Beware: It's World Homeopathy Awareness Week

Beware: It's World Homeopathy Awareness Week

Author's Note: I was not aware Mark Crislip would be writing about World Homeopathy Awareness Week until I was about to post this. In the spirit of celebrating homeopathy, the more the merrier. That should probably be the less the merrier, considering the subject, but anyway . . . 

April 10th through April 16th is World Homeopathy Awareness Week, organized to celebrate the birth of homeopathy's founder, German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1745-1843).  But homeopaths don't have a lot to celebrate this year. 

The latest in a string of bad news is out of the U.K. According to the Nightingale Collaboration, new figures show that homeopathy use in the National Health Service has fallen to a new low. NHS prescriptions for homeopathy in England, filled in community pharmacies, dropped by another 13% in 2015. Prescriptions are down by a whopping 95% from their peak nearly 20 years ago.Still, this was at a cost of £94,313, a waste of taxpayer money.

Homeopathy is dwindling in other ways in the U.K. as well. Another homeopathy clinic recently closed and more districts of the NHS are getting rid of it. As the Nightingale Collaboration says,

"Dilution by dilution, succussion by succussion, sugar pill by sugar pill, homeopathy is slowly but surely being removed from the NHS. This will not be welcomed by homeopaths whose businesses rely on the (undeserved and unearned) legitimacy that being provided on the NHS lends to homeopathy, but it's the inevitable result of their own failure to provide robust evidence of its efficacy."

This comes on the heels of the 2010 report from U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee concluding that homeopathy is implausible and there is no evidence that it works.  And, more recently, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council assessed the evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy. The Council concluded that "there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective."

The news out of the U.S. hasn't been so hot either. The FDA, which, to date, has taken a hands-off approach to regulating homeopathic remedies, is taking a second look at it's laissez-faire system. Even the Federal Trade Commission told the FDA it needs to clean up its act. Not that homeopathy is much used in the U.S. anyway. According to a government survey, in 2012, only 2.1% of U.S. adults used homeopathy in the last 12 months, and only 19% of those saw a homeopathic practitioner.

A bright spot (for homeopaths) amid the homeopathic gloom did emerge this year in Switzerland, which seems to have thrown up its collective hands and decided its health system would include homeopathic remedies despite the evidence.

In spite of the morbid outlook, the folks in charge of World Homeopathy Week seem to be taking it all in stride, cheerfully offering tips on how homeopathy supporters and practitioners might celebrate the week. Among these is to

"organize musical concerts/stage concerts/skits/plays, etc with a homeopathic theme."

Now, that I'd like to see. In keeping with the "homeopathic theme" does the event not take place?  In a homeopathic-themed concert, do the musicians pretend to play their instruments? Do actors just stand there in homeopathic-themed play? Are they there at all?

Prudently, homeopaths are advised to tamp it down with the claims of effectiveness:

"Please ensure that you do not make undue claims, for example that 'Homeopathy can cure everything,' etc."

Actually, it's better to refrain from claiming homeopathy cures anything, because it doesn't.

And, while it is perfectly ok to promote one implausible treatment that doesn't work, don't go around advertising other implausible treatments that don't work:

"As we are promoting homeopathy, please refrain from including any other modality, other than that which is truly homeopathic in your promotion. As some of you may utilize modalities such as dowsing, pendulum, kinesiology, colour therapy, herbalism, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, etc. into your practice and may find these modalities useful, this is an opportunity to promote Homeopathy and the "Law of Similars" as stated in the Oraganon. It is an opportunity to clear up any misconceptions as to what homeopathy is."

That's Samuel Hahnemann's Orgenon they're talking about, not the collection of Aristotle's works on logic. Big difference.

They even have handy pointers for dealing with the medical profession, such as:

Present concepts that they will be able to relate to. For example, by referring to the vital force as the immune system, you will still be able to get your point across, however [it] will be better understood and received.

Yes, indeed, that will surely impress any medical professional, because we all know that the immune system is really the vital force and has nothing to do with human biology or physiology.

And,

Try to keep to the topic, and not bring up ALL the downfalls in medicine when arguing a topic. i.e., if talking about cancer/hepatitis, stick to cancer/hepatitis, or at least to liver disease.

Because, as with all CAM practices, homeopathy is effective due to medicine's shortcomings

If you'd personally like to celebrate Homeopathy Awareness Week, instead of creating a homeopathic-themed play, for example, the U.K.'s Good Thinking Society has provided a list of sobering facts about homeopathy, such as the dangers of using homeopathic remedies in place of effective medicine.  It's among a list of references on homeopathy the Nightingale Collaboration maintains on its website.

But, if you are organizing a homeopathic-themed play, concert or the like, please let us know. We'd love to come. 

Points of Interest 04/12/2016
Celebrate Magic All Week