A Skeptic? You don’t have to “believe”

I love a skeptic! Please make an appointment with me if you are doubtful whether homeopathy can be effective. But you must be a good scientist: stay open-minded. This is what I require of myself. For example: when a new client comes to me, I take copious notes on various symptoms and conditions, including their frequency and severity. After they’ve begun homeopathic treatment, our first follow-up includes checking what the frequency and severity of these same symptoms have been since taking the remedy.

When a wide range of symptoms have shown measurable improvement, I can conclude that we have found a good remedy. If I don’t see enough improvement, we try a different remedy. At almost every visit, I see quantifiable improvements in almost every client, as reported by them. The logical conclusion I make is that homeopathic treatment is, in many cases, effective.

Placebo?  It seems to be common sport amongst scientists to periodically declare that homeopathy has no validity, or is simply a placebo. One reason I find this frustrating is that I have personally experienced symptoms resolving while under homeopathic treatment that I neither believed could be resolved nor asked to be addressed. Unfortunately, it is actually in the individualized nature of homeopathic treatment to be not provable (or dis-provable) by massive randomized double-blind trials.

Let me fill in some details here for you: The standard scientific testing method for drugs gives one group who share one particular symptom or condition the same medicine, and one group a placebo. The fact that all of the individuals in the study which share this one condition will differ in hundreds of other ways is largely irrelevant to conventional treatment. Conversely, these differences provide the absolutely essential guideposts to finding an effective homeopathic remedy.

Each constitutional remedy prescription by a trained homeopath takes into account dozens of seemingly disparate symptoms and characteristics–physical, as well as psychological. No group of 500 randomly chosen people would match exactly in these details, ever.

 It Varies, Person to Person:  Because there are thousands of homeopathic remedies to choose from, with a good two hundred in common use, there is certainly room for adjusting and changing remedies based on initial results. Here’s just one example: there are 73 homeopathic remedies that can cover the symptom of “deep-seated cough.” Which of these 73 will help your cough may depend on characteristics such as what time of day the cough appears; whether it’s affected by certain weather; whether you run cold or hot; and whether you tend to want to be alone or surrounded by friends and family.

Choosing a remedy is a complicated process, but a good homeopath can usually find a one that can stimulate noticeable improvement in a number of areas of your health within 6-8 weeks. Sometimes it’s sooner than that. And sometimes it takes longer. But, as I said, almost all of my patients show noticeable improvement in a number of areas even after the first remedy.

 Evidence-Based :  Of course, we all know that science encompasses much more than randomized, double-blind studies.  Samuel Hahnemann, the German doctor who originated homeopathy, and the many rigorously trained researchers and doctors who have continued to expand the vast databank of this intensely evidence-based medical practice over the past 200 years, were all scientists.  Tough-minded ones. That’s why I really do like a skeptic, a truly inquisitive skeptic, not someone who is just trying to validate a previously held opinion. But even those I welcome, too. Because homeopathy isn’t a placebo-based medicine: you don’t have to believe in it for it to work.