according to one HCP I was 'well known for being in denial' hmm (because I disagreed with her statement that 'he's not capable of anything is he' - never mind that I spotted he was autistic over a year before the medical profession) and so on and so forth. Doctor's always know better than mothers!

I completely agree with you about the importance of listening. We had ds1's yearly paed appointment this week. I was really hoping we'd have the same doctor as we've had for the last 3 years- because she is so good at listening and discussing alternatives. She's always been interested in novel approaches to autism (such as diet). Unfortunately we had a different doc who looked at me like I was mad when I asked about carnitine (mentioned to me by a medical doctor/researcher as something we should try). She took the (peer-reviewed) papers I gave her, but have heard nothing back and she did kind of glaze over. She also told me I was mistaken and that ds1's strange movements (which she didn't see) were entirely under his control and he was doing them on purpose hmm even though I'd specifically explained that wasn't the case and the doctor last year had agreed with me. I was hoping for a sensible discussion after a further year's observation.....

I'm rambling, but yes - it was a disappointing consultations after the experience of the last 3 years.

In trial after trial homeopathy has been shown to be about as effective as a placebo. That actually isn't too bad a result. The placebo effect is pretty strong. If I were a midwife and someone I was responsible for said that they wanted a homeopathic treatment I would certainly go along with it. It can't do any harm. It might well do some good. And having an argument with them would obviously not be appropriate.

Is there anything in homeopathy? I really doubt it, but as a scientist I have to keep an open mind. There is no evidence it works at the moment, but some may emerge in the future.

What I do know from direct personal experience is that at least some of the people selling homeopathic products don't believe it works. These people are simply charlatans and by buying their products you are lining their pockets. I think that there are honest practitioners of homeopathy as well but I could not recommend their products either.

thumbwitch Wed 25-Jun-08 00:22:50

As a trained medical lab scientists turned complementary therapist, I find the attacks on people who choose to use complementary medicines distasteful, to say the least. Clients who come to complementary therapists have often been let down by the medical fraternity, either by having their concerns dismissed, been poorly or inappropriately treated, or been told to "just learn to live with it".

The so-called "gold standard" of randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trials might be (and often is) used as a stick to bash the complementary therapies; but drugs like thalidomide, Vioxx, Celebrex all went through this gold standard process and it is fairly safe to say that they did NOT conform to Hippocrates first instruction to "do no harm".

Homoeopathy might be contentious in terms of how it works but just because we don't know enough to show how it works, doesn't mean it doesn't. And for all those who deride it by saying "it's just placebo effect", does that really matter? Is it not more important that the patient feels better? isn't that what all health care should be about?

I am not a homoeopath but I have used Nux vom after several heavy nights out to good effect. I find the Bach flower Rescue Remedy to work extrememly well for nervous trauma or shock (or in fact Ainsworth's Recovey Plus is better). Acupressure (can't do needles) has had some amazing effects and I routinely see an osteopath who fixed my transitional vertigo problems, after being told by ENT specialists that I had a permanently damaged inner ear, there was nothing that could be done and I just had to learn to live with it and do dizzy-making exercises several times a day for 10 minutes until my brain gave up responding to them.

I hope you didn't find my post distasteful thumbwitch. It is a fact that some people are profiting from homeopathy while not believing a word of it. That strikes me as pretty distasteful which is why I brought it up. As I said earlier, it might work and we have to be open to any new evidence that comes to light. But at the moment nobody has shown homeopathy to be effective.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 25-Jun-08 08:01:03

"some people are profiting from homeopathy"

Really? Who? There's not a lot of money in homeopathy and it's a 4 year training course that costs quite a bit to become one.

People might sell homeopathic products without believing in it. Does that matter? I don't think its essential that everyone working in Boots agrees to believe in homeopathic medicine. Many women shopkeepers sell porn- does that make them morally bankrupt?

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 08:59:44

How ethical is it to recommend people take 'remedies' you know will work no better than a sugar pill, though? Especially when you know they are, indeed, sugar pills.

It's one thing when patient wants to take these pills (no harm, so no problem).

It's like prayer. If patient wants to pray, let them. No harm and might even help with their recovery. But no self-respecting doctor should be advocating prayer.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 25-Jun-08 09:28:13

Who is recommending this stuff and not believing it?

A homeopath pays to train for four years. Appointments are generally at least an hour. Is someone really going to do all that and not believe in it? They could become a counsellor instead if they're in it for the listening therapy. The remedies aren't sold by the homeopath anyway- they're given at the end of the treatment- 2 or 3 pills in a little brown envelope. They do it because they believe in it and because they see it help people.

If someone's after a quick buck there are easier ways to make a living than listening to the ins and outs of someone's life for an hour. And many CAM therapies that pay a lot more.

Take something like homeopathic secretin. Has been introduced to the autism community as something that might help (the idea being that it avoids having to give actual secretin- which some people have done with some good results- but needs to be done under GA). Now you could say that's someone out to make a quick buck from desperate parents - especially as it's not really being prescribed in the way a homeopath would do so. However it's £5 for a bottle that will last ages. Vitamins aimed at the autism community can cost £100, therapies can cost thousands. And the people that are selling the secretin are collecting some data. Now my guess is that if someone spends 5 quid and finds it doesn't make any difference they're not going to buy it again. If it helps they will. And it's not the sort of thing that a homeopath would prescribe anyway. It's been produced by a company that was approached and asked to produce it, and is available cheaply for parents to try if they want to and the company is collecting some data to see how kids are responding. Not sure what's unethical about that. Especially if you're saying it can't do any harm.

