What do patients really think of homeopathy?
Have you ever thought you were incurable? Has your doctor said there are no options left for your particular health problem? If so, it may not yet be time to give up completely.
Many who took part in the following studies had been told they could not be helped but to their delight, homeopathy brought relief.
The following article looks at results from clinical outcome and observational studies in which patients were asked how much they had improved with homeopathy.
IntroductionPeople regularly receive homeopathic treatment at hospitals and medical clinics throughout England, Europe, South America, Cuba, and India.
Data collected from these clinics reveal the type of complaints treated, the speed and longevity for any improvements, and the degree of satisfaction patients had with their treatment.
Results showed that some of the happiest patients following homeopathic treatment were those whom mainstream medicine had already given up on. Let’s call them the ‘untreatables’. Some of the improvements they reported following homeopathy are truly remarkable.
1. England: Chronic disease improved in 70% of patientsIn a 6-year outpatient study at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, over 70% of patients with chronic diseases, often of many years duration, said they had improved with the homeopathic treatment. 6544 patients were involved in the study and 70.7% reported positive health changes with 50.7% recording their improvement as better or much better. i
The conditions treated were:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Menopausal problems
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
2. Northern Ireland: “I now have hope”.A Northern Ireland Government study of 713 patients discovered that alternative and complementary therapies offer significant health benefits for patients, plus savings in government healthcare costs – and that homeopathy did the best of all.
Therapies involved in the study included acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, reflexology, aromatherapy and massage but patients who received homeopathic treatment had the greatest improvement (79%), followed closely by acupuncture (77%). Chiropractic or osteopathic patients experienced 56% improvemtn.
Patients were referred by local doctors, often when conventional treatment had failed, for problems such as:
- Joint, back and neck pain
- Myalgic encephalitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Stress related problems
- Panic attacks
- Anger and aggressiveness
- Headaches and migraines
- Shaking and trembling
- Chest infections
- High blood pressure
3. Dorset, England: “It was the homeopathy”.A study at the Dorset NHS Community Homeopathy Clinic led to 84% of patients experiencing an improvement in their health with 81% saying it was due to the homeopathy. A wide variety of conditions were seen, the greatest in incidence being depression, anxiety and grief. iii
4. UK NHS Facility: “Positive outcome”Almost 80% of 958 patients having two or more appointments in this study experienced a “positive outcome” .iv The greatest improvements occurred in:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
5. Germany and Switzerland: “Disease severity and quality of life demonstrated marked and sustained improvements …”In a multi-centre study, information was collected from 3,079 first-time patients from 103 different centres across Germany and Switzerland. v The patients were observed over an 8 year period. Interesting findings to emerge from the study were:
- On average, disease severity decreased dramatically and improvements were sustained
- Those who were sickest at the beginning of the study often noticed the greatest improvement
- Three in ten patients stopped treatment because of major improvement
- Mental and physical quality of life scores increased substantially
- Children improved more rapidly than adults
6. Germany: Homeopathy Used for Childhood Cancer – “I would recommend it to others”.Homeopathy is more frequently used in the treatment of childhood cancer in Germany than any other complementary therapy. Most parents who chose to use homeopathy in this study had experienced it previously and said they would recommend it to others in a similar situation. Compared to other complementary therapies, satisfaction with homeopathy was rated as very high. The majority of prescriptions were made in by non-medical homeopaths. vi
7. Switzerland: “Completely Satisfied”Overall satisfaction was significantly higher for the homeopathic patients in this large survey (3,126 patients) conducted by the Swiss government in which homeopathic care was compared to conventional care. The homeopathic treatments were considered to be low-risk with two to three times fewer side effects than the conventional treatment. Researchers found that 53% of the homeopathic patients were “completely satisfied,” and reports of “positive effects” were significantly higher in the homeopathic group in spite of the greater incidence of chronic conditions (40% vs. 17%). vii
Homeopathy – Worth the Investment?Clinical outcome and observational studies like those above are preferred for examining the real-world effect of an approach or a treatment. These studies, combined, cover a large range of conditions, many of them severe or chronic, in which significant health improvements were achieved and in which patients expressed a high degree of satisfaction. Several studies also reported savings in healthcare costs. When “health is gold” and positive real-world benefits are desperately needed for all manner of health problems, homeopathy is one form of medicine that is certainly worth investigating further.
1. Spence DS, Thompson EA, Barron SJ, ‘Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2005, 11:793-798.
2. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety : Evaluation – Complementary and Alternative Medicines Pilot Project in Northern Ireland, May 2008 http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/final_report_from_smr_on_the_cam_pilot_project_-_may_2008.pdf
5. Claudia M. Witt, Rainer Lüdtke, Nils Mengler, and Stefan N. Willich, ‘How healthy are chronically ill patients after eight years of homeopathic treatment? – Results from a long term observational study’, BMC Public Health, 8 (2008), 413, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630323/
7. Marian F, Joost K, KD Saini, von Ammon K, Thurneysen A, Busato A. Patient satisfaction and side effects in primary care: An observational study comparing homeopathy and conventional medicine. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:52. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/8/52/abstract