Skip

Homeowackopathy
November 9, 2009 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Homeopathy has been discussed on the Blue before, but you've never heard it explained so well as this. You'll learn lessmore about physics than you've ever believed possible, and see how Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity ties in to homeopathic medicine, and Stephen Hawking's String Theory makes it all happen.

And don't tell me that Stephen Hawking didn't invent String Theory. Charlene Werner says he did, and she invented Syntonic Optometry, therefore, it must be true!
posted by Vamier (241 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favorite homeopathic video.
posted by spiderskull at 10:54 PM on November 9, 2009 [27 favorites]


Oh my, I couldn't make it through the first 3 minutes. My eyes were watering up with laughter! I'm going to save the rest of this for a bad day when I need cheering up. Watching this was like an out-of-body experience, watching myself clumsily fake my way through a question on a test I don't know.
posted by battlebison at 10:56 PM on November 9, 2009


ayuh lasted about 2 mins into that. however homeopathy works be it placebo or legitimate, that sure aint it.

wiki + previous post + 1 1/2 star YT + wacky "medical" page = .
posted by edgeways at 11:01 PM on November 9, 2009


hahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha!
...
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! *falls off chair*
posted by signalnine at 11:08 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Syntonics, huh?
Interest in the effect of light on the body intensified earlier this century. Most of the current therapeutic techniques used in syntonics are based on the work done by Dr. Harry Riley Spitler in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Spitler, who had both optometric and medical defrees, began researching and using phototherapy in 1909.
I know that when I have medical problems, the first thing I turn to are the numerous branches of strange and unusual "scientific" investigations that were spurred into being early in the last century in the wake of the discovery of Xrays, the Theory of Relativity, and so forth.

Also, I woudn't trust a doctor with a defree. My email tells me every day that I can buy one of those on the internets.
posted by jokeefe at 11:09 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I forgot to add that the video is quite possibly one of the most offensive videos I have ever seen. It's like being spit in the face.

I mean, how utterly delusional and egotistical do you need to be to try to hijack something you have literally no understanding of? I mean, it's like they opened a physics book, grabbed some of the terms and figured, "hey! I know this stuff!"

It makes my brain and my heart hurt.
posted by spiderskull at 11:12 PM on November 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


Stephen Hawking gave us string theory, and there's only a infi-tessimal amount of mass in the universe. Right? Okaay.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:19 PM on November 9, 2009


battlebison: "...was like an out-of-body experience, watching myself clumsily fake my way through a question on a test I don't know."

I think this very succinctly sums up my thoughts on the presenter, too. Hmm, maybe that's just what she needs herself, to make her see just how ridiculous she sounds?

If only every, well, believer was as drastically mis-informed as this one, homeopathy would cease to be considerable amongst anyone who didn't flunk out of highschool. Sadly some can articulate themselves better, and consequentially get more traction.
posted by Arandia at 11:22 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


sooo... E=c ? prove it.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:25 PM on November 9, 2009


Jesus, the ignorance is palpable...simply palpable.

Not just of the concepts, but also of their applications and even how to think about physics. Her thesis isn't even wrong.
posted by darkstar at 11:32 PM on November 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


So if that's all we do, guess what the definition of disease is-- it's not mass, we have transformed our energy state into something different. That's what the definition of disease is. So we should be able to retransform our energy into a previous better state.

What RAID level is a human?
posted by stavrogin at 11:37 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently she's sent a C&D to the YouTube poster.
posted by jokeefe at 11:38 PM on November 9, 2009


I like the post, but feel I should point out that Wackeopathy is a much better title.

Also: Homeopathic web comic!
posted by sparkletone at 11:39 PM on November 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Saw this a few weeks ago and sat with rapt attention just admiring her train (wreck) of thought and complete lack of understanding. Granted, you need to be fairly removed from actual science to "believe" (pah) in homeopathy, but come on!
posted by flippant at 11:44 PM on November 9, 2009


sparkletone -- I owe you a beer for that webcomic link. It's exactly my type of humor.
posted by spiderskull at 11:47 PM on November 9, 2009


Homeopathic Accident and Emergency by Mitchell and Webb.
posted by alasdair at 11:53 PM on November 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, you take a tiny amount of physics, and then dilute it in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and you end up with?
posted by pompomtom at 12:04 AM on November 10, 2009 [26 favorites]


His squeaky knee went away! It's miraculous; it's so exciting!