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 09:38:02

The ethical question, obviously, is how a doctor (a real one, not the 'trained homeopath', whatever that means) can bring himself to recommend a sugar pill to a patient with a real suffering.

It's different when doctor might suspect the problem is a psychosomatic and decides to try a placebo.

christiana Wed 25-Jun-08 09:51:02

Message withdrawn

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 10:36:32

<< gets popcorn >>

christiana Wed 25-Jun-08 11:16:21

Message withdrawn

Bridie3 Wed 25-Jun-08 11:20:34

What's wrong with the Telegraph being someone's paper of choice? You may not agree with its politics but its science and health features are excellent. I have to read all the broadsheets for work and have no strong preferences but I'd probably pick the Telegraph for its health features.

Bridie3 Wed 25-Jun-08 11:22:53

...sorry, pressed Send before I meant to, but actually you will probably find more articles on complementary medicine in the Telegraph than you will elsewhere. And the attitude is probably just as open-minded than you will find in the Guardian. Which I also find good, I hasten to add.

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 11:33:35

A homeopathic cold cure called Occillococcinum is made by freeze-drying and pulverising extract of duck liver and then diluting it several hundred times. Homeopaths believe that the more dilute the medicine, the more effective the cure. This product is certainly a case in point.

If just a single molecule of the liver were left in the pills its concentration would be 1 in 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000.

At approximately 1 part in 10 to the power of 400, this is far more than the total number of atoms in the Universe.

The US News & World Report recently reported that to make the product only one duck per year is killed. The magazine dubbed the unlucky, liverless member of the Anatidae family "the 20-million dollar duck", otherwise known as the duck that laid the golden egg.

New Scientist quoting US News & World Report 17 February 1997 issue.

Bridie3 Wed 25-Jun-08 11:38:32

Wow-those zeros certainly make the eyes ache!

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 11:42:46

christiana - Believers claim that water has memory of what it once contained, and that homeopathy is 'energy medicine' so doesn't have to have any active ingredients. And hence the energy effect thingie gets stronger the more you dilute.

Which is of course nonesense. If water had such lingering effects from stuff it once contained, that would be very bad news for the hundreds of millions who drink recycled water on a regular basis.

It would also mean we are seriously harming our children by diluting their juice or medication.

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 11:53:47

Nonsense, even.

sabire Wed 25-Jun-08 12:27:02

"The ethical question, obviously, is how a doctor (a real one, not the 'trained homeopath', whatever that means) can bring himself to recommend a sugar pill to a patient with a real suffering"

Yes. And you might well ask how a doctor can send a suffering patient away from his or her surgery empty handed and uncomforted after a 5 minute consultation, and yet it happens all the time.

People generally go to alternative and complementary practitioners when their GP has failed to provide them with anything to relieve their symptoms, and in my experience usually come away from their consultations with their alternative practitioner feeling a whole lot better.

"It's different when doctor might suspect the problem is a psychosomatic and decides to try a placebo"

A problem doesn't have to be psychosomatic to respond to the placebo effect, and the placebo effect can cause clinically measurable changes in the condition of the patient.

And GP's admit to rogue prescribing and using placebos: "A study of Danish general practitioners found that 48% had prescribed a placebo at least 10 times in the past year. The most frequently prescribed placebos were antibiotics for viral infections, and vitamins for fatigue. Specialists and hospital-based physicians reported much lower rates of placebo use. (Hróbjartsson & Norup 2003) A 2004 study in the British Medical Journal of physicians in Israel found that 60% used placebos in their medical practice, most commonly to "fend off" requests for unjustified medications or to calm a patient. Of the physicians who reported using placebos, only 15% told their patients they were receiving placebos or non-specific medications. (Nitzan & Lichtenberg 2004) An accompanying editorial stated, An accompanying editorial stated,

"The placebo effect, thought of as the result of the inert pill, can be better understood as an effect of the relationship between doctor and patient. Adding the doctor's caring to medical care affects the patient's experience of treatment, reduces pain, and may affect outcome. This survey makes it clear that doctors continue to use placebos, and most think they help."

"The editorial suggested there were problems with Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche's methods and argued that their results show that placebos can't cure everything, but don't prove that the placebo effect cures nothing. The editorial concluded, "We cannot afford to dispense with any treatment that works, even if we are not certain how it does." (Spiegel 2004)"

Unlike GP's who so often prescribe antibiotics for conditions they know ab's are ineffective for, at least homeopaths aren't giving you a placebo that may result in you developing candida and a worrying vulnerability to antibiotic resistent infections.

christiana Wed 25-Jun-08 12:51:35

Message withdrawn

What would be really good would be homeopathic cure for gullibility.

christiana Wed 25-Jun-08 12:57:56

Message withdrawn

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 13:01:57

"And you might well ask how a doctor can send a suffering patient away from his or her surgery empty handed and uncomforted after a 5 minute consultation, and yet it happens all the time."

