Homeopathy Papers

Freedom of Choice – Balance in Medicine

Last modified on September 17th, 2018

Gill Graham
Written by Gill Graham

Homeopath Gill Graham discusses the attacks on homeopathy in Australia, the UK and the U.S. and theattempts by governing bodies to deny freedom of choice in healthcare.

‘Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

The last few months have witnessed huge changes in the homeopathic world, both positive and negative. The negative events involve changes in legislation in certain countries and proposed changes in others, which are often accompanied by false representation, ignorance and bias. In each case it is clear that our freedom of choice in healthcare is being challenged, which should be a basic human right, never to be violated.

Part of the reason for the current situation lies is the ‘false representation’ alluded to. The true statistics, facts and worldwide success of homeopathy is rarely revealed. There is always a theme to the onslaughts, and rarely is the full story told listing the many cases where remarkable healing has occurred. It is nearly always a subjective, limited, manipulated version to suit the agenda of the reporter, stemming mainly from their distinct inability to grasp homeopathic principles. To say there is no evidence as to the efficacy of homeopathy is simply not true and is grossly misleading.  Many trials have been done demonstrating positive outcomes and it is important for the public to realise that much significant homeopathic research has been published (https://www.hri-research.org/) and many trials are ongoing in other organisations.The studies, (RCT’s and otherwise) are frequentlycited, although invariably publically drowned out by the barrage of ignorance, typical of the limited mind-set of the sceptics and detractors, who fail to understand different medical paradigms and the ensuing complexities.

Eachsignificant change will be discussed, and how we are approaching the situations in specific countries, including on the positive side, new research in homeopathy as personally witnessed at The New Horizons Water Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in July, which will hopefully, soon, make any doubt as to the homeopathic mechanism of action, a thing of the past. This will be followed by the reasons why it is imperative that the homeopathic approach to health be taken seriously, given the alarming statistics with reference to the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. ‘legal’ and otherwise.

What is happening in the world

Australia

Recently we have witnessed the suppression of the first Australian report and the release of a second, fundamentally flawed report, which has had a hugely negative effect on the perception of homeopathy worldwide. Here is a brief outline of the story: In 2015 the Australian Government Research Institute, NHMRC, made headlines with their report declaring Homeopathy to be ineffective for any condition. What NHMRC never told anyone was that the report they published, used criteria that was biased against homeopathy and that Cochrane disagreed to peer review the report. They also failed to disclose that this was not their original report. It was a second attempt. The first report they produced, which found evidence in favour of homeopathy, was shelved. Prof Fred Mendelsohn, Member of NHMRC’s Expert Committee for the first ‘missing report stated: “I am impressed by the rigor, thoroughness and systematic approach given to this evaluation [….] Overall, a lot of excellent work has gone into this review and the results are presented in a systematic, unbiased and convincing manner.” Clearly, there is a huge disparity amongst the evidence presented between the first and second report and the truth needs to be uncovered, as the negative, flawed information given out by the second report is biased and the data manipulated.  For the full facts and to sign the petition, see here: https://releasethefirstreport.com/the-full-story

UK

In August it was reported that funding for the NHS Homeopathy Service at The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine (PCIM) is finally ending after 70 years of being involved with the NHS.  During that time, it has helped thousands of people across Bristol and the region offering a holistic service and a wellness model encouraging prevention of disease as well as valuable lifestyle advice.

Predictably, sceptic organisations, glorified the decision, saying ‘homeopathy had been proved to be no better than placebo’ and instead, funding can be directed towards treatments that have been shown to actually work.’ The Portland Centre and the British Homeopathic Association corrected the above erroneous statements, by declaring the following:

‘Clinical evidence for the benefits of homeopathy does exist for example:

  • Switzerland has included homeopathy in the range of healthcare interventions available to all patients. The Swiss healthcare system recognises that people who use homeopathy experience less illness and as a result claim less on their healthcare insurance
  • Research from the University of Bristol shows that doctors trained in homeopathy prescribe fewer antibiotics, that homeopathy is safe and effective, and that it can save the NHS money https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29555793
  • Studies available via the Homeopathy Research Institute provide the results of clinical trials showing the efficacy of homeopathy https://www.hri-research.org

Unfortunately, this and other evidence is consistently ignored.: (http://portlandcentrehealthcare.co.uk/…/STATEMENT-TO-CCG-FU…)

