1 WHAT IS IT?
Homeopathy is a system of natural healthcare that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’ – a substance taken in small amounts can cure the same symptoms it causes when taken in large amounts. It treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.
Homeopathy can be used to treat both acute and chronic conditions in old and young, including babies and pregnant women. It is most often taken in tablet form and can be safely used along side conventional medicine.
2 HOW POPULAR IS IT?
Homeopathy forms a large and important part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), a market which is forecast to grow at a rate of 23% every year.
It is used by 15% of UK citizens (around 9 million people) and trusted by 27% of German, 40% of French and 62% of Indian citizens.
In 2004, the World Health Organization stated that homeopathy was the second most used medical system worldwide.
It has been estimated that around 450 million people use and trust homeopathy worldwide, every year. That’s a lot of people making homeopathy their healthcare choice.
3 ISN’T IT JUST PLACEBO?
No, it is not. If homeopathy really were just a placebo, then we could not explain the following existence of positive, high quality, placebo-controlled trials. The most recent of these studies, published in 2014, found that homeopathic medicines, when prescribed during individualised treatment, are 1.5-2 times more likely to have a beneficial effect than placebo.
In laboratory experiments, homeopathic medicines have been shown to exert effects in white blood cells, cancer cells, tadpoles and plants.
Consider also the dramatic reduction (84%) in leptospirosis infection rate observed in 2007 when the Cuban government, which did not have time to produce vaccines for the entire population during an epidemic outbreak, gave a homeopathic medicine to 2.3 million people.
There are many other trials which demonstrate outcomes well beyond any conceivable placebo effect.
4 WHY TRY IT?
Most people in the UK are brought up with conventional medicine. When they have tried everything that this has to offer and are no better, or are worse, or cannot tolerate the drugs and treatments, they look around for some other way to get better.
Qualitative research suggests that patients greatly value the therapeutic relationship with their homeopath, the length of consultations and the ‘whole person’ approach; being listened to and treated as an individual. Homeopathy is entirely patient-centred in its approach and patients greatly appreciate this.
There are currently 3,000 registered homeopaths in the UK, 7,400 homeopaths who are also qualified doctors, 60 homeopathic vets, 4 NHS funded homeopathic hospitals, several registers and 20 homeopathic schools. People who train in homeopathy tend to be in their 30s and 40s, are highly educated and moving into their second career. Registered homeopaths have undertaken rigorous academic and clinical training, are insured and adhere to a code of ethics.