Yes, malpractice is also unethical. And what is your point? That because some doctors act in an unethical manner (send away suffering patients after 5 min consultations) that all doctors should act unethically (prescribe things they know are ineffective)?

"come away from their consultations with their alternative practitioner feeling a whole lot better"

People also talk to their priests and feel better. Again, what is your point re homeopathy?

"A problem doesn't have to be psychosomatic to respond to the placebo effect"

I didn't say it did.

I said it would be understandable that a doctor would prescribe placebo in cases he suspects to be psychocomatic in origin. It would be hmm from an ethical point of view for a doctor to prescribe a placebo the rest of the time.

Surely good practice would be to find the root cause and prescribe an effective treatment. Not just give a sugar pill and send patient away, keep fingers crossed and hope for placebo effect.

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 13:09:50

Oh and most people who visit fortunetellers also come out happy and intend to revisit. That does not mean that this is really an effective way of learning about one's future.

I may be wrong, but I think it is against medical ethics to prescribe a placebo?

If so, then homeopathic remedies would provide a handy way of handing out a placebo without violating ethics.

sabire Wed 25-Jun-08 14:50:04

"Yes, malpractice is also unethical. And what is your point?"

It's not malpractice when a doctor sends a patient away empty handed and uncomforted: it's about the limitations of conventional medicine as practiced in this country. Doctors are limited to short consultations with patients because that's the way the NHS functions. That's the reality of medical care for most people in this country. It's also the case that conventional medicine simply doesn't have all the answers, which is why people turn to complementary therapies for relief from symptoms that conventional medicines are ineffective at treating.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 25-Jun-08 14:50:38

It's back to health isn't it. And whether or not it can be fixed.

At 25 I was sent to see a consultant because I had something wrong with my back- it kept going into spasm to the point where I couldn't stand. I knew exactly how it had been done etc. The consultant asked me what triggered it - I said could be anything- for example bending down to pick something up or carrying some shopping. HIs advice after years of medical school and no examination?

"Well I suggest you don't do any shopping".

Aged 25?? What sort of shit advice was that. I waited 14 weeks for that bit of genius.

I went to a chiropractor who sorted it out - so that 99% of the time my back is now fine.

I think this was the point of the GP in Cullompton - the article I linked to earlier. He started skeptical but now sees real value in his combined clinic- patients that he could offer nothing to now can go and see a complementary therapist (and he's teamed up with people offering things I've never even heard of) - and they feel better. So he sees his job as being done. His patients feel better.

I like doctors who take an interest in alternatiive medicine because I've found they tend to have the same view of health as I do and although I don't expect them to offer me anything alternative I find I tend to agree with and trust their prescribing.

Cote you can scorn as much as you like- but you've missed out an important stage in the preparation of a remedy which means that it's not simple dilution (and no it still doesn't 'explain' how homeopathy works so it's not worth reproducing here).

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 19:44:33

Please do share, jimjams. What is this 'important stage' in the preparation of a homeopathic 'remedy'?

CoteDAzur Wed 25-Jun-08 20:06:41

sabire & jimjams - I am truly sorry to hear just how bad and even negligent your doctors have been. If that is the state of medical care in the UK (and I thankfully never had to experience it), then no wonder you are turning to quack medicine alternative treatments.

In countries which I have lived, even Turkey which I assume you will not consider more developed than UK, I have never been dismissed by a doctor in such unhelpful terms ("don't go shopping then") and without even an examination. That is negligence. It is not and cannot be normal practice.

Although I understand your disillusion, in your place, I would have gone to another doctor. Your system sounds like this is not easy, though. (14 weeks!?!)

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Wed 25-Jun-08 21:07:52

No cote, I can't be bothered to share because you're not interested and it won't do anything to change your mind. You've already rejected energy medicine - and homeopathy places itself firmly (along with acupuncture in that field).

If someone is interested in CAM I would advise them to find a decent practitioner (so preferably a recommendation) and then give it a go. If it works for them they'll go back, if it doesn't they won't.

The consultant I saw was pretty dire- he didn't even examine me except to ask be to bend forwards, but he's not necessarily unusual. I saw an equally dire consultant 10 years later with ds2. He had been referred by a different consultant, didn't bother to read the notes, misunderstood why we'd been referred and cut me off half way through my explanation (and I was keeping it brief). Then sent ds2 for a totally unnecessary x-ray. I've seen 5 consultants/registrars for ds1's autism and one (a registrar) has been excellent. The rest crap.

Oh yes it's pretty normal practice, although I am pleasantly surprised when I see someone good (ds3 hospitalised a couple of years ago- all good, ds1 in A&E recently- excellent consultant).

However much you complain that it can't be true- my personal experience is that CAM practitioners have helped my family and improved our health and so we'll continue to use them.

With that I'm off to email the shiatsu practitioner I have found who specialises in autism. I think he could really help ds1 deal with his need for deep pressure- and if he does then it will mean I get strangled less, which can only be a god thing.

