Ill Wind

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News from Great Britain, as usual, sucks.

 

Now anyone with any knowledge of the kinds of stunts and dirty tricks that are ongoing in GB was most certainly aware that after Prince Charles walked out on that limb to see to it that the citizens of that great nation remained able to choose their method of medical treatment as part of the national health service, those who have rather petulantly made it their business (and one has to wonder why) to see homeopathy not only removed as a medical option, but also ridiculed to the point that it has become rather like an elementary school shunning, would most certainly not simply accept their defeat and go on their way.  They have, of course, most certainly not.  Because theirs is not an idea of a free nation, one in which people have the right to choose all sorts of things like who they marry, what work they undertake and what kind of medical treatment they prefer.  No, theirs is a notion that they know better and that you had damned well listen to them when they tell you how to go about your day and live your life.

 

Well, here they come again, and if they can’t win in the open, they will accept winning by trickery, deceit and secret means.  Take today’s issue, one in which  just a little bit of the legal code can be rewritten in order to say that, while homeopaths can talk about homeopathy all they want to, they can no longer touch or sell homeopathic remedies.  For that, for the actual remedy, you will now have to see an M.D., who will have to write you a prescription.  Now, this dance has been attempted here in these United States in the past and has failed.  Because, thanks to the overly complicated laws of these United States, the states themselves to a large part govern and control medical treatments.  Indeed, the states themselves reserve the right to define just what constitutes medical treatment and what does not, which makes such skullduggery as is being attempted in England a far more difficult thing to do in my beloved land of the free and home of the brave.

 

If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, then just click here.  The linked article explains it very well.  It is, simply put, a political version of the shell game.

 

So, today’s post is something of a plea.  For those of you reading to take up pen (well, keyboard) and write a letter.  You may have seen one like it on the internet.  It is being daisy chained all over the place.  This letter needs to get off in a hurry to poor besieged Andrea Farmer, who needs to be told in no uncertain terms that you really really really think it is wrong to deprive millions of people of the right to be treated with the medicine of their choice just because they happen to be British.  Now, that may be a good reason to deprive them of a great many other things, but not medicine.  Surely not medicine.

 

So, here’s the information you need.  A letter to be used as a pattern by which you can create one of your own and Andrea Farmer’s contact information.  It’s a snooze or lose time and those come up infrequently, so make sure to not just sit there–do something.  Let your voice be heard.  Even if you are not British, speak to Andrea as the distant cousin you are and let her know what you think of this infringement of basic human rights.

 

Here’s the info:

 

 

Copy and paste into your email server. Personalize your message.

 

Dear Andrea Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled; Review of

Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR

regime and homeopathy. As a member of the public who chooses to use

homeopathy and benefits from its application/practicing homeopath (delete as

applicable), I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign

against homeopathy, which is led by a self appointed pressure group, Sense

About Science, and a number of bloggers.

 

I consider it to be a fundamental right of any citizen living in a country

which purports to be a democracy, to have ready access to the healthcare

option of their choice. This includes homeopathy, which as you know is

included in the original NHS charter.

 

I find your statement below acceptable for the new registration labels, and

can see no reason to change this statement:

 

“A homeopathic medicinal product licensed only on the basis of safety,

quality and use within the homeopathic tradition”

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Your signature here

 

Send to

andrea.farmer@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

 

Andrea Farmer

MHRA, Area 5M

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

 

 

 

Time to put up or shut up.  There are some powerful (and power-hungry) people in England who have targeted homeopathy, as well as some rather loopy and fun folk who have sadly gotten caught up in the cause.  It’s important that politicians all around the world start to hear from other persons with other opinions and that those of you who count on homeopathy stop thinking that it will always be there for you and start doing something to make sure that that’s the case.

 

More later.  Get busy.

 

Where Is Carlos Castaneda When You Need Him?

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Is it all right to admit to a certain sense of ennui when I hear that the old Flying Monkeys themselves, this time all dressed up as dragons, are back and stamping their assembled feet (some 400 strong, apparently, and so a total of 800 feet all told), all for the sake of maligning homeopathy?  Is it all right to feel a little irritated as well, as the Monkeys are apparently no better read, no more intelligent or honest or truthful in their work than they were a few months ago when the flew in the window here, kicked the furniture around a bit then then flew back out again with very little ventured and most assuredly nothing gained?  And is it just plain wrong of me to wish that the group would at least attempt to design better logos, posters and such, or is the homemade look all part and parcel with their “just plain folks attitude?”

 

I mean, as logos go, come on:

 

 

Flying Monkey in Dragon Drag

 

 

 

Ah, well, we must go back a bit in order to move forward.

 

Seems a while back a small group of irate folks in Great Britain decided that, because they themselves do not particularly like homeopathy–not that any of them have ever actually used it, studied it, gone to see a homeopathy or even read a book on the subject–that it should not be a legal alternative medicine in the UK.  They demanded that it be removed from the national health care.  When this project failed, the groups spend a little while meeting in its various cells–most of whom meet in pubs, apparently, and one met a while back in a member’s home, where he prepared a nice dinner for them of margaritas and fajitas (for which he kindly posted his recipe online).

 

You almost can’t help but like these guys.  I picture them as a gaggle of guys with the cliched pocket protectors and horn-rimmed glasses.  They seem overtly polite (except for the few who email threats of death to those who write kindly of homeopathy), and infinitely dedicated to homeopathy, unless, one assumes, the meeting is called for the same night as the next Dr. Who special is set to air.

