HOMEO-NO-PATHY

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    Test-tubes isolated on whiteI’m a big fan of rational thinking. I like skepticism, atheism, pragmatism, analysis. I like facts, evidence and scientific research.

    But I wasn’t always this way. I used to like loads of hippy shit. I spent £1 buying 2p once, because I was told the two pence piece had special properties that would prevent my mobile phone giving me cancer. I had my tarot cards read, got pricked with acupuncture needles when I hurt my back and dragged my husband to a palm reader very early on in our relationship when he was still polite enough to let me.

    “Not a lot of people pick the death card three times.”

    The palm reader told me my parents were very happy together. When I interjected that they’d been divorced almost as long as I’d been alive, she added: ‘Yes, that’s what I mean. They are very happy. Separately.’

    I think I just liked all that ‘Gemini’s are great people’ guff because it was a pat on the back. The tarot card reader told me I was a legend and she was excited because not a lot of people pick the death card three times. (Apparently it’s a good thing). I paid her £50.

    But thanks to the influence of certain thinkers in my life, I began to leave all that stuff behind in favour of books that made my mind buzz with science, fact and the beauties of the universe. Books like Bad Science, The Magic of Reality (aimed at kids – I can just about grasp what he’s going on about) The Psychopath Test, Trick or Treatment and It’s Not Rocket Science. I implore you to read them all and anything else Amazon suggests when you pop these in your basket.

    For about five minutes after reading these books, I’m a fountain of knowledge. But then, the fact that I spent my entire student loan on super strength weed means that by the sixth minute, I can’t remember the vital, startling, eye-opening facts I just learned.

    Out for dinner with a friend of mine who is ever so smart but loves a bit of nonsense, she happened to mention that she’s a sucker for homeopathy.

    Homeopathy, FYI, is: A system for the treatment of disease by administering minute or non-existent doses of natural substances which in large amounts given to a healthy person would produce the same symptoms.

    My heart broke a little bit, for two reasons. One, I didn’t want her thinking homeopathy was going to solve any of her problems when I knew from my readings of books I’d forgotten, that it wouldn’t. And two, inextricably linked, that I couldn’t remember any of the facts I longed to recall at that moment in order to be able to tell my friend all the things I’d learned that would stop her wasting her time and money.

    I did my best. ‘I think homeopathy has been proven not to work,’ I said, cautiously, because I didn’t want to be aggressive about it.

    ‘But there is an NHS homeopathy centre up the road,’ she protested.

    Which stunted what little I did have to say on the matter. Because the NHS, funded by tax payer’s money, wouldn’t indulge in something that’s been tested extensively and been proven not to work, would they?

    I let it go. I can’t argue with the NHS.

    Once home, I did a Google. Love a little Google, me.

    My friend is right. The Bristol Homeopathic Hospital was but a stone’s throw from our restaurant.

    As if wearing a self-imposed dunce hat, the NHS website itself states:

    Homeopathy is a ‘treatment’ based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself.

    2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy said that homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos, and that the principles on which homeopathy is based are ‘scientifically implausible’. There has been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homeopathy. There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.

    Not sure what I love most about this paragraph. The ‘treatment’ in inverted commas. The admittance of homeopathy being ‘scientifically implausible’. Or the fact that this is all on the same NHS webpage which tells me that in certain areas of the country, like sunny Bristol, NHS organisations are practising homeopathy. With my taxes.

    As I said, I used to believe in all this bollocks so I have to have some empathy for people who do. But what I can’t understand is why the NHS is pouring any money at all into something that has been proven to be scientifically implausible. It’s fine if people want to take their hard earned cash and choose to spend it on a gypsy with a crystal ball. But the National Health Service? With my money? And your money. You earn it. You give it to them. They spend it on this.

    Homeopathy is nonsense. I have beside me Trick or Treatment, from which I now paraphrase. Don’t want you thinking I suddenly know what I’m talking about by memory alone. That would be magic and I think we all know where I stand on magic.

    What astounds me about homeopathy is that the Very Special Ingredient – be it ground-up bees, wolf milk or plant leaves, is, by order of the founder of homeopathy, Dr Hahnemann, diluted over and over again: the weaker the solution, the stronger the remedy, he believed. So the mother tincture is dissolved in nine parts water. Then after a shake, one part of the first dilution is mixed with nine parts water again. This happens again and again, only being administered to a patient once it’s been diluted hundreds of times.

