Homeopathic Feedback: The Other Kind

Recently, in the run up to the big 10:23 Campaign D-day, I’ve been publishing some of the hilarious hate mail we’ve been getting – something I really love to do. But hate mail’s not the only type we get, even from homeopaths, and I thought I’d share with you an email which I found quite intriguing and interesting, and my response. As he’s not wishing me a burning anus, death or anything like that, I’ve held back his name (it’s easy to Google if you HAVE to, but there’s really genuinely no need to). See, I can be nice.

Dear Sir ,

This is Dr A— G—- trying to communicate to you from Nasik, Maharashtra State, India. I am MD(Homoeopathy). Practicing Classical Homoeopathy for last 20 years at Nasik. I am also working as a Professor and Head Of The Department of Homoeopathic Materia Medica in Maharashtra university of Medical Sciences Nasik.

I am really surprised and shocked the way you “Intelligent” people propagate utter nonsense about this great science without really understanding a word about it, never ever bothering even to find out whether it really works or not, Even good people like James Randi who have done great work in exposing some wrong doings of people, and who really earned my personal admiration and respect after exposing the “Astrologers”,” Numerologists”, Psychics, faith healers and many more other “Magic people” He also would, unfortunately, put Homoeopathy in the same basket.

His entire argument is based upon the potentisation of Homoeopathic remedies and the dilutions created thereof. Despite all these propaganda, and in my personal independent observation I have found that Homoeopathy really works and truly cures many so called “incurable” diseases that even todays “Modern Medicine” cannot dream with such a huge stock of Gadgets,and resources available to their disposal.

All those who talk nonsense about this science , I have discovered for myself, are totally unaware of the principles that guides it and do not want to understand it either.

I believe we are not bad people , neither we fall in the category of Quacks, in fact we are doing our bit to help the suffering mankind in our own way at an unbelievably low cost of treatment. I have in my own way compiled and video graphed many such “Incurable” cases that amply demonstrate the effectiveness of Homoeopathy. Many of my Homeopathic practitioner friends have demonstrated through video graphed cases about the kind of cures that this system can achieve.

I, myself, am prepared to share my experience with anyone who seriously wants to know as to how it works. I,therefore, want to request any one who want to criticize this great science to see for his/her own self its effectiveness before one indulges in a vicious propaganda on a half hear ted knowledge of this science.

I hope you shall respond to me positively and understand Homoeopathy before you pass on any judgment on it.

Very Sincerely
Dr A—- G——
Nasik, Maharashtra India.

And my response:

Dear A—

Thanks for getting in touch, I’m really happy to hear from you. You sound like a very sensible, intelligent person – it’s surprisingly rare that I get contacted by a homeopath who is against things like psychics, astrology, chiropractic, acupuncture and the like. It’s alarming how many so readily accept anything which goes against the ‘scientism’ they see as their enemy, as if the enemy of their enemy is their friend. So I commend you on this.

In the case of homeopathy, having examined the issue in great deal and having spoken with many people who have dedicated their lives to the study of it (from both a practitioner and a scientist point of view), the conclusion is regrettably robust that homeopathic products have no benefits above that which could be explained through other elements of the intervention than the pills/tinctures themselves. The modern understanding of the complexity of treatment shows that spending time with a sympathetic practitioner who is willing to take time to listen, who goes into such depths and really seems to care – these are all effective elements of a placebo effect. It’s these areas that I firmly believe doctors can pick up tips from alternative medicine practitioners (at least, the honest ones). However, the homeopathic pills themselves do not add to this – when studies have been done with the remedies switched for sugar pills at the very last minute, after the rest of the consultation, the improvements are still present. When a patient is told they’re taking homeopathy, when in fact they’re not, they improve just as if they did take homeopathy. This shows the homeopathic pills are not the intervention with the effect.

To clarify my point and to agree with you in some degree – I absolutely do not think all homeopaths are quacks, or bad people. Many just want to be able to help, to heal, and to offer support – these are all wonderful sentiments. But that desire to help would be better served with interventions that do work, I feel. I would love for so many private homeopaths to go into nursing, medicine, care and other areas where their will to benefit people can be coupled with the tools to help them do so – at the moment their own practices are undermined by the blunt knife that homeopathy effectively is.

I hope this has clarified our position somewhat, and I genuinely thank you for getting in touch with what has been the kindest response I’ve received, in a sea of very aggressive emails.

All the best

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  1. #1 by Vicky on February 1, 2011 - 11:05

    That’s an excellent example of how discussions like this should be conducted, without the tedious name-calling and accusations (from both sides) of actively wanting to wipe out half of humanity for profit. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. #2 by Konrad with a K on February 2, 2011 - 00:43

    Good response, Marsh. I wonder, however, if the Doctor incorporates herbal remedies into his homeopathic practice thus perhaps lending a bit of undue credibility (at least in his mind).