 

So when I heard of their new and thrilling adventure, one in which all four hundred of them, scattered around the globe, would purposely overdose on homeopathic drugs in order to prove that, as far as drugs go, homeopathic drugs are nothing, nada and should, I guess, therefore be thrown in the sea, stomped into the ground, etc, etc.  Click here in order to get a look at the blog posting put up by the irrepressible Rhys Morgan advertising the event a few weeks back.

 

So the event came and went this week.  I had forgotten about it, until a friend on Facebook posted an article from NPR.  (Good to know that NPR is putting all its McDonald’s money to good use.)  To get a look at that, click here.

 

Note:  It’s fun to see the Amazing Randi again (or at least the Amazing Randi muppet that they seem to be using in place of the real thing these days).  Life would be a little sadder and duller a place without the Amazing Quackbuster Randi in it.  And don’t we all feel a bit safer knowing that he is out there busting quacks for our sake?

 

What the Monkeys have proven is that they have the ability, in the age of the internet, to manipulate the media and put their cause before the public.  For that they are to be congratulated.  But not for their experiment itself.  That was a faulty and as wrapped up in Bad Science as the Skeptics themselves usually denounce.  As the Skeptics are all about Good Science and insist that they are as upset about Bad Medicine (of the sort that I have been writing about recently) as I am, then it seems to me that, if they are going to test the perimeters of homeopathic medicine and its efficacy by setting out to willfully overdose, then the should actually set out to overdose and not to just pretend.  If we are all about Good Science, guys, then it seems to me that you should not substitute stunts for science.  If you respect science as much as you say you do, then your scientific experiments should be structured like actual scientific experiments.  At least if you want anyone to actually take you seriously.  Besides the Amusing Randi, of course…

 

Click here for a video from the NPR site that was put online as part of the 10:23 Campaign’s Day of Overdose.  Take a minute to watch the video.  It’s important.

 

Now first thing that you will see is that the Skeptic is most jovial.  A really nice guy, the kind of guy you’d like to have margaritas and fajitas with.  But, when it comes to testing homeopathy by creating an overdose, he has proven nothing except that he has not a clue as to what homeopathy is or how you overdose on it.  Here’s why:

 

First, he has selected a mixed remedy. As anyone who has attended the most basic homeopathic class or read the simplest book on homeopathy can tell you, Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathy, railed against one practice more than any other:  polypharmacy.

 

 

"S. Hahnemann"

Samuel Hahnemann, The father of Homeopathy, author of the Organon

 

 

And in his Organon of the Medical Art, Hahnemann says again and again that polypharmacy is wrong, it is ineffective and it is dangerous–both in homeopathic and allopathic medicine.  Second of Hahnemann’s Three Laws of Cure is the principle that says One Remedy at a Time.  So when Mr. Skeptic in the dragon hat selected a substance that had more than one homeopathic remedy it in, he selected something that was NOT a homeopathic remedy at all.  I don’t care where he bought it or how much he paid for it, or what the label says, if it has more than one homeopathically prepared remedy in it, it is NOT homeopathic.  Not now, not ever.  So, before he even sprayed the spray in his mouth, he voided his own experiment because of his complete ignorance of the very thing that he was testing.

 

Now, you can’t blame him.  The concept of homeopathy has been so bastardized these days that some people confuse the word homeopathy for “herbal.”  Others use it interchangeably for “holistic” or even “natural.”  And yet, I assure you that the word homeopathy means something specific.  And that the practice of homeopathy is something quite specific, working from a well thought out philosophy and more than two hundred years of clinical practice.  Indeed, the principles of homeopathy date back far more than two hundred years.  Hippocrates, for instance, wrote about the homeopathic method of working more than two thousand years ago.  So you can’t blame the poor Skeptic for being confused.  What you can blame him for, however, is the fact that he was so ill prepared for his “experiment” that he set it up in such as way as to negate the findings.

 

Now, second, there is another glaring issue with this Skeptic’s “experiment.”  It has to do again with his ignorance of homeopathy.  He bought a bottle of some sleep potion.  I will not judge it one way or another, except to the degree that I already have (if it has more than one homeopathic remedy in it then it is bastardized homeopathy and not homeopathic in any real sense–therefore, I cannot speak for its efficacy).  What I will speak to is the method in which he “overdosed.”  If the bottle of a given homeopathic remedy says to take one pellet or one spray and you double it, you are not doubling the dosage.  The dosage stays the same.  You can drink the whole of the bottle in one sitting and it is still one dose.  What creates an overdose is a repetition of the dose.  Say he took it every half hour.  One spray.  Each new dose would work with the old and the remedy would begin to assert itself.  It is in the repetition and not in increasing the amount of the single dose that you create a “proving” or an overdose of a homeopathic remedy.  (And, let me restate that, as this was not a homeopathic remedy, but some combination of remedies put out by some company, I can’t be sure, not knowing what’s in it, what potency or remedies, whether you could EVER overdose on it or not, however much or however often it is taken.)

 

But what I can say is that, should the Skeptics ever really want to explore the nature of homeopathy and see for themselves whether or not it really works, then they need to go about it another way.  They need to take it as seriously as they would any other experiment.  They need to set it up correctly and to have it overseen and recorded correctly.  If, at that point, they want someone to tell them how they can really overdose on a remedy, they can ask me.  I will tell them, just as soon as they sign the “hold harmless” documents that will protect me if they are harmed in any way while conducting the experiment.