    Homeopathy Bullshit

    Homeopathic strengths of 300 are common. The original substance has been diluted by a total factor of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    That’s a lot of noughts.

    “The chances are one in a billion billion billion billion. That’s pretty god-damn slim to none.”

    In fact, it’s more noughts than there were molecules in the mother tincture, so basically, there are not enough molecules to go around and the chances of the solution you are given actually having any of the thing you are paying for in it, are slim to none. According to the book I’m thumbing like a bible, the chances are in fact one in a billion billion billion billion. That’s pretty god-damn slim to none.

    It’s water. The NHS is building buildings to house doctors who give out water. In fancy jars and sugar pills.

    One might argue that homeopathy works thanks to the placebo effect. The placebo effect is one of the most interesting concepts in medicine, but it’s certainly no reason to fund a bunch of charlatans spunking good money up the wall.

    Homeopaths will of course argue about memory. The water remembers the original tincture, see. But, as is beautifully put across in the following clip, does the water not remember all the other stuff it’s visited by along the way, like poo and wee?

    I love that poem. Tim Minchin has succinctly said exactly what I’d have said, if only I had the articulation and recall.

    I’ll have to make do with saying ‘I don’t think that’s quite right,’ then scurrying home to check my facts, before writing a piece about how I WAS RIGHT.

    So, dear, clever friend of mine. I beg of you, don’t waste your time on homeopathy. Choose cold, hard scientific facts instead. Because the only way you’re going to get results from homeopathy is thanks to the placebo effect, which only works when you don’t know it is a placebo. And now you do.
    Homeopathy dilution

COMMENTS

20 Responses to HOMEO-NO-PATHY

  • Tammi wrote on May 11, 2013 at 8:47 //

    Type “BBC Horizon homeopathy” into Youtube. I can’t post actual link here, it won’t let me.

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 13, 2013 at 9:50 //

    “One might argue that homeopathy works thanks to the placebo effect.”

    You can’t argue it, it’s a known and proven fact that it works through the placebo effect – it’s probably the only clear result that comes out of studies. Homeopathy has no grounding in modern medicine or science (acupuncture does but for very specific problems) but having read Ben Goldacre’s latest book (that talk we went to) I’ve lost quite a lot of faith in science and medicine. There are plenty of drugs that are licensed that only work marginally better than nothing at all (that’s the current legislation – as long as a drug is better than nothing at all than it can be deemed successful). That’s not even better than a placebo in some cases. But it’s OK because it makes massive rich companies even more massive and rich (who spend lots of money lobbying Governments, sending doctors on ‘seminars’ in 5* hotels in hot countries…)

    The fact that homeopathy is funded by the tax payer is, I think, a beautiful aspect of democracy. We don’t pay taxes to directly benefit ourselves, the pounds are let loose into the wild where they flitter away to benefit society as a whole. Some spending grates on us – I’m more angry at the fact that First Group (who run First Bus in Bristol) share a pot of over £200m of Government subsidy and then turn over a huge profit (First Group made over £400m in profit before taxes last year). The cost to the tax payer in 2011 for homeopathic prescriptions was £122,000 and the cost in running four homeopathic centres was £4m. To put that into context George Galloway MP claimed £136,000 in expenses in 07/08 and MPs as a whole claimed £3.2m in the first two months of 2011. If we have a choice where our tax goes I’d rather cut MPs expenses and the subsidies to companies who already make a big profit before considering cutting treatments of patients – irrespective of the scientific evidence behind it.

    But back to homeopathy itself. I think it’s completely immoral for practitioners to claim cures when there is no evidence to suggest that homeopathy itself can cure anything. Yes the placebo effect is very powerful but to prey (and profit) on the fears of those who are terminally or critically ill is wrong in every way imaginable. I’ve seen adverts, albeit second hand on the internet, of homeopathic cures for cancer, HIV and paralysis. Many of those people will literally try anything (and spend anything) in the slim hope it will save their lives and there are companies that know this and cynically exploit it.

    But this isn’t a situation reserved just for homeopathy, large pharmaceutical companies will routinely alter test results (through ignoring bad data, changing the abstract, cutting research short) in order to make a drug seem better than it is – again that Ben Goldacre book.

