FAQ 20 – Would you want to receive homeopathic treatment?

No.

What we accuse homeopathy of is not the placebos it prescribes, but its unwavering adherence to scientifically untenable ideas. The fact that homeopathy was able to hold its own with us at all is due to the “multiplication factor patient”, who obviously honours the image of the method that “the human being and not the disease” is treated here. The body heals itself to a high degree. The main thing is that he gets treated somehow and you believe in it. The homeopathic healers may have successes, but not with their homeopathic globules and drops, those are ineffective sham drugs.

But the art of healing is part of any good medicine. We are committed to ensuring that patients get both: a sympathetic, understanding doctor who sees more in them than a number or a billable case (and gets it reimbursed) – and good, evidence-based medicine. In case of doubt, trustful waiting may be better than taking an unnecessary medication – we can learn that from homeopathy, too. We don’t need them for that, though.

FAQ 18 – “Homeopath” and “Alternative Practitioner” – what’s the difference?

In the following, the special German situation is described:

In everyday language, the terms “homeopath” and “alternative practitioner” (here meant: the German “Heilpraktiker”) are often confused. First of all, a “homeopath” is simply someone who is practising homeopathy. But there are two completely different ways to get there (1):

As a doctor: You study medicine for at least 6 years, usually completed by a specialist training course (i.e. a specialisation in a medical field) for a further five years, pass three state examinations and at least one specialist examination during this time. Then you complete at least 100 further hours (before 2004 even 300 hours) of homeopathy further education as additional training for the protected “additional designation homeopathy” (3), which one receives after a further examination (by the medical association) and may call yourself from now a homeopath.

As a Heilpraktiker (Alternative practitioner – a German “speciality” according to the “Heilpraktikergesetz” of 1939): One prepares oneself on one’s own initiative or at training schools for an examination (by a public health officer) in which the applicant, who is usually not otherwise medically trained, has to prove that he has so much medical knowledge that he “does not pose a danger to public health”. (2) This examination is merely a so-called “security examination” which is not aimed at demonstrating comprehensive medical and curative knowledge and skills.

“For the Heilpraktiker training itself, no further conditions must be fulfilled. The question of pre-qualification must be answered by each student. The amount of time required depends on the technical background. Pupils without previous medical knowledge have a higher learning effort” (4). Further training as a homeopath is freely definable, but no duty at all. There is the possibility of examinations by alternative practitioner schools, but they are voluntary. (5) There is no order or regulation for any training or education – one can try it also in the self-study or also rely on his luck if the examination as a Heilpraktiker has occurred.

The difference in medical education, which is independent of homeopathy, is immense between a doctor and a non-medical practitioner (Heilpraktiker). That is why it is a gross misjudgement to confuse these two professions with each other or to summarise them undifferentiated under the term homeopath.

Sources / literature (in German):


(1) For further reading: http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?p=2417
(2) http://www.paracelsus.de/ausbildung/hp/heilpraktiker-pruefung.asp
(3) https://www.dzvhae.de/homoeopathie-fuer-aerzte-und-fachpublikum/fortbildung/das-homoeopathie-diplom-des-dzvhae-1-796.html
(4) http://www.heilpraktiker.org/heilpraktiker-ausbildung
(5) http://www.bkhd-zweckbetrieb.de

FAQ 17 – But medicine also mistakes happen!

More generally, the errors of medicine do not automatically make homeopathy an effective procedure

It is undisputed that errors and grievances in medicine cause more damage than there are reported errors in pseudomedicine, and we have no doubts about that at any point. Nevertheless, it must be stated that medical errors are by no means as numerous as is often claimed – especially by proponents of pseudomedicine.

  • Compared to the enormous number of annual doctor-patient contacts and treatments worldwide, the error rate is exceptionally small (no question: every error is one too many and regrettable!).

The German Medical Association writes about the work of the expert commissions and arbitration boards of the regional medical associations:
“Mistakes happen, even in medicine. But the probability that you as a patient will be harmed by a treatment error is extremely low. In outpatient SHI-accredited medical care alone, more than one billion doctor-patient contacts occur every year. In hospitals, the number of treatment cases has increased by more than 2.5 million in the last ten years to almost 19.8 million per year. Measured against this total number of treatment cases, the number of errors found by the expert commissions and conciliation bodies, but also by other bodies, is in the per mille range.”
The annual treatment error statistics for Germany can be viewed, for 2018 e.g. here.

The errors of medicine are random errors: human failure, technical failure, concatenation of unfortunate circumstances, fate (fate is of course not a “mistake”). Human failure is attributable to the doctor, but not to “medicine” as such. However, it is our medicine that recognizes a mistake as a mistake and it is the only institution that can recognize this at all. For every physician who makes a mistake, there is a medical expert who names the mistake!

The mistakes of pseudomedicine – our subject here is only homeopathy, but the statement applies to all pseudomedical procedures – are, however, “system mistakes”.

Mistakes in medicine should lead to improvements in medicine and not to the use of pseudomedicine. Even if the medicine does not deliver 100% success (where would there be such a thing?), its success rates are the highest we humans can currently get. All success rates of all pseudomedical procedures, on the other hand, are significantly lower than those of scientific medicine.

Within medicine, there is a great awareness of the problem. This may not be the case with every single physician, but the entire major project of EbM (Evidence-based Medicine), the establishment of IQWIG (German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care), the legal linking of the services of health insurance funds to the “state of the art of scientific knowledge” (with the exception of the German peculiarity of “special therapeutic directions” such as homeopathy) or initiatives such as Choosing Wisely are expressions of the awareness of these grievances in normal medicine. Our health care system has many institutions and instruments at its disposal to track down such errors or even better not to let them arise in the first place: There is a licensing regulation for the licensing of physicians in the form of a statutory order, which is continuously checked for its suitability and adapted if a regulation does not prove its worth.

  • There are medical associations that can withdraw the approval of an unsuitable doctor,
  • there are expert and arbitration boards that can be contacted if something goes wrong (see above),
  • there is a fairly comprehensive reporting system on problem cases, and the media also fulfil their function in this respect,
  • there are guidelines for the best possible treatment recommendations, including the latest medical knowledge,
  • there are commissions that create them and keep them up to date, i.e. actively learn from mistakes.
  • Pharmaceuticals and medical devices are not only subject to an approval process, but must also be monitored in the market for problem cases and anomalies.
  • Approvals for drugs can be withdrawn if there is an accumulation of damage reports – and this is what happens.
  • In the event of a problem, appropriate corrective and remedial measures must be introduced in a documented manner and their effectiveness checked.
  • Annual audits by state-accredited agencies verify whether the last two points are guaranteed in practice. If there is something wrong, production and sales are stopped, products are withdrawn from the market, warnings go to customers. It is therefore in the greatest self-interest of pharmaceutical and medical technology manufacturers to adhere to the specifications.

There is no systematic processing of all (!) occurring problems, especially in therapy – due to the individual therapy events it is certainly never possible to achieve 100% accuracy. But in any case, there are considerably more control authorities than there are in homeopathy. The criticism of medicine by homoeopathy supporters ultimately fall back on themselves – after all, they show that homoeopathy has not managed to set up control bodies for 200 years. Have you ever heard of drugs being recalled after a homeopathic drug trial? Ever from a homeopathic remedy that may no longer be used? Ever come from a homeopath who questions homeopathy? Ever heard of uniform treatment or diagnostic criteria? Or of quality assurance or complaints offices, if one feels wrongly treated as a homeopathic patient or has even suffered damage through a homeopathic treatment? Not us.


 

FAQ 16 – Homeopathy works with subtle vibration/energy/information!

“Homoeopathy works with energy or information transfer and effects via electromagnetic oscillations.”

This sounds plausible right away, but without more concrete information there is plenty of scope for one’s own interpretation.

Let’s take a closer look: During potentiation, water (or alcohol) is mixed with the desired healing substance and shaken (= mother tincture, homeopathic stock). The shaking process is intended to “dynamise” the mixture, in Hahnemann’s words. He imagined that something essential would pass from the original substance to the solvent. And he claimed that this would increase the more often one dilutes the mother tincture and carries out the special shaking process (succussion). The first of his statements is true, the second is still failed to prove evidence to this day.