 

Now, for the real skeptics out there or for people who might actually be interested in learning more about homeopathy, I want to give you a link to my newest book.  It is available only as a Kindle download right now, but it will be available throughout the free world–including, however slightly, the UK at present–sometime this spring.  I’ll have to let you know the publishing date.  But here’s a link to the book, called What Is Homeopathy? Those wanting to really know the answer to that question (hint, it’s not “herbal”, “holistic”, “natural” or “quackery”) might want to take a look.

 

Do It Yourself: The Ten Best Remedies to Combat Fever During Cold and Flu season

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While I have posted in the past about homeopathic remedies for patients with colds and sore throats, I wanted today to consider patients with fevers. This is important information particularly for parents who have young children.  The following remedies are good to have on hand in the home (in 30C potency) for those times when the young child suddenly spikes a fever—usually in the middle of the night.

The parent who knows enough homeopathy to treat the simple things, earaches, sore throats, fevers and such, will rest more easily knowing that, in time of need, they stand ready to be of real help to their child.  Indeed, no group has better reason for studying the simple acute uses of homeopathic remedies than do parents who want the best, most effective and safest treatments possible for their little ones when they are ill.

As always, laypersons should consult with their medical professionals before giving any medicine to their child.

In general, fever can be said to have three features:  heat, cold and the sweat.  The sensation of cold usually begins with a feeling of exhaustion.  The patient may also feel pains in the back of the head or in the legs, and may stretch and yawn a good deal.  Coldness usually begins in the extremities and moves throughout the body.  Coldness may be extreme enough to cause chattering of the teeth.  The cold stage may last from just a few minutes to two or three hours.

The sensation of heat usually begins just as the chill ends.  The face flushes, the skin becomes hot, the pulse races.  Look for a dry tongue and mouth, much thirst, headache and restlessness.  The hot stage can last up to eight hours in an acute situation, in a constitutional situation, it can last much longer.

The sweating stage, when the fever “breaks,” ends the cycle.  The fever has burned out the toxins in the system and recovery begins, except in constitutional situations, in which the cycle may begin again.

You will find, however, that some fevers will have only hot stages, some only cold, and some will have no sweat involved at all.  And the balance of the stages will differ from person to person.

So, in selecting the right remedy, you are going to have to balance the three features of fever and place them once again within the context patient’s symptoms as a whole.

Consider the following remedies for treatment of patients with simple fevers:

ACONITE:  The Aconite patient first experiences a violent chill, followed quickly by heat, especially on the head and face.  Fevers associated with Aconite tend to have very little or no sweat.  The patient’s head is red, hot and dry.  Also:  listen for cough during fever.  The patient experiences shortness of breath.  Aconite is of great use in the first stage of fever, especially when the first symptom is chills that come on after exposure to a cold, dry wind.  The typical Aconite has violent thirst. Often a throbbing headache accompanies the fever, and the patient is worse from any motion.  And yet, patient is restless and wants to move about.  You may have great difficulty keeping the Aconite still and resting.  They want to get up, move about, pace the floor, especially during the night.

BELLADONNA—This is our other remedy, with Aconite, for high fevers that are quick in coming on.  Look for a light sense of chill with much heat during fever, or, less often, the opposite, with much chill and very little sensation of heat.  Some parts of the body are hot, while others are cold.  But it is a keynote that the patient’s face is flushed and bloated.  The patient’s skin, especially on his face, is red.  Look at the patient’s eyes as an indicator of the remedy:  his eyes are sparkling, pupils dilated.  Throbbing headache accompanies fever.  The patient cannot bear noise or light. The patient is sleepy and cannot sleep, or jumps and starts in the night, especially just on going to sleep. Unlike the Aconite, the Belladonna patient does not want to move about, but will usually want to rest in a cool, dark place.  The Belladonna patient will want to be left alone to rest.

FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM:  This is perhaps our most important remedy for patients with simple fevers, especially when the cause of the fever cannot be ascertained.  For fevers that appear suddenly in the middle of the night.  It is the keynote of this remedy is that there is no keynote.  There are no guiding symptoms.  There is simple a fever, for no apparent cause, with no guiding symptonms.  This is the general, acute fever remedy.  The fevers generally come on rather quickly, and without warning.  The patient is thirsty during the chill stage.  Look for swelling of the face, especially around the eyes.  Patient may have stomach upsets with fever, may vomit all food eaten before it is digested.  Any exertion flushes the face.  The patient is exhausted by the fever and tends to want to rest.

APIS:  It is keynote of this remedy type that the patient has chills at 4 p.m. (like Lycopodium).  The Apis patient is worse in a warm room.  He becomes chilly at the slightest motion, but this sensation is accompanied by great heat on hands and face.  Sweat alternates with dry skin. With high fever, patient may slip into unconsciousness and delirium (also true of Belladonna).  As fever is often accompanied by sore throat, the patient may be unable to talk.  The Apis patent’s tongue is cracked, ulcerated.  His mouth and throat are both very dry.  The Apis has great difficulty swallowing. He may be very thirsty for cold water, but may have difficulty swallowing it. Think of this remedy for fevers that come on suddenly and that are accompanied by constipation.  Or fevers in which constipation and  diarrhea alternate, when stool  contains mucous and/or blood.  This is an angry, exhausted patient.  He has not patience for others and wants to be allowed to rest.  He cannot bear light or noise (again, like Belladonna).

