Homeopathy patients often say health improved

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people who opt for homeopathic therapy for their chronic ills report lasting improvements in their health, a new study finds.

Among patients at more than 100 German and Swiss homeopathic practices, researchers found that many reported long-term improvements in chronic conditions such as headaches, allergies and sleep problems.

However, the findings do not necessarily mean the controversial alternative therapy is responsible for the benefits, according to the researchers.

Homeopathy, which originated in Germany in the 1700s, is based on the principle of “like cures like” — substances that, according to homeopathy, would create certain symptoms in a person can, in a highly diluted form, treat those same symptoms.

Homeopathy is controversial because a number of its central concepts do not accord with modern science, and many studies have found that the remedies are no more effective than inactive placebo substances.

The current study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, looked only at how homeopathy patients tend to fare in their everyday life. Therefore, it does not settle the question of whether the remedies are actually effective, lead researcher Dr. Claudia Witt told Reuters Health.

“This observational study design does not allow (us) to determine any causality between the improvement and the given homeopathic remedy, nor does it exclude the placebo effect,” said Witt, of Charite University Medical Center in Berlin.

The findings are based on an eight-year follow-up of 3,709 adults and children treated at 103 homeopathic practices. At the end of that time, Witt’s team found, one-third were still undergoing homeopathic treatment, while a bit less than a third had stopped because their health had improved, and a similar proportion had stopped because they felt their treatment was not working.

On average, the study found, patients did report significant improvements in their symptoms over time. Nearly half said their symptom severity had declined by at least 50 percent.

However, Witt and her colleagues say, it’s not possible to tell whether the homeopathic treatments bestowed the benefits, because many patients also used other types of alternative care, as well as conventional medicine.

The placebo effect may also have been at work, according to the researchers, with some patients feeling better simply because they believed the homeopathic remedies would help.

SOURCE: BMC Public Health, online December 17, 2008.

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - There is no evidence that probiotics can relieve the bothersome symptoms of eczema and there is some evidence that they may occasionally cause infections and gut problems, conclude researchers based on a review of the best available research on the topic. Eczema is an itchy red skin rash that affects up

Full Post: “Good” bacteria seen unlikely to curb eczema
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The popular antidepressant Lexapro showed promise at easing anxiety symptoms in older adults, but the effect was “modest” and would need to be studied further, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said antidepressants like Lexapro, made by Forest Laboratories Inc and known generically as escitalopram, may be useful as a new

Full Post: Lexapro may ease anxiety in older adults: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LONDON (Reuters) - Antipsychotic drugs prescribed to treat aggression in older Alzheimer’s patients appear to significantly raise their risk of dying prematurely, British researchers said Friday. The results from the first long-term study on the effect of the medicines on people with Alzheimer’s highlights the need to seek less harmful treatments for many of these patients,

Full Post: Antipsychotics for Alzheimer’s up death risk: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The results of a study suggest that compression devices can produce significant improvements in patients with restless legs syndrome, a movement disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs that worsen when a person is inactive, such as during sleep. Drug therapy for restless legs syndrome (RLS) may be ineffective or

Full Post: Compression devices calm restless legs: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Acupuncture prevents headaches and migraines but faked treatments when needles are incorrectly inserted appear to work nearly as well, German researchers said on Wednesday. Their findings suggest the benefits of acupuncture may stem more from people’s belief in the technique, said Klaus Linde, a complementary medicine researcher at the Technical University in

Full Post: Needles, not technique, may be acupuncture key

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search