Below is the full article that appeared in the Fall 2021 edition of Mieux-être magazine. The article is also available on Mieux-être website.
A downloadable and printable version (with graphics and photos) is available here.
Homeopathy has been the subject of much debate and discussion in recent years. Wellness magazine gives the floor to an expert in the field to hear his point of view.
A WORD FROM AN EXPERT
I will always remember a mother that had come in for a consultation. Her child that would be waking up screaming every night since the start of the school year. It was November. She could not take it anymore. The child wanted the lights on everywhere all the time and could not bear it anymore either. I especially remember what occurred one month later. Nightmares having reduced from once per night to once a week, the mother had said to me: he stopped fighting in school, he no longer throws things around for no reason, he can now go into the basement at home without me and I am now able to leave the house without this great drama all the time. -And his eczema? His eczema? Almost entirely gone.
This is homeopathy. It is the little stone we toss into a lake to watch the whole lake surface move and sometimes the surrounding mountains too. In two words: it works!
MANY HAVE UNDERSTOOD IT:
- Switzerland 2016. It recognized homeopathy as legal medicine in much the same manner as conventional medicine following a favorable report presented by experts; (1)
- Ontario regulated the profession by creating a College for professional homeopaths.
- As a counterexample, Australia, deliberately concealed a report showing the efficacy of homeopathy in 2012. That information was not revealed until 2019 following sustained political and public pressure that exposed the truth. And what did that report say? It stated that there was encouraging evidence that had been observed concerning the efficacy of homeopathy for five specific health problems, notably, for fibromyalgia and upper respiratory tract infections: (2)
- 400 000 practitioners of homeopathy throughout the world. From homeopaths to physicians, to midwives, pharmacists, and naturopaths.
- 200 million people who turn to homeopathy day after day. (3)
These last years, however, it is true that homeopathy has had more than its fair share of bad press. A handful of skeptics with important forums in Quebec, as well as within English Canada, have hammered their views repeatedly on this subject.
Result? Those who have not experienced it are more reluctant to try it.
And what if we were to run these three same arguments that are constantly repeated through a «solidity tester»? Would their arguments be made of armed concrete or are they a house of cards? You decide…
NOTHING BUT SUGAR AND WATER? FALSE
Various advanced technologies today allow for a comparison between pure water and a homeopathic solution. To keep just one in mind: magnetic nuclear resonance (4). And lovers of the Scrabble game can add the following to their word list: spectroscopy (5) and solvatochromic ink (6)!
What do these diverse technologies reveal? That pure water and homeopathic preparations are not identical, and their respective properties are also different. This can now be demonstrated scientifically. So, if you happen to hear a chemist state that his instruments could not detect any active ingredient, then he is much like an astronomer that would use opera binoculars to be counting the moons of Jupiter!
NOTHING BUT PLACEBO EFFECT? FALSE
In fact, a growing number of experiments are being published about the effects of homeopathy on plants, animals and cells being cultivated. There is sufficient evidence that demonstrates that placebo effect cannot explain what is being observed. Geraniums are not particularly known to have a great affect!
T H R E E E X A M P L E S
- Experiments carried out on duckweed show that they recuperate more rapidly under homeopathic treatment after having been intoxicated by arsenic; (7)
- the speed at which tadpoles developed can be modified by using a homeopathic preparation-based hormone that influences its development (thyroxine) (8). This experiment was repeated by seven independent laboratories.
- the genes involved in cell repair following an injury are activated following the administration of an Arnica-based homeopathic preparation. This experiment was conducted by the department of medicine in the University of Verona, Italy0 (9).
NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF EFFECTIVENESS? FALSE
When it comes to human health, research is not left out either. One of the most recent studies published in 2020 in The Oncologist demonstrated how homeopathy, when used in conjunction with conventional medical therapies, improved a cancer patient’s quality of life. The study further confirmed an augmentation in the patient’s survival rate. (10)
Let us also mention the study of Dr Robert Mathie, and English researcher, who in 2014 analyzed several diverse individualized homeopathic treatments. He selected 22 of the most rigorous studies and his statistical analysis showed that the efficacy of homeopathic treatments was superior to placebo. (11)
Is there any research in homeopathy that has not given the expected desired results? Of course, there is. And it is the case in all areas. In 2017, the British Medical Journal published that out of 3000 medical treatments in the United Kingdom, only 11% had enough sufficient evidence to be categorized as «beneficial». And on 1,500 of those 3,000 treatments that were routinely used, the effectiveness could not be determined. (12)
AND WHAT ABOUT HERE IN QUEBEC?