LYCOPODIUM:  It is keynote of the type that the patient’s fever begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m.   The patient has a sensation of chill at the onset of fever.  The patient’s face is yellow.  His tongue is dry and black, or covered with thick mucus.  Fever is usually accompanied by sinus blockage and the patient must breath with the mouth open.  Look for fanning of the nostrils as patient tries to breathe.  Listen to the patient for an indication of the need for the remedy: the patient uses the wrong words when trying to express ideas.  Along with his fever, the patient has a constant sense of fullness in the stomach and abdomen.  He feels as if they will burst.  Fever accompanied by intestinal gas.  Obstinate constipation accompanies fever. The Lycopodium patient is fearful.  He does not want to be alone, and yet he does not want to be bothered.  The Lycopodium likes to hear the sounds of the house filled with people and activity, but does not want to have anyone too close to him.    The Lycopodium patient is irritable and demanding.  He feels he knows what is best for him and may direct his treatment.

ARSENICUM:  Is an excellent remedy to think of when the patient’s sensation of chill dominates.  Even when the fever is very high, the patient is cold—Arsenicum is the first remedy to think of when the patient exhibits internal chilliness with external heat—and seeks warmth (in warm blankets and bed, and, especially in warm drinks, which he sips a little at at time).  The Arsenicum patient also seeks to be taken care of and does not want to be left alone.  Usually, the illness begins with headache, and with yawning and stretching.  The patient will complain of a sense of general discomfort, often including nausea. During fever, the patient may have great fear, great anguish, and, especially, a fear of death.  The Arsenicum is given to great restlessness. This is another patient who you may have difficulty keeping still.  Even when they are in bed, they may thrash about.  This is a fussy patient, a demanding patient, a fearful patient.  The Arsenicum’s symptoms will tend to be at their worst from midnight until 2 a.m.

SULPHUR—Is the first remedy to consider when sweat and heat are the dominant symptoms.  Also, this is an excellent second remedy, one that may be used in fevers when the best-selected remedies have little or no effect.  A dose of Sulphur may be needed to help jumpstart the healing process.  Like Ferrum Phos, Sulphur is often used for patients with fevers of unknown origin.  It is especially called for in cases of chronic fevers.  The typical Sulphur patient is burning hot on the top of his head, with cold extremities.  His tongue is dry and brown.  The Sulphur patient is very thirsty, usually for cold or cool things.  He also tends to be hungry, especially for salty or greasy things, which he finds soothing.  The typical Sulphur patient sleeps during the day and is sleepless during the night.   Note that early morning diarrhea may drive patient out of bed. This is a keynote symptom of the remedy.  Also look for the patient to seem fairly strong during his illness, with brief spells of weakness.

BRYONIA:  Is an excellent remedy for fever, especially when is accompanies Flu.  The patient’s face is red and burning and swollen.  Chill predominates heat during fever. The patient’s lips are dry and cracked.  His tongue is coated with a thick, white fur.  He has the sensation of an oppressive headache, which troubles him more than the fever itself.  The headache pain is as if the head would split from the least slightest motion. The patient is worse in every way from motion.  He wants to be left alone to rest. He has a constant desire to sleep, with sleeplessness and tossing about.  Patient does not want to be moved or touched. This is one of our thirstiest patients.  And yet, because he does not want to move, he does not drink often, but drinks a great amount when thirsty. Constipation accompanies fever, with hard, dry stools.

GELSEMIUM:  An excellent remedy for simple fevers.  In the case of Gelsemium, the chill tends to come on in the evening and begins in the hands and feet.  When fever comes, the patient becomes anxious and is restless, although he is typically exhausted.  The fever may be accompanied by a sense of vertigo. Patient is sensitive to light and noise. Like Ferrum Phos, Gelsemium is a good general remedy for simple fevers.  When the patient is not very ill and the fever mild.  Especially when the fever is not too high, the patient is not very ill, but the illness lingers. As Gelsemium is one of our best remedies for those who suffer from chronic fatigue, consider this remedy first for fevers in those patients who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

MERCURIUS:  This is usually not the first remedy selected, because, in the early stages, the typical Mercurius patient may not be aware that he is sick.  He will not complain of any particular symptoms, but may simply feel very weak and want to go to bed.   Like Lycopodium, the Mercurius patient’s face typically is yellow.  His tongue is coated with yellow fur.  His breath smells very bad.  Look for ulcers on lips, gums and cheeks.  The patient experiences bitter, sour or sweetish taste in mouth.  Look for a great deal of saliva.  Look for a swollen tongue.  Tongue may be so swollen that it has teeth marks running along both sides. All symptoms are worse at night or during rainy weather.  Note that Mercurius is a remedy that may be needed when illness lingers or grows worse.

 

For more about the remedies that you should know about and have on hand this cold and flu season, take a look at Practical Homeopathy, a perfect home guide for new students of homeopathy.

The Ah-Ha Moment

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There’s a little article in The Atlantic.  It’s up and ready to read online at theatlantic.com.  The name of the article is “Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science.”

This time it isn’t just me saying so.  It’s a magazine with a reputation for intelligent, professional journalism and a long track record for digging down and getting to the facts in the case.  This is an important article–one that I hope you will take the time to read.

Next time the “Skeptics’ start demanding that all that they say is based on strong medical evidence, think about this article and then think about what they are really saying.