I think it is important to remember that science is based on evidence and data. Although the theory behind homepathy is out of kilter with our modern understanding of the world, any evidence that it does work would be seized upon by scientists. You would become very famous indeed if you were the one to find the supporting evidence. Scientists aren't at all close minded generally. By contrast with homeopathy, aromatherapy can be shown to be effective in some cases and this data gets reported in the scientific literature.

I have just blogged about it if you are interested.


Homeopaths aren't singled out for criticism out of some conservative prejudice. They are just wrong.

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 10:30:52

CoteDAzur - I trust you've also never suffered from any condition for which conventional medicine has no adequate response? I would suspect that this is perhaps at the root of your lack of understanding or sympathy ("I am truly sorry to hear just how bad and even negligent your doctors have been" - weasel words - you don't care about our suffering, all you care about is proving yourself right, even if it means showing utter, utter disrespect for our own experiences and our perceptions of what is going on in our own bodies).

I have a condition called Gilbert's Syndrome. I became unwell in January - I had jaundice, gastric problems, extreme exhaustion and malaise. It took 8 GP appointments, three consultant appointments, a huge battery of blood tests and a liver scan to diagnose me. It's June now and I'm still unwell, still tired, still jaundiced. I've not been offered any treatment for this condition because apparently it's a common, benign condition which is generally asymptomatic - although the medical literature notes a good proportion of those of us who have it do have unpleasant symptoms of the kind I've mentioned.

I've been told that there is no conventional treatment my doctor can offer me. I've spent hours on the internet and spoken to a very good consultant in gastric medicine and there really is NOTHING that conventional medicine has that will help my condition. Would you say I shouldn't bother to seek alternative treatments to help me cope with my symptoms? Because it's all rubbish? What do you say to the hundreds of thousands of people who find these therapies helpful for a range of conditions? "You're wrong - you don't feel better, and I know you don't feel better because I have this research paper here which proves that the therapy you've used doesn't work"?

You simply have no respect for other people's feelings or experiences - it's an awful sort of arrogance. I have no problem with you saying that there is no scientific proof that these therapies work - but to call those people who practice these therapies unethical crooks and the people who use them naive and stupid? It's very unkind and very narrow.

stleger Thu 26-Jun-08 10:47:43

The 'effective advice' for a condition my daughter has is 'avoid infection, which will be easier over the summer'. After 2 spells in hospital on a drip. A gp who is also a practising alternative therapist is trying various remedies and probiotics. I don't totally believe in homeopathy - despite mainstream fertility consultant kicking us out, a year of classical homeopathy and 3 children - but I believe in trying it!

bruxeur Thu 26-Jun-08 10:59:08

LOL @ "I can't be bothered to share because you're not interested and it won't do anything to change your mind".

I have a SUPER SECRET that you can't know because YOU'RE NOT IN OUR GANG.

And you SMELL.

lollitylollity lol.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Thu 26-Jun-08 11:00:57

Good point stleger- and something that I always say to people who ask me if they should try something. If it can't do any harm go for it and if it works it works and if it doesn't it doesn't.

sabire- completely agree. My FIL has Gilbert's sybndrome. Do you know anything about TMG and/or SAMe? I was really interested in finding out that it can help people with GS it is often used to very good effect in autism -supposedly triggering speech in some cases. I wondered whether FIL's Gilbert's syndrome is a clue to the metabolic pathways that might be out in ds1.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Thu 26-Jun-08 11:04:55

Oh read the thread bruxeur- the super secret has been mentioned several times anyway and already dismissed as ridiculous. As Sabire said personal experiences have been ignored and as something that could only happen to the gullible.

bruxeur Thu 26-Jun-08 11:06:40

I have read it. It has made me laugh.

But that bit won.

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 11:11:43

"I wondered whether FIL's Gilbert's syndrome is a clue to the metabolic pathways that might be out in ds1."

Gilberts is hereditary.

I'm worrying about my dd1 now I know I have Gilberts. She's got to have 5 teeth out under GA in a few weeks and I'm concerned about how she'll be with the anaesthetic (I have reacted badly to GA in the past - something now know is probably connected with Gilberts).

CoteDAzur Thu 26-Jun-08 12:23:14

sabire - I said I am sorry (believe it or not) that you & jimjams had such crappy treatment from doctors (negligence, unhelpful bs like 'don't go shopping'). Because that was the topic then.

Now you bring up another one - Namely that you have a condition for which we don't yet have a solution. I'm sorry about that, too. (Believe it or not). In your place, I would also have probably tried everything under the sun, no matter how nonsensical, although the placebo effect would sadly not work on me as I am sceptical of treatments claiming a mystical effect of energy emanating from sugar pills.

If it works for you, that is wonderful. I wish you wouldn't take my intellectual position on the subject to mean that I am 'arrogant' or 'unkind', but if it helps to react personally to someone who is talking only about facts and evidence, then use that as well, by all means.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 12:34:09

Is this still going on?

Sabire - would you have been more level-headed in your reply if I'd said I'd seen an interesting article in the Socialist Worker rather than the Telegraph? It says there's billions made every year from homeopathy.

"It's like prayer. If patient wants to pray, let them. No harm and might even help with their recovery. But no self-respecting doctor should be advocating prayer." Yes, I agree.

CoteDAzur Thu 26-Jun-08 12:34:29

jimjams - I can't find that 'important stage' in the production of homeopathic 'remedies' on this thread. The word 'ridiculous' was used only twice here, both times by you.