And she said poop!

It's like TooferTuesday!!
posted by heyho at 12:07 AM on November 10, 2009


Homeopathetic.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:10 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I knew homeopathy requires serious dilution. Now I know it also requires serious delusion.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


I thought she was going to say that destroying the neighbour's house with a bomb was not a good idea, but that's what we can do with homeopathy!
posted by radiobishop at 12:31 AM on November 10, 2009


I knew homeopathy requires serious dilution. Now I know it also requires serious delusion.

But mostly it deserves derision.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:43 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just for the record, homeopathy was taught in German medical for much of the twentieth century and may still be a part of the curriculum. Most all German doctors know about it and many still use it as an adjunct to the normal treatments. Although, it makes little sense to me, it does seem to have an effect, at least some of the time. In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity.
I also had a young woman staying with my wife and me and she suddenly came down with what turned out to be the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. She was in great pain and bleeding heavily. We got her to the local hospital and called her father, a retired German physician who met us there. The doctors in the emergency room said that they couldn't do any surgery until they stabilized her as she had lost too much blood, and they were uncertain whether she would survive. Her father went into the room with her and when no one was looking slipped a couple homeopathic tablets into her mouth. Within an hour, she had stabilized, much to the emergency team's surprise, and they were able to deal successfully with her. And she lived to tell the tale. This all happened about twenty years ago.
posted by donfactor at 12:51 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Apologies. I left out the word hospital after German in the first sentence.
posted by donfactor at 12:54 AM on November 10, 2009


Of all the quackeries and psuedosciences and frauds out there, I think homeopathy is my favorite, simply due to how batshit it is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Although, it makes little sense to me, it does seem to have an effect, at least some of the time.

Yes, only medical efficacy could possibly cause a purported treatment to be effective.

Her father went into the room with her and when no one was looking slipped a couple homeopathic tablets into her mouth.

You understand that what he gave her was sugar, right?

Within an hour, she had stabilized, much to the emergency team's surprise, and they were able to deal successfully with her. And she lived to tell the tale. This all happened about twenty years ago.

What a wonderful anecdote! Thank you for sharing it!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:56 AM on November 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


In Scotland people have searched for the Loch Ness monster for years so I imagine that what they do there has some validity.
posted by Damienmce at 12:58 AM on November 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


If
you just inject
sufficient

bluespace

between
words,
everyone else

will

get angrier
and angrier.

posted by kid ichorous at 1:19 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


donfactor: " Although, it makes little sense to me, it does seem to have an effect, at least some of the time."

Err... so, how much above random chance would you credit "an effect ... some of the time" with? And what's your confidence interval? (and are you controlling for the placebo effect?)
posted by Arandia at 1:29 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, you take a tiny amount of physics, and then dilute it in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and you end up with?

A cease-and-desist order!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


LOL !!
posted by jeffburdges at 1:50 AM on November 10, 2009


Arandia, a quick Google search turned up this (pdf), an abstract of a clinical study on homeopathic treatment, just as an example.

There are some more studies on that page and I'm sure you can find even more elsewhere.
posted by Glow Bucket at 2:07 AM on November 10, 2009


The problem is that she dosn't even seem to understand basic algebra. If you have E = mc2, and you set m = 0, when you multiply anything by zero, you end up with zero.

So she's actually saying that E = 0.
And don't tell me that Stephen Hawking didn't invent String Theory.
Oh come on, you're not being fair. She said it was discovered by Steven Hawkings, who is probably some different guy.
posted by delmoi at 2:07 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do not read this post. You will ruin one of the most readily available vectors for harnessing the surprisingly powerful (and poorly understood) placebo effect!
posted by bystander at 2:10 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


That made my mind not in structure form.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 2:10 AM on November 10, 2009


My favourite ever comment on the Interwebs was a poster in a natural birth forum saying "OMG I just found out homeopathy is actually microscopically diluted water. You're kidding me. Well, I guess it isn't going to have any side effects."
posted by bystander at 2:11 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I guess it isn't going to have any side effects.