Here’s the link. Go fish.

Open Letter: Adam, Sam & Rhys

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Well, the Flying Monkeys have come and gone.  And, funnily enough, they have decided that they like being called Flying Monkeys.  I think that’s because it stirs up happy memoirs of the Wizard of Oz.  All well and good.  Might as well be called Flying Monkeys as trolls.  Long may you fly, guys, have fun.

Here’s what I learned as a result of their “visit.”  First, that they tend to arrive en masse and see if they can intimidate and, if they fail to do so, they move right on to the next target.  (I read one Tweet that said that arguing with me was like arguing with an evangelist and advised his readers to “move on.”)  Oh, well.

Second, I learned that, in spite of the fact that they make a remarkable amount of noise, they have very little to say.

I did have some brief discussions with a few of them–those who weren’t just posting complaints or pejoratives without even bothering to read my actual blog–before they left.  I want to post here my comments to two of them, as they reflect my reasons for feeling disappointed in my experience in meeting them.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are dedicated.  They are remarkably dedicated.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are bright.  From my brief experience of them, the majority seem very bright.  Rather, it has to do with their actual life experience or lack of same.  From what I read in their comments, they seem remarkably naive.

In an answer to a comment from Sam, perhaps the most intelligent and thoughtful of the bunch, I wrote:

In all honesty, one of the things I have against debate (and, let me say this as an ex-debater is school, and a rather good one, especially when I was allowed to close the deal) is that it really only reflects manipulation of book learning. Of research. If there is one thing that I have learned in studying healing and health for three decades is that there is a huge gulf between what we learn philosophically, learn from books, and what we learn from life. Clinical experience trumps anything. Ask any doctor. What interested me were your actual ideas, were the things that you learned in your life, not the things that you have been trained to think by medical studies or by internet sites. That is why the Flying Monkeys bore me. They have nothing to say that comes from their own unique intellect and their own experience of life. It’s all, “you’re just taking water!” and never anything that requires direct experience or real thought and conclusions. I know that you consider all this anecdotal, and yet, I tell you, Sam, there is great importance in learning from actual experience and not from some study that will be overturned by another study in six weeks or six years. The things you learn yourself shape your reality. The things you learn from books and cling to become your “reality.” That’s the difference and that is largely why I don’t want this site to turn into a place of debate. Not because I hate free speech, but because, like that dreaded teacher who gave essay tests, I want to know what people really think–I don’t want them just to spit back what they have learned as if it were fact.

This links directly with something that I wrote to another commenter, one named Adam, who has written me several posts, all of which do two things.  First, they tell me what I am doing wrong.  Second, they ask for evidence of everything I say.  To him I wrote:

Here’s my wishful thinking, Adam. That you would do some research yourself. That you, as a thinking, reasoning person, would stop asking other people to do the work that you need to do. You want to know if homeopathy works as I say it does, do some real research, beyond just looking at a couple of web sites that have pre-digested the material for you. There are hundreds of books out there on both sides of the issue. Read them. I have. Go to interview a few homeopaths of different sorts with different levels of training. i have. Discuss the matter not with the Skeptics but with different allopaths. I have. You may be shocked to find that many of them are actually quite open to homeopathy and understand that the principles by which they, allopaths, treat conditions like chronic allergies are pure homeopathy. Talk to patients on all sides of the issue, listen to what they have to say.

You keep asking me to do the work that you need to do. If you are REALLY interested in medicine, in what works and why and for who and when it works and why it fails to work, then it is not enough for you to simply stand tapping your foot and asking me for evidence. You and SkepticCanary are guilty of the same thing and that is that you ask questions but you aren’t really interested in the answers. You won’t be until you become true skeptics. True Skeptics are people who doubt and are looking for reasons why they should or should not move from a place of doubt and believe or disbelieve. True skeptics don’t ask others to do their thinking or experiencing for them, they do it for themselves. Why is it that you have near infinite time and energy to come and ask me and ask many, many others the same tired questions, but you don’t have the time to do the research for yourselves? Adam, why don’t you take it upon yourself to spend the next year, or five years, or thirty years, as I have done, looking into the matter. Then why don’t you come back and tell us all that you found out. THEN I would be truly fascinated in hearing what you have learned.

To date, you have shared nothing of yourself with me, told me nothing of why you believe as you do. Instead, you repeat what has been repeated in exactly the same way again and again. How refreshing it would be if you were to actually show your humanity, reveal the Truth about health and healing as you believe it do be and allow yourself to enter into a discussion instead appearing, stamping your foot and then running away again. But I guess that that’s REALLY just wishful thinking.

Guys, my point is this:  if this really matters to you, if you are really concerned about medicine and about keeping medicine as safe and effective as possible–and by this I mean all medicine, not just allopathic or homeopathic–then you have not yet begun to do any of your homework.  Along with the Lancet study, which I am quite sure you can quote and recite to yourself a bedtime like a prayer, you need to read other studies.  Studies that have differing conclusions.  As I suggested to one of you who wanted me to explain to him how homeopathic remedies are made in factories by homeopathic firms, you need to contact Boiron and other pharma firms and ask questions, dig for answers.  Then you need to have actual experience of all sides of the issue, by researching as I suggest above.

