Thursday, March 20, 2014

Homeopathy

A slight diversion. Someone over on the ITSAN forum asked about homeopathic psorinum, and I responded with the following:

One of my hobbies is skepticism and as such I am familiar with homeopathy (not to be confused with naturopathy). I encourage anyone considering homeopathy as something to be used in place of conventional medicine to do some neutral research. A good starting place would be to read the entire naturopathy article in Wikipedia.

I am a big fan of skeptic James Randi, a former magician that has turned into an investigator of the paranormal and pseudo-science. He is known for the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge where he will give $1,000,000 to anyone that can prove paranormal anything under controlled conditions agreed to by both parties. He hasn’t paid anyone.

He is also known for his stance against homeopathy and one of the stunts that he pulls is to take massive overdoses of homeopathic “remedies” such as sleeping pills. Nothing happens because true homeopathic products rely solely on one thing: the placebo effect. That said, I would not recommend doing this as many products labelled homeopathic contain actual ingredients.

What’s ironic about all this, and one reason I posted here, is that if I were the eczema laden child of parents that believed in homeopathy and they gave me homeopathic remedies instead of conventional medication, I would not be going through the living hell of TSW. It just so happens that the cure for what ails us is to do nothing at all. Homeopathic remedies do this quite well.

I added the following one day later, after a couple of responses from those with positive homeopathic remedy experiences:

Please let me know if my posts are inappropriate or in violation of ITSAN rules or their intent, as I love and respect ITSAN dearly and do not want to jeopardize my relationship with it in any way. I will post this on my blog too if anyone would like to discuss this further there.

If okay, I would like to add a couple thoughts. First, for anyone that has had a positive experience with homeopathic remedies PLEASE read the entire article in Wikipedia and understand the 200 year old principals of how homeopathy is supposed to work before endorsing it. Please. I refer to Wikipedia because although not perfect by any means, it is the most neutral source I know and has plenty of verified references. The internet is bloated with BS, including convincing sites promoting homeopathy. If you dig deep, however, you will find there is virtually no peer-reviewed double-blind trials that support homeopathic principals. None.

Some homeopathic remedies actually work not because of the homeopathic ingredients, but because the inactive ingredients provide relief. Eye drops and nose drops are perfect examples because you could literally use plain water or saline and obtain positive results. Also, some homeopathic remedies include conventional medicine or naturopathic ingredients that does actually work. That reminds me, do not get “homeopathy” and “naturopathy” confused. They are different in the most fundamental ways, yet many people do know the difference and use the terms interchangeably. I was having a discussion with the manager of my local CVS, and even she didn’t know the difference. I was starting to get upset that CVS sells homeopathic remedies when I realized that behind the front counter is a wall of cigarettes. They only care about our wallets, not our health.

Most homeopathic remedies, especially those for children, are for conditions that are temporary, such as colds, that go away anyway. “Tag Away” as seen on TV is an exception to this and the TV ads are convincing. Yet look for neutral reviews of Tag Away, such as on Amazon, and you’ll find that the product simply does not work at all. And good luck getting your money back.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but there’s really only two things to remember:
1. Do not confuse homeopathy and naturopathy.
2. Understand how a product or method supposedly works before using or endorsing it.

I feel better now.

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