America

In America, a similar movement is occurring, where a group of homeopathy advocates (generally patients who are not homeopaths, particularly young mothers) have set up a movement called ‘Americans for Homeopathy for Choice.’ It is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding the freedom to choose homeopathic remedies for all Americans. At this point in time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing new guidelines for regulating homeopathic remedies which would give it the power to ban entire categories of homeopathic products. Americans for Homeopathy Choice is fighting this and has filed a petition with the FDA to stop those regulation and instead create an Advisory Committee composed of homeopaths and consumers. They urge people who use homeopathic remedies and want to ensure continued access to them, to join with them in stopping these ill-conceived guidelines. In depth details can be found at this site:  https://homeopathychoice.org/

Also, it is imperative that everyone who has strong views about their freedom to choose homeopathy, support the Americans for Homeopathy Choice petition. Please go to this website, sign the petition and comment:www.regulations.gov

Ongoing research -Balancing and addressing the negativity

Above are some of the most recent negative movements in homeopathy. However, as always, there is a balance going on, at least at a universal level. I recently attended the ‘New Horizons in Water Science’ conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, where five professors, two of which were Nobel Laureates, (https://thesciencetheevidence.co.uk/) presented their views on the science of water; the other three speakers were eminent researchers, involved in complex studies in the same vein. Each of the presentations helped to highlight possible theories as to the mechanism of action of homeopathy, recognising the intricacies and complexities of this work.  I am not going to dwell on each speakers’ presentation. It has to be said that I am not a scientist or researcher, and I cannot begin to understand some of the theories that were presented in that hallowed hall on a very hot day in July. I am however an experienced homeopath, who has witnessed wonderful healing from my own practice and that of my colleagues, so I am in no doubt as to the power of the therapy and have written much on the subject, so I wait, with respect, for the solution to be uncovered by those who are experts in their field.

Throughout the conference, I was aware and felt, the intelligence, genius and brilliance of each of the presentations, which were powerful, with a dynamic energy, a collective force to connect each piece of a puzzle, which has so far defied logical, concrete explanation, ‘how exactly does homeopathy work?’ What was also apparent to me was that the erudite presence of each speaker and that these brilliant scientists, did not need to lower themselves to the often-questionable behaviour of their detractors. They are simply immersed in their quest for the truth, which is slowly being revealed through in-depth research, to finally understand unequivocally, why homeopathy remains, according to The World Health Organisation, the fastest-growing and second-most widely-used system of medicine in the world (WHO, 2005) and is used by over 200 million people worldwide which unquestionably is testament to its effectiveness.

Why we need to explore other effective medical treatments such as homeopathy

Research and subsequent evidence in holistic therapies such as homeopathy is essential to the future of world health; one can cite many examples; the antibiotic crisis and dangerous problems with resistance being one of many; GP’s who are trained in homeopathy use far less antibiotics: (2018, College of Medicine and Integrated Health.) This should strongly register and be embraced by any critics; the world is in a catastrophic situation in this respect.In addition, the following facts cannot and should not be ignored.

Danish physician Peter C. Gøtzschestates: ‘Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States and Europe. Around half of those who die have taken their drugs correctly; the other half die because of errors, such as too high a dose or use of a drug despite contraindications. Our drug agencies are not particularly helpful, as they rely on fake fixes, which are a long list of warnings, precautions, and contraindications for each drug, although they know that no doctor can possibly master all of these. Major reasons for the many drug deaths are impotent drug regulation, widespread crime that includes corruption of the scientific evidence about drugs and bribery of doctors, and lies in drug marketing, which is as harmful as tobacco marketing and, therefore, should be banned. We should take far fewer drugs, and patients should carefully study the package inserts of the drugs their doctors prescribe for them and independent information sources about drugs such as Cochrane reviews, which will make it easier for them to say, “no thanks”. (Gøtzsche PC:2014)

The above quote by Peter C. Gøtzsche, (a Danish physician, medical researcher, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre,) coupled with the following hard facts, make it abundantly clear that we need a new approach on how we view and practice ‘medicine’ as a whole. The current allopathic model is outdated, proving to be harmful in many respects; the opioid crisis, very much in the news, is the tip of a very hazardous iceberg leaving many casualties in its wake: ‘Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all levels of urbanization.’ (CDC, 2018)

Medical ‘cures’ often focus on pharmaceutical drugs being the answer to most of the problems presented; this is a short sighted, potentially hazardous solution, as discussed above, it can result in disastrous or fatal outcomes What has been clearly demonstrated above is that iatrogenic disease, is escalating exponentially with the rise, mixing and abuse of medications; a pharmaceutical company’s dream, as it requires yet more drugs to treat the conditions caused by the original prescriptions.