No teacher would let you use Wikipedia as a source material for a test.  In the same way, the internet, entertaining as it is, is not a good platform for education.  Too much bad information.  To much slanted information.  So I don’t expect you to listen to anything that I write here.  Hell, from my experience of you, you don’t even bother to read anything I’ve written here.  You just comment and condemn, but don’t actually read or think.  So don’t, by all means, take my word for any of this.  Do the work yourselves.  Make yourselves truly responsible for finding out the facts.  Discover for yourselves the difference between homeopathy and allopathy and what is good and bad about each.  Neither is perfect, both have something to offer.  In the same way, try to figure out the difference between healing and curing. And about the fundamental meaning of the word “medicine.”  You will have to go way, way back to do that.  You will have to study the history of medicine.

If I can recommend a book on the subject–you all tend to get hostile when I recommend books, but this one is really good–I suggest you get your hands on Doctors, A History of Medicine by a brilliant man named Sherwin Nuland.  He is a professor  of clinical surgery at Yale University here in Connecticut.  So he’s no slouch in the education department.  And while he is an allopath, he is an amazingly insightful and intelligent writer.  I think that this book would be not only of great interest to you, but of great value as well.  Nuland has written several good books, including The Wisdom of the Body.  I strongly suggest that you read them all.

I close by suggesting that, while you have much to say, in all truth, at the present moment, you, my Flying Monkeys, have little to offer.  You need life experience in order for your arguments to carry weight.  At present you only amuse and annoy, depending upon the level of the melodrama.  To truly make a difference, you will have to each INDIVIDUALLY climb a mountain in life, explore all sides of the issue, not just the one that you hope is right.  Once you have done this, once you actually and individually have something to say on any of these inter-related subjects, then I hope you will fly back for a visit.  I’ll be here, blogging and waiting…

Re: Flying Monkeys

24 Comments

Well, this has been a wacky day in Psora Psora Psora land.  Thanks to all who made it so special and so much fun.

Return often, if you will.  It gave what would otherwise have been a dreary, wet day some welcomed activity.

Did we resolve anything?  No.  Is it likely that we will resolve anything?  No.  I truly believe in homeopathic medicine.  I truly believe that there is no such thing as false hope, only hope and that hope is too valuable a commodity to ever dismiss.  Ever.  And I truly believe that healing is always possible.  Healing on every level of being:  body, mind and spirit.

I am, I admit, somewhat surprised that there are those who feel that these are controversial beliefs.  Or worse, that find them to be deluded beliefs or even dangerous beliefs to write about on a little blog floating out there somewhere on the internet.

But it appears that it is highly controversial to suggest such things and that, in suggesting them, I am being, among other things, a coward, a hypocrite and deluded.  As I said, among many other things.

This all having been said, I posted something as an answer to a comment in the last thread that I think, upon reflection, is just too good to hide away.  The Bible says we should never hide our light under a basket.  Journalists say we should never bury the lead.  So I want to move this answer to a comment up here–to make it a post all on its own.

I took a lot of hits today, and got called a lot of names.  I found that surprising.  Shows what an internet novice I still am.

Some of the heat I took was over calling my friends from Great Britain Flying Monkeys.  And for showing pictures of the monkeys in the posts.

In answer to one of the posts about my choice of the Flying Monkey moniker, I wrote:

I do think that allusion to the Flying Monkeys is apt. And also funny. They did come launched at me the first time as a like-minded army, all saying the exact same things. That time there was a lot of discussion about the merits (or lack thereof) of bleach. This told me that the monkeys were not ever aware of my blog or what I had been writing. They did not bother to read the blog, they just commented/ranted on it.

It undermines their argument when they all fly in that way. How much better to get one post that is real and thoughtful (and I DID get a few, I admit it), then to get dozens that are just the same thing over and over again. When argument comes in this fashion it can never seem to be the result of contemplation, of real thought. Instead, it seems like (as I’ve said before) the Tea Party rhetoric that we have had a good deal of lately here in the USA. People who offer nothing but criticism, who betray no sense of reason, no search for a point of commonality have very little to offer. With Rhys and with many others, I have reached, I think, a point of agreeing to disagree. For those who choose allopathic medicine, I hope that it brings them the relief and full cure that they are hoping for. I would rather be wrong about my dislike for allopathy than to have anyone suffer as a result of using it. In the same way, I would like to think that those who disagree with me can still wish me well and hope that my choice works well for me.

This is as it should be. This is how we should be.

And, along the way, we should never lose our sense of humor.

I stand by this.  I hope that you will, on reading it, stand next to me.  At least on this.  At least as far as what has been said here in this post at the end of a very long day.

Letters, I Get Letters, Lots & Lots of Letters…All of a Sudden!

35 Comments

Something strange is in the air.

I wrote a post some weeks ago after a brief exchange with a young man in Whales named Rhys.  For those of  you who read Psora Psora Psora regularly, Rhys is numbered among the group of Skeptics in Great Britain who stand opposed to homeopathy, in that they consider it nothing more than placebo and feel that it offers “false hope” to any and all who try it.

All well and good–so far.

As I believe in choice when it comes to medicine and believe that, like politics and religion, one’s choice of medical treatment is not only a basic right, but also a right that should be upheld and respected above all things, I had a brief, and, I thought, respectful exchange of ideas with Rhys and ended up writing him an open letter via this blog.  (And let me note very clearly, when I say respectful, I mean that it was respectful on both sides of the conversation.  I found and find Rhys to be a highly intelligent and very thoughtful young man.  The fact that we disagree when it comes to our chosen medical modality in no way interferes with our ability to be polite and civil with one another.)

