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In his recent article, Des Spence has attracted some controversy about his comments regarding homeopathy, saying that it is “bad science but good medicine.”
He claims that “homeopathy is medicine’s whipping boy”, and whilst he does not believe that homeopathic pills work, he says that “homeopathic doctors I know are caring people, disillusioned with the crudeness of conventional medicine, not your typical aggressive alpha medical type.”
“They listen, spend time, and offer some explanation for the unexplainable—and their patients like them. The effect of homeopathy is the positive effect of a therapeutic relationship that is reassuring, accepting, and supportive. Society should never underestimate the healing effect of a kind word or the value of a holistic approach. These consultations genuinely improve wellbeing. Homeopathic pills are placebos, but the placebo response is great, maybe even as high as 80%.”
Also, to quote a Rapid Response from our very own doc2doc member skyesteve:
“I don't deny that homoeopathy helps a lot of people but why should the NHS pay for it if it is not prepared to pay for osteopathy, chiropractic, aromatherapy, hot stones massage, reflexology, candles in your ears, tubes up your bottom, footbaths that turn brown? That for me is the fundamental question. Why should the NHS fund some irrational 18th century snake oil scheme just because some people claim that it helps them? (For those who haven't yet read them I strongly recommend the chapters on homoeopathy by Ben Goldacre and Ernst and Singh in their respective books). Far better to spend that money on counsellors or CBT therapists if you really want to help medically unexplained symptoms.”
Does Spence have a point? Do we underestimate the work that homeopathy does? Or should more money be invested in counsellors and CBT therapists?