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He called it Homoeopathy. The theory was published in and was governed by a couple of laws:. Law of similars: which basically states that like cures like. He claimed that if you use a toxin that causes certain effects on a person, that same toxin can be used to alleviate those symptoms, but only if it was diluted very thoroughly.
The Law of Infinitesimals: The more dilute the solution was, the more profound would be its ability to balance the humours. So, as you can see, this does sound somewhat similar to how vaccines work — where a weaker version of a virus is injected into a person to teach the immune system to fight the disease. And vaccines work brilliantly! However, homoeopathy is different in a fundamental way.
Dilutions of homoeopathic products that are sold today usually range from 6X to 30X. X represents the roman numeral A 6X dilution means one part in or one in one million. A 30X dilution means one part in 10 30 or one followed by 30 zeros. A few products are even marketed using the C scale, Roman numeral In , they knew more about mathematics and chemistry than they did about medicine, and it was known that there is a maximum dilution possible in chemistry. So Hahnemann designed a workaround.
Hahnemann thought that if a solution was agitated enough, the water would retain a spiritual imprint of the original substance, and could then be diluted without limit. The water is often added to sugar pills for remedies designed to be taken in a pill form. The substance itself no longer remains, except for a few millionth-part molecules in the lowest dilutions. How big is that number? And not only that: it would reach that distance four hundred million times.
Think about that for a moment. Quackwatch has another way of putting it. Robert L Park, Ph.
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This would require a container more than 30,,, times the size of the Earth. To put it in simpler terms, the amount of dilution any substance goes through in homoeopathy makes it almost impossible to find even a single molecule of the original material in the final product. Simpler still, none of the original substance will find its way into your regime of treatments. So is homoeopathy a spiritual medicine? A French scientist by the name of Jacques Benveniste published a study in the science journal Nature in But as the study methodology seemed sound, the journal had published it.
In brief, the study took human antibodies, put them a test tube, shook it thoroughly and then diluted it to a point where not even a molecule of the first sample would be present. The team reported that when human basophils were exposed to this water, they reacted as if there was an allergic reaction. Therefore, they decided to make the study double-blinded — meaning none of the researchers, or the team from Nature, would possibly know which test tube or vial was which, and went to elaborate lengths to ensure there was no cheating.
Long story short, the study came out negative, showing no effects at all. There have been literally hundreds of studies done to test homoeopathy. Every single meta-analysis and systematic review of the research published has come back with results claiming homoeopathy works no better than a placebo.
There were quite a few studies that showed homoeopathy is better than placebo, but after analysing them, it was found that either their sample sizes were tiny or their methods were questionable. There are way too many studies and reviews to go into each of them or even describe them in brief. However, the entry in Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the evidence along with all the links to the studies, if you want to dig deeper. This is probably the most critical question here.
After my faith in homoeopathy had been shaken, I shared what I had found, hoping my friends would see that they had been fooled just like I had been. They defended homoeopathy quite aggressively. Natural healing: More often than not, our immune systems and other healing processes in our bodies heal many disorders naturally. If one takes homoeopathy and the body heals itself in the meanwhile, of course, the former gets all the praise.
For many conditions, this gives the body enough time to heal by itself, but homoeopathy gets the credit. The placebo effec t: This is a very profound and still slightly mysterious phenomenon. The placebo effect is when a sick person feels better when they have been given a fake treatment.
A few examples of this are sugar pills, saline drips or injections, or even sham surgeries. It has been found that these treatments really do help patients feel better. The more severe the intervention, the more profound the effect. And not everyone feels the effect of the placebo. If the group who got the real medicine show marked improvement, the medicine being tested is a success.
Of course, these trials have to be done multiple times by independent groups on different populations over a long period before the medicine is allowed to come to the market. Regression towards the mean: We sometimes suffer from conditions that may not have a cause. They come, and they go.
