I have tried several different forms of alternative medicine in the past including homeopathy and acupuncture. I am reasonably open-minded, but I’ve always come away from the experience, shall we say, underwhelmed.
I’m not knocking alternative medicine. I know it helps some people, but not everyone. How many people it helps, how and to what extent is open to debate.
However, having said that, I have decided to give homeopathy another go. This is for three main reasons:
1) Firstly, my partner is a strong advocate for all things alternative when it comes to health. So much so that she dismisses most conventional medicine. She also fundamentally believes that all doctors are in the pockets of big pharma and can’t think for themselves. As you can see, she’s more than a little prejudiced. She’ll pick up on any news story or morsel that appears to support her stance but, unsurprisingly, when a negative story about any alternative medicine appears she is conspicuously silent.
3) Thirdly, I am genuinely curious to see if homeopathy can have any impact on any on my conditions.
So I’ve been visiting my partner’s homeopath on her recommendation since mid-January 2015.
My Homeopathic Remedies
On my first visit I completed several forms:
- My medical history as an adult and child including all known illnesses, medications, allergies, dental fillings and vaccinations.
- My parents, siblings and extended family’s medical history – at least what I know
- A Candida questionnaire and score sheet.
- The usual medical disclaimer form
I probably do have Candida given my responses to her questionnaire. So she recommended a probiotic.
Then she gave me a handful of homeopathic “remedies” with instructions on how to take them. And off I went.
I’ve seen her a couple of times since then and each time it is the same routine and I walk away with a handful of remedies.
To be honest, I have taken everything she’s has given me and followed her instructions to the letter.
But I don’t feel in the slightest bit different or better. In fact, I feel exactly the same.
Fast forward and I’m back for a follow-up consultation following my recent visit to the sarcoidosis clinic.
Initially she was over the moon that I had ditched all my my drugs and went drug free at the beginning of the year. She was very keen to hear how I felt about it. Obviously, it was great to be off the drugs but this was severely tempered by the fact that my symptoms had since returned. What I gained in one had, I lost in the other.
And some that were for the “immediate relief” of my cough and chest symptoms.
Unfortunately, there was no immediate relief.
My cough, breathing and phlegm were the same as ever. Worse, my lung volume has also fallen by about 20% and the homeopathic remedies were having no effect here either. Absolutely zero impact.
It was decision time. My dalliance with homeopathy wasn’t working, at least in connection with my incessant cough and breathing problems. And my immune system hadn’t kickstarted either.
My pro-homeopathy partner even urged me to start taking steroids again, mainly as she was fed up with my everpresent coughing that littered her day. Not really what I expected from her – I thought she would keep the homeopathic flame burning here.
So I had to bite the bullet and start taking steroids again…
The Need to Believe
My homeopath seems a little agitated that I’m back on the steroids. She throws her hands up and states, matter-of-factly, that “people have to do what’s best for them”. There was no mention of the fact that her treatments had had so little effect.
I told her that strategy number 2 was to try and wean myself slowly off the drugs, which she agreed was the next best approach. She then gave my some more remedies to help in this cause.
And here’s the curious thing. At every appointment so far, she always asks me what I think of the remedies. And I always respond with “I hope they work“. She counters with “Why do I say hope?”. My answer: “Because I don’t know that they work, I just hope they do”. And there the discussion would end.
When I relayed this to my partner, she thought it was a little strange. I couldn’t quite work it out, but I have an untested theory. For homeopathy to have any real effect, you need to believe it works. Better known as the placebo effect, which can be powerful. Though I don’t know how easy it is to make someone believe that something will work if they don’t already.
Is she really hoping that the placebo effect will kick in rather than truly believing that her remedies are effective in themselves?
I don’t know but I will persevere with homeopathy for now.
After all, as I said earlier, I have nothing to lose…