There are many good reasons why such an “energy transfer” cannot take place:

  1. The entire concept of information transfer and storage presupposes that a permanent but not immediately visible “structural change” can be introduced into the water. We know information carriers such as paper, magnetizable hard disks or CDs with microscopically small recesses that can be read with the aid of a laser beam. But what could a suitable structural change of the water look like in detail, which degrees of freedom are possible? Electromagnetic excitation of the water molecules is physically possible, but – especially in a dense aqueous environment and at room temperature – not stable. After a very short time, the molecules return to their ground state. In any case, it is questionable how sufficient energy for an electronic excitation can be applied by simple shaking, because an electronic excitation requires a very high excitation energy per molecule (e.g. by UV light).
  2. The excitation of molecular vibrations requires significantly less energy than the excitation of electronic transitions. However, there is a lively exchange between the water molecules, including oscillation energy, which is why any deviation from the thermal equilibrium is corrected within a very short time. The supply of “shaking energy” may bring short-term energy into the water or the aqueous solution, but the kinetic energy of the turbulent flow generated in this way quickly dissipates into heat – the large vortices quickly disintegrate into smaller vortices, which in turn merge into the omnipresent molecular movement. The shaking thus (colloquially) leads to more disorder and not to a structuring or a directed transfer of energy from the mother tincture to the water. So it remains with potentiation – except for a significant entry of air into the water, which can hardly be avoided when shaking – only with a further and further dilution.
  3. At the molecular level, liquids are characterized by constant change as well as by lack of long-range order or regularity. It is not for nothing that all materials used to store any information are made of solid matter. Although small “areas” of fluctuating density are constantly formed within liquid water, which are held together by hydrogen bonds, the service life of a hydrogen bond at room temperature is in the order of one picosecond (0.000 000 000 001 sec, the time in which light travels about 0.3 mm), none of these structures is permanent. Somewhat more stable arrangements of water molecules can be found around foreign particles – e.g. the water molecules arrange themselves in such a way that they effectively shield the electrical field from dissolved ions – but these structures are also very short-lived and the “participating” molecules constantly change. Due to the very short exchange time of the molecules of these structures, it is impossible for them to be retained precisely because the foreign particles they cause only decrease in concentration as a result of successive dilution steps and finally disappear completely.
  4. It should also be noted that water molecules themselves are not arbitrarily stable – the autoprotolysis of water ensures that any water molecule dissociates into a proton and an OH ion approximately once every 10 hours at room temperature. Much faster, within milliseconds, neighbouring water molecules exchange their hydrogen atoms with each other.
  5. For the “memory of water”, which is often cited as an explanation of homeopathy, neither a functioning theoretical model could be presented nor convincing experimental evidence found. On the contrary, there are great doubts about this theory, and all the experiments carried out to support the idea could not be reproduced (repeated).
  6. Likewise, there are more than doubts about attempts at explanation with quantum theory, which is also gladly attempted. In general, homeopaths love their personal idea of quantum mechanics because it seems to confirm two central (esoteric) basic assumptions, namely the primacy of the “mind” over matter and the connectedness of all things. But correctly understood quantum mechanics says nothing of the sort. It is undisputed that quantum-mechanical units such as single electrons – measured by our everyday experience – sometimes behave rather bizarrely. This does not mean, however, that any arbitrary bizarre assumption applies or can be explained by quantum mechanics. With regard to the “energy transfer” assumed by Hahnemann in the potentiation, quantum theory (and also the generalized or weak quantum theory of homeopaths) does not help.

Ultimately, the “electromagnetic oscillations” often referred to by homeopaths are so diverse and omnipresent that a statement like “X works with electromagnetic oscillations” is as correct and at the same time as meaningless as the statement that a material “consists of atoms or molecules”. However, homeopaths do not comply with the request of critical scientists for more precision at this point. It remains with a “felt” knowledge, which is often peppered with physical terms and awakens the appearance of great depth. But behind it is emptiness.

Thus we can state that Hahnemann’s thoughts 200 years ago might have been plausible as a thought model, but against the current state of science, they are no longer tenable. We have too much knowledge about the behaviour of atoms, molecules, energy and oscillation, which was not yet known or even established at Hahnemann’s time. It is not to be expected that future research will change anything decisive about this – especially since the studies on the effect of homeopathy itself, quite independently of the assumed mechanism of action, do not indicate that there are any specific advantages beyond well-exploited placebo effects.

FAQ 15 – In the past, it was believed that the earth was a disk!

… and how is that supposed to help us with homeopathy?

Well, first of all, that sentence is wrong anyway. People who thought about it were already aware in ancient times that the earth is not a disc. And secondly – there are certainly a lot of things we don’t know about today, most likely even a lot we will never know about. But it is not plausible why this should be an argument for the correctness of homeopathy, of something which, despite all efforts for 200 years, simply cannot be proven. Even more: Should this really be an “argument” for something that has become increasingly implausible in the course of these 200 years due to our increasing knowledge of nature, for something that no longer fits in with what we have learned about nature during this time and that has proven itself in everyday life?

If we all don’t know what mankind will know in 100 years, then today’s homeopaths don’t know either. Here it is claimed in a certain way that homeopaths know in which direction scientific knowledge will expand in the future. In a nutshell: “Nobody can know that today – but in any case, we know more than the scientists”. In this image, science is presented as something it is not: something that lags behind knowledge because it demands evidence.

But the fact is: what is unproven is mere speculation. By definition, science always happens at this boundary between knowledge and speculation, because it creates knowledge. So this means first of all: With the mere fact that we engage in science, we admit that we do not yet know everything – otherwise we could not create any new knowledge at all.

Intuition is not knowledge

Yes, it may well correspond to an intuition that the earth seems to be flat. A very large sphere and a flat disc look the same from the same local point. You don’t immediately see that Earth is a sphere. But there were never any observations that spoke against the spherical shape. Even in ancient times, Greek scientists pointed to individual data that spoke in favour of the spherical shape. And Eratosthenes was the first to calculate the correct magnitude of the circumference of the earth in the third century B.C. First of all, the question of the shape of the earth could thus be clarified unambiguously at an early stage by means of scientific observational data (which were certainly not known to everyone in the subsequent period but were nevertheless existing). Secondly, neither this nor any other confirmed scientific finding was preceded by observation data that explicitly contradicted this finding. And precisely for this reason, this comparison does not fit to justify the maintenance of the homeopathic speculative basic assumptions, which today are contradicted by soundly scientific findings.

Are physics and chemistry wrong? Or is homeopathy wrong?

The principle of potentiation contradicts what has been proven and conclusive explained in physics. Physics and chemistry agree that it does not matter whether we dilute in one step or in many individual steps. Physics and chemistry say that something is lost when we dilute, even when we shake. Physics and chemistry both say that atoms of the same kind are indistinguishable, i.e. they have no memory. If homeopathy would be right here, physics and chemistry would describe ordinary everyday processes wrongly or at least grossly incompletely. And that’s without us even noticing. These statements are the basis for numerous technical applications of our basic scientific knowledge, which prove their worth in our everyday lives. We have not the slightest indication that our scientific knowledge of dilution processes is as wrong as it must be if homeopathy is right. Quantum mechanics, which has recently become the most popular “explanation” for homeopathic assumptions, also provides no evidence – quite the opposite, as every expert in this field will confirm.

It is therefore fundamentally incorrect to present homeopathy as something of which we cannot (yet) prove how it works (quite apart from the fact that there is no proof that it works at all specifically). We can use our basic physical knowledge to explain why it doesn’t work better than a placebo. We can see from the study situation that the measurements (the collected data) agree with this theoretical prediction because superiority over placebo could not be clearly proven – despite an enormous effort. And we can name inner contradictions in the thought structure of homeopathy. This is a starting point that homeopathy has in common with astrology or alchemy, which have detached themselves from scientific astronomy and scientific chemistry precisely for this reason in the course of the Enlightenment.

By repeatedly asking the question “In which way would we recognize that this statement is false?”, science, like no other method, finds errors in what we already believed to be true, through ever sharper tests. But to ignore scientific statements for this reason and to dismiss them as “the current error” does not do her justice. In all our decisions we can only act to the best of our knowledge and never according to the state of knowledge of the future because this is not available to anyone – not even to homeopaths. In addition, our current knowledge, with its overwhelming proven reliability in daily practice, provides us with conclusions about what can be regarded as impossible (i.e. not provable in the future either).

Speculation has no place in the treatment of ill people

A patient has the right to have his doctor recommend the procedure that gives the patient the best possible chance of recovery. The doctor should base the decision as to which procedure is to be used on reasonable grounds, i.e. based on rational, verifiable and comprehensible arguments. A patient should at least be able to recognize when his doctor chooses a procedure on the basis of a purely emotional attitude, from a speculative belief or on the assumption that he alone knows better than the natural scientists already today in which direction scientific knowledge will develop.

Anyone who concedes homeopathic medicine to be more than just a placebo must also concede that the physical principles we use every day are completely wrong or grossly inadequate (without us noticing it in everyday life). What is more, this person must also postulate that he knows in which direction our scientific knowledge will develop. Of course without any observational data for this development being available. A point of view which, when considered soberly, seems really far more dogmatic than simply recognising the available facts.


 

FAQ 14 – Why have homeopaths to prove that homeopathy works?

“Miracle cure for cancer! Miracle cure for cancer! Folks, buy my miracle cure for cancer! Just invented, mechanism of action unclear, proof of efficacy not proven …”

Fortunately, such a thing must not happen again in today’s medicine.
Before a new drug (or a new therapy) can be launched on the market, a plausible theoretical model of its effect must first be established. Then a number of clinical studies will have to be carried out in which such postulated efficacy will be tested. This is – very important – not simply per se, but always in comparison to a placebo or to already established methods/medicines (the “standard therapy”). Only if a repeatable efficacy can be proven here, a drug can be approved as such (this is, of course, very much abbreviated here). This approval must be obtained by the company wishing to place the drug on the market. The primary objective is not only to bring it onto the market but also to provide patients with a cure. Science and business sometimes compete with each other here, but this is not supposed to be an issue now.

It is important to note that it is not up to the patient, who has the drug advertised or even prescribed, to find out about the mechanism of action or proof of efficacy. No, therapy must be tested and documented beforehand by them who wants to carry it out.

Where’s the evidence?

What about homeopathy? The difference to new drugs is that it is not new to the market, but has been around for about 200 years. So it has already established itself and in many people’s minds it has made itself comfortable with the label “works!”. Now the “evil” critics come along and call on homeopathy to prove itself to be actually effective according to the standards and methods of the above-mentioned processes which are indispensable in medicine and for application to the patient.