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For example, headaches, allergies, rashes or itches etc. These are usually the natural process and reactions of the body, and they tend to go away. If you have a sudden, acute response, it could get aggressive and then subside and disappear. If you have a chronic condition that lasts for a long time, there will be times when it gets better and then becomes worse. Regression towards the mean is what this natural variation is called.
If you have a homoeopathic remedy and your symptoms subside, it could either be the placebo effect or merely a regression towards the mean. Confirmation bias: When I was biased about the Ketogenic Diet, it seemed that, everywhere I looked, I found evidence that confirmed my beliefs that keto worked.
When one is convinced about an idea, the mind selectively finds reasons to reinforce it. And then, when you got better, you gave homoeopathy the credit. Standard medicine: Many people take conventional medicine along with homoeopathy if they believe in it. Stopping an unpleasant treatment: Sometimes treatments for specific diseases can have unpleasant side-effects.
If someone ends that treatment and uses homoeopathy instead, the side-effects will wear off.
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And, as homoeopathy has no known side-effects, it will get the credit in making them feel better. Some have said that homoeopathy treated an infant or a pet. They do seem to have a point. The placebo effect and confirmation bias work here too, just as they do in adult humans. When a child or a pet is given homoeopathic remedies, the way they are treated by the parent or the master could also affect how they feel. Especially when they are cuddled or cared for more, they would feel better.
Animals and children can also recover naturally from mild infections and transient conditions like rashes given enough time. Homoeopathy is said to be a holistic form of treatment, where the patients, body, mind and spirit are taken into account. Even their daily routine, diet, work life and other factors are considered when consulting a homoeopath. On the other hand, proponents of homoeopathy and other alternative medicines say that modern medicine treats only the symptoms and not the root cause of the disease. I feel many people take this idea for granted without really thinking about it.
Modern medicine is a systematic process where a patient is asked questions about their conditions and how long they have persisted. These tests can reveal the root cause, and the treatment will be prescribed accordingly. For example, if you go to a doctor with a fever, he or she will ask you about it, and based on your other symptoms like maybe a cough or a cold, or an upset stomach, get in the ballpark of what kind of an infection you have.
If you have something more extreme, like cancer, they might recommend surgery to get the cancerous cells out of you or to kill it with chemotherapy or radiation.
HOW HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE MADE
On the other hand, the homoeopath will have an in-depth consultation, but the treatments they give have been formulated based only on the symptoms. They will find a toxin that causes similar symptoms and then dilute it down to nothingness before they give it to you. How can they possibly claim to get to the root cause of any disease?
Yes, they do. All medicines have side effects.
If you look at the little leaflet inside the box or even look it up online, any drug you search for will have a list of side effects — some short, some long. And they will be divided by how common they are, as well as advice to see your physician if you experience any of these.
You see, every medicine goes through a long process of RCTs to uncover their effects and side effects in Petri dishes in the lab, to animal studies and human studies, which are conducted on a large population. This is to figure out what the effects and side effects are. A medicine that goes on the shelf is usually one that has the lowest side effects versus the most potent effects. Even if you look at chemotherapy, a treatment we all know to be harrowing for the patient, the sickness, hair falling out, loss of appetite and so on, are all preferable to dying.
People go through chemotherapy to kill cancer in the most effective ways possible while still giving the patient a fighting chance to survive.
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On the other hand, paracetamol, or Crocin as you might know it, are pretty safe, or so we think. We pop them without a thought if we have a headache or a fever. But they do have side effects. We are open, we are frank. And come to think of it, side effects need to be compared with what you are going to use that particular product for.
Oral contraceptive pills have side effects, but then you have to compare the side effects of oral contraceptive pills with the side effects of not using oral contraceptive pills. If you use oral contraceptive pills, you get contraceptive action and a few side effects. You have to undergo the trouble of eliminating that unwanted pregnancy or add in the socio-economic burden of continuing an unplanned pregnancy. Finally, not all side-effects are bad.