    Where’s the difference? People have suffered and died because of conventional medicine that wasn’t fit for purpose – medicine that is backed by traditional science. Or they’ve been given a medicine that is less effective than a better treatment simply due to lobbying, peer pressure or incomplete studies. Medicine that was paid for by tax payers, prescribed by doctors who are paid for by tax payers by pharmaceutical companies who receive millions in Government grants (it’s really hard to get an exact figure as they don’t really want people knowing how many millions they get in order to sell drugs back to the tax payer).

    I completely agree that science should be used to test and prove/disprove theories but this is a on going task that, in reality, will never end. After all ‘science’ believed that the world was flat, that the world was the centre of the universe, that the liver pumped blood around the body, that the atom was the smallest particle in the universe… all of which have been disproven by scientific advancement. Who’s to say that once we develop the tools to test the plausibility of string theory (which is widely regarded in the physics community as existing – not that we can see or measure any part of it) and we have a grand unifying theory there isn’t some aspect of it, at a sub-atomic level, that transfers to homeopathy?

    Personally I don’t believe that homeopathy works (which would probably negate the placebo effect if I tried it) and I wouldn’t spend my money on it. But if I was lying in a bed dying of cancer and it was my last option of life I’d probably pray to all those Gods I don’t believe in in the faintest hope it’d save me.

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 13, 2013 at 11:09 //

    I think we are basically singing from the same hymn sheet (which is weird as atheists) but there’s a couple of points I’m not so sure about.

    “The fact that homeopathy is funded by the tax payer is, I think, a beautiful aspect of democracy. We don’t pay taxes to directly benefit ourselves, the pounds are let loose into the wild where they flitter away to benefit society as a whole.”

    I agree, taxes should be used to benefit society as a whole which is exactly why it shouldn’t be used to fund homoeopathy, animal sacrifices, fire dances or anything else that has been proven to have no benefit to an individuals suffering. I don’t have kids but I’m happy for my taxes to be used to build schools for other people’s children, or cover over pot holes on roads I never drive on as I’m all for benefiting others in society.

    Plenty of examples of Big Pharma acting in their own financial interests but is that a good reason to publicly fund other discredited ‘treatments’? Where does that train stop?  I don’t agree with the argument: ‘well if you waste money on this than why not waste money on this’, which one often sees tied to NHS/Homoeopathy discussions.

    If the existence of string theory goes on to prove that wolf’s milk diluted to the point of non-existence can cure dementia or any other disease of the brain, I’ll eat my hat….

  • Lucy R wrote on May 13, 2013 at 4:44 //

    Adam, why are you not a writer?

    Me? Well, I’m just going continue to be thankful for people’s perceived positive reactions (in a medical sense) to ‘alternative’ therapies, placebo effect or otherwise.

    It would be interesting to hear what NHS doctors-turned-homeopaths (there are many) have to say on the issue…

    Thought provoking indeed! Now where are my chia seeds… ;)

  • Gazzy Jones wrote on May 13, 2013 at 7:04 //

    ‘Trick or Treatment’ is a fantastic read and should be put on the National Curriculum, it’s chapter on acupuncture is particularly brilliant.

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 14, 2013 at 9:24 //

    I think there needs to be a defined line between homeopathy as a medicine and homeopathy as a treatment programme. If we’re talking about the former then you’re right, there shouldn’t be funding into something that has been widely disproved. But if you’re looking at homeopathy as a treatment programme (or part of a treatment programme) then it has some merit purely down to the placebo effect. The primary objective of the NHS is to treat people and if there’s a slim chance that through homeopathy (i.e. the placebo) a patient can be treated, or at least have a better standard of life, then it has merit. Because of that funding for homeopathy can be justified.

    I’d also wager that homeopathy is only offered through the NHS in one of two situations; if traditional medicine has had no effect (especially on chronic conditions) or if a patient is completely committed, to the point of refusal of traditional medicines. (If we’re talking private health care then, to be quite frank, I really don’t care what people spend their money on and it’s their own choice).

    I don’t want to keep going on about numbers but from a purely financial point of view homeopathy eats up (or should that be dilutes) 0.004% of the annual budget of the NHS. It’s estimated that negligence and employment claims will cost the NHS £15bn (15% of the budget) for 2012. Hypochondria is estimated to cost the NHS £2bn a year.

