Fighting for the Woo Pound in Your Pocket

Dr. Manish Bhatia of Hpathy.com has issued a new email newsletter entitled The Fight Back for Homeopathy. Apparently, there are a lot of anti-homeopathy bloggers and newspaper articles around at the moment. Get away? The impact of this, says Dr B, is devastating with homeopathy bleeding to death. Dr B is marshaling the troops for a come-back.

He quotes from emails sent to him to document the terrible effect of the bloggers and evil allopathic doctors:

“My practice has come down to a level where I started 9 years ago..”

“I have been in practice for 12 years and over the last few years have seen such a decline I am forced to look for other employment and I don’t want to give up that easily.”

“I am a homeopath in full time practice and manage (just) to make a living but this year the enquiries from new patients has gone down about 75%.”

“I am a practicing homeopath who is limping along and have seen a demise in my practice. I have come to the point where I am considering giving up as I cannot support myself or homeopathy as I have done for the past 12 years”

“I’m one of those homeopaths who can no longer make a living out of homeopathy.”

“I have a close friend who is a doctor at the RLHH [Royal London Homeopathic Hospital] – she says the situation there is dire and clinics have closed and private practice is down to a minimum – 1 or 2 a week!”

“I was already well established, so I am still in practice, but at the level where any further downturn in income will finish me off.”

“..in Belgium the existing schools have practically no students anymore.”

“My school in Finland is closing because of lack of students.”

Now, I for one do not know if our blogging is responsible for destituting homeopaths (and its Christmas, how heartless!) All industries have their winners and their losers. These quotes could just be coming from a fairly unrepresentative selection of losers at the moment. But will all things homeopathic, Dr B has no real evidence that money coming into homeopaths’ pockets is in decline, apart from some anecdotes.

However, it could well be that the popularity of homeopathy is on the wane. But this would have to be in the context of the fact that there is undoubtedly a big public interest in alternative medicine on the high street at the moment. Your non-medically qualified homeopath could just be facing stiffer competition for your disposable woo wonga. We all must have noticed the greater preponderance of herbalists on the high street. Maybe these slicker and better marketed products are better at getting hold of the gullible quack money looking for a home?

There may well be truth in this as I think, at least from a personal anecdotal point of view, that most people cannot differentiate between herbal medicine and homeopathy. Both are ‘natural’ alternatives to real medicine. I think many people believe that homeopathy is just a type of herbalism and so may well be spending their cash with a slick high street chain. If I was a homeopath, I would be looking into setting up a string of well branded franchises and doing a better job of selling my snake-oil. Homeopaths-R-Us. Homeobase. British Homeo Stores. Buy 6C get 30C free. Free pills for kids. OAP Wednesdays. Go Large (LM) for 30p. Do you want lies with that? You get the picture.

I would have to agree with Dr B on one thing though. That homeopaths should be telling the world about themselves. I think the greatest threat to homeopathy is that people actually find out what it is. When people realise that homeopathy is based on nonsensical and magical thinking, the powers that be, in hospitals and universities and government, may well be less inclined to say they support it. When your average person realises that homeopaths try to treat AIDS, autism and malaria with sugar pills, they will not get such tolerance.

Let’s show the world what homeopath is and how homeopaths behave! At last I have common purpose with Dr B and homeopaths.

On this theme…

11 Comments on Fighting for the Woo Pound in Your Pocket

  1. Homeopathy on the wane in the UK? Good work! I wish it were so here in the United States. Every day I meet someone new who subscribes to this kind of “alternative medicine” nonsense, even staff at the hospital where I am employed! I’ve heard registered nurses discussing “energy medicine” and aligning chakras in our hallways. A privately contracted “organic” snack bar in the building even sells homeopathic remedies next to candy bars.

  2. “I think, at least from a personal anecdotal point of view, that most people cannot differentiate between herbal medicine and homeopathy. [And see both as] ‘natural’ alternatives to real medicine.”

    That has been my experience too, LCN.

    People with some kind of science (or generally more practical) education can tell the difference once you explain it.

    I was amazed to find that a significant number of the arts-educated people I knew couldn’t grasp the difference even after I had explained it in short words. I remember this with my old Spanish evening class teacher, who had a postgraduate(MA) degree.

    I was forced to conclude that some of these folk had never ever diluted anything, for any purpose.

    For people who own a car, I find diluting screenwash makes a useful analogy…

  3. screenwash is good.

    I like to say – image if i took your favourite coffee cup and dropped some rat poison into it. What would you do to ensure you could use it again soon? (no tools) You would probably fill it with water, shake it up a lot. Tip out the water – repeat – maybe up to 30 times! That is homeopathy – what sane people call ‘washing up’.

  4. Andy,
    There are good reasons that the idea for your “study” have not been done before. This study would not prove that homeopathic medicines work or are clinically effective.
    If you’re serious about wanting to understand the plausibility for homeopathy, consider reading the website of Martin Chaplin, PhD, professor in the department of applied sciences at London South Bank University:
    here

    The section specifically on homeopathy is at:
    here

    The section on the “memory of water” is:
    here

    You will find that he is an objective observer of water research which provides over 1,300 references to water research.

    For people who want more detail about both theory and experimental studies on the plausibility issue (not clinical work), go to the July 2007 issue of the journal, Homeopathy, published by Elsevier:
    here

  5. Ullman said,

    You will find that he is an objective observer of water research which provides over 1,300 references to water research.

    And all of them irrelevant.

    The day that someone can tell the difference between homeopathic water and ordinary water under blinded conditions is the day that homeopaths win. No-one has done it yet.

  6. Andy,
    You are painting with a very wide paintbrush when you say that ALL of the references are irrelevant to homeopathy.

    The sections of “homeopathy” and “memory of water” are directly relevant, unless you double-blind yourself by closing both of your eyes (the new definition of double-blind according to skeptics).

    That said, please know that your idea for proving homeopathy (or disproving it) holds no water (I thought you’d like that reference…homeopaths can have a sense of humor too).

  7. Dana – I have no idea why you are posting on this thread. If you think my challenge is deficient in some methodological way, then please post it on that thread. I am open to feedback.

  8. Dear Dog… Is Dana Ullman hitting *all* the anti-homeopathic blogs??? I cannot find one blog on this topic without finding him on it.

    He must be sitting at his computer all day and night. This makes me suspect he is not practicing his “medicine” at all -which, is a good sign IMO.

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