And what does homeopathy do? She doesn’t say: “Oh yes, that’s how things work in the medicine we want to belong to: Therefore, we first prove according to valid scientific rules that homeopathy has reliable, reproducible and above expected random effectiveness beyond placebo effects. We furthermore explain our ideas of mechanisms of action in such a way that they can be understood scientifically. We want our patients to be sure that what we offer them is right and not just get (or keep) a label that we like.” No, that’s not what homeopathy admits. Instead, it claims for its right to exist in medicine with the postulate that homeopathy “pleases” the patients! Which nobody denies, but which is really not synonymous with “effective”.

It would, therefore, be up to homeopaths to first prove an effect of homeopathy, and to do so in a comprehensible and reproducible way. The mechanism of action can be neglected at first, but it is to be expected that it will be explained at some point in such a way that it is understood and plausible within the valid standards of medicine and in the context of valid knowledge. But homeopathy fails miserably because of this. The proofs of efficacy do not convincingly go beyond comparison with placebo or are simply flawed. There are many theories and experiments on mechanisms of action but they are neither compatible with valid knowledge nor able to withstand critical scientific scrutiny.

That’s the thing with homeopathy. It cannot meet the requirements for proof of efficacy. In this respect, the second step, the explanation of a mechanism of action, no longer plays a decisive role. This means, however, that homeopathy continues to make embarrassingly blatant assertions in order to gain a place in medicine without being able to substantiate these assertions. It follows that it can no longer be part of medicine.


 

FAQ 13 – But there is more than (natural) science!

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Hamlet, 1st act, 5th scene, William Shakespeare, around 1602

This quote by Shakespeare is often used in discussions about homeopathy. This is intended to express the meaning that science and “orthodox medicine” don’t represent the ultimate wisdom. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Irrespective of whether the natural sciences draw a complete view of the world or whether existentialist questions should be left to philosophy, the admission that we do not yet know everything helps homeopathy no further.

Hahnemann claims in the Organon that homeopathy is an empirical procedure. He developed it by observing nature, he writes. Accordingly, it falls within the remit of the natural sciences (and even explicitly claims to do so).

In most cases, the Hamlet quotation appears when discussing the “increase in effectiveness through dilution” (potentiation). Natural science clearly says: something is lost when diluting – shaking does not help there. The findings on which this statement is based reach deep into our knowledge of atoms and molecular processes. A knowledge that we also use in numerous technical applications and that constantly proves itself in everyday life.

Homoeopathy contradicts this constantly proving knowledge because, without the assumption that something new, lasting and but also and foremost reinforcing would arise during dilution, it cannot get by. Therefore, it is in contradiction to proven knowledge and to known laws of nature. Remember – this is by no means about something “than are dreamt of in our philosophy”, but about a clear incompatibility of basic homeopathic principles with secure, everyday knowledge.

Science and laws of nature are the basis of knowledge, no limitations

A law of nature is the attempt to describe and explain existing natural facts. That an apple falls from a tree downwards and not upwards follows mechanisms that scientists have fathomed and described, but not created. Natural laws are not negotiable and cannot be circumvented. We are bound to them because we ourselves are a part of nature. Nor can they be wrong – only our knowledge about them can be incomplete or even wrong.

Homeopathy now claims (hypothesises) that it works (beyond a placebo effect). On the contrary, most serious studies show that their effect corresponds to the placebo effect. Moreover, according to the standards of today’s science, homeopathy cannot even say how it could work. Even worse, it presupposes things that, to the best of our knowledge today, are sometimes extremely unlikely, and sometimes – since they violate the laws of nature – are consistently excluded.

Medicine is science

Homeopathy wants to be part of medicine and is, in fact, currently – even in public health – still part of it in some countries as well – formally.

The gain of knowledge in medicine is based on scientific methods. Homeopathy, however, firstly has always completely refused a structured further development, secondly never intended a serious and independent scientific examination (most homeopathy users even consider it superfluous) and thirdly never drew the conclusions from existing scientific studies and scientific progress since Hahnemann’s time.

Faith doesn’t matter in medicine and science

The belief and subjective conviction of homeopaths that their method works do not justify considering it as medicine. So in medicine, homeopathy has no chance by advocating its convictions based on experience and faith – including quoting the Hamlet quote or something of the same meaning. Simply objective and comprehensible arguments, facts and data apply here. Fortunately, because do you know a person who would like to take an antibiotic that the doctor prescribes on his personal whim? Or who would like to be operated on by a surgeon who assures him that his surgical method will be recognized at some point in the future because there are things between heaven and earth … well, you know?

Hamlet proves to be a true scientist

That there are a lot of things between heaven and earth that we don’t know about today (and maybe never will) – that’s a truism. This does not mean, however, that any assertion can be inserted into this gap in good faith. This would not do justice to the Hamlet quote either.

The quotation comes from the first act of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where the hero reacts to the appearance of his father’s ghost: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
Hamlet says it after the ghost orders him to avenge his father’s murder. But he does not speculate at all here, at this point his words are only an expression of (still) unreflected astonishment.  Let us remember: At the end of the 2nd act he longs for “grounds, more relative than this (i.e. as the ghost’s message)”. He takes into consideration that the appearance of the Spirit of his Father may “abuse me to damn me”. Yes, he even takes into account that his “weakness and melancholy” makes him particularly susceptible to such deception. And he comes up with the idea of using the drama troupe to make sure that the message of the spirit corresponds to the facts.

The Hamlet quote is therefore by no means a confirmation that one can withdraw to the “unknown” at will, fill it with ideas according to one’s own taste and assert a claim to the truth for it. Quite the contrary – one could interpret Hamlet’s saying in a much more science-friendly way, as a call to make sure one is critical of one’s own perception, in short, to ask the sceptical question: Where’s the proof? Hamlet thus proves to be a true scientist: he wants a solid basis for his decision, which he obtains through a meaningful test of the assertion.

But the Hamlet quote is far too far-fetched anyway. When it comes to homeopathy, we are not talking about any exotic processes far beyond our everyday world. Rather, we talk about familiar and well-known processes: diluting and shaking. We have not the slightest indication that our physics has misunderstood dilution. And that’s a right thing to say. Especially since this complements itself with the overall study situation on homeopathy and its internal contradictions to form a coherent overall picture: homeopathy has no specific medicinal effect and cannot have any.

Anyone who wants to apply homeopathy outside of medicine privately is free to do so. However, it should be remembered that homeopathic potentiation is more absurd than the expectation one falls upwards.


 

FAQ 12 – Oh, you can’t trust studies anyway!

Many people have internalised a basic distrust of “scientific studies”. They consider that study results are worthless because they depend solely on the interests of the person who conducted and/or funded the study. However, very few people have an idea of the many and sophisticated instruments, criteria and processes in science – and thus also in medicine – by which it is judged what good and what bad studies are, where sources of error may lie or where actual errors may occur or studies only confirm a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Drug approval on a scientific basis

The statement “We know that drug XY works” is practically synonymous with the statement “There are scientific studies that show an effect (above placebo level)”. Science is a method by which such statements can be substantiated and the means to an end are studies.

Before a normal drug is approved for use on patients, it is first subjected to “theoretical” studies in pre-clinical studies to find out whether there are reasonable basic assumptions for a possible efficacy of the planned drug. Thus, it is first examined for “plausibility” according to chemical and physiological criteria. On the one hand, there are economic reasons (avoidance of bad investments), but on the other hand, the ethical aspect also weighs heavily here. Because the ethical principles in medicine demand that no people in clinical studies should be exposed to imprudent “quick shots”, according to the “try-and-error method” so to speak. Only then do the practical clinical studies follow. The first step is to find out how the drug to be investigated acts on the body (pharmacodynamics) and how it is distributed in the body and then metabolized (pharmacokinetics). It is already about side effects and above all about the right dosage. If results are obtained, it must be confirmed beyond doubt that the relationship between the administration of the drug and the therapeutic change is significant, i.e. not purely coincidental. It is usually compared with a placebo or another already established drug (the “standard treatment”). Only then may a drug be approved and used, whereby it continues to be observed “in the open field” whether and which side effects occur when used in large numbers of patients. Only in approx. 8% of cases (source: FDA 2004) does a drug overcome this process and may be used.

So much for the standard procedure within medicine. It is a highly complex and time-consuming procedure to approve a drug. But not all studies are of a similar nature. There are quite different varieties and not all allow the same statements. But everyone can have mistakes. Fortunately, in medicine, you usually know what they can be. A good guide through the study jungle can be found here (external link, PDF).

And how’s homeopathy going?

Homeopaths report of “countless” studies that are supposed to reliably prove the superiority of homeopathy over placebo. How is that to be classified now?

“Successful” homeopathic studies are usually on the verge of significance (scientifically this means: on the verge of expected random results). Their validity is strongly dependent on the extent of their methodological-systemic deficiencies in the study design, but above all on the statistical peculiarities of the investigated facts. Furthermore, they often only show statistical artefacts (sometimes not so easily recognizable), i.e. banal, non-reproducible random results, are based on more or less skilful data manipulations or are simply methodically poor.

In pharmaceutical approval procedures, in addition to the scientific community itself, internal control institutions of evidence-based medicine and much other public and private institutions monitor the integrity of submitted study results, complain about misconduct and in some cases make this public. In the world of homeopathy, one looks in vain for control bodies that strictly question the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies according to the rules of evidence-based medicine. This makes it easy for the homeopathic scene to disseminate a certain view of the “study situation”, thereby ignoring negative results and – apparently – overinterpreting positive ones. There is also no question of mutual critical control within the homeopathic research community.