This is the reason the FDA gives for not banning it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


You understand that what he gave her was sugar, right?

You trying to give Bill Frist a run for his money in the remote-diagnosis-of-what-happened category?

I think homeopathy is mostly BS too, but that's some pretty intellectually incurious knee-jerk shoehorning going on right there in your comment.
posted by namespan at 2:28 AM on November 10, 2009


I think homeopathy is mostly BS too, but that's some pretty intellectually incurious knee-jerk shoehorning going on right there in your comment.

Do you know what homeopathy is? If the pill wasn't pure sugar, then it was pure baking soda or equivalent. The point stands.
posted by stepheno at 2:45 AM on November 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


I tried working out, coincidentally, the energy in the average amount of active ingredient in homeopathic treatments. Take something like your average dose of paracetamol and convert it to energy and you have a roughly Hiroshima-scale event.

I couldn't find an analogy for a 30C treatment - it would still be 15 orders of magnitude less energy than the kinetic energy of the coldest molecule ever.
posted by edd at 2:46 AM on November 10, 2009


Do you know what homeopathy is?

Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant. Unless you're not only well-informed about homeopathy but you're also knowledgeable about how it was practiced in Germany decades ago and you also know how this particular German physician was trained (sounds like homeopathy was only part of their curriculum) and how he practiced, then any blanket assertion about what the tablets were is extrapolation at best.
posted by namespan at 3:22 AM on November 10, 2009


Her father went into the room with her and when no one was looking slipped a couple homeopathic tablets into her mouth. Within an hour, she had stabilized, much to the emergency team's surprise, and they were able to deal successfully with her. And she lived to tell the tale.

But when they got home and opened the car door, THE HOOK WAS DANGLING OFF THE DOOR HANDLE!
posted by Justinian at 3:26 AM on November 10, 2009 [30 favorites]


In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity.

With the Royal Family, quite likely. (I think Prince Charles, the future head of state, may be an adherent.) With anyone familiar with the scientific method, not so much.
posted by acb at 3:41 AM on November 10, 2009


In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity


Yes, you must imagine because you cannot deduce from that premise.
posted by srboisvert at 3:59 AM on November 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


But will it cure Globliomlemlia?
posted by mattholomew at 4:13 AM on November 10, 2009


But will it cure Globliomlemlia?

Never mind that, what about Morgellon's disease?
posted by slater at 4:20 AM on November 10, 2009


No but wait, check this out.. I have a bottle of Head and Shoulders in my shower, and I have NEVER had dandruff. I use it like Churchill used vermouth in his martinis, I just look at it. Works every time, I can't fucking believe it!
posted by Clamwacker at 4:37 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity.

I normally don't find it much of a challenge to abide by the rule that lives beneath the posting box about not focusing comments on other members of the site. Then I read that statement. It makes me really angry and sad, and I think that's about all I can say.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:41 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


In a just world this person would be in prison.

I am not kidding.
posted by odinsdream at 4:42 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Horace, when somebody dangles a carrot on a stick in front of you like that, you'd have to be catatonic not to take a swipe at it.
posted by Clamwacker at 4:43 AM on November 10, 2009


Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant

No, see, it's completely, utterly relevant. If you really knew what homeopathy was, you would understand just how completely impossible it is for the "pills" to have contained any kind of active ingredient. It's just that damn simple. Homeopathy isn't some obscure, misunderstood science. It's a travesty, and as a theory it makes no sense whatsoever.

You're not just going to handwave this away by saying that unless we were physically present in the room then we can't know what homeopathic tablet the supposed doctor used. Homeopathy has been, will be, and remains a useless medical theory.

But hey, according to your argument, unless you were physically present at every place and time homeopathy has ever been taught, researched or discussed, you wouldn't know what homeopathy was. So nobody can really ever know anything, is this it? Pretty damn weak argument.

Homeopathy is, and will remain, a scam.
posted by splice at 4:44 AM on November 10, 2009 [16 favorites]


What RAID level is a human?
posted by stavrogin at 7:37 AM on November 10 [+] [!]


