Baby-Spinning – The Homeopathic Way


Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything homeopathy CAN’T do. I mean, we all know it’s great for curing colds. And we all know it can cure back aches. And we all know it can help boost the immune system. And we all know it can help increase your energy. And we all know it can build your vitality. And we all know it’s a great alternative to vaccines. And we all know it can get rid of monsters under the bed. Those things are the obvious benefits to using tiny drops of substances diluted into levels equivalent to a body of water greater than the known universe while at every stage being tapped against a Bible.  Despite it’s zero science, zero plausibility and zero active ingredients. Despite it’s pre-scientific belief in the causes of illness and disease, and it’s like-cures-like nonsense.

We all know homeopathy can do all that, tell us something new!

Well, just when you thought you knew the limitations of homeopathy (Avogadro’s number, for example) there it goes and surprises you all over again. Because those little sugar-pill drops of magic and nothingness can also help un-breech your foetus, according to Canadian homeopath Piper Martin, who features the following claim on her website:

Directions for Turning a Breech Baby

Pulsatilla is a homeopathic remedy made from the Windflower. I have had a high success rate of using this remedy to turn babies in the breech position within a 24-hour time period.

Now, for the non-foetus-savvy of you who can’t be bothered with the three or four clicks it would take to Wikipedia it, a baby is breech when the it’s upside down in the womb – rather than being born head first, breech births involve the child emerging feet first. Although relatively common at many stages of the pregnancy, obviously a breeched baby presents a real risk during labour, so it’s best to be avoided where possible. There are ways of turning a breech baby non-homeopathically, of course – a technique called external cephalic version (ECV), for example, involves no Pulsatilla and no diluted water, it turns out.

So, how can homeopathy help? Piper Martin offers:

Homeopathy works with the body, reminding your body and the baby’s body that the easiest way to be born is to be in an anterior, vertex position. The remedy reminds your body of this information and if it is possible to turn, the babies turn.

Obviously – the magic water, infused with the memory of tiny drops of extract from the pulsatilla plant that have long since been diluted away, reminds the baby how to be born. Which implies that the babies had prior knowledge of how to be born, that they’d somehow forgotten? Who could blame them – with all the cell division they’ve had to do since conception, and all the development of organs, limbs and a brain, it’s easy to see how they might have forgotten a little detail like birthing plans! Presumably the babies who aren’t born breech wrote the directions out of the womb on the back of their hand. Or maybe they made up a little song to remind themselves how to do it, like the way people remember how to spell Mississippi. ‘Lead with the feet – no midwife ye’ll meet; lead with the crown – ye’ll easily slip down!’ Ah, those babies and their earthy, folksy wisdom.

Interestingly, Piper describes herself on her site as a proponent of ‘classical homeopathy’. As opposed to that crazy, cutting edge, avant garde modern homeopathy – where they believe in water having memory, that like cures like, that substances need to be succussed to activate them and that the more you dilute something, the stronger it gets… but they believe all that while wearing shiny silver outfits and carrying lasers. Or something.

As it turns out, Piper has quite a big market to aim for, given that until about 32 weeks into a pregnancy about 18% lie breech, but by the time you are 37 weeks pregnant the number is down to about 4%. On top of that, however, is the fact that many breech babies spontaneously turn around before, or even during, labour without any assistance (diluted and magical or otherwise). Which must really wreak havoc with her figures – how on earth can she tell which babies turned around due to normal probability, and which ones turned around due to her magical water reminding the baby the best way to be born? I wouldn’t want to be the one conducting her double-blind, randomly-controlled trials with those kind of complicating factors to play with! I’m just kidding, of course – she doesn’t do those trials, she’s a homeopath.

Hedging her bets, Piper offers expectant couples who shell out their cash on her services a cautionary piece of advice:

If there is a physical reason that the baby is breech – i.e.: cord, placenta etc. then the baby will not turn. The remedy cannot physically override your body.

This, I agree with – the remedy can’t physically override your body. It can’t physically override anything, at all. It can’t even metaphorically override anything, for that matter, save for perhaps helping with the mother’s thirst or dry skin…

Apparently, for the magic to work you need to buy a vial of Pulsatilla (also known as Pasque flower) 200C (also known as just water) from your local health food store. Piper offers us her advice on how to handle the special magic pills:

Take two pellets of the remedy. Try to avoid touching the pellets, ensure that your hands are clean if the remedy must be handled.