You accused me of having "missed out an important stage in the preparation of a remedy which means that it's not simple dilution", so now you need to clarify.

What is this 'important stage' that I have missed in my ignorance?

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 12:55:25

sabire - I said I am sorry (believe it or not) that you & jimjams had such crappy treatment from doctors (negligence, unhelpful bs like 'don't go shopping'). Because that was the topic then.

"But you completely failed to acknowledged Five minute consultations are not considered 'crappy treatment' in the UK - they're considered the norm in the NHS and it's how GP care here is delivered.

"In your place, I would also have probably tried everything under the sun, no matter how nonsensical, although the placebo effect would sadly not work on me as I am sceptical of treatments claiming a mystical effect of energy emanating from sugar pills."

The research shows that the placebo effect works on skeptical people too Cote, when they don't know they're getting a placebo.

"If it works for you, that is wonderful"

That contradicts EVERYTHING you have been saying in this thread. You think these treatments have no value. You have said it over and over again.

"I wish you wouldn't take my intellectual position on the subject to mean that I am 'arrogant' or 'unkind', but if it helps to react personally to someone who is talking only about facts and evidence, then use that as well, by all means."

You have completely missed the point of what I was saying. I respect your intellectual position. I support the view that there is no scientific evidence that these treatments work. What I don't support is your evaluation of the values of those people who are involved in the practice of complementary medicine, or the position you take on those of us who use complementary medicine - basically that we are gullible, stupid and naive.

getbackinyouryurtjimjams Thu 26-Jun-08 12:56:59

Succession cote. But it won't be seen as making any difference by you and it won't remotely address the issues you have with . It is however a stage that homeopaths see as essential - and the reason why it is different from dilution.

However, this is pointless. There isn't a current explanation out there for why homeopathy works and you're not prepared to believe that it can work on anyone other than gullible fools. I didn't think it would work the first time I used it, or the second time really, it's effects came first- I then started using it. People saying it worked for me isn't enough for you, which is fine, its not being forced on anyone.

I'm really not up for a fight- or some intellectual argy bargy or whatever today and I was trying to avoid that. Badly it seems. If you think that's made up then search on my name. Either way I think this is something to agree to disagree on.

bruxeur Thu 26-Jun-08 13:30:11

What's succession, jimjams?

And why is it seen as essential?

And why is it different from dilution?

And why would a sceptic not see any difference between this and dilution?

Ta in advance.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 13:33:00

Keep a straight face, it's explained here"Potentization consists of precise dilutions and hand succession (vigorous shaking and sudden impact)."

bruxeur Thu 26-Jun-08 13:39:31

Was Cocktail the first homeopathic film, then?

jimjams - I await your elegant refutation of this arrant nonsense, obviously written by an ^agent provocateur^ working for the forces of Western Medicine...

...with interest.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 13:53:16

Well...when you have a cocktail the bit that goes to your head is the last few sips. I guess that's where all the active molecules cluster together. So don't dismiss it

CoteDAzur Thu 26-Jun-08 14:06:16

"Hand succession (vigorous shaking and pounding) of each step of potentization is also an important component of the manufacturing process. This step causes agitation at the molecular bonding level of the remedy and energetically activates the remedy."

Oh dear.

Shaking and pounding a solution does NOT affect molecular bonding!

Anybody worked with lab equipment? You shake (and pound, if that strikes your fancy) to facilitate homogenization, NOT to get a chemical reaction out of the mix. shock

When you stir, shake, pound, turn upside down a solution, you mix it better and in less time. That is ALL.

What do 'agitation at molecular bonding level' and 'energically activates the remedy' even mean?!? That would make sense (somewhat) if we were talking about heating a solution. It doesn't make sense for shaking/pounding.

CoteDAzur Thu 26-Jun-08 14:21:59

sabire, re: "you completely failed to acknowledged Five minute consultations are not considered 'crappy treatment' in the UK"

Yeah, well, I never lived in the UK. So shoot me for not realizing your health system is so pathetic that some feel justified to turn to witch doctors. I would say I feel sorry for your situation, but I'm not allowed to say that because I am so arrogant and unkind. So be it.

" research shows that the placebo effect works on skeptical people too Cote, when they don't know they're getting a placebo."

But I know I am taking a placebo when given homeopathic 'remedies'. So they don't work. They never have.

"You think these treatments have no value"

Their only 'value' is as placebo. If you can bring yourself to believe they will work, against all evidence and the mind boggling stupidity of the assertions (water has memory, the more you dilute the more effective it is, one drop in an ocean is enough to have an effect, etc) then you will probably enjoy the placebo effect. Apparently there is no treatment that will work for you & placebo is all you can hope for, so it is brilliant that you get that from homeopathy.

"your evaluation of the values of those people who are involved in the practice of complementary medicine"

Hmm... what did I say about homeopaths? Surely they are in it for the money (as with anyone charging for their services) and they are not high on my personal list because they peddle quack medicine, but I don't know anything about their 'values'.