Don't look at me. I'm not striped and I haven't replicated yet...

would it help if I shagged a zebra?
posted by twine42 at 4:44 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every time I see this kind of woo, before even watching or reading it, I can't help but think of a quote from Medawar's criticism of Teilhard De Chardin's "Phenomenon of Man"

It would have been a great disappointment to me if Vibration did not did not somewhere make itself felt, for all scientistic mystics either vibrate in person or find themselves resonant with cosmic vibrations...


I am seldom disappointed, and Ms. Werner also obliges in this case.
posted by Jakey at 4:46 AM on November 10, 2009


In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity.

And the CIA hired men to stare at goats, so there has to be some validity there. And they researched remote viewing, so there must be some validity there. And you always hear about psychics helping the police, so there must be validity there. And Scientology as a religion has existed for some time now and has many high-profile adherents, so there must be some validity there. And a number of heads of state consult astrologers, so there must be some validity there.

See, it's so simple when you give up thinking for yourself, it's really unnecessary. If anyone of any importance ever believed anything, then it must have some validity.
posted by splice at 4:48 AM on November 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


In London there is the Royal Homeopathic Hospital that has been going for years. So I imagine what they do there has some validity.

We also have a state Church. Does that make Anglicanism valid, or does Catholicism outrank it because it's been going for longer? Can the Queen (head of the Church) heal by touch? That's been around a while too. Longer than homeopathy.
posted by alasdair at 4:48 AM on November 10, 2009






Homeopathy: Whether I do [know] or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant
posted by unSane at 5:23 AM on November 10, 2009


and the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some pot-pourri, so knock yourself out."

The soup and the potpourri are the best parts of getting sick. Also, VICKS Vap-O-Rub.
posted by hermitosis at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mwa ha ha ha....

An "infantessimal" amount of mass? Is that even smaller than infinitesimal?

My wife is a homepath and I kept quiet for years. I even read "The memory of water" using the critical thinking skills from my degree in Chemistry.

Bunch of arse.

One thing that is not often mentioned is the very close relationship between the homeopath and patient. I know that my wife helped a bunch of people while she was practising and I'm sure it any success was more related to the counselling part of the process than the sugar pills.

I still think it's all a crock of shite though.
posted by wawawawa at 5:30 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is this woman a "doctor" of? And why hasn't the granting institution revoked her degree, if it was ever valid to begin with?
posted by caution live frogs at 5:31 AM on November 10, 2009


I responded to someone asking about "homeopathic software" on USENET once:
xxxx@xxxx.com wrote:
> Hello to everyone,
>
> My name of Mxxxxx. I have just begin practising homeopathy. What i
> wanted to know is that is there anybody out here who can give me some
> idea about purchasing a homeopathic software.
>
> Please let me know i want to buy one.
>
I've written a 10,000 line homeopathic software suite, with a full
GUI and database backend.  It will hook up to a point-of-sale system,
and keep track of customers, patients and remedies, ordering for you
when you get below a certain threshold.

The catch?  I'm releasing it under a homeopathic license. Using a shell
script and a hex editor, I replace (dilute, if you will) code in the
binary with nulls, using a method of successive "titration" rounds.  It
takes some time and skill, but my 1000x strength software has almost
no trace of the original code.  Very powerful stuff.

Let me know if you want it.  I can just email it to anyone -- it
compresses down quite well.

I've also got special editions of the software that I've developed
under the light of a specific star on the solstice.  You can order my
limited edition "Antares" or "Dschubba" at 1000x and 10000x strengths.
-- 
clvrmnky
Ain't I a stinker?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:35 AM on November 10, 2009 [24 favorites]


I think the best homopathic video would be to take the worst video on Youtube, take one frame, and add it to a Rickroll, the most inert video on Youtube. Repeat the process three to five times.

You'll then have the best video ever.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:47 AM on November 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Sometimes when I try to read scientific papers, I realise that the reeling confusion where I can't even parse the chapter headings must be what all science sounds like to a layman. These people are just throwing words about and making vague semantic connections, right? I can do that too!
posted by lucidium at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2009


Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant. Unless you're not only well-informed about homeopathy but you're also knowledgeable about how it was practiced in Germany decades ago and you also know how this particular German physician was trained (sounds like homeopathy was only part of their curriculum) and how he practiced, then any blanket assertion about what the tablets were is extrapolation at best.