The sometimes difficult task of homeopathic criticism is to search for errors – in study design, in data evaluation, in interpretation (or all at once) – or, in the worst case, to prove conscious data manipulation. There is no doubt that these errors are there because so far every successful homeopathic study has proved to be faulty and untenable in some way. Why homeopaths nevertheless do not (do not want to) see these mistakes is incomprehensible to us; after all, they constantly claim “scientificness” for their method. Are they just not familiar with study interpretation? Are they so attached to their method that they are blind to the missing or erroneous evidence? How can they tell wrong things to their patients and followers without a guilty conscience?

There is a whole series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of homeopathy, i.e. studies that systematically summarise individual studies. By systematizing individual results – and critically previewing their validity – these studies arrive at results that are inevitably much more valid than those of individual studies. This is why these reviews/meta-analyses also have the highest degree of evidence, the highest degree of scientific relevance, so to speak. Of the ten major reviews carried out since 1991, not one (!) comes to a robust proof of superiority over placebo in any homeopathic treatment. Neither are the reviews by homeopathic researchers. There is hardly any greater discrepancy between these results and the promises of homeopaths that homeopathy is a medically effective method with great practical benefit (“clinical relevance”) for the patient. Because what cannot prove superiority beyond placebo (placebo is everywhere) cannot claim to be recognized as “medicine”.

As a general rule, the following applies to all research: Individual positive studies or results (and even more so from research groups that have a great interest in positive results, i.e. are not independent) are not meaningful. It is important and crucial that results can be independently repeated (“reproduced”) and that they occur in a frequency that excludes random results.

All of this is critically focused every day in science – and even more so in medicine with its high relevance for human well-being. Science is constant criticism and self-criticism, that is part of its essence.

after all we haved learned here:

Who is reluctant to talk about negative study results, palliates by euphemistic representations of selectively selected study results the proven fact that homeopathic remedies are just placebos? Who lives from the alpha error or simply denies that homeopathy has not managed to prove superiority over placebo in 200 years? Right, the homeopaths.
Who criticizes at the same time with a great attitude that there are faults in studies of scientific medicine? Yes, also homeopaths. But they do not look for and criticize faults in themselves – they hold all this against the “orthodox medicine” they defame as such. Such is called whataboutism, also called the “hold the thief” principle. But this doesn’t change the state of the homeopathic studies in any way. In scientific medicine, there are the strictest mechanisms and methods to ensure the integrity of study results in order to avoid and correct errors. In homeopathy, none of that exists. And why isn’t there such a thing? Because the legislator – an absurd thing – has exempted homeopathy from a proof of efficacy based on approved scientific methods and studies …


 

 

FAQ 11 – But there are studies that show that homeopathy works!

“It takes more than a swallow to make a summer”

There are numerous positive studies on homeopathy! This argument is regularly put forward by advocates of homeopathy. The conclusion is then drawn that the effectiveness of homeopathy has been proven. The argument is correct, but the conclusion is wrong for several reasons.

There are currently about 400 clinical studies on homeopathy. Assuming that homeopathics are pure placebos, about 20 studies must be positive by chance alone in the case of common error probabilities. This number could increase considerably if one considers that negative studies often remain unpublished. This phenomenon is known in science as “publication bias” and has been well investigated.

But that is by no means all. We know that methodologically weak studies are more likely to produce positive results than methodologically sophisticated studies. It is therefore obvious that the positive studies are on average less reliable than the studies that do not prove the effectiveness of homeopathy. In addition, many of the methodologically cleanest homeopathic studies, e.g. those from the homeopathic hospital in Glasgow, do not actually examine homeopathy but isopathy; i.e. they are not based on the principle of similarity which is essential for homeopathy.

Finally, it should be emphasised that for a truly reliable assessment of therapy, not only individual studies should be selected, but the totality of all high-quality studies, i.e. systematic reviews, should always be taken into account. Summaries of all methodologically acceptable studies generally come to the conclusion that the effectiveness of homeopathy has not been proven.

The only (not very surprising) exception is reviews published by homeopaths on the basis of pre-selected studies. The most recent of these publications conclude that homeopaths are marginally better than placebos. But even these authors (paid for by homeopathic organizations) have to admit that

“The poor or unclear quality of the evidence requires caution when interpreting the results”.

However we turn it around, the current state of studies does not prove the effectiveness of homeopathy. And there should be some reason to think that this has not been achieved in over 200 years. Homeopaths earn their living by claiming the opposite – perhaps everyone has the right to their own opinion, but certainly not to their own facts!


(Author: Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor, Uni Exeter, UK)


Read here more about studies and here (in German) more about common arguments relating to clinical trials on homeopathy.

FAQ 10 – And if it’s just a placebo, what’s the difference?

Many people understand that homeopathy is only based on placebo effects. But they ask the question: “What does it matter? As long as the patient is better, it’s all the same.” But is it honest? At least the therapists should know whether they are prescribing real medicine or just sham drugs. And is it ethically justifiable to leave the patient in the dark about this? According to the current ethical guidelines for the medical profession: No. An ” informed consent ” is required, except for very few constellations. It is doubtful whether such an “informed consent” is at all possible in the consolidated perception of homeopathy as an effective medicine. In addition:

Placebo answers mask unsuitable cures

It is difficult to differentiate whether there is a specific effect of a procedure when sham drugs are given that can always have some effect. That is exactly the dilemma of homeopathy itself.

Placebo responses may mask the patient’s actual state of health

If the patient receives sham medications and feels well treated, this may cause an altered perception of his symptoms. This can lead to a worsening of the patient’s condition – even though the patient feels better.

Placebo responses are not a retrievable, quantitatively precise phenomenon

In which order of magnitude, in which direction and whether they occur at all cannot be assessed in advance in individual cases and often cannot be proven beyond doubt afterwards.
Placebo effects cannot be directed “against” a particular disease; they cannot be used specifically.

The prescription of placebo drugs as standard therapy requires the deception of the patient

Why? Because in order to maximize the placebo response, the therapist will of course not focus the therapeutic conversation on the pharmacological ineffectiveness of the drug, but rather on the meaning of “the drug”.

Placebo therapy as a rule therapy promotes drug affinity

Placebo administration very often means that even if no drugs have to be administered, the patient will still be provided with a medication prescription. We consider this to be a problem especially with children (keyword “globulisation of children” – they are suggested that there is a remedy for everything – and need of it, with the consequence that such conditioning continues even in adulthood).

Placebo treatments that are not labelled as such fool the patient and are not in accordance with current medical ethics

In order to be able to use placebos sensibly, the administers themselves must be aware that they are placebos (an absolute prerequisite for “informed consent”). However, most homeopaths assume that homeopathy does not (only) have a placebo effect, but strongly advocate the use of specifically effective drug therapy. Homoeopathy is usually praised as an unlimited panacea up to cancer, AIDS and Ebola – and not even the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ), distances itself from such activities, quite the contrary. The recurrent words of praise of the DZVhÄ and their support for the scandalous activities of “homoeopaths without borders” in war and crisis regions bear eloquent witness to this. How this is compatible with the DZVhÄ’s self-image as a guardian of patient safety should be judged by everyone. Many other homoeopath websites provide information about the fact that they dare to heal everything. Patients must be protected from this – not from the placebo effect.

FAQ 09 – Placebo effect means conceit, doesn’t it?

Many people think: placebos (“sham drugs”) would be only effective in patients who imagine illnesses – and therefore also improvements – and in unstable people who can be easily influenced. But that is not true. Placebos work in all people – more or less strongly. Health research knows that 20-90% of all patients (depending on numerous factors) respond to a drug without active ingredients. It is estimated that placebos would help one in two in everyday clinical life. So we all certainly allow ourselves to be influenced from time to time by sham drugs or sham methods – without noticing it. Just think of the case where a wrong remedy is taken within the scope of self-medication, which is not adequate for the cause of the complaint (which is likely to happen frequently).

Placebo research has long been a field of scientific medical research. It is therefore by no means an “unknown” or “unexplored” phenomenon, although not all factors are known. The placebo effect of the homeopathic anamnesis or rather the “treatment setting” is highly interesting. Neurobiologically based placebo research reveals how powerful suggestive words can be in physical or mental pain (1,2). When pain is treated with sham drugs with the words “These tablets take the pain away from you”, those affected usually also feel a relief of their pain (3). They apparently are due to an increased dopamine delivery in the nucleus accumbens (a neurobiological messenger), which then releases pain-inhibiting endorphins in the brain (4). Placebos – or suggestive words – thus cause biochemical reactions, they – so to speak – change brain activity. A homeopath who expresses the following momentous message: “These globules will fit you perfectly. You’ll see, this finally helps you now that orthodox medicine has failed,” he may actually treat – through his words and the way he says them. In psychotherapy, it is known that psychotherapeutic interventions can cause changes in patients to the extent that words cause changes in patients’ brains (5,6). But such effects are much better used and researched in psychology and psychosomatic medicine – we don’t need homeopathy for that either. (Note: Many critics say that homeopathy is something like “psychotherapy light” and that it has the advantage of lacking the unfortunately common stigmatization – “having a gossip”. However, unlike psychotherapists, many homeopaths do not know the limits of their influence – and use this without inhibitions to manipulate patients. Here we see a great danger, especially in the field of Heilpraktiker, the German naturopaths.)

