Monday, March 26, 2012

Homeopathy - what a ludicrous idea?

I see Rod Liddle has been pontificating in the Sunday Times about the madness of the government spending £4 million a year on homeopathy within the NHS.

He says that he swallowed an entire bottle of strychnine (nux vomica in homeopathic dilution) and lives on to tell the tale. And then proceeds to fall into the classic argument trap which runs something like this:

"I don't understand how homeopathy works, therefore it can't work, therefore it doesn't work, therefore it's a waste of money."

It's the train of thought we have to battle with all the time both within the veterinary profession and wider medical fraternity.

The problem is, I partly agree in the sense that I cannot for the life of me see how homeopathy could possibly work. It makes little rational sense, and I'm not keen on explanations that involve phrases like 'vibrational energy'.

I'ts just that we keep seeing cases where homeopathy appears to make a difference. Animal patients where their symptoms change and improve when the only thing we've done is give them homeopathic remedies.

What's that all about?

I remember years ago seeing a BBC journalist trying to crack a homeopathic doctor outside the Royal Homeopathic Hosital in Glasgow. The doctor's, with increasing exasperation finally came out with

"Look, I'm a doctor. People come to this hospital feeling ill. They have symptoms. We examine them, make a diagnosis and the only medication we give them is homeopathic. They go away feeling better, with their symptoms resolving. This is my work as a doctor. What more do you want?"

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