Damn right, brother! Decrying obvious pseudoscience requires not only familiarity with its purported benefits (which are manufactured out of whole cloth, and change every time the newest generation is proven false by rigorous analysis, which happens every time a research group decides to stop testing actual medicine long enough to do so), but also detailed knowledge of its historical context, because the fact that medicine once treated patients in one way proves incontrovertibly that the practice is still methodologically sound.

In a completely unrelated story, I'm opening a oncology clinic that specializes in balancing the four humors. Modern chemotherapy is totally ignorant of the harm that all that black bile is causing for its patients.
posted by Mayor West at 5:58 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well OK, homeopathy might be bunk, but at least we still have healing crystals.
posted by Theta States at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


This was a genuine treat. Where do I apply for this amazing course of study?
posted by psmealey at 6:17 AM on November 10, 2009


Paypal me $50 and I'll send you a 15C course of study. Email is in my profile.
posted by ryanrs at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2009


Can the Queen (head of the Church) heal by touch?

Yes, but only the King's Evil.
posted by acb at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2009


Do you know what homeopathy is?
Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant.


He actually knows far more about this subject than I think you can imagine.
posted by grouse at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


The less you know about homeopathy, the more you know about homeopathy.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


Just for the record, homeopathy was taught in German medical for much of the twentieth century and may still be a part of the curriculum. Most all German doctors know about it and many still use it as an adjunct to the normal treatments.

It seems to have become popular with the rise of Nazism -- until around 1939, when the government decided to do some basic controlled tests to see if homeopathic treatments actually worked. Of course they didn't work. That's right, even the Nazis -- who believed all manner of crazy shit -- eventually saw through homeopathy.

In fairness, homeopathy seems to be occasionally covered by state insurance, but like acupuncture I'd guess that's largely a function of popular demand and the fact that it can be a very cheap and very effective placebo. I've gone to a German doctor maybe 5-6 times with actual medical problems and not once have I heard the slightest mention of homeopathy.
posted by creasy boy at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have seen homeopathy work, and bring about a very fast change, but it seems to be most effective for an acute disease or recent injury, chronic stuff doesn't seem to respond as fast.
I read that in the early 1900's a cholera outbreak was more responsive to homeopathic cures than allopathic (can't find the reference just now)
As to how it works, dunno. Seems to be magic.
It may be in the same state that acupuncture was 20+ years ago, before people started to learn more about it.
As to the placebo factor of acupuncture, the Dartmouth School of Veterinary Medicine uses it.
posted by Runcible Spoon at 6:45 AM on November 10, 2009


Why call it just a placebo? Placebos are among the most effective treatments for pretty much everything, especially the whole not dying from side effects thing. Plenty of other medications lose effectiveness when exposed to bright light.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:48 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have seen homeopathy work, and bring about a very fast change, but it seems to be most effective for an acute disease or recent injury, chronic stuff doesn't seem to respond as fast.

Stop typing. Stop browsing. You have suffered a catastrophic head injury and you must get yourself to the nearest emergency room immediately.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:50 AM on November 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


I can't believe there are people actually defending Homeopathy here. Even the people calling it sugar pills are giving it to much credit. Water does not have memory in any way that relates to homeopathy. Homeopathy's "Like cures like" creed has nothing to do with the way vaccinations work. Diluting a mixture makes it weaker. Diluting something to the point where there is statistically no chance of any of the original 'active' ingredient still present means you are drinking water.

Taking Homeopathic 'cures' will almost certainly not harm you, but if you promote a culture that does not actively fight against false treatments you encourage other deluded people to think it is ok to treat their baby's Eczema with homeopathy and allow it to die in the process.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


As to the placebo factor of acupuncture, the Dartmouth School of Veterinary Medicine uses it.

You are Archimedes Plutonium and I claim my five pounds.
posted by acb at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why call it just a placebo?

Any real treatment will generate the placebo effect as well. They are not mutually exclusive. 'Treatments' like homeopathy only generate a placebo effect.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 6:56 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Apparently Dr Charlene Werner is an optometrist, who's eye care includes healing prisms and tints, and can apparently reduce the symptoms of alzheimers and autism.
posted by eye of newt at 7:01 AM on November 10, 2009


It may be in the same state that acupuncture was 20+ years ago

While I agree that the public perception of acupuncture has become much more positive the actual science behind it has continually disproved many of its supposed benefits to there point were now it is only treatment of lower back pain and possibly nausea that show any efficacy (and even that is questionable).
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:03 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Stop typing. Stop browsing. You have suffered a catastrophic head injury and you must get yourself to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Where they will give you 1/100,000,000th of an aspirin, 1/100,000th of a band-aid and send you on your way.