Placebos are amazing: If one gives patients “ineffective” placebo tablets as alleged painkillers, then they feel even better than if one gives them “real”, proven painkillers with their food, without telling them. Even if the patient knows that he is getting placebos, they still have some effect. So placebos are not “drugs for the stupid”. And that they help is not an illusion: they mobilize – within certain limits – the body’s own self-healing systems as long as the patient basically trusts the therapist with his heart – even if he is superficially sceptical. Because what we consciously believe can be something other than what we subconsciously fear and hope. So placebos can certainly bring about changes – but not specifically and reliably. But they have nothing to do with imagination.


(1) Read more: “How words work”: http://uexkuell-akademie.de/wie-worte-wirken/ (in German)
(2) Roth G, Strüber N (2014) How the brain makes the soul. Stuttgart, Velcro Cotta, p. 331
(3) Schedlowski M, Enck P, Rief W, Bingel U (2015) Neuro-Bio-Behavioral Mechanisms of Placebo and Nocebo Responses: Implications for Clinical Trials and Clinical Practice. Pharmacol Rev 67(3): 697-730
(4) Wager TD, Scott DJ, Zubieta JK (2007) Placebo effects on human (micro)-opioid activity during pain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104: 11056-11061
(5) Saxena S, Gorbis E, O’Neill J, Baker SK, Mandelkern MA, Maidment KM, Chang S, Salamon N, Brody AL, Schwartz JM, London ED (2009) Rapid effects of brief intensive cognitive-behavioral therapy on brain glucose metabolism in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mol Psychiatry 14(2): 197-205
(6) Kandel ER (1979) Psychotherapy and the single synapse. The impact of psychiatric thought on neurobiologic research. N Engl J Med 301: 1028-1037

FAQ 07 – He who heals is right! And that means – ?

Statement right – common interpretation wrong

The laurels for a cure (better: recovery) are always given to the “professional” who is nearby. Thus the “ritual waiting until it becomes good on it’s own” gets the quality of the causation.

The sentence most frequently used in discussions about homeopathy is “He who heals is right”. If this sentence is dropped, then any further discussion about theoretical and practical shortcomings of homeopathy seems to be over. It seems difficult to counter this argument. The reason for this, however, is mainly that it is not a real, valid argument at all. For the statement “He who heals is right” presupposes that 1. someone has actually been cured of something and that 2. the cause of the cure can be traced back to a certain, precisely described therapy that took place. However, it is often asked: If a patient is cured, what does it matter that there are deficiencies in theory or whether the two quoted conditions are fulfilled?

Those who heal are right – first of all, this is quite correct. If my doctor prescribes an antibiotic for severe bronchitis, pneumonia or middle ear inflammation, which removes the bacteria and thus the cause of the inflammation and then my recovery follows, then, of course, he is “right” in the sense that his treatment was the right one. Of course, a surgeon is also “right” to plaster in my broken leg and my ophthalmologist is “right” to prescribe the right drops for conjunctivitis. And my car mechanic was also right when he “cured” my old Peugeot of oil dripping by replacing an old, defective valve.

Only those who can prove the cause-effect relationship of their treatment with the cure are right

So the homeopath is right if I get well after taking globules?! The following consideration: If – as it is known – approx. 80% of all complaints (apart from chronic diagnoses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) disappear on their own and a homeopath was present during the disappearance – is he right?

By no means. Not at all. Because he does not heal. Homeopathy usually consists of sugar balls sprayed with empty water or empty alcohol solution, or just empty, diluted pure alcohol. As a rule, a homeopathic remedy does not contain any of what was originally present before dilution (excuse me, potentiation!. But why that doesn’t make any difference, you can read here), who was once allowed to call himself “homeopathic stock” – the original substance – (and already in this state, from a scientific-medical point of view, it was unfortunately humbug).

Homoeopathy cannot prove such a causal relationship

Therefore the homoeopath does not heal from various view:

The remedy he gives is empty of content and therefore has no effect (the vast majority of scientifically relevant studies show that homeopathic remedies only help to trigger the placebo effect).

Therefore, it does not matter which homeopathic remedy is given. In this respect, too, the homeopath has nothing to do with healing except to help trigger the placebo effect.

The homeopath is therefore not involved in the healing process in the sense that he himself (as an “expert”) or his pseudo-medicines would cause a healing effect. He, therefore, cannot have been right. Because the development that the convalescent experienced could have been triggered in the same form by someone else in a completely different way (placebo effect).

In most cases, however, the healing would have occurred by itself. Globules that are supposed to help with fever, colds, bruises or coughs do not need to trigger a placebo effect in order to “ensure” a cure in the patient. It comes all by itself – without any hocus-pocus. You don’t need globules that “bring the body back into energetic balance” (whatever that means). One only needs time.

So: He who heals is right. That’s true. But the one who heals must also have set the clear cause for the healing in a verifiable way if he wants to claim the factual right. But with homeopaths there is no “who”, there is no “what heals”, so there is no “being right” either.

The beautiful simple sentence turns out to be an air bubble. It is nothing other than the attempt to hijack the successes of science-based medicine or the self-healing powers of the body for itself, its goals, its view of the world, its religion and/or even its business model.

By the way, some time ago I was with my old car at the ” healing mechanic”, because there was an error display, which occasionally went on and then off again. There was no regularity. The mechanic went once around the car, asked for the year of construction and then told me, without further investigation, that this was a known problem. There would be a valve, which rarely gets stuck and “shakes free” on its own. Then the error message would disappear at its own accord. So I drove away from the car repair again. The caution lamp never came on again. My car was recovered. Without the mechanic having done anything. Well, who heals is right, isn’t he?

If the sentence drops, you shouldn’t stop discussing. It should be started to talk about it: Is healing plausible and demonstrable? Was there a pathological condition at all? If so, was it recognized (diagnosed) correctly at all? Can’t a coincidence or the natural temporal course of the disease have been responsible for the improvement, the regression to the middle? What evidence is there for the method mentioned with regard to its theoretical and practical findings? Are there any studies? And are there indications, beyond one’s own (individual) experience, that a cure has really taken place? But these questions are confusing, they sometimes cause an uncomfortable feeling. It is understandable that one wants to get into safety quickly with this sentence, which aims at the conclusion that in the end, only the result is important. How much one can be deceived by a felt, subjective “result”, however, we describe here among other things in detail.

FAQ 06 – “But homeopathy helped me!”

There is hardly a discussion about homeopathy without someone taking the point: “But homeopathy has helped me! You can tell me for a long time why it can’t work, I know that it did it for me!

Individual fates make abstract things tangible

Homeopaths and also journalists reporting on therapies love such positive individual fates, they can build a story along with it. Instead of relying on studies, they prefer to draw on the effect of a single person’s story. This may be helpful for some to understand the abstract nature of a disease. The suffering, as well as the happiness of healing and recovery, make the effect of a therapy, medication or a surgical procedure clear and understandable. And, of course, every patient reports first and foremost about himself. That is what he experienced and felt!

But in reports about medical therapies, procedures or medicines this generates a problem, if such individual cases (or two or three …) are serving as evidence for the effectiveness of the whole medical method. They are working under the motto: “Look, this person has been helped by it, so it also will help everyone else”. Healers and charlatans argued in this way at the Middle Age’s markets and fairs. This is still the argument of all those who praise miracle therapies against every imaginable disease.

One’s own experience is easily subject to self-delusion

The uncomfortable truth is: Just because a person’s illness disappears or symptoms improve after a doctor or healer has administered a few globules or some juice it does not necessarily mean that this intervention was the actual cause for improvement. On the contrary, it is unlikely to be so, even if this runs counter to one’s own experience. The predominant feeling is: what could be more convincing than personal experience? But even cold is known to last seven days, with or without medical assistance.

Unfortunately, we are all too easily deceived – as unpleasant as this insight may be. Decades of psychological research prove this again and again. Human perception is one of the most fallible things. There are even special terms for such phenomena of self-deception and false conclusions.

In seemingly successful case studies from homeopaths, the following circumstances leading to wrong conclusions are recurring:

  • The temporal proximity of the doctor’s visit and the success of the therapy apparently causes a causal connection. This feeling lies in human nature. Those affected – as well as homeopaths who cite such cases as evidence – overlook or ignore that and why a disease improves or even disappears completely for many other reasons.
  • The natural course of the disease: We go to the doctor when we are particularly ill, at the peak of the disease (at least of the symptoms). If we feel better afterwards, we attribute this to the doctor and his therapy, not to the natural ups and downs of an illness. Our body has probably overcome the disease itself. But since we have been to the doctor, we consider his therapy to be the reason for the improvement.
  • It was not the globules that helped us, but only the consultation of the therapist, the medical setting, his attention, the care – the so-called context effects, of which the placebo effect is only one – led to the improvement of our suffering.

Individual cases cannot prove a method

Because medicians have understood at some point that individual patient reports are not meaningful, they have developed methods to gain reliable information on the benefits and risks of medical intervention: Studies with a certain number of participants, with a control group (which receives a placebo) and a random allocation (technical term “randomised”), in which neither the physician nor the participants know who receives what (double-blinding). This is called the current gold standard of a study: double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, or RCT (an abbreviation of randomized controlled trial).

Every time a homeopath or homeopathic patient bases the “proof” for homeopathy on the deceptive aura of the individual case, somewhere (at least) one physician winces because once again two hundred years of medical development and research on cognitive psychology have been ignored. (You can find a good guide through the jungle of study types here (external Link.)