In Quebec, Homeo-Populi, a citizen’s movement, was born in 2019. It brings together a community of homeopathic users to offer them a collective voice and presence to preserve freedom of choice. Their voice is deemed essential.
Regarding the practice of homeopathy, the Syndicat professionnel des homéopathes du Québec (SPHQ), affiliated to the CSN labour movement, has been maintaining the quality of this practice with its membership since 1989. Only those that have received and completed a complete training to become a homeopath can be admitted to the union.
The SPHQ was also the initiator of a new grouping, the Coalition for Homeopathy in Quebec. The coalition seeks to communicate accurate information in the field of homeopathy. Bringing together users, practitioners, and manufacturers, the CPHQ began its activities in 2019 with a media event that was chaired by the Honorable Thomas Mulcair and Dr Christiane Laberge. The Homeopathic Research Institute (HRI), situated in the United Kingdom, was also a participant.
Homeopathy has been the subject of controversy from its very earliest days. But it is resilient; homeopathy gets up all the time. And this does not date from yesterday. Did you know that in 1821, in a hospital located in Berlin, research on patients that were treated with homeopathy was suddenly stopped? (13) Why? Because there was evidence that they were healing…
Homeopath since 2010, Paul Labrèche previously worked in several different fields, including community organizations, organizations for the protections of French language rights in Ontario as well as in the arts. He is president of the Syndicat professionnel des homéopathes du Québec (SPHQ) since 2014 and President of the Quebec Coalition for homeopathy (QCFH) since 2020.
To join Homeo Populi: https://www.facebook.com/homeopopuli
To find a homeopath: www.sphq.org
For further information on homeopathy in Quebec: www.cphq.ca
(1) Borhöft, G. et P. Matthiessen (eds) (2011). Homeopathy in healthcare – effectiveness, appropriateness, safety, costs. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 234 p.
(2) Homeopathy Research Institute, https://www.hri-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/20191009_HRI-Statement_NHMRC-First-Report-Findings-2.pdf
(3) Homeopathy Research Institute, https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy-across-the-world/
(4) Van Wassenhoven M, et al. (2017), « Nuclear Magnetic Resonance characterization of traditional homeopathically-manufactured copper (Cuprum Metallicum) and a plant (Gelsemium Sempervirens) medicines and controls », Homeopathy (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.homp.2018.08.001
(5) SarkarT; Konar A; Sujul NC; Singaha A; Sujul A. (2015) « Vibrational and Raman spectroscopy provide further evidence of free OH groups and hydrogen bond strength underlying difference in two more drugs at ultrahigh dilutions. » Int J High Dilution Res. 2015;15(3): 2-1
(6) Cartwright SJ. (2016) « Solvatochromic dyes detect the presence of homeopathic potencies. » Homeopathy 2016; 105: 55-65
(7) Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, et al. Effects of homeopathic arsenicum album, nosode, and gibberellic acid preparations on the growth rate of arsenic-impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). Scientific World Journal. 2010 Nov 4;10:2112-2
(8) Endler PC, Scherer-Pongratz W, Harrer B, Lingg G, Lothaller H. Amphibians, and ultra-high diluted thyroxine–further experiments and re-analysis of data. Homeopathy. 2015;104(4):250‐256. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2015.10.001
(9) Marzotto M, Bonafini C, Olioso D, Baruzzi A, Bettinetti L, Di Leva F, et al. (2016) « Arnica Montana Stimulates Extracellular Matrix Gene Expression in a Macrophage Cell Line Differentiated to Wound-Healing Phenotype. » PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166340
(10) Frass et al (2020), Homeopathic Treatment as an Add-On Therapy May Improve Quality of Life and Prolong Survival in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Prospective, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Three-Arm, Multicenter Study. The Oncologist. Dec;25(12):e1930-e1955.doi: 10.1002/onco.13548.
(11) Mathie RT, Lloyd SM, Legg LA, et al. Randomized placebo-controlled trials of individualized homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Syst Rev. 2014;3:142.
(12) BMJ Clinical Evidence, Efficacy Categorizations. 2017
(13) Aulas, Jean-Jacques (1985), L’homéopathie : approche historique et critique et évaluation scientifique de ses fondements empiriques et de son efficacité thérapeutique, Éditions médicales Roland Bettex, Paris, p.149-150.
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