Are the German MD’s crazy or ahead of the game?
Part of winning any sporting championship is dealing with injuries or avoiding them in the first place. A 2012 report showed that the German national team places a lot of trust in natural healing remedies. This study revealed that German medical staff from the national and top league teams used Homeopathy to treat aches and pains in professional athletes.
This was presumably an objective report which was carried out by an academic institute in Koblenz. It found that 92 percent of medical doctors who work for the Bundesliga’s first- and second-division sides prescribed homeopathic remedies. So why would these “billion dollar” organisations with elite personnel even consider using Homeopathy if it had no value especially where the stakes are extremely high and commercial sponsorship is central to the survival of the business.
Scientific investigations have never found any healing benefits other than a placebo effect from taking homeopathic preparations. Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council has just released a draft information paper which says “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.” The review summarised, “No good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than a substance with no effect on the health condition (placebo), or that homeopathy caused health improvements equal to those of another treatment”. When one investigates the findings the ANHMRC one wonders if they have rushed to make a conclusion that lacks substance based solely on interpretation of the published data rather than focus on the clinical observation.
Was this study a waste of the Australian Tax payer’s money?
Perhaps the money spent on this study could have been better utilised on other research programs. e.g. initialising research studies on the addiction rates of pharmaceutical pain medications or on how to combat the ever-increasing obesity rates. There is no pharma conspiracy as some may think, but careful use of funding should be considered especially in a tough economic climate; the ANHMRC conclusion will have no impact on the consumer but only serve to create the usual reactive media-frenzy.
So are the millions of people who buy homeopathic remedies deluded?
Of course not! These are not ‘one-off purchases’, and we also need to ask why has there always been a public demand for alternative medicine such as Homeopathy if they only have a placebo effect.
Are the scientific reviews which have been carried justified in their conclusion that homeopathy has no effect?
Homeopathic treatment works on “quantum healing” and currently science is limited in the measuring subtle energies. However, there are studies that indicate that histamine dilution modulates basophil activation and also there are many credible research papers for Traumeel which is a remedy used by the top sporting teams in Europe. There are other homeopathic research studies which are also stated in the AppleADay RX App . So there are valid scientific findings that justify that homeopathy works on levels other than the placebo effect.
Were the Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council irresponsible in their advice to the consumer based on their findings?
In an extreme case their argument can be correlated to e saying that there is no scientific evidence that God exist so no one should believe in God and it is a waste of time. Conversely, in 2011, the Swiss government released a report that claimed that “homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective. The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/Allergic Reactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favour of homeopathy. Now who do we believe a handful of scientist who only compared the published meta-analysis research data or MD clinicians who actually did prescribed homeopathics and monitored the patients. Furthermore there are at least 38% of MD’s in Germany prescribe homeopathic remedies. Furthermore, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 96 percent of the obstetrical departments offer homeopathic medicines for obstetrical care. Homopathic treatment is very popular in the UK and other European countries such as Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands 45 percent of physicians consider homeopathic medicines effective and 47 percent of medical doctors use one or more complementary therapies, with homeopathy being the most popular. Were any of these factors considered by the ANHMRC?
What about the placebo effect?
If you are an MD why not run a simple ‘risk management’ process at the time of your case assessment. For example, the risks of using homeopathics are higher in certain instances such as infectious diseases or substituting for vaccines, in these cases you would probably not advocate the use of homeopathics. However, if you have a patient with chronic pain and there are no pharmaceutical solutions that effectively alleviate the symptoms, or perhaps if the side effects of the pharmaceutical(s) are problematic to then you may want to consider homeopathic treatment through referring the client to a Homeopath, and you would monitor the progress of the patient as part of your duty of care.
My answer to the title of this blog is that the German and other European MD’s are ahead of the game. This is reflected in the success of their inclusion of alternative therapies alongside conventional healthcare in the treatment of their sporting stars and also in their application of the Integrative health in the care in family medicine. Having worked alongside German MD’s in an Integrative Medicine centres was one of the best experiences of my professional life where MD’s, Complementary practitioners, pharmacists and scientists had open discussion with the aim of trying to resolve complex medical ailment by formulating an effective integrative approach to healthcare e.g. Yoga, Ayurveda, Homeopathy plus conventional health without losing sight of the safety of the patient which is of paramount importance.