“It helped me” just means. It helped “ME”

So if you as an adherent of homeopathy believe that something changes in the course of a homoeopathic therapy, then you have to take a close look: If the pain disappears, haematomas heal, oedemas decrease or even depression improves, this does not automatically mean that the homeopathic remedy is responsible for this. In order to make a reliable statement, you have to broaden your view and see what has happened to other people with such a disease over time; this is exactly what medical studies are trying to do. In general, there are four possibilities for the course of disease with or without treatment:

1. Ailments improve after ingestion
2. No changes after ingestion
3. An improvement occurs even without taking a drug
4. No intake of any medication and nothing changes

Saying, “It helped me,” just means you were in the first group. In order to judge how good a medical method is, it is crucial to know how large the other three groups are. If you now notice that we count many more cases in group two, that is certainly an indication that the remedy does not seem to work so well or not at all.

From many homeopaths’ sight, however, this would not be the case:
Of course, they say, it hasn’t changed anything because it wasn’t the right medication. Or: The right drug only shows its effect after a long time, so you can’t judge so quickly if nothing happens. Or: It was the homeopathic initial aggravation, the improvement will soon follow. Or: The patient took disturbing agents (coffee, the wrong toothpaste), so it could not work at all. Or: Homeopathy heals from the inside out, something has to be done inside first, that is not visible on the outside. Or: Homeopathy heals from top to bottom, the hair loss is already gone, it will be fine. Or: The homeopath was simply the wrong one, he has the wrong homeopathic school/training/conception, he was not a “real homeopath” at all. Or, or, or… There are many excuses and possibilities, often incorporated into the thought system of homeopathy.

Only one argument is not heard: “Nothing happened after the drug was taken because it did not work. Because it can’t work.”

The statement that a certain measure/therapy helped can only be made reliably if we test the measure/therapy under fair conditions in studies in order, among other things, to find out which of the four groups was the largest.

Subjective experiences are valuable – but never proof

Subjective experiences and successes are without a doubt highly valuable and should not be taken away from anyone or denied completely. But it is important not to stop at the subjective perspective in medicine. How could we utilize treatments and medications if it depended purely on personal feelings when and how they were used?

An example might help to understand the problem: Ibuprofen is a well-known and proven painkiller that may have already helped you before. It is quite certain that it does not help against athlete’s foot. Imagine someone saying to you: “I’ve had athlete’s foot for so long now, I’m now taking half a pill of Ibuprofen a day”. One week later, you meet the person again and ask for the athlete’s foot. The person declares that the athlete’s foot has disappeared and asserts that the Ibuprofen had obviously helped. Do you really think he’s right and that was due to Ibuprofen?

Medicine must be as objective as possible. And in order to be objective, we need studies that summarise many, many individual experiences, give an overall view and emerge a critical assessment. For homeopathy this assessment is well documented and states: An effect above the placebo level could never be proven reliable.


Read more about “Why anecdotes are not data” (external link).

 

 

FAQ 19 – Do you want to “ban” homeopathy?

Clearly, no.

We can’t and don’t want to “ban” homeopathy. However, we have good reasons why we do not consider it useful or helpful in medicine. Of course, everyone can apply homeopathy privately – and pay for it privately. But we want to make sure that these people know what homeopathy really is. Because especially homeopathy advocates often have an astonishingly stubborn ignorance. The hope that homeopathy may work is justified and understandable in each individual case. However, it is not true that it works as Hahnemann had thought up 200 years ago and as many homeopaths still believe today. Today we have good explanatory models for the “successes” of homeopathy, which have little to do with homeopathy itself. We would like to make every effort to ensure that you can obtain more information about them.

We think it is important that you know that adhering to homeopathy does not mean better medicine.

Homeopathy today stands for:

  • Loss of scientific competence

The natural sciences have a clear judgement: homeopathy cannot work for scientific reasons. Natural sciences are taught at schools and universities. We should not confuse knowledge and faith here and teach both in false tolerance.

  • Loss of epistemological-philosophical competence

The philosophical question “How can we get knowledge?” is an important question. There are rules that ensure that we are not constantly mistaken. Rules that protect us from wrong conclusions and wrong decisions. If we acknowledge homeopathy, then we disregard the epistemological rules – and also accustom ourselves to incorrect handling of important rules.

  • Arbitrariness

Natural laws are not made by humans. The laws of nature exist; we humans can only recognize (or not recognize) them. We cannot change them. Those who accept homeopathy also accept that the laws of nature can change at will and can be adapted to their own needs. Those who accept homeopathy no longer have any arguments when it comes to the existential question of unicorns, trolls, fairies, elves and other fairy-tale creatures.

  • Loss of freedom of choice

Anyone who believes in homeopathy is helplessly exposed to all its promises. He has no valid decision criteria on the basis of which he himself can decide whether something is meaningful or possible, nonsensical or impossible.

  • There is no peaceful coexistence

Statements like “One can nevertheless use both – medicine and homeopathy” or “medicine and homeopathy can nevertheless coexist peacefully” testify to ignorance and incomprehension of homeopathy. One cannot combine “sense” with “nonsense” and hope that things will get better. The best “mixture” of sense and nonsense is 100 % sense and 0 % nonsense! Everything else is a dilution and deterioration – especially for you as a patient.

  • Wrong health education

Children, who get globules in all their aches and pains, learn that there is a homeopathic “switch off” for every small disturbance of well-being. One is educated to carelessness towards one’s body and learns that one would need a “medicine” for everything. However, this is rather the opposite of natural growing up.

We are not simply “against” homeopathy, we are also committed to better medicine.

Of course, people want to be seen and treated as individuals and not as “cases” or even “numbers”. Here we can learn something from homeopathy and its treatment of patients. But the alternative to bad medicine is not nonsense and an ultimately untenable promise, but better medicine. Effective medicine and again more humanity in the medical business!

From our point of view there is something to improve at many corners:

  • Patients

    Patients are allowed to inform themselves about homeopathy. They should not frivolously dilute or even replace the scientific basis of our knowledge with esoteric beliefs – even if the latter somehow sound or feel good.

  • Health insurance

    Health insurance companies should not pay for homeopathic therapies and remedies. Otherwise, it is a case of misappropriation of insured funds. Just because patients like homeopathy is not a sufficient reason to reimburse them. It would be better if instead, doctors could have longer conversations with their patients again (and this could also be billed) if psychosomatic basic care could be expanded further and patients could feel more comfortable in medicine again. By the way, the fact that homeopathy reimbursement should lead to lower costs did not occur. The money would be available for more sensible therapies.

  • Medical associations

    The medical associations should neither offer further education nor further education for homeopathy nor “reward” them with further education points. The examination boards should ban all examination questions on the subject of “homeopathy” from the medical state examinations. Instead, more space should be given to interpersonal skills in initial and further training.

  • Universities

    The medical faculties of the universities should not offer homeopathy courses. The only exception: historical considerations on homeopathy in the subject “History of Medicine”. However, they should also try to communicate their knowledge better to people. Often they come across as too “cold and repellent”.

  • Politics

    The policy should again lift the internal consensus of the “special therapy direction”. The authorities demand proof of efficacy from all medicines. Only not from drugs of the “special therapeutic direction”, which include homeopathics. With these “medicines”, it is sufficient for homeopaths to attest to each other’s effectiveness – just like that. This would be comparable to a small group of “carpet pilots” who certify to each other that one can fly on flying carpets. We strongly oppose this two-class principle of medicine!

FAQ 05 – Why does homeopathy not work?

Homeopaths ascribe the effect of homeopathy to the homeopathic remedies (globules or drops, tablets or other dosage forms). They therefore rely on a specific medicinal effect which can be attributed solely to the homeopathic method. We are certain that homeopathy can bring about changes, but that these cannot be due to the theoretical explanations Hahnemann devised 200 years ago. We consider a specific effect of homeopathy to be excluded.

Why?

1. The principle of similarity does not work

Similarity is a human way of thinking and perception. Nature doesn’t know similarities. What is similar for humans is by no means a healing principle. Analogies are not scientific criteria either.

2. Homeopathic medicine tests are humbug

Drug tests are not carried out in a standardised manner. Sick drug examiners come to different results than healthy drug examiners. The interests of the drug examiners play a role. The different, possibly limited reactivity of cell tissue plays a role. The “results” are completely subjective, which is additionally proven by the constantly growing list of symptoms (materiae medicae) of homeopaths.

3. The dilutions are too high

Efficacy is impossible when there is no substance left. Molecules are single structures, they cannot be diluted arbitrarily. If there is only 1 molecule left in the solution, then after the next dilution there is no molecule left in the solution – if there is, a dilution has not taken place. The “disappearance limit” of the substances is related to a natural constant (“Avogadro Number”, which is 23X (1 : 10^23 = 1 : 100 trillion). In homeopathy, much higher dilutions are usually used: 30C (= 60X) or 200C (= 400X).

4. Potentiation of substances does not work

That a 200 year old ritual, using only tools known at the time, should be able to separate any “spiritual effects from matter” is a mere assertion. That is impossible from a scientific point of view, exactly this impossibility is proven by quantum mechanics and not the opposite.

5. water cannot store any information

You can’t write in water. If you do it anyway, you cannot read what you have written. The idea of “molecular clusters” does not help: The decisive hydrogen bonds change a trillion times every second. Quantum physics does not help either. Where there is nothing, nothing can work.

