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Homeopathic Consultations Linked to Benefits for Patients, Study Finds

Source Science Daily

Scientists from the University of Southampton have found evidence suggesting that homeopathic consultations — but not homeopathic remedies — are associated with clinically relevant benefits for patients with active but relatively stable rheumatoid arthritis.

In a study published in the journal Rheumatology, the researchers found that arthritis patients significantly benefited when they received homeopathy alongside conventional treatment over a period of 6 months, but this improvement was due to homeopathy’s consultation process and not its remedies.

“Although previous trials have shown homeopathy may help patients with rheumatoid arthritis, this is the first time that we have scientific evidence that these benefits are specifically due to its unique consultation process,” comments lead author Dr. Sarah Brien, a senior research fellow in complementary medicine at the University of Southampton.

“Homeopathic consultations differ from those in conventional medicine in that homeopaths focus on treating the patient, whereas conventional doctors tend to treat the illness. The homeopathic consultation process improves the health of these arthritis patients based on standard rheumatology measurements and does so safely and without side effects.

“What we don’t yet know is if it is possible to introduce some of the techniques or approaches used within these consultations into conventional medicine.”

Researchers recruited 83 people with rheumatoid arthritis from clinics in Southampton, Poole and Winchester for the study. Each patient received a series of homeopathy consultations over a 24-week period between January 2006 and July 2008, while continuing their conventional treatment. Patients and doctors reported significant reductions in a variety of symptoms including reduced ‘disease activity scores’, fewer swollen joints, reduced pain and improved mood.

The team now plans to conduct more research into identifying which elements of the consultation process are most beneficial and if homeopathy is a cost-effective treatment.

7 comments to Homeopathic Consultations Linked to Benefits for Patients, Study Finds

  • Homeopaths probably have time to LISTEN to their patients because they are not bogged down by bureaucratic regulations, paperwork and legislated nonsense that prevents or distorts real patient care.
    What we really need is to remove government interference from healthcare.
    Chiropractors , doctors and nurses must be free to give the very best of their skill and experience to each patient every day, being held completely responsible for their actions and mistakes like anyone else, but not bound into a “one size fits all” (nobody) straight jacket of regulations that can’t possibly prevent mistakes or deliberate malfeasance, but certainly and demonstrably limits the choices and the care available to the people who need the services and the expertise of professionals. All the regulations in the world will not make a doctor competent.

  • Your comment begs the question, “Who’s going to pay for it?” We’d all love to eliminate the constraints but, unfortunately, they’re an inevitable burden that comes along with the reimbursement. The days of dropping a twenty (or a chicken) in the jar on the way out are long gone. :)

  • Seattle

    Researchers have stopped using the term Placebo when discussing interesting findings like this, and now refer to these experiences as the “non-specific effects” of the care interaction.

    I’d be most interested to review this full-text paper, to understand how they determined that it was the consultation that provided the clinical effect. How can one isolate the “good will” a patient feels from the potential physiologic response to a homeopathic remedy?

  • karl

    hey seattle chiropractor.. i appreciate your comment(s,) but i will say this…it’s my opinion that health care corporations/insurers have a very big impact on patient management/logistics. i feel this is often overlooked when some people strictly lay blame on the government/regulations. health care corporations/insureres in my opinion are very interested in shareholders/profit margin at all costs. although, it may be argued that the government has a say in the time spent with a patient in consultation/examination certainly you would agree health care corporations do also.

  • It is a catch 22. Medical practitioners devote an ever-increasing amount of time to nonclinical paperwork which leads to less time spent with patients. Less time spent with patients means less time addressing concerns that bring the patient to the doctor in the first place. Its frustrating for those required to do paperwork before payment is administered and one reason that many physicians no longer recommend medicine as a career.

  • Like the chiropractor in Seattle, I see the “over management” by insurance companies as a hindrance to the care I am able to deliver. I do however believe that we must be responsible, provide a documented path, and allow for logic to be followed. Personally, I found that I have stopped taking payments from insurance companies that prevent me from being a chiropractor and have found I have more time, and my patients get better care.

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