Homeopathy is a way for charlatans to take advantage of people who weren't taught how to think critically. Period.
posted by paanta at 7:08 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Taking Homeopathic 'cures' will almost certainly not harm you

This is not true.

First, as you allude to, pursuing homeopathic "treatment" instead of evidence-based medicine has led many deaths. Secondly, loopholes created for homeopathic "remedies" allow drugs that actually do have harmful effects to be marketed without effective regulation (for example, Zicam nasal swabs, which caused hundreds of people to permanently lose their sense of smell before it was pulled from the market).
posted by grouse at 7:12 AM on November 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Why is the quakery of homeopathy even allowed? It turns out that it is in the law:

In 1938, Congress passed a law granting homeopathic remedies the same legal status as regular pharmaceuticals. The law's principal author was Sen. Royal Copeland of New York, a trained homeopath.

Loopholes can be closed. We should write our Congressmen, and send a copy of this Youtube link.
posted by eye of newt at 7:24 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Trick or Treatment is an excellent book if you want to read more about evidence-based medicine and homeopathy.

The thing which struck me most is that evidence-based (based on randomized double-blind trials) medicine is quite a recent thing, becoming accepted as a standard only in the last few decades.
posted by Zarkonnen at 7:24 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I passed this on to a friend a few days ago and he pointed out that the video has what may be the best YouTube comment evar: "I can't brain anymore. I have the dumb."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh great. Montana.

Look, we already have the Unabomber, the Freemen, and Ted Turner. Do we really need to be known for this now?
posted by The Deej at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2009


Oh shit. Thanks. Now after watching that I need to pop a few arnica tablets, but I only have pulsatilla.

Um, wait. . . .
posted by Danf at 7:42 AM on November 10, 2009


Oh god not acupuncture. More woo that's pure placebo.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2009


Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant.

People have been hinting around this without being clear, so:

Homeopathy claims to work by diluting. You take an active ingredient that is in some way similar to the problem you're seeking to cure (like cures like) and then dilute it. Massively.

As in, a homeopathic remedy marked with "30C," which would be considered a moderate to strong dose, is created by taking the active ingredient and diluting it 100-fold in water, and then taking some of that solution and diluting it 100-fold in water, repeated 30 times. This repetition creates (literally) exponential effects in dilution -- 30C doesn't mean 30x100, it means 100^30 or 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 times diluted. This is equivalent to *googles* taking 1ml of active ingredient and diluting in a cube of water more than 100 light-years wide. Less dilute remedies might be on the order of dissolving a drop of active ingredient into a large swimming pool and giving someone a drop of the resulting water.

Which is to say that a homeopathic pill is some sort of binder that has had a drop of water placed on it, and which almost certainly contains not even a single molecule of whatever the supposed active ingredient is. It really is, literally, nothing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:57 AM on November 10, 2009 [22 favorites]


Homeopathy has been, will be, and remains a useless medical theory.



Well maybe in theory, but It's useful in that it may convince the body that a cure has been administered, which can allow the body to heal itself. And if you think that some disease isn't at least partly a state of mind, you're just wrong.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:01 AM on November 10, 2009


So my daughter wants to eat a more healthy diet, maybe vegan, she's thinking, so I brought her home some info about that -- what nutrients to supplement, foods to combine, that kind of thing.
She says, I don't need all this -- I have my own personal dietary advisors!
I said, How many of them believe in homeopathy?
Silence.
Hahahaha. Sweetheart, just read it, OK?
posted by Methylviolet at 8:07 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


One thing that is not often mentioned is the very close relationship between the homeopath and patient. I know that my wife helped a bunch of people while she was practising and I'm sure it any success was more related to the counselling part of the process than the sugar pills.
I think that this is really the big appeal of alternative medicine practitioners and why they are so popular. I have a doctor who, when I visit him, comes into the room, gives me a minute or two to explain my symptoms while he types on his computer (all electronic records-- it's an impressive system), examines the affected area for a visual check and diagnosis, and then prescribes the necessary remedy on his laptop, and I pick up a paper copy with his receptionist. All in all, it takes 15 minutes.

