In his article Homeopathy: Increasing Scientific Validation, David Reilly states that there are two major differences between traditional medicine and homeopathy. First, homeopathy does not create a division between the mind and the body; it treats the whole patient. Secondly, instead of using substances which block the symptoms, homeopathy aims to trigger the body’s own healing abilities. By using diluted mixtures which would cause the very same symptoms of imbalance in a healthy individual, a body’s own healing power or Vital Force is directed in the direction of the disease and goes past it. The Vital Force then heals the artificial symptoms given by substance and of course everything “below” it.
However, homeopathic remedies are limited by the very same thing which makes them work. The body will only heal itself to the capacity presently available to itself. Therefore, serious conditions like cancer are not very likely to be helped by homeopathic methods. Since traditional medicine uses medicine to reduce symptoms and homeopathy triggers the body’s homeostatic abilities, the two may be used together as complementary methods. For example, while the body may not be able to heal itself of cancer because it is in a weakened state, traditional medicine can be used to do the fighting for the body, while homeopathy may be used to improve quality of life. It has in fact been shown in clinical trials that when the two methods are integrated, “patients can be significantly helped.” (Reilley, 2005)
While there is not enough evidence that shows that homeopathy is decisively effective, there are many reasons why physicians and patients themselves continue using it. For example, homeopathy may be used when conventional treatments are unavailable or have plateaued. But two major factors are safety and cost effectiveness.
While there is an initial aggravation of symptoms due to the nature of the healing modality, homeopathy has no dangerous side effects. It can even be used by pregnant women. Less than two percent of patients report any adverse side effects at all and these are likely due to the expected worsening of the symptoms. Safety issues mostly arise as a result of the quality of the product due to its provenance or processing. These man made problems can be eliminated by finding a trustworthy company and products. Because of the lack of side effects, homeopathy greatly reduces iatrogenic illnesses, those that arise as a direct result of allopathic medicine. Homeopathic remedies are also considerably less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. The cost is mainly paid in time measurements rather than dollars. Therefore those suffering from conditions which are not serious enough to be time sensitive can benefit greatly and save money by using the correct homeopathic remedy. (Reilley, 2005)
It seems that while the jury is still out on whether homeopathy works, a few things are becoming clearer. Homeopathy causes no harm, it is inexpensive, and works well and often enough that keeps people coming back to it.
Reilley, David. Homeopathy: Increasing Scientific Validation. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (2005, March/April). Retrieved 10/07/2013, from www.evergladesuniversity.org. Document URL: http://search.proquest.com.ezp-01.lirn.net/docview/204830322/ 140FEE1D1673720683F/1?accountid=107221