Of course – you wouldn’t want to mis-handle the magic tablets, you might make the water forget what it was trying to remember. After all, homeopathy works on the water having memory – handling the tablets without washing your hands first is like shouting out random numbers when you see someone trying to remember a mobile number while they try and find a pen.

Two pellets is a single dose, this is all that is needed. You may have some extra pellets; just store them in a dry place away from strong perfumes or direct sunlight.

This I particularly like – two magic tablets is enough to turn your breech baby. But don’t just dispense of the rest of the bottle of woo you purchased – keep them for the next time you have a breech baby… Actually, if like is meant to cure like, and heavily- (not to mention implausibly- and comically-) diluted pulsatilla extract is meant to un-breech your bun in the oven, presumably if a pregnant woman was to eat a whole flower, undiluted, her unborn would instantly rotate? If that’s the case, we should find some way to harness that rotational power – it could be the next wind power! Simply hook up a small dynamo to your little one and alternate between whole flower and magic flower tablet – thus spinning your foetus, in turn working the dynamo and producing a new energy source based only on the biomass of pulsatilla flowers. Consider that one patented.

Piper operates out of the Foster Family Chiropractic clinic in Ontario. Of course there’s chiropractic involved here – where there’s bogus quackery, chiropractic is never far behind.

So, what’s the harm in homeopathic baby spinning? Well Piper’s fee is $125.00 per hour – which is a lot for an expectant family to be shelling out on quackery. Especially when, as her website tells us, charges are assessed depending on the length of the consult. New adult patients require a 2 hour consult, new child patients require a 1.5 hour consult. I’m not sure if that then means that an expectant mother is a 1.75 hour consult or a 3.5 hour consult – I suppose it depends on when the homeopath believe life really begins. And where their wallet is concerned, we can probably hazard a guess…

In terms of other harms, there’s nothing directly medically dangerous about a homeopathic breech cure – after all, if a baby’s still breech prior to labour, real medicine has ways of dealing with that. The real harm is in entrusting the care of your baby to a homeopath – if someone takes this particular flower water and their baby then turns (by normal probability, which is quite high after all) the parents might see this as a vindication of the effectiveness of homeopathy, and so return to the homeopath in the future – when the stakes are much, much higher. It only takes one family to trust their homeopath enough to take a homeopathic vaccine over the real, effective medicine, and their child then catch something otherwise preventable. Fake medicine kills.

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  1. #1 by Allan on November 27, 2009 - 17:03

    http://bestdocumentaries.blogspot.com/2009/11/homeopathy-test.html

    Oh looksee! A scientifically controlled experiment to prove that water banged against a bible is… still just water!

    Dammit… I gave the ending away.

  2. #2 by Stu on November 30, 2009 - 17:14

    I would have added the word ‘allegedly’ at the end of that blog! Remember Simon Singh?

    It is allegedly true that quackery and the fakes do kill people – we should all bear in mind that couple in America who allowed their daughter to die because they believed in the power of prayer!

    We should start to be a bit more vocal about the dangers posed by people like these. Why won’t someone start a petition at 10 Downing Street calling for more double blind research into ‘complementaries’ and pseudo medicines. Sorry, I forgot part of the royal family swear by them! Silly me!

    Do I hold the record for the most exclamation marks in a post!?

