Homeopathy – Tests & treatments

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Homeopathy is a ‘treatment’ based on the use of highly concentrated substances, which doctors say can cause the body to heal.

A 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy stated that homeopathic remedies do no better than placebos and that homeopathy-based policies are “scientifically impossible”. This is also the view of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies.

This page includes:

What is homeopathy?
Does it work?
Is it available on the NHS?
What should I expect when I try it?
When is it used?
What are the legal issues?
Is it safe?
What can we conclude from the evidence?
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This means that homeopathy differs in some important ways from the treatment that is part of traditional Western medicine.

It is based on a series of ideas developed in the 1790s by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann.

The main goal of “treatment” is to “treat as the same” – that the cause of certain symptoms can help to eliminate those symptoms. The second main principle is based on the process of purification and movement, called succussion.

Doctors believe that when something is cleansed in this way, they have the power to cure symptoms. Many homeopathic remedies consist of things that have been diluted several times in water until there is nothing left or nothing left of the original substance.

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Homeopathy is used to “treat” a wide range of conditions, including physical ailments such as asthma and mood swings (see When Used?).

Does it work?

There has been a great deal of research into the effectiveness of homeopathy. There is no good quality evidence that homeopathy works as a treatment for any health condition.

Is it available on the NHS?

Homeopathy is usually done in secret and homeopathic remedies are available at pharmacies.

What should I expect when I try it?

When you first see a homeopath they will usually ask you about any specific health conditions, but also about your general health, mood, lifestyle, and diet.

Based on this, the homeopath will decide on a course of treatment, which usually takes the form of homeopathic remedies offered as a pill, capsule or tincture.

Your homeopath may recommend that you go to one or more follow-up appointments so that the effects of the treatment on your health can be evaluated.

When is it used?

Homeopathy is used in a variety of health conditions. Many doctors believe that homeopathy can help in any situation.

Among the most common cases for people seeking homeopathic treatment are:

ear infections
hay fever
mental health conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety
allergies, such as food allergies
dermatitis (an allergic condition on the skin)
high blood pressure
There is no good quality evidence that homeopathy is an effective treatment for these or other health conditions.

Some doctors also say that homeopathy can prevent malaria and other diseases. There is no evidence to support this and there is no scientifically proven method that homeopathy can prevent disease.

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The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises the NHS on appropriate medical use. NICE currently does not recommend that homeopathy should be used to treat any health condition.

What are the legal issues?

There is no official regulation of homeopathic workers in the UK. This means that anyone can practice as a homeopath, or have no qualifications or experience.

Voluntary law aims to protect patient safety, but it does not mean that there is scientific evidence that the treatment works.

Is it safe?

Homeopathic remedies are generally safe and the risk of serious side effects from taking these remedies is considered minimal.

Some homeopathic remedies may contain unsafe substances, or they may interfere with the effectiveness of some medications. You should talk to your doctor before stopping any treatment given to you by the doctor or avoiding procedures such as vaccination in favor of homeopathy.

What can we conclude from the evidence?

There have been several reviews of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said there was no evidence that homeopathy works as a treatment for any health condition.

There is no evidence that the cause of certain symptoms could also be helpful. There is no evidence to suggest that brushing or flossing objects in water can turn them into drugs.

Theories behind homeopathy are widely accepted as unscientific, and they do not conform to the long-held principles of the physical world. A 2010 Committee report on homeopathy stated that the principle “similar to treatment” is “a weak point of view”, and that this is a “stable view of medical science”.

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It is noteworthy, for example, that many homeopathic remedies are so diluted that there is little chance of a single molecule of the first element remaining in the final remedy. In cases like these, homeopathic remedies contain nothing but water.

Some homeopaths believe that, as a result of the immersion process, the first thing leaves its “element” in the water. But there is no known way for this to happen. A 2010 report stated: “We hold the view that ultra-dilution can keep the imprint of previously soluble substances in it scientifically impossible.”

Some people who use homeopathy may notice an improvement in their health status due to what is known as a placebo effect.

If you choose a treatment that offers only a placebo effect, you may miss some treatments


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