"we are gullible, stupid and naive"

Those of you suffering from conditions medicine can't help are probably hoping for benefit from homeopathy not out of a personality defect or intellectual shortcoming but because you are desperate. Understandably. sad

As for the rest, yes, there is a bit of gullibility involved. Not stupidity, though.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 14:30:23

My Mum took a photo of my DS to a spiritualist person to do whatever spritualists do over it and heal my son's deafness. Mum was a nurse but she was desperate. Desperate people do all sorts of irrational things. Ds now has a cochlear implant and, though not cured of his deafness, he certainly functions well. Mum doesn't like to be reminded about her little foray into alternative practices. Both Mum and Dad went into religion at the time too (they got over it or just don't mention it to me anymore).

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 15:04:25

But I know loads of people who use homeopathy who are bright, educated people who are aware of the debate surrounding it and the complete lack of evidence in support of its efficacy. I would put myself in that category. You can know all of this and STILL find that treatment relieves your symptoms. This is my experience and the experience of many people I know. I can't explain it. I just know it's helped, and that's the only thing that matters to me when I'm unwell.

I think research evidence is very important. I work with new parents who often ask me about cranial osteopathy when they have a neworn who is difficult to settle. I point out to them that good quality research has shown it to work no better than a placebo (ie someone doing a bit of random head rubbing on the baby).

However I also point out that it's a very popular therapy and that the parents who I personally know who have used it feel it's very successful in reducing crying and improving their baby's feeding. Then I leave it up to them to make up their minds as to what they find most persuasive: the research evidence or anecdotal evidence. They almost ALWAYS opt for the cranial osteopathy and they ALWAYS come back saying it helped.

If I got feedback saying it had been useless I would pass that on too, but I don't.

The parents I see are mostly degree educated professionals - teachers, lawyers, nurses, engineers, etc etc. Do you think they're imagining the improvements in their baby's feeding and sleeping after going for treatment? Does it matter if they're imagining it, as long as they perceive both themselves and their babies to be happier?

"Surely they are in it for the money (as with anyone charging for their services)"

What - like GP's, who have an average salary of 125K in this country?

"they are not high on my personal list because they peddle quack medicine"

They offer a treatment they believe is effective, just like GP's. The difference is that a higher proportion of people consulting GP's come away with a medicine that will do positive harm to their health, and that is often in any case inappropriate for their condition (note the number of prescriptions for antibiotics given to people with colds in the UK).

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 15:43:20

I think a lot of the effect is due to the unwillingness to face up to the fact you may have been conned. Also not reading up on it. People just don't. They group it all under wishy-washy, nice & caring alternative treatments and go no further.

You don't say in what capacity you see all these new parents or how much time you have to spend with them, loads by the looks of it, otherwise you'd just say "homeopathy works, trust me", you wouldn't have time for any details, or how much you charge etc. This is getting personal, isn't it? See how you like it for a change, I could perhaps draw some wild conclusions about you personally and how you treat people you see based on something you've posted here and what I percieve to be your political affiliations. Anyway, I digress.

Just because it's a popular therapy and many people spend lots of money on it, doesn't make it effective. Also, we weren't talking cranial osteopathy or all conventional medicine. How many people would get back to you and say CO was bollocks w/o hurting your feelings because you obviously believe in it? How many times do you tell your hairdresser that you don't actually like the haircut they've just given you all that much?

If you "treat" a child over a number of sessions I think all children will improve to some degree. It's called growing up. Colic doesn't last forever, feeding improves with maturity as well. You can believe it was the nothingness that did it and give it a name, let's say "homeopathy" or you could go w/o all that and accept it's part of life.

I do believe all those educated people you're in touch with are imagining improvements. I don't think it matters if it's imagined or not as long as theer's honesty about it and not this hocus-pocus energetic medicine and such-like.

Also, Sabire, maybe if you were in touch with people for whom £40 matters, perhaps you wouldn't be so eager to point them to expensive sugar pills.

Lastly, something which always baffles me: How come believers in alternative "medicine" are always so damn poorly and always popping pills for something or another? perhaps it's harmful? If not physically then for emotional well being? Can't be healthy to always rely on a practitioner and pills.


All of your observations are easily explained by the placebo effect. I don't doubt that many people who use homeopathic remedies are intelligent people. Anyone can be affected by their expectations. That is why clinical trials have to be done blind both to the users and the people running the trial. Even then you can get false results. You need to work really hard to get genuinely effective treatments. And I am sure that many mistakes are made by GPs. They are only human, albeit very highly trained and educated ones.

But the flaws and mistakes don't get away from the huge achievements of medical science. It was medical science that eliminated small pox for instance. Homeopathy has no similar success to its name despite having been practised for longer than scientific medicine.

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 17:20:54

"I could perhaps draw some wild conclusions about you personally and how you treat people you see based on something you've posted here and what I percieve to be your political affiliations. Anyway, I digress."

No - go on. Do say what you think about my 'political affiliations'.

"Just because it's a popular therapy and many people spend lots of money on it, doesn't make it effective."

No. True. I don't tell people it's effective. I tell them what the research evidence say and I tell them what people who've opted to try CO tell me about about their experience with it. Are you saying it's wrong for me to pass on what parents tell me?