6. Separation of effect and side effect is not possible

It can’t be explained that from a mixture of substances only the effective substance is potentiated, but all other ineffective interfering substances are not. It also can’t be explained that the active substance only potentiates the effect desired by humans, but not the side effect undesired by humans. How can substances know what we want?

7. Homoeopathy is not suitable for curing deficiency diseases

If the body lacks substances, then the substance must be supplied in the required dose and not in a homeopathic dose.

8. Homeopathy is not suitable for curing poisonings

If the body is overdosed with a toxic substance, any additional administration of the toxin will result in additional exposure. A relief by additional poison doses is not possible. This has always been an unsolved problem for homeopaths.

9. “Holistic” cannot be achieved

Nobody is able to grasp all aspects and all details of a human being. “Holistic” is a buzzword. Every responsible physician strives to understand his patient beyond the symptoms described and therefore works “holistically”. In addition, homeopathy is an explicit symptom therapy.

10. Imaginative, but abstruse explanatory models

The disease models underlying homeopathy originated before the scientific age. Postulated forces such as “life force”, “life energy”, “miasms”, “nosodes” are non-existent fantasy structures. The actual causes of disease such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, carcinogenic substances, toxins or deficiency symptoms (hormone deficiency, vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency) are not accepted by homeopathy as the cause of disease.

11. Future generations of scientists will not be able to find a mode of action either

If we were merely ignorant, homeopaths could hope for future insights. But we are not ignorant, we apply the scientific method. It gives us knowledge that contradicts and refutes homeopathy. What is already refuted today cannot be declared “proven” tomorrow.


Would you like more details? An even more detailed presentation by the American neurologist and science blogger Steven Novella can be found under this link.

 

FAQ 08 – It also helps with children and animals – they can’t imagine the effect!

“Homeopathics also work on babies, toddlers and animals. So it can’t be a placebo effect!”

This or similar arguments are often used when it comes to whether homeopathy is effective in children or not and whether homeopathy is a pure placebo therapy. But what exactly does the placebo effect mean?

“I will help you”

Originally, placebo literally means something like “I’ll please”, a bit more casually translated “I’ll help you”. On the one hand, it means the placebo, i.e. the sham drug, which contains no active substance but can nevertheless trigger a reaction in the patient because he thinks he is getting help. So the effect is not made possible by a pharmacological ingredient, but by the importance attributed to the tablet (the globules). Nevertheless, this reaction can be measurable and objectively comprehensible.
On the other hand, it also refers to the act of devotion. Every mother performs placebo therapy when she affectionately blows her child on an “ouch”, sticks on a consolation patch or when she weighs it in her arms. In fact, such an action doesn’t “work”, practically everyone knows that the child usually jumps off again after a few minutes of comfort or falls asleep calmly. So it has helped.

Babies have very sensitive antennas

Homeopathy is now particularly skilled at using these two mechanisms. On the one hand, it gives tablets without active substances and often combines this with a ritual of devotion, empathy and the power of good experiences. The globules thus carry the meaning “I give you help, dear child” without this necessarily being expressed in words. The mother radiates that she can help, that she can do something, that she expects help from the globules. The child gets something to help him, he perceives that he is not left alone with his problem. That is good. Both. The mother/father calms down and this is good for the child as well as for the parents. That doesn’t have to be a blatant change in behaviour, children and babies intuitively feel the slightest change. They are so dependent on us that they are equipped with the finest antennas.

Of course, other rituals (warm tea, reading aloud, etc.) also help, but the explicit medical orientation of homeopathy reinforces the “I can and will help you” effect very positively. You don’t just do something, but something that (supposedly) makes medical sense.

Also, the following waiting for recovery is no longer mere perseverance, but a “let’s wait and see how the globules work”. There is hope that something will change for the better – and behold, it does change. Felt also faster than without the possibility to have done something good. If the first globules do not “work”, the therapist looks again into his repertories, gives other globules and waiting again becomes easier. Finally, however, the disease heals on its own, the complaints disappear on their own and we are convinced that the globules have performed a small miracle – and therefore give them next time with a new, even stronger conviction. We quickly forget the occasions when the globules did not help or excuse them with “We didn’t find the right remedy in time”.

A practical and helpful system. But we are subject to an insidious error of confirmation.

The placebo effect – The “kiss my owie – make it better” of medicine

It becomes problematic when we are so convinced of homeopathy that we no longer blame the above explanations for the effect, but rather “information” or “energy” in the globules. Of course, you could say that the globules actually contain information: the information “I will help you”. But that’s not what the homeopaths mean. They mean incomprehensible or inexplicable information, which could not be found so far, nor can it be found in the future. It also becomes problematic when the belief in globules is established through such supposedly positive experiences and one thinks that even serious illnesses can be treated “naturally” in this way. No, serious illnesses can have serious consequences and these can perhaps be tolerated more easily by the effects mentioned, but they are not cured by it. And we must not impose this on our children.

Of course, it is not acceptable to prescribe every child with a small cold immediately an antibiotic. And it is difficult to simply wait and see if banal viral infections improve. Especially if one used the possibility of homeopathic “therapy” and the waiting became easier. But it is nevertheless fortunate that we have the medicine and effective medication for severe cases. For the easier cases, it may also be the “magic globules”, if we are aware of the fact that we are only singing an extended “kiss my owie … ” – or something completely different, which has the potential to cause exactly the same effect.

There are miracles again and again…

For animals that also have very fine antennas for their pet owners, the same applies of course. For example, there are dogs that can feel the epileptic seizure of their owners even before they do it themselves. This shows how subtle many animals are and how much they can adjust to their owners. With less sensitive animals such as hares, turtles or cows, the time gone by, the natural course of the disease and chance or luck may simply play a role, even if it is difficult to understand. A miracle cure simply does more than these sober reasons. Miracles can often be easily explained – ask a professional magician.


Here you can find more information about the placebo-by-proxy and the nocebo effect.

FAQ 04 – How can the “effect” of homeopathy be explained?

We’re not saying homeopathy has no effect at all. We only deny that it has the specific medicinal effect that homeopaths claim and also that it works through “energy” and “information”. However, there are effects and changes that can occur during homeopathic treatment, but which cannot be attributed to the cause of homeopathy:

1. Placebo effect

The placebo effect has nothing to do with a personal “belief in it”. It occurs in all people – including skeptics. The placebo effect is also well detectable in animals and newborns. It can’t be prevented or undermined.

2. Wrong conclusions

In the course of evolution, living beings have a survival advantage if they are able to quickly recognize patterns or quickly establish connections. Even if it turns out later that these patterns do not exist or the connections are wrong, the survival advantage remains. For this reason, we still very quickly suspect causal connections today, where actually none exist. Homeopathy benefits from this: the “after, but not because of it” fallacy.

3. Selective perception

We develop a theory and try to verify it. We only notice facts that fit the theory. We ignore the facts that do not fit the theory. For homeopathy this means: Every improvement after homeopathy “proves” homeopathy. Every failure after homeopathy is forgotten – and therefore cannot refute it.

4. Wishful thinking

Wishful thinking interacts with selective perception. If you want homeopathy to work, you will experience higher success rates than someone who is inwardly critical and rejects homeopathy or who is not interested in the effects of homeopathy.

5. Spontaneous healing

Many diseases heal spontaneously. People like to say “He who heals is right”. However, it is by no means enough that anyone is simply present at spontaneous healing – it cannot be concluded from this that he has set the cause for it. Spontaneous remission rates are well known in medicine for many diseases, even severe ones.

6. Regression to the middle

Illnesses sometimes get worse, sometimes better (like stock prices). You always take medication when you feel worse. The fact that after the bad phase a good phase comes again does not have to be led back at all on the medicines: It can also concern the completely natural spontaneous healing process.

7. Strange (and ingenious ?) definition of “success”

Homeopaths report success with improved complaints, with unchanged complaints (“sustainability”) and with worsened complaints (“initial worsening”). Regardless of what happens: Only one of the three possibilities can occur – and thus always a success.

8. Immunization of homeopathy against failure

Homeopathy establishes rules that are almost impossible to adhere to and that can – but do not have to – cause failure if they are not adhered to. Failures can be attributed to coffee enjoyment or mint-containing foods (also in drinks or toothpaste). However, homeopathy also attributes successes to those who violate the rules and thus, according to the rules of homeopathy, the treatment could not have been effective at all.

9. “Holism” also immunizes against failure

Failures can always also be attributed to the patient, who allegedly did not communicate all aspects of his situation and therefore a false homeopathic anamnesis was taken. But here something is demanded and expected of the patient which is impossible.

10. “Cooperation” with medicine

If homeopathically treated patients were forced to stay with homeopathy until the end, it would quickly become clear how ineffective homeopathy is. Now, however, the “good” homeopaths are redirecting patients back to medicine if they notice that homeopathy remains unsuccessful. Of course, this is good for the patients. But it is also good for homeopathy, because even if the medicine has no more possibilities (and unfortunately this is the case: there are still incurable diseases, especially at certain stages), then the ultimate failure is blamed on the last practitioner – the medicine. Not a word about the fact that a correct medical therapy that started earlier would probably have been successful and that the failure is due to homeopathy. One is simply more successful if one rejects the responsibility for failures – even if this is unjustified. Nobody counts these failed cases.