    As you’ve said we’re both singing from the same non-religious hymn sheet in our knowledge that homeopathy, as a medicine, does not work. I think we differ in that I believe it has merit due to the placebo effect (in fact homeopathy provides an excellent base for research into the placebo effect purely because we know the medicine has no active ingredients).

    But overall I think it has a place purely because some people do believe it and I think we should have the choice to follow our beliefs (in fact most studies reveal that overwhelmingly patients are referred to homeopathic centres because of patient requests, not doctor referrals). One doctor speaking at a BMA debate on homeopathy said that it should continue to receive NHS funding and allow patients access to centres because “it’s a great relief to me that they do because, frankly, I’ve got nothing else to offer them. I am completely stuck while they have found a place where they are getting better and if we remove NHS funding I don’t know what I’m going to do with them”.

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 14, 2013 at 9:27 //

    I’m buying it and if it’s anything less than a fantastic read I’ll be acupunturing your face.

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 14, 2013 at 4:31 //

    I’m not sure what the difference between medicine and a treatment programme is but I agree that the primary objective of the NHS should be to treat people.  Treating people with something known to be no better than a placebo is not effective nor an efficient way to spend as an already strained NHS budget. The fact that negligence claims cost the NHS £15bn annually is surely not a reason to publicly fund homeopathy.

    Yes some people believe in the power of homoeopathy and some people believe in the power of magic crystals, which like homoeopathy has no scientific evidence base to support its use. Should the National Health Service fund magic crystals or magnet therapy or Feng Shui or anything else with zero scientific evidence behind it? I’m all for people having the choice to follow their beliefs but can’t agree with you that the NHS should have to fund those choices. It makes a mockery of the whole system. If people want to spend their money on something that has a mountain of evidence suggesting it simply doesn’t work then they of course should, but the publicly funded NHS should not have to spend it’s already scarce resources on this treatment, regardless of the relative proportion of that cost to it’s annual budget.

    It looks as if NHS funding for homeopathy is dying out anyway so my whole massive tireless campaign may have been in vain.  Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital closed in 2008. The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital went in 2010
    and our great city of Bristol’s Homeopathic Hospital is being downgraded and moving sites due a rapid decline in service usage. You are welcome people of Bristol.

  • Nikki wrote on May 16, 2013 at 10:06 //

    Hey Kim!

    I’m so glad to have met you at the Cosmopolitan event, your blog is keeping me highly entertained!

    A few years I worked for this company and was lucky enough to share a desk with these twins who would start each day by setting out their crystals in neat little rows along their work-spaces. Occasionally I’d catch them out of the corner of my eye, holding a crystal to their chest and rocking back and forth while chanting unfathomable things. They often bitched about hospitals and decided that they would cure their children purely through the use of crystals. I only hope they’re all still alive..

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 16, 2013 at 10:41 //

    Why thank you Nikki, lovely to meet you too. Left in a bit of a daze and didn’t say goodbye, sorry.

    Goodness me! That is in equal parts hilarious and sad. I only hope they didn’t have children! x

  • Lucy R wrote on May 19, 2013 at 5:16 //

    I have a little question: what about people who’ve tried everything that conventional medicine has to offer, from GPs, through consultants/specialists and so on, and nothing has worked? If they can’t afford to seek private help (be that from more private consultants or indeed alternative therapies), what do they do then?

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 20, 2013 at 8:12 //

    If you begin from a point of accepting that homeopathy is a placebo then perhaps a better use of NHS resources would be a campaign that helps make people aware of how important one’s own attitude is and find ways to give individuals the support needed to create a positive mental outlook.  At least this way there’s no moral issue in prescribing patients placebos. This article has certainly divided opinion and got people talking. Next week, can white people dance?

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 20, 2013 at 9:06 //

    No I don’t think that the cost of negligence in the NHS should be a reason to fund homeopathy – but I do think if you’re going to talk about the cost of the treatment to the NHS then people should be aware of other costs so they can put it into perspective. Saying homeopathy costs taxpayers ‘millions’ sounds terrible with no context.