I wrote the letter because Rhys and I have something in common, aside from our passionate beliefs when it comes to health, healing and medicine.  (Although, to be clear, when it comes down to it, I believe that my true passion is for healing, while Rhys’ is for medicine, but I do not wish to put words in his mouth.  And I am sure he will clarify my statement if it is incorrect.)

Okay, I wrote the letter because Rhys suffers from Crohn’s Disease, something that I know about first hand, as I used to suffer from similar ailments.  So I feel a special attachment to Rhys and want to see him fully and completely healthy–whether it be as a result of an allopathic or homeopathy treatment.

Weeks passed and Rhys and I went on with our lives.  I wrote my little posts and he Tweeted his tweets.  Then, suddenly, just today, something strange happened.

I started to get comments, not about recent posts, but about my letter to Rhys.  Indeed, seven comments on the letter to Rhys came in between 10:45 and 12:15 this morning (my time–they are five hours ahead in Great Britain).  I found this very odd.  Why would all these people suddenly have something to say on the subject what I thought was a letter of encouragement to Rhys?  Then I went to my Twitter account and saw the answer–that little Twitterbug Rhys had just read the letter (I am hurt that he has stopped reading my Blog, but apparently he has better things to do) had posted ten Tweets to me just over two hours ago.  Just before the comments began.

In the time it has taken me to write this, three more comments have come in.  It is a very busy day indeed, especially since I posted the post to Rhys as long ago as I did.

In that the Flying Monkeys flew in together, I thought that I would print their comments together and then answer them altogether, since the messages all say the same things.  Flying Monkeys, it would appear, think alike.

I present them in chronological order.  First up is Zeno at 10:46 a.m.:  “…people deserve the right to choose the medicine that is right for them.”

Absolutely agree. Do you agree that such choice should be informed choice?

Next is Adam at 11:04:  You are overlooking one important point here: homeopathy doesn’t work.

There have been a great many randomised double-blind trials of homeopathy, and they have shown it to be no better than placebo.

It’s true that homeopathy only kills if people believe it will cure them of a life-threatening disease which could be cured by proper medical treatment. Probably most people are not daft enough to attempt homeopathic treatment for, say, a ruptured appendix. However, by encouraging people to believe in homeopathy, you increase the risks that someone might.

But although homeopathy is unlikely to kill, it is far more likely to be a waste of money and to offer false hope. You talk about economically depressed times. Quite right. All the more reason not to encourage people to waste what little money they have on quack remedies.

Next is Scott at 11:43:  “in these economically depressed times” it is especially wise to not waste money.

Homeopathy is the most outlandish fiction, a complete waste of time and resource. This is not the time we should be considering homeopathy, but stamping it out once and for all.

Next up is Pozorvlak at 11:46:  That’s incredibly patronising.

Poz is followed at 11:49 by the very angry Chunkylimey:  Considering your outright cowardice in addressing Rhys and then deleting his response here’s another one for you to delete knowing that you have been outed as a spineless hypocrite.

Your simpering snide nonsense where you claim sympathy and then patronize and insult shows you for just the kind of person you are.

You’ve outed yourself. The world is aware of you. You might not like the attention it brings. You’d have been wiser to shut up and keep your slimey insults to yourself.

Feel free to look me up too. Unlike you I’m not a coward.

(Note to Chunkylimey:  tone it down, Pumpkin.  No need for such language here.  And none will be tolerated in the future.  And as to deleting any posts from Rhys, to my knowledge I have never done so.  I quite enjoy reading what Rhys has to say and would have no trouble posting any comment from him.  If one got deleted, it was in error.  And one last note–how is it that I am a coward?  I have been teaching homeopathy for over twenty years now and have published endless articles and seven books on the subject.  Take a look at my Amazon Author’s Page.  That is hardly hiding.  Take a look at my web site.  Not hiding there, either.  And you have seen my blog.  Talk about hiding in plain view.  Final note:  let me remind you that it is the basic rule of this little Psoric blogspace that everyone has the right to choose when it comes to politics, religion and medicine.  I respect everyone who has thought these great issues out for themselves and come to conclusions that are right for them. If you cannot share this general and blanket aura of respect, then there is little point in sending comments.  They will be deleted.  This is my blog, Chunky, and it plays by my rules, whether you like it or not.)

Next comment was from MkeHyperCube at 12:15.  He wrote:  What you have there is a very good description of the Placebo effect, i.e. incurring the body’s natural ability heal itself. This is a powerful effect, and saying something “is a placebo” is not the same as saying it is not effective, since placebo is known to be remarkably effective.

However, and this is where I think Rhys’s point is an important one: there are some things which are amenable to the placebo effect – things which the body can cure for itself if you can only “light that spark” as you so eloquently put it. And there are some things that can not.

There are many people, and I am sure from your writings that you are probably not one of them, who mindlessly promote homoeopathy (and other placebo-inducing medications), as the cure for everything, including things which, sadly but demonstrably, can only be cured by allopathic i.e. conventional medicines. Hoping that you can choose to believe otherwise, does not change this basic fact. This means that there are in fact cases where people who could be getting some genuine healing or relief for something, are being persuaded to throw away the medicines they are prescribed and use homoeopathy instead. This is dangerous, as I’m sure you can see. That is why there are flying monkeys and why I think they will continue to fly.

And then there is this very long comment from Fibularis at 12:16:  Dear Vinton

Hmm. While recognising your perfect right to expressing your opinion in this little corner of the internet, and at the risk of being labelled a flying monkey, can I make a point?