"How many people would get back to you and say CO was bollocks w/o hurting your feelings because you obviously believe in it"

I make a point of asking them. I say - what did you think of the treatment? Do you think it made any difference? I have no vested interest in them going and I always point out that there's no scientific evidence in support of its efficacy. I have a good enough relationship with these people for them to tell me if they thought something was useless. They're certainly quick enough to tell me if information I've given them on other aspects of postnatal life has been unhelpful or irrelevant!

"How many times do you tell your hairdresser that you don't actually like the haircut they've just given you all that much?"

But I'm not an alternative therapist. Why would they not tell me if the treatment didn't work for them? I don't recommend this therapy - I just tell parents what the research evidence is and what I am told about people's experience with it.

"If you "treat" a child over a number of sessions I think all children will improve to some degree. It's called growing up. Colic doesn't last forever, feeding improves with maturity as well. You can believe it was the nothingness that did it and give it a name, let's say "homeopathy" or you could go w/o all that and accept it's part of life."

Yes - except that's not the feedback I get. Most people I know take their babies for cranial osteopathy between week 1 and week 3 after the birth. Most have told me that they've seen an immediate improvement - usually within the first week, and often after the first session. The research shows that colic related crying peaks at around six weeks and begins to level off at around 8 weeks. So - that doesn't fit with your theory. I often suggest that parents think about keeping a diary of their baby's sleeping/feeding/crying patterns in the first few weeks and months as it's a nice thing to have years down the line as a reminder of the early days and that it can help if they need to see a GP or the HV about their baby further down the line. Point being - many of these parents are very conscious of changes in their baby's behaviour and the timescale over which it happens.

"I do believe all those educated people you're in touch with are imagining improvements. I don't think it matters if it's imagined or not as long as theer's honesty about it and not this hocus-pocus energetic medicine and such-like."

So as long as people are willing to admit that these therapies are basically ineffective in every way, and that any improvements in symptoms are completely imaginary, you are happy to say it's ok?

In fact you feel they don't even have a placebo effect - because the placebo effect often causes an ACTUAL reduction in symptoms, and not just impacts on the patient's PERCEPTION of pain/discomfort?

"Also, Sabire, maybe if you were in touch with people for whom £40 matters, perhaps you wouldn't be so eager to point them to expensive sugar pills."

I live in one of the poorest parts of South London and my daughter goes to the local school where over 80% of the children are from ethnic minority backgrounds (as are my own children) and large numbers of children qualify for free school dinners. It's not gentrified in any way - you can still buy a four bedroom house here for around £300K, despite the fact we're only 20 minutes from Victoria by train. It's the sort of area you'd probably drive through with your windows wound up and your doors locked.

The people I work with are often fairly privileged, (though not all). However, most of my friends are ordinary mums living in social housing whose children go to this school, and they can ill afford to spend money on ineffective treatments. Many of these people use homeopathic and herbal remedies because they are cheaper than prescription charges (unless you're on benefits) and because they find them effective. Many also use acupuncture and rate it very highly. In our poor little high street we have two Chinese herbalists and two alternative therapy clinics (and no - we don't have a large Chinese community - the schools aren't good enough!)and they are well used.

So, out of interest, how many socially disadvantaged people who suffer from long term minor health issues do you mix with socially? Do any of your friends live in social housing and claim benefits or work in Sainsbury's? I suspect you have no idea about the sort of feelings ordinary people have about how they can manage their symptoms, or how people feel about their experience of medical care within the NHS because the only contact you have with these people is when you're patronising them in a professional capacity. Have you ever experienced ill health that's been on-going? Have you ever had to cope with the reality of regularly seeking treatment for minor but distressing conditions through the NHS? - the hours spent in dirty waiting rooms with small children for GP appointments, only to be dismissed in five minutes by your GP who can barely remember who you are? Have you been repeatedly prescribed conventional treatments which haven't worked and that have given you additional problems and made you ill? I have. I know plenty of other people who have. If alternative therapies aren't illegal and if they help people why do you object so strongly to their existence?

Honestly Christina - 'evidence' comes in all forms. Experiential evidence is important too. Listening to what people tell you about how they feel won't make you a bad scientist and it will definitely make you a better doctor.

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 17:39:52

You're not aggressive now, we could almost have a decent conversation (provided we were not by now suspicious of each other).

So where do these people get alternative treatments at such cheap rates? The ones I see advertised are v expensive. Do they just pop pills their friends give them? I don't understand then about the effectiveness. If they don't go for the long chats to make them feel better (you say they can't afford it) then they can't feel better just from the pills (which in themselves contain nothing active). So where does the so-called effect come from?

I object to homeopathy - the main alternative one about which i've read enough - because it's irrational and could never work except for a placebo effect (good in itself but that was pages back now).

And tell me what's so great about advising someone with a ONE WEEK old baby to go and see an osteopath for their baby? Babies tend to cry, it's a shock, it's distressing, but do we really need to medicalise existence to such a degree? Is this really a helpful way of adjusting to parenthood?

sabire Thu 26-Jun-08 23:13:45

"So where do these people get alternative treatments at such cheap rates? The ones I see advertised are v expensive."

The clinics round here are cheap, and even people on low incomes have a bit of money to spend believe it or not! Several of my friends are single mums on benefits, but somehow they can usually find the money for a night out on the razz with me, plus the odd trip to the chinese herbalist or homeopath.