  3. #3 by Michael on November 30, 2009 - 21:16

    No! You Don’t! I think its a draw! So far anyway!
    Look there is nothing wrong in saying that the ” ‘CLAIMS’ of homeopathy don’t stand up to scientific testing” Because they just don’t! There have been hundreds of double blind tests using homeopathic remedies (I will never refer to them as medicine!) against a placebo and every one of them fails to show any significance (some do slightly better than placebo some do slightly worse than placebo). So what if the Royals use it (remember they are no different to a family of in-breeds from Arkansas, because they are all interbred, they marry their first cousins). Here is my story if anyone wants to read it.
    One day I went to Chorley Hostipal for the results of my MRI scan and any follow up treatment. The consultant told me that physiotherapy was probably the best bet as surgery could be too dangerous (neck pain). So I saw the physiotherapist. She took a lot of details from me. She then asked me if I had ever had acupuncture for pain relief? I was a bit gob-smacked. This was an NHS hospital and a seriously trained heath worker asking me this ridiculous question. Quickly I responded with the ‘bacon treatment’, were I told the lady that I had rubbed a piece of bacon on the site of the pain, took the bacon to the bottom of the garden, waited, watched a seagull come down, take the bacon, and flew away with it- therefore taking the pain with it! She gave me a stare that she wished had laser-beams coming out of her pupils so she could cut my head off! She was not happy at all. She then made the stupid mistake of trying to convince me that acupuncture worked. I asked for the ‘peer reviewed’ publications showing the efficacy of her claim. She typed stuff on her PC and showed me the ‘scientific’ publications. I told her that the Journal of Acupuncture Monthly incorporating Bella! was not a scientific journal. She protested and was furiously trying to find a proper scientific study. While she was doing this I informed her of the recent publication of the German meta-analysis on acupuncture which showed no efficacy whatsoever, and that the study involved thousands of subjects. She gave up her search but insisted that they were ‘somewhere’. I suggested The Lancet. She sniggered and told me that “You can’t believe anything you read in that!” So I left her my e-mail address so she could forward these papers to me. That was 18 months ago. I am still waiting. But alas not the end of the story. I was later billeted at Southport & Formby Hostipal, which is just around the corner, for physiotherapy. I saw a really nice ‘younger’ lady called Helen. She was to be my physiotherapist (rather!). Again she asked me lots of questions, weighed me, took my stooped height. And made me undress, for no apparent reason, but winked at me. She then lay her healing jangly bits against my naked flesh (her hands on my neck, I was just trying to sex-up my dossier) and asked me whether I had tried acupuncture ?! I gave her the ‘bacon routine’. She snorted and said “Your one of those then, are you?” I said “One of what?!” She said “Someone who only believes things that can be proved scientifically?” This was not an odd thing for her to say as she had asked my occupation for which I replied “Nuclear Physicist” (it always impresses the ladies). Two odd things were revealed by this quick conversation. She KNEW that acupuncture only worked as well as placebo, and she wasn’t going to defend it or suggest I try it. But is this the norm. That professional health care workers are obliged to ask if you use fake health products and services?
    The one from Chorley WAS a member of the British Acupuncture Clan (or whatever they are known as). That is probably why she referred me to Southport, as I upset her slightly by saying here side-line profession was ‘made-up’ crap!
    I understand why I have been banned from the local supermarkets but I think that was a bit heavy-handed to get me ‘sent down’ from Chorley NHS trust!

    Sorry Stu, I think I get the big prize now! (just to make sure!)

  4. #4 by Stu on December 3, 2009 - 17:15

    OKOK!!! But wait for the next psychic blog and look out for my post then. I might not beat the record for punctuation but the number of expletives will beat anyone!!!!!

  5. #5 by Andy MacGrath on February 8, 2010 - 07:40

    THis is a classic example of begging a question. It doesn’t matter what Peter Fisher says, since the entire idea of homeopathy is a load of tosh anyway. The term “professional homeopath” is an oxymoron.

  6. #6 by Em on April 28, 2020 - 19:29

    Bit late to the party here, but I had a breech and was terrified of the section I was supposed to have. Foot first they only section, a bum first breech can be delivered vaginally. At 38/39 weeks the medics tell you there’s nothing you can do, which leaves you feeling helpless (unless you want a section). I therefore tried every quack remedy possible. I took pulsatilla before seeing a special pregnancy chiropractor. Half an hour after leaving I watched the baby spin around in front of my eyes. The probability it would move at all at that stage was 1% I was told by the consultant. It cost me about £90 in total. Probably saved the NHS a few grand on the c section. I can’t prove anything of course but I wouldn’t be so quick to write it off, particularly the chiropractor. If you’re uncomfortable with the prospect of a c section it does help to feel that you’re trying to do a few things to help your situation.

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