I was talking to a group of patients the other day, mostly young mothers. Many of their children had become sick as a direct result of conventional medications, in the form of unwelcome side effects, despite recognising that obviously there is a time and a place and whilst having huge respect for many of the doctors and staff who work in the health industry. They had however, been forced to seek alternatives and had turned to homeopathy, and never looked back; cases such as eczema, asthma, behavioural problems, stomach issues, hormonal problems, headaches, to name a few had all been successfully addressed. The mothers themselves wanted ‘healing at a deep level, not merely palliative.’ They had found this occurred when the aetiology had been addressed through homeopathic remedies, removing maintaining causes and through better nutritional habits. It is effective, it heals their families, they are delighted with the robust results, this should be enough and I fail to understand why it is not. Healing is healing, the route to healing is often irrelevant.  It is clear that many people are looking outside the box and want more, in terms of choice and education, and most importantly, their right to choose what works for them.

Conclusions and recommendations

The current attempts by governing bodies to deny freedom of choice in healthcare is being contested on many fronts, and it is clearly contrary to the wishes of many. There is no one size fits all approach, and nor should there be. What suits someone in terms of medication, cure, relief, may not suit another.  There should be far more focus on individualisation, and the recognition that each patient is unique. In order to achieve change of any sort, we need to adapt our thinking and that of those who make decisions.  Slowly, I feel, people are starting to pay attention and listen, although no doubt this will be a gradual, drawn out process, as it requires changing the mind-set of many who have, in my opinion, been conditioned to believe the ‘Doctor is God’ analogy, and are scared to question prescriptions, despite the outrageous statistics.

What is considered here is simply trying to bring together all the facts.  We are in crisis as regards health care throughout the world.  The above facts illustrate this. We desperately need to embrace all other options. This is not a necessarily pro homeopathy piece. It is, however, a ‘let’s start to take things seriously piece, and ‘let’s act, to save lives.’ Stop ignoring statistics that are horrifying and mostly due to what the conventional paradigm is dictating. Does it sound like its working? Clearly, the answer, given the few examples above has to be no and we urgently need a solution, which I seriously feel can be found in homeopathy, together with other holistic and nutritional support. Bottom line, we are in a chaotic mess due to the abuse of conventional medications from both doctors and patients, and we need drastic, radical measures to overcome it, part of the solution is in allowing those that have found successful methods of maintaining good health, to continue with their chosen means, be supported and in doing so, maybe extend this education to others in need.

The ‘New Horizons in Water’ conference and its eminent speakers were all testament to the great shift I feel is occurring in our homeopathic world, despite what we have experienced as a profession in recent months.It is possibly timely for any scepticsto revisit their tired arguments, given the evidence that is currently presented, and which will be even more compelling in the near future, given the vast amount of work going on in the sphere of research throughout the world. Finally, it is clear that people want freedom of choice in medicine, as many demanda route to health with as few side effects as possible, which actually addresses the source of the condition and where the benefits, without doubt, outweigh any risks. This should be recognised and applauded, and vast sums of money should be injected into the homeopathic sector to allow the research to come to fruition, so that we can integrate the best of medicine, in all its forms; I feel this is our moral obligation.

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.’ ― Jean-Paul Sartre

References

CDC (2018) U.S. drug overdose deaths continue to rise; increase fuelled by synthetic opioids [online] Available at:https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0329-drug-overdose-deaths.html

College of Medicine and Integrated Health (June 2018) GPs trained in complementary medicine less likely to prescribe antibiotics. [online.] Available at: https://collegeofmedicine.org.uk/gps-trained-in-complementary-medicine-less-likely-to-prescribe-antibiotics/

Gøtzsche PC. (2014) Our prescription drugs kill us in large numbers. [online.] Available at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25355584

HRI (2017) CORE-Hom, Research data base, [online.] Available at: https://www.hri-research.org/resources/research-databases/

About the author

Gill Graham

Gill Graham

Gill Graham BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), DHMHS, RSHom lives and practices, for most of the time in rural North Buckinghamshire, England. The rest of the time she lives in Toronto, Canada. She graduated from Purton House School of Homeopathy (University of West London) in 2009. She went on to do a 'Special Advanced Graduate Program' at The Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine. Over the last seventeen years she has qualified in, and practiced many other holistic therapies and is constantly updating her knowledge in the field of complimentary medicine. She has a passion for writing, both professionally, and creatively. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada (www.ARHFC.ca).

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