    To use a better analogy; the NHS spends anywhere between £2.7bn and £5bn a year treating patients whose conditions are caused by smoking. Smoking has been widely proven to cause lung cancer, heart disease, lung disease and a whole heap of other conditions that will all require healthcare. If I could, right now, choose to eradicate smoking or homeopathy I’d go for the former every single time.
    Smoking is something people take up out of their own free will purely for pleasure. They know from the outset that it can, and under prolonged use probably will, kill you – it states it in massive bold letters on the box. They choose to use a substance that has been proven by the scientific and medical community to cause you substantial harm and place your life at risk. Millions of people die every year because of smoking – and lets be clear they die in pretty horrible ways after months of pain. The only ‘benefit’ to smoking is when you’ve become so addicted that a cigarette quells the addiction pangs. You and I pay for those people who choose to kill themselves slowly (and expensively) to receive the best treatment the NHS can give them. Money has to be diverted away from hiring staff and treating other patients thanks to people who choose to smoke.

    Homeopathy is, in some cases, a last resort for people who have chronic illnesses or conditions who have tried conventional medicine and treatments without seeing an improvement. And in some cases the homeopathy ‘works’ in that they experience an improvement in their quality of life. I’ve been careful in choosing my words here, ‘experience’ and ‘quality of life’ are key. Bear in mind that all their previous treatments, traditional conventional treatments, costs the NHS money. Removing them from this costly cycle has many benefits – it reduces appointments with GPs and specialists, it cuts drug purchases and, in cases of those who are on long term sick, could mean enough of a benefit that they return to work (and return to paying taxes). There are examples of this happening where GPs, who are against homeopathy, are happy that a patient requested a referral simply because they have tried all conventional methods and it frees them up to treat other patients.

    Of course I wouldn’t advocate using homeopathy instead of cancer treatment, vaccinations or as primary medical healthcare. But in some cases of chronic conditions, where all conventional methods have failed to improve a person’s life, the fact that the placebo effect could help, be it through homeopathy or another alternative medical treatment, might give it some slim merit.

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 20, 2013 at 9:35 //

    I fear we are re-hashing the same points here so please see my response to Lucy’s latest post as it covers the same ground.

    Just to clarify, I also think it’s bad that smokers drain a substantial proportion of the NHS budget but again I’m not sure that this is a reason to defend the public funding of homeopathy.

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 20, 2013 at 10:05 //

    Your response didn’t answer Lucy’s question (or mine, which was very similar).

    What if a patient has tried all available conventional medicine and their GP is now saying there’s nothing left they can offer them. Now the patient asks if they can be referred to the NHS homeopathic centre because they read it might help (and they can’t afford private healthcare). The doctor will, in all likelihood, explain that homeopathy has no grounds in science and offers no benefit. The patient agrees but states that they’ve got nothing left to try (or lose) and they’d like to be referred. As I’ve already mentioned twice before there are examples of this given by practicing GPs at conferences debating whether homeopathy should receive public funding.

    And why should they be refused treatment but someone who has smoked all their life and now needs oxygen, a wheelchair and a carer (all paid for by the NHS) because of their smoking be funded by public money?

  • Kimberley Willis wrote on May 20, 2013 at 11:30 //

    I agree – the smoker should just be put down.

    In answer to your scenario where nothing has worked and the patient is requesting a homeopathy referral.  Surely any placebo effect should be negated by the doctors explanation of the treatment’s ineffectiveness not to mention any research the patient might care to do. The point I was trying to make is – in ailments where homeopathy can be of any benefit so too will positive thinking which is cheaper and doesn’t have any of the moral implications associated with prescribing it. Why not spend the homeopathy budget on a campaign highlighting the healing effects of positive thinking? After-all that is how the placebo effect (and homeopathy) works.  It’s a win win and it’s all encompassing, which homeopathy isn’t.

    If you believe that the NHS should fund treatments on merit of their placebo effect then shouldn’t the NHS fund all placebo based treatments? Where would that gravy train stop? Imagine some of the other wacky alternative therapies that have an equal right to be funded.

    The smoking thing is of course unfair to non-smoking tax payers, but two wrongs do not make a right. Society shouldn’t let one bad thing occur just because another bad thing already occurs, surely? Hate the system not the science, man. (Yeah I just came up with that.)