    The crossover between homeopathy and herbalism is signifigant; a fact that you guys have pointed out numerous occations. As to the efficacy of herbalism I cannot say as I’ve not searched for any test results on the matter. I think it’s worthwhile to also point out that whereas homeopathy as a whole can be logically shown to be utter nonsense (as with an application of moles law for example), medicinal herbal products would need to be tested on a product-by-product basis. I would assume that some are utterly useless while others may have a provable degree of efficacy to them.

    I have engaged in a couple of debates with my girlfriend with her (to my dismay) defending homeopathy. While debating with me the other day she claimed to have had success with a product containing belladonna. Bingo! I suddenly realised that I had been debating someone who had fallen prey to the homeopathy/herbalism fallacy.

    I was able to quickly point out the fallacy to her. I admitted that I was unable to comment on the product that she had claimed to have acheived success with, but I was able to separate the two modalities for her. Once I had done so, and was then able to gain a willingness on her part to listen to my explanation of homeopathy, she was able to use her (normally quite substantial) critical thinking skills. She asked a few questions to make sure she was understanding exactly what I was saying to her and finally came to the proper and correct conclusion; homeopathy is a joke. Whew! Another one for the team!

    She continued, however, to defend her use of herbal medicines to which I replied that a) I had no coment for the reasons that I explained earlier in this post and b) merely suggested that she perhaps do some research on the particular products she is using; especially the ones she gives to her children. Fortunately she already understands the difference between a peer-reviewed study and an article based only on anecdotes.

    My motivation for typing this rather lengthy post was to tell my story in order to ask that the MSS continue to point out the difference between homeopathy and herbalism. Yes, I know you do so all the time and you are probably sick of having to constantly say it. But I think it’s very important to explain the distinction between the two things each and every time you guys discuss it on the podcast. I do not feel that I would be exaggerating if I were to say that I belive that every homeopath incorporates herbal medicine into their practice in one way or another.

    This clearly would muddle the issue for those not aware of the distinction. We might lose the attention of many people who would otherwise listen to and agree with our critique of homeopathy; as I almost did with my girlfriend.

    Thank you and keep up the great work,
    Konrad with a K
    Florida, USA

  3. #3 by Pedro Homero on February 3, 2011 - 19:54

    Oh, Marsh, what I would do to have such kind and sensible criticism – here in Portugal we’re inundated with the typical rudeness, name calling, ad hominen attacks, and so forth. The worst, in my opinion, is when proponents simply ignore the facts and studies that we point out, and continue to blindly state, over and over, how ignorant we are, and how homeopathy REALLY WORKS (all in caps, of course).


  4. #4 by Ian on February 5, 2011 - 09:41

    The person who wrote to you sounds like he really is in the wrong profession.

  5. #5 by Jill Stankis, ND on February 9, 2011 - 15:06

    I am not a practicing homeopath, but have seen first hand how many homeopathic remedies work, the first case in point is Arnica Montana on trauma and bruising and if someone would do a study on this particular remedy there is absolutely no way that anyone could “debunk” homeopathy anymore. Give that remedy to a large group of people who have had some sort of trauma and see how it “works” I have personally done my own study when we did a lot of physical digging in which I would have normally been very, very sore the following morning and took Arnica during and after the activity and woke up with absolutely no soreness while the other two people helped were in agony. both my husband and I took the remedy and both had no soreness, in addition I hit my thumb with a hammer (clumsiness on my part) and took arnica immediately and in the am had no bruising when I certainly with the force involved, should have had a whopping black and blue fingernail. These are only two personal experiences but have worked as a naturopath for 15 years and have recommended it to 100s of clients who have had the same results. I do, however, agree that not every homeopathic remedy has such dramatic results, but then homeopathy is a “science” that is best used by professionals who know which remedies to recommend. If anyone did the research, homeopathy was the medicine of choice before the pharmaceutic companies came into the picture and realized how much money they could make on pharmaceuticals-that is what you all should be debunking-how many drugs are there out there that have so many side effects and do so much harm to us – take Fosamax and Boniva for example -that are actually causing the diseases that they are supposed to help. Lets spend time on debunking these huge companies that are robbing us blind for so called “medicine of the 21st century”.

  6. #6 by Matt Roberts on February 16, 2011 - 16:14

    I am new to this site, so can only hope that Jill Stankis was engaged in some kind of sophisticated joke. Jill, if you are serious please, please, please read Konrad with a K’s post of February 2nd.

    And if you still wish to comment off topic, please do a little rudimentary research into psychology, placebos and the utter uselessness of personal testimony when weighed against scientific evidence. Or just pause for a moment and think about what you are saying.

    I could write a lengthy piece about how rubbing dandelion juice on my broken leg healed it, and therefore dandelion juice is a proven remedy for broken bones. But you’d think I am an idiot. And you would be correct.

    Unless you can site peer reviewed, double blind studies that demonstrate with statistical significance that arnica montana is a useful treatment for bruising, you have little of significance to say.

    As it happens, I would agree that the pharamaceutical companies are “robbing us blind”, but that is more of a political view than a medical one.

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