11. Difference between “homeopathic remedies” and “homeopathy”

The globules or drops do not work because they do not contain any active ingredients. But homeopathy is more than just the administration of globules or droplets. The homeopath takes a lot of time for his patients, especially in the homeopathic anamnesis he listens very carefully to them and demonstrates empathy. “The doctor as a pharmacon” (Michael Balint) contributes significantly to the success of homeopathy. The success of what one might call the “art of healing” is also recognized and esteemed by medicine. Doctors also want more time for their patients. However, this is often not possible in “normal medicine” (as there are many patients, few doctors and little time).

FAQ 03 – Homeopathy is gentle and natural – why should it do any harm?

Homeopathy is different from what many think

Many consumers associate homeopathy with “purely herbal” and/or naturopathy.
Basically (according to the self-conception of homeopathy) everything can develop to a “homeopathic remedy”, even plants. However, the drops, globules, tablets, ointments and injection solutions are often made from completely different materials: toxic chemical elements, animal and even disease products – including, as is little known, creepy substances such as fly agarics, snake venom, the saliva of rabid dogs, head lice, cockroaches, dog faeces, pus, cancer and leprosy cells, arsenic, mercury and plutonium. Due to the usually numerous dilutions, however, highly likely not a single molecule of the starting substances and thus none of their nastiness are not still contained in the homeopathic remedy. We are therefore also committed to ensuring that homeopathic remedies are not given a Latin name in the future, but a generally understandable common name. This makes it easier for users to understand what is contained (or is declared as that) and to see for themselves that the original substances are not always pleasant and gentle.

Natural and herbal medicine (phytotherapy) have nothing to do with homeopathy

We have nothing against naturopathy – where an effect can be proven. We just don’t want it to be confused with homeopathy. By the way: naturopathic preparations also have a chemical effect. And a distinction between “good” and “bad” chemistry is not only inadmissible, but it is also simply unnecessary. The body cannot differ whether a substance supplied to it is natural or synthetic. The substance affects processes – or not. The substance has an effect – or not. It is misleading to think that nature is “good” per se. It is also often claimed that naturopathy is non-toxic. Anyone who claims this should (of course not!) take some digitalis, some ergot cereals or an amanita  (death cap). Of the death cap, only a single mushroom is enough to kill a man. Moreover, the idea that everything called chemistry is “evil” is wrong. We ourselves are all pure chemistry. No life is possible without chemical processes.  The carbon, hydrogen or oxygen atoms in us are no different from those that exist outside of us. It is certainly a difference whether these atoms are assembled into a plastic artifact or into a human cell wall, but the basic substances are all the same. Globules also contain chemistry: C12H22O11 (i.e. cane sugar).

Doesn’t help, so doesn’t harm?

It is crucial that the efficacy of homeopathic remedies – beyond placebo effects – has no sound evidence. Which is not surprising with such a high dilution of the starting materials (potentiation). So it doesn’t matter what they originally contain. The reference to naturalness is, therefore, a superfluous association.

That homeopathy would support self-healing or the immune system in a natural way is unfortunately not true. This would be an extraordinary effect which could not be shown so far. On the contrary: if you believe in this statement, and thus trusting in the wonders of the globules, you will perhaps omit other meaningful measures that would really help the body. The fact that our body has an incredible self-healing potential, without homeopathy of course, is great – after all, it manages to cope by itself with over 80% of all diseases without medical help. We can learn from homeopathy that our body does quite a lot on its own – in a natural way and without “miracle globules”.

Homeopathy can always do harm if you trust it in cases that the body cannot cope by itself. For example, in cases of high blood pressure, cancer, pneumonia and many other acute, severe or chronic illnesses. Those who do not take medical help can lose their lives sooner, suffer unnecessary pain or symptoms, lose vitality or risk subsequent illnesses. Well, that’s natural in a way too – but do you really want to trust in ineffectiveness in view of such dangers? Homeopathy may not be harmful if the body has a small infection, which it overcomes with a little rest and time. It doesn’t really help – but it doesn’t hurt here either. But we make a big mistake if we rely on the “homeopathic nothing” in more serious situations – to what the apparent “successes” in illnesses that heal on their own can easily tempt to (“conditioning”). Yes, there are placebo effects and yes, hope helps to heal. But in serious cases, this is not enough. We must not rely on healing through homeopathy, because it does not exist!

 

FAQ 02 – And what do you have against homeopathy?

If explained as a placebo treatment to the patient and applied by an experienced doctor: a few objections. Applied outside medicine: even less.

But as the highly specific, natural drug therapy it claims to be, we think it’s wrong. Many patients and therapists believe that homeopathy works specifically as a method. An effect beyond placebo effects, however, was not proven in any well-done study. This raises the question: Why do we trust scientific studies rather than the experience of so many people in our assessment?

Own experience versus science

It is not easy to understand that one’s own experience, for which one would vouch for, does not count beyond one’s own horizon of experience. Everybody is free to make their own experiences, they cannot be judged or even questioned from the outside. However, one’s own experiences (no matter how convincing they feel) are not – and never – suitable for deciding on the effectiveness of therapy. For this, we need studies that meet certain requirements.

The scientific method tries to approach homeopathy objectively with studies. Studies summarize as many individual experiences as possible. And they ask: Does the examined method/drug bring about something positive, specifically in the majority of individual experiences, or does it remain in the case of random positive changes or placebo effects? The vast majority of well-done studies and all (!) summarizing considerations (reviews, meta-analyses) come to the conclusion that there is no specific effect. This, however, would be the prerequisite for considering something as a medically relevant method or remedy. This gives us food for thought and we ask ourselves (and you) why homeopaths consistently misrepresent, deny or ignore that – or don’t they actually know?

Homoeopathy as an entrance to exit

Often the belief in homeopathy leads to turning one’s back on medicine as a whole. Drugs are called poisons, chemicals or pure cash cows and are usually judged according to their side effects. Doctors are denigrated as dependents of the pharmaceutical industry, vaccinations are seen as first and foremost harmful. So the way leads further and further away from the achievements that science has brought us in medicine over the last 200 years. This worries us very much. We see homeopathy as a kind of entrance to the exit from medicine. We are aware that medicine also presents flaws and weaknesses, but this does not automatically make homeopathy an effective procedure.

Moreover, many homeopaths do not have a sound medical education or forget their medical knowledge because they believe they can offer something better with homeopathy. Formerly their behaviour was called as quackery, today it is spoken of as gentle, integrative medicine, of complementary or alternative medicine: as if it were about procedures with special, natural-biological characteristics that are not present in “dusty conventional medicine”. And the patients often encounter with catchy thought structures: “You are ill because you have swallowed antibiotics … because your body is internally poisoned … because your mobile phone radiate hurts!” In view of the fact that only the fear of alleged dangers can make you sick, we consider it irresponsible, even morally highly reprehensible, to stir up such fear. As long as one can’t refer to unbiased, objective studies that credibly substantiate such allegations. Homeopathy is not a science, but a matter of faith.

We do not fight, we do not attack – we inform

We hope that you want to be enlightened, that you want to know what homeopathy is all about, that you are interested in what Hahnemann really said and that he did it 200 years ago. And that much has changed in medicine and knowledge since then, which is why we can think and judge differently from him nowadays. That is why we have created the Homeopathy Information Network. Not just to be “against homeopathy”, we could have saved ourselves the trouble. But to reach you. You would certainly like to know how the perceived effect of homeopathy can be explained today and what are the limits of its effectiveness. We care about your health and also about honesty within medicine. We do not want false claims about homeopathy to unsettle you and harm you and your children.

FAQ 01 – What does “homeopathy” really mean?

Homeopathy is a method with a supposed healing outcome that dates back more than 200 years and was developed by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann.  At that time it meant great progress in the treatment of sick people because it at least treated them gently – but it was never “right”, which we can prove today with logic and science.  Homeopathy is based on three pillars, each of which represents an untenable premise: The principle of similarity (simile principle), drug testing on healthy persons and the increase in effect through dilution (called potentiation).

Classical homeopathy according to Hahnemann carries out drug tests on healthy persons: The test person (drug examiner) takes a substance and observes changes of any kind, not only physical – mental, psychological, emotional and constitutional so-called test symptoms are also included. The sum of the symptoms is collected as a so-called drug picture in extensive reference books (Materiae medicae). According to Hahnemann’s law “Similia similibus curentur” (similar things are cured by similar things) the therapist  selects the substance in the homeopathic symptom finder (repertory) for which a clinical picture is described that resembles that of the patient.

A homeopathic remedy is produced by gradually diluting this substance, “potentiating” it. This means that with each step the new dilution is beaten ten times on a springy surface, e.g. a book bound in leather, so that the “spirit-like forces” of the substance pass over into the solution – at least this is what Hahnemann imagined at that time. This procedure is repeated many times – with the D-dilutions in each case in the ratio of 1:10 and with the C-dilutions in each case in the ratio of 1:100. The number of the repeated dilutions also with the “potentiations” is indicated behind the D or C (thus the number behind a D indicates the number of the zeros and the number behind a C the number of the double zeros). To produce the globules, the homeopathic remedy created in this way is sprayed onto the sugar globules. Then the evaporation of the solution, i.e. the drying of the globules is awaited. The homeopathic remedy is then “ready for use”.

The disease and therapy model of homeopathy invented by Hahnemann is older than modern science. It is a speculation, a building of thought, whose basic assumptions – described above – are today clearly considered to be refuted. Homoeopathy cannot be reconciled with today’s scientific view of the world, which has been proven on a daily basis.

On our pages we explain why (not only, but also) we hold this view and what it means for homeopathy and its users in more detail and with regard to many details of homeopathic teaching.