"Do they just pop pills their friends give them? I don't understand then about the effectiveness."

They buy homeopathic remedies over the counter. Homeopathic remedies for hayfever and sinusitis are particularly popular.

"They can't feel better just from the pills (which in themselves contain nothing active). So where does the so-called effect come from?

Well sorry - but they DO feel better from the pills. I'd love to see you or anyone else telling them that actually they don't feel better because the pills are useless. They'd probably point out that you have no idea how they feel, even if you are a doctor!

"And tell me what's so great about advising someone with a ONE WEEK old baby to go and see an osteopath for their baby?"

I never advise people to go and see an osteopath.

People contact me and ask me if I know anyone locally as they want to visit one. Other than this I raise the subject when we're talking about things other parents locally have done when they've had problems with their baby during the early postnatal period (I touch on this along with using NHS direct, the out of hours doctors service, doula's, HV's and baby clinics etc). As I said before - I always point out that there is no research evidence that CO works.

"Babies tend to cry, it's a shock, it's distressing, but do we really need to medicalise existence to such a degree? Is this really a helpful way of adjusting to parenthood?"

People generally see a CO because their baby is having problems breastfeeding. Many of the bfc round here also mention CO as something that parents use when their babies are having great difficulty with feeding and latching and are unusually unsettled after an assisted birth or very difficult labour.

What would you suggest to a mum whose baby had been born by ventouse, who'd been screaming for hours at home and finding it difficult to feed? Someone who'd seen an experienced breastfeeding counsellor who'd worked with them but had been unable to find an instant answer to their breastfeeding problems? If you knew dozens of people who'd used this treatment who swore it had made a really big difference to their baby's ability to feed comfortably would you still refuse to mention it (not recommend it - note - I don't recommend that people use CO) because the medical literature doesn't support it as an effective treatment? What alternative help would you offer them?

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 26-Jun-08 23:30:29

I don't know what I'd offer them because I'm not in a position to do so. But I wouldn't use my professional standing to endorse alternative treatments. I've already said that many posts back.

You make a fine distinction between recommend and advice and just casually passing on info but are you sure people who come to you notice this difference? Or do they see you as a professional who actively encourages them to try X, Y and Z?

Again, how come homepathy is so finely tuned to each person - implying a lengthy consultation where the homeopath so very holistically assesses all areas of your mind, body & spirit, but on the other hand you just buy sugar pills over the counter as you would paracetamol? There's some disagreement here.

sabire Fri 27-Jun-08 09:55:36

"Again, how come homepathy is so finely tuned to each person - implying a lengthy consultation where the homeopath so very holistically assesses all areas of your mind, body & spirit, but on the other hand you just buy sugar pills over the counter as you would paracetamol? There's some disagreement here"


Human beings.... sometimes they don't behave in logical ways. grin

"You make a fine distinction between recommend and advice and just casually passing on info but are you sure people who come to you notice this difference? Or do they see you as a professional who actively encourages them to try X, Y and Z?"

I do exactly what many of the local HV's do - I pass on information about CO that other parents have shared with me. The only difference between what I'm doing and what the HV's are doing is that I also discuss the research evidence with parents.

"But I wouldn't use my professional standing to endorse alternative treatments. I've already said that many posts back."

It's not about 'endorsing' - you pass on what you know - the research and the anecdotal evidence and you leave people to make up their minds.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sat 28-Jun-08 19:51:53

OK, if I go to the drs and they tell me to cross my fingers and hope for the best or say three Hail Marys I'll understand it's just passing on something that worked for others.

sabire Sat 28-Jun-08 20:11:49

So unless there is clear, research based evidence in support of a particular therapy or treatment, I shouldn't even discuss it with parents? Not even if it's a legal, popular treatment that anecdotally I have very sound feedback about? hmm

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 29-Jun-08 16:32:30

Discuss whatever you want, just how far are you prepared to go? That's what I meant by cross your fingers, pray, spiritualist healing, tarrot reading, would you pass on this kind of info as well, just because some people have found it useful? (I am referring all along to homeopathy, that's the one I find particularly bonkers.)

I agree with Cristina. Even praying and crossing your fingers makes more sense than homeopathy. After all there might be a God who responds to such things. There is no theory to explain how water is beneficial.

snowymum Wed 02-Jul-08 13:44:55

You reckon prayer to a god has a greater chance of being beneficial than water and, at worst, the placebo effect? You need to revist your science books.

I don't think science has either proved or disproved God yet. I don't personally chose to pray. You don't need homeopathy to get a placebo effect.

5helt1e Fri 29-Oct-10 16:16:21

As homeopathic remedies are essentially a sugar pill with no remaining physical trace of any medicine then you should feel free to throw it down your neck with gay abandon.

If the midwives complain then tell them to stop being foolish. Its not real medicine.

fruitypuds Thu 14-Feb-13 16:55:45

I know this is an old thread...but can anyone tell me where to get hypercal tincture in the UK, please? I keep reading 'Neal's Yard' but can't find it on there.

Thinkingof4 Thu 14-Feb-13 20:59:25
Thinkingof4 Thu 14-Feb-13 21:04:26

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now