Homeopathy - Skeptics and Believers
Does Homeopathy actually work?
I have no intention of entering into the raging debate on whether homeopathy works and would rather leave it to the experts and practitioners. But as somebody who has relied upon conventional medicine as well as various types of alternative medicine I provide the perspective of a patient who accepts the efficacy of the system without ignoring the doubts of the skeptics.
I will summarize what I have learned, to hopefully find answers to a few questions. What is homeopathy? Does it work? Can we explain how it works? Why is something that is so unscientific, surviving? Of course my understanding flows purely from my reading, interactions with serious practitioners and my experiences through my transition from a skeptic to a believer.
All Images in this lens are by the author (Photo Credit : vinodkpillai)
Science and Homeopathy
Lest I convey an impression of being an anarchist let loose to work against the medical and healthcare system, or worse still, a reactionary wanting to start an anti-science movement, let me clarify that I have made use of the conventional healthcare system in many situations and do respect it. I also love science and respect the profound impact that science has had on our way of thinking and our quest to understand the universe and all aspects of life on earth. Therefore my attempt is only to bridge the gap between the sceptic and the believer.
How do we deal with the arguments against homeopathy that it's claims are not scientifically validated? The answer, according to me is simple. We have become dogmatic about science and made science into the new religion, which has answers for all questions. And therefore, by extension, if something cannot be explained or validated by scientific methods, then it does not exist! This is really unfortunate because science is a process of enquiry and the openness to explore the inexplicable is what defines the great strides that science made in adding to our understanding of everything around and inside of us. That is where the problem lies.
I believe that the working of homeopathy is not as yet explained by modern science but in the not too distant future, we will see an explanation emerge that could also alter the way science looks at everything else. There were a few unsuccessful attempts to explain how highly diluted homeopathic medicines that do not contain even a single molecule of the original substance could have beneficial effects on the human body. The first idea was to suggest that water has a memory. The other idea was to extend the concept of molecular imprinting in polymers to water. None of these are proven but illustrate the kind of out-of the-box thinking that may be needed to explain how homeopathy works.
My journey from skeptic to believer
My first exposure to homeopathy was courtesy a common friend who introduced me to his close friend who was a homeopath with a flourishing practice. I went to him for the usual cough, cold and fever, not so much out of any faith in homeopathy but to give it a try and also because I could not ignore an insistent friend and well wisher's strong recommendations.
Photo Credit : vinodkpillai
After a few months, I discovered that my health was actually improving and I was falling ill less frequently - a vague feeling that the small white globules were after all doing something. But this was only a vague feeling - I was definitely not convinced - and so, when I moved away from that town, I reverted back to the trusted allopathic system for treatment.
A few years later, when my son was born I had to look around for a good doctor. Friends tried to dissuade me - most of them took their children to homeopaths - but I did not want to experiment. I searched and ultimately discovered a very good pediatrician who took good care of my son whenever he was unwell. Later, when I shifted from that town to another and yet another on job transfers I kept doing the rounds of the best hospitals and clinics in those towns, meeting the best pediatricians at regular intervals to find medicines for my son's respiratory problems. Finally, when my son’s respiratory illnesses became too frequent and labeled as “chronic,” one of my friends suggested an alternative.
"Why don't you try homeopathy?"
I thought about it and decided to give it a try. I would go to the same doctor who was treating his daughter. The doctor examined my son and gave the medicines - small vials containing white globules.
Over the next few months, my son showed dramatic improvement. Naturally, others in the family too started switching to this system of healthcare. The conversion from sceptic to believer was complete.
How do you and other readers look at homeopathy? Your participation in the poll will help.
In your understanding, does homeopathy work?
Homeopathy on Amazon
A few moments to share your thoughts, feelings, comments - whatever- would greatly enrich this lens!