Jan's column: homeopathy under attack
Lately, homeopathy has been under attacks, which have become more and more powerful over the last few years. We, as homeopaths, feel offended and misunderstood, and we have a right to feel abused, as the arguments are incorrect. The attackers state that there is no proof to explain homeopathy, despite the fact that most meta-analyses, which are seen as the standard of proof, have shown that homeopathy is effective. We could counterattack but, it is unlikely that we will be heard.
There is, however, another way to look at these events. From a homeopathic point of view, things do not happen by chance and the attacks seen as coming from outside are also a manifestation of some imbalance inside, just as bacteria are not the cause of a disease but simply the side-effect of an internal imbalance.
So, what is our imbalance? It will be similar to that which is happening to us. We are attacked by other scientists, but is it not just what homeopathy has done over the centuries? There was hardly any contact with other sciences, as they were regarded as unable to contribute anything of value to homeopathy and their information irrelevant; botany and chemistry were seen as unnecessary, and regular medicine was accused of only suppressing symptoms, thus symptom alleviating treatments were often "forbidden". Now, we see that which we have put out coming back to us.
That fighting quality has also been present within homeopathy itself. There have been many fights between classical and clinical homeopathy. Complex homeopathy has been accused of not being real homeopathy but it is often forgotten that some of the best studies "proving" homeopathy were the ones done by David Reilly, who showed that complexes of remedies could heal hay-fever very well. Schools of homeopathy, too, have often been accused of not being real homeopathy, of deviating from the real "Hahnemannian" science.
The arguments, which are used to attack homeopathy are mostly theoretical: there is nothing in homeopathic remedies. Discarded are the facts that homeopathy has been proven to work many times, as shown in the meta-analyses. This is of course a major scientific mistake for in science the facts come first and the theory has to follow the facts.
In homeopathy, we have seen the same thing happening. New developments have been rejected on theoretical grounds; it is not in the Organon or Hahnemann has stated otherwise, for example. Discarded were the results, ignored the cured cases. On one side, regular medicine was accused of having poor results and on the other side, the results of homeopathic treatment were often not that spectacular at all, but they were grounded on theoretical arguments!
I think the attacks could be better seen as a gift; a gift that can help us to look more closely at ourselves, at our weaknesses and divisiveness. It can help us to consider our results and encourage us to upgrade homeopathy with the aim to obtain better results. In order to be consistent with our own theory, we can look at the events as a road to cure, on one hand the homeopathic community, and on the other, science and society as a whole.