    I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • Smokin' Jake B wrote on May 20, 2013 at 8:49 //

    If we take the upper estimate mentioned, of £5bn cost to the NHS for the treatment of smoking related disease, then we see it is barely more than half of the £9.5bn collected by the government in tobacco excise (2011-12).  If you add the VAT on you get to £12.1bn.  So let’s not kid ourselves that tax-paying non-smokers are somehow funding those tax-dodging evil fag-snafflers.  We should be thanking smokers for their public contribution – they’re the one’s paying for your Granny’s hip replacement.  Possibly not a very trendy argument, but next time you’re at the doc’s picking up a little something for your migraine then spare a word of thanks for the bloke standing outside hacking up bloody phlegm onto the pavement – look at what he’s putting himself through for his fellow man!

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 21, 2013 at 9:13 //

    I think there are a few more considerations when we’re dealing with smoking. Yes you’re correct, the excise on tobacco does raise more than it costs the NHS. But money spent on tobacco is not magic money that can’t be spent elsewhere. If people stopped buying cigarettes from tomorrow that money would still be spent or invested which would still raise funds through taxation. Plus as a nice side effect we’d also reduce new cases of cancer and heart disease.

    The figure of £5bn is seen by some to be underestimate of the cost to the NHS. I can’t imagine it’d be much higher (i.e. it won’t negate the net financial benefit) but it might close the gap. But there are other figures to consider here other than the direct cost to the NHS. Smoking is estimated to cost UK businesses £2.9bn a year in lost productivity through smoking breaks (this would include smoking nurses and doctors in the NHS) and a further £2.5bn in absenteeism because of smoking related illnesses (again affecting the NHS). It costs £340m a year to clean up cigarette butts, £500m to tackle fires started by smoking and the cost of passive smoking is around £700m. Added to the direct cost to the NHS the total we’re now at is nearly £12bn (and still working on the assumption the direct cost to the NHS is £5bn).

    We also need to consider that staff in the NHS who are treating smoking related illnesses are no longer free to treat and care for other patients. In the light of most reports stating that the NHS is already stretched beyond capacity the extra workload means staff are spread too thinly to offer the full care needed by patients. So when Granny’s hip replacement is delayed because the consultant is too busy it could possibly be because they’re busy operating on a patient with issues related to smoking.

  • Adam 'Wildman' Gasson wrote on May 21, 2013 at 9:57 //

    The placebo effect is more complex than merely telling someone a treatment will or won’t work. The application of the treatment is very important, which is why acupuncture and chiropractic appear to be more effective (after all if someone sticks a needle in you or cracks your spine it must be doing *something* surely). It’s also why positive thinking is likely to have less of a placebo effect. Likewise the surroundings and treatment from the practitioner are relevant – if you get 10 minutes in a small office with a GP who is at the end of the day and a bit tired compared to an hour with a homeopath who’s in a lovely light office it’ll make a difference.

    To assume that patients are well read and aware of medical studies is probably the opposite of the truth. Most patients will blindly follow the advice given to them. They may well believe the doctor when they’re told homeopathy cannot work but they read something on the MailOnline on the way to the homeopathic clinic that exposed a medical scare involving conventional drugs and, further down, Gwyneth Paltrow has advocated the use of alternative medicine. Celebrities have powerful influences, after all Gwyneth is attractive and successful who is always smiling whereas the GP is middle-aged, grumpy and no David Hasslehoff.

    A lot of the above can be applied across alternative therapies. Positive thinking is not an alternative therapy so you’d struggle to get a response. If the GP sits there and tells you to think positively but then tells you it’ll make no difference then, chances are, it won’t do a single thing. The placebo effect with homeopathy works because you take something, be it a spray, tablet or rub, and you visit a clinic for diagnosis. It makes people believe irrespective of what a GP has told them – we’re assuming a base level of belief here; if a GP suggested homeopathy to you or I our knowledge on the subject would negate the placebo.

    Homeopathy has been on the NHS since 1948 and we can only assume it’s stayed there because of some level of public demand. If the demand falls, as it is at the moment, then the service will be cut. If demand was great enough for crystal healing, so if 10 million people demanded it on the NHS, the government would probably have to fund it (or at least consider it). But that’s democracy in action – I’ll leave that subject to your next blog ;)

  • Gazzy Jones wrote on May 21, 2013 at 1:06 //

    I’m having the last word on this argument.

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