Whereas with the alternative medicine practitioner, no doubt the patient sits down with the practitioner, they talk about the patient's lifestyle, the practitioner suggests certain changes that the patient should make, maybe some OTC remedies are suggested, and any examinations are very thorough and perhaps also point out some other issues that the patient should probably look at. And if those remedies come with sugar pills and a suggestion to get more vegetables and fiber in their diet, the patient feels great. And some alternative medicine practitioners might actually be competent enough to refer the patient to a specialist when the problem is actually serious.

Yes, my doctor's no-nonsense style is effective, but some people probably just want to feel "taken care of," and in many cases, the outcome is probably the same.
posted by deanc at 8:07 AM on November 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Can't get enough of the good homeopathic eye doctor? Here's another video, in which she explains how your hamstrings are the source of your near sightedness.

She goes on to talk about color and genetics, but I couldn't take it any more. My brain was in danger of exploding.
posted by eye of newt at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well maybe in theory, but It's useful in that it may convince the body that a cure has been administered, which can allow the body to heal itself. And if you think that some disease isn't at least partly a state of mind, you're just wrong.

This isn't an argument for homeopathy, it's an argument for the placebo effect - which can be administered under competent medical supervision and without lining the pockets of some asshole who calls himself Moonshadow Glave the Elder.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I passed this on to a friend a few days ago and he pointed out that the video has what may be the best YouTube comment evar: "I can't brain anymore. I have the dumb."

Excuse me, it's "teh dumb".

Trust me. I'm an authority.
posted by lysdexic at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2009


the practitioner suggests certain changes that the patient should make

This would cure far more medical issues at a much reduced cost - assuming the patient followed the doctor's recommendation.
posted by scrutiny at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2009


Oh man that woman is in Austin, fantastic.

Holistic optometry, what does that even mean?! At least sell some bioidentical contact lenses or maybe some electromagnetically balanced glass frames tuned to the patient's cosmic vibration.
posted by Talanvor at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2009


Excuse me, it's "teh dumb".

Trust me. I'm an authority.
posted by lysdexic


Eponysterical.
posted by splice at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2009


Any real treatment will generate the placebo effect as well.

There's that whole possibility of death from liver and kidney failure, lungs turning into a solid mass, etc, that goes a long with real treatment. Even those toenail fungus medications list death as a possible side effect.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:21 AM on November 10, 2009


Even those toenail fungus medications list death as a possible side effect.

So does the material safety data sheet for water.
posted by grouse at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Can't get enough of the good homeopathic eye doctor? Here's another video, in which she explains how your hamstrings are the source of your near sightedness.

"Stretch, relax and breathe, and your nearsightedness will go away!" This is an actual quote. Fantastic!
posted by letitrain at 8:28 AM on November 10, 2009


"in which she explains how your hamstrings are the source of your near sightedness"

Oh dear sweet christ. How the hell does this woman serve as an optometrist? How does she have a license to practice? I'm nearsighted because my fucking leg muscles are tight? So my prescription is daily stretches, and not contact lenses? Oh yeah, that will go over GREAT when I get pulled over for reckless driving. "It's not that I need glasses, Officer, it's just that I didn't stretch this morning! That 'corrective lenses' endorsement on the license is pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo!"
posted by caution live frogs at 8:32 AM on November 10, 2009


I think homeopathy is mostly BS too, but that's some pretty intellectually incurious knee-jerk shoehorning going on right there in your comment.
That's because it's really, really pure bullshit, which promotes bullshit and magical thinking, and may discourage people from seeking appropriate medical attention, using actual science, or thinking. No, homeopathy does not get equal time, because we don't waste our time on wrongness.
posted by theora55 at 8:33 AM on November 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Stretch outside. Going outdoors may help your eyesight.
posted by theora55 at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2009


The great thing about debunking homeopathy is that we don't have to feel guilty about destroying people's livelihoods - they can easily go into the bottled water business.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:37 AM on November 10, 2009


I have diluted
the element
that caused
your malady

and which
you