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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The reasons people with cancer use homeopathy

Homeopathy is “a therapeutic method of using preparations of substances whose effects when administered to healthy subjects correspond to the manifestation of the disorder in the individual patient”. The discipline was developed by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) about 200 years ago. Hahnemann postulated that


Homeopathy is one of the most common complementary therapies used by people with cancer.
Although there have been many research studies into homeopathy there is no scientific or medical evidence that it can prevent cancer or work as a cancer treatment. 

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is based on the theory of treating like with like. To treat an illness, a homeopathic therapist (homeopath) uses tiny doses of a substance that in large doses would actually cause the symptoms of the illness.
Homeopathic remedies are made from plant, mineral and animal substances. They are diluted in water and shaken until there is little, if any, of the original substance left.
Homeopaths believe that the original substance somehow leaves a molecular blueprint in the water that triggers your body's healing mechanisms. They use the water to make drops, pills or creams.

Why people with cancer use homeopathy

As with most types of complementary therapy, people use it because it may help them feel better or more in control of their situation.
Some people choose homeopathy because it is a completely different type of treatment compared to conventional medicine.
It is used alongside conventional medicine. You should not have it instead of conventional cancer treatment.
Homeopaths believe that it can treat a wide range of symptoms and conditions.
Homeopathy for people with cancer is promoted as a natural way to help you:
  • relax
  • cope with stress, anxiety and depression
  • control symptoms and side effects such as pain, sickness and tiredness
People report that they feel better with homeopathy but there is no evidence to show that it helps with any health condition. It is thought that it may have a placebo effect. This is when people feel better if they believe they have taken something to make them feel better. 

Research into homeopathy

Many clinical trials have looked at how well homeopathy works in treating various illnesses. None of them give any evidence that homeopathy can cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer.
There has also been research looking at whether homeopathy can 
  • reduce cancer symptoms or treatment side effects
  • boost the immune system
  • help children with cancer
  • other health conditions
In March 2015, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia published a report. A working group identified 57 systematic reviews that contained 176 individual studies. They compared groups of people who were given homeopathic treatment with similar groups of people who were not given homeopathic treatment (controlled studies).
The report concluded that there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy works for any health conditions.
The NHMRC recommends that homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious.

What homeopathy involves

On your first visit, your homeopath will ask you general questions about your health, lifestyle, diet and medical history. They will probably ask about sleep patterns, your mood and emotions.
This information helps the homeopath decide on the best remedies to pick specifically for you. These are classed as unlicensed medicines.
The consultation usually lasts about 45 minutes. Further appointments may be shorter, perhaps only half an hour.
Homeopathic remedies come as tablets, granules, powders or liquid. You take them by mouth or as creams or drops. Your therapist will let you know how to take your remedies and how often.
They’ll also let you know when to go back for a check up to see if your condition has improved. If you have a long lasting (chronic) condition they may suggest you go back a few times.
To make best use of these follow up appointments, your homeopath may ask you to keep a record of any changes in your symptoms or condition.
You can buy homeopathic remedies over the counter at the chemist or in health food shops to treat minor ailments. Remember though, that these remedies will not be specifically tailored for you.
You can also buy homeopathic remedies over the internet. We advise that you don't do this because there is no guarantee that you will receive the correct remedy or that it will be of good quality.

Side effects

Using homeopathic medicine is generally safe. Some homeopaths warn people that their symptoms could get slightly worse before they settle down and improve. But this doesn't happen very often. A Swiss meta analysis of homeopathy trials in 2006 found that homeopathy given appropriately by a trained homeopath was safe and had few side effects.
It is still very important to tell your cancer doctors before using any homeopathic remedy. Tell your homeopath that you are having cancer treatment too.

What homeopathy costs

The cost of a consultation with a homeopath is usually cost between £30 to £125. 
Your remedy will usually be included in the consultation price, but do check this first. Homeopathic tablets or other products usually cost around £4 to £10 if you need to buy them separately.

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