I’m delighted to hear that your colitis has disappeared. I hope this is a permanent state of affairs, and I’m sure Rhys Morgan would second me in this regard.

I am not so sure that you can definitely attribute the homeopathic remedy as the causal mechanism of the cure. As human beings we are very much geared to finding patterns in the world, and very useful this has no doubt been throughout our evolutionary history. Unfortunately this ability often leads to recognition of ‘false positives’, i.e. finding a pattern where in fact there is none. We should and need to be a bit cleverer about application of remedies, and we certainly should not rely on anecdote (and, apologies if this sounds a bit rude – it’s not intended as such – your report regarding your colitis, no doubt very real to you, qualifies as anecdote). Randomised, controlled, double-blinded studies are a pain in the butt. They are expensive, labour-intensive and time-consuming, but (let me capitalise, BUT) they are very good at removing the noise, the all-too-human quirkiness and anecdotal non-evidence that clouds the issue of whether or not a particular treatment is having a real effect on a condition.

And the overwhelming body of evidence, and all meta-analysis, shows that homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebo. So, irrespective of failures to explain the mechanisms of how homeopathy might work, there is no evidence base for its use.

Now please don’t take offence at this. Your colitis has disappeared and this happened when you were taking a homeopathic remedy. But n = 1 here, and even if you know of other people for whom this seemed to work too, the numbers involved are unlikely to be more than dozens. The RCTs involve hundreds of individuals. By your own admission you were seeking this remedy when you were desperate enough to swallow your pride and seek alternative help. It may be that the condition had reached a crisis and a natural improvement accompanied the homeopathy – this often happens with mainstream medicines as well as homeopathic remedies.

I hope you have a long and healthy life too.

(Note to Fib:  I published your full comment this time.  It was well written, but here’s another of my rules–this is my blog and I am the only one here who gets to go on and on.  Keep them short in the future.)

Now for the most recent comments.  At 12:46, Greg wrote:  Psoric – none of your comments alter the fact that there is no clinical evidence whatsoever – despite your original post – that homeopathy works. It is water. If water cures your ills then more power to you. You are being patronising (life experience blah blah) and spouting the usual arguments that woo-apologists come out with day after day after day and it does not change anything except help me realise that there is just one more person out there who needs help before thy rely on water to sure something which doe not actually get better by itself (that’s called “Regression to the Mean” – it’s one natural symptom that woo apologusts are forever using to show that homeopathy works).

I pity you. I truly, truly do.

Neelan – that’s what happens when you drink water and have a condition where the symptoms ebb and flow.

(Note to Greg:  Not the old “I pity you” ploy–you can and must do better in the future.  As to ebb and flow, a quarter of a century ebb is damned good in my experience.  Especially if it comes from just drinking water as you suggest.)
Finally at 1:01, someone seems to be coming to my defense.  Dr Nancy Malick writes:  Real is scientific homeopathy. It cures even when Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails. Evidence-based modern homeopathy is a nano-medicine bringing big results for everyone
Okay, guys, here’s the deal.  I am fully aware that you Skeptics, or Flying Monkeys or whatever is the preferred designation really, really don’t think homeopathy works.  You really, really, really want it to go away.  Like I want Sarah Palin to go away.  But the reality is that I have every right to believe as I do.  I have every right to my life’s experiences and to the lessons that I have drawn from those experiences.  I can draw the conclusions that I like in terms of politics and religion and medicine and I may put those conclusions forth as I like, in accordance with the laws of free speech and the rules of conduct that WordPress imposes.
You are free to take issue with me or not.  You are free to read the blog or not.  And you are free to comment or not as you see fit.
But I am also free.  I am free to have an exchange of ideas with you or not as I see fit.  If you send comments that march in lockstep, that come minutes apart and seem to carry on a single conversation and, most important, that can be traced back to a series of Tweets from Rhys or anyone else, you will not be recognized here.
This is not a debate forum.  Nor is it a place in which you will be setting the agenda.  This is the place in which I set forth my opinions, about homeopathy and about anything else that comes into my head.  If you can deal with that reality, then you are most welcome, as are your ideas.
But if you (like the crazed bleach woman who commented to me on something that was being discussed on Rhys’s blog and that I knew nothing whatsoever about and had never supported or even commented on) come with an agenda just to shout down anyone who the gang mentality has selected for attack, then move on.  If you are going to comment to me, then you had better have read what I have to say and not be continuing some ongoing Twitterfest that you try to drag me into.  I am not interested in your ongoing snit with all things homeopathic.
I have been a part of the homeopathic community for thirty years now, guys.  You may only be hearing of me now, but that does not mean that you just dreamed me up.  I existed before you knew I existed.  And I am aware that there are those who think homeopathy is great and those who don’t.  Long ago I stopped debating the issue.  I believe that it is up to individuals to make up their own minds.
So you won’t get an argument from me.  It is, in my opinion, a serious waste of my time.  Were we able, one on one, to sit down and talk, we might have a great time debating.  But that is not the purpose of my blog.  To wrestle with you is to take time away from what I want to do with it.  And make no mistake.  I will do with it exactly what I like.
Thanks for taking the time to visit today.  Especially you, Fib.  You had a message that, while I disagreed with nearly every word you said, was well written, well thought out and kind-spirited.  You get a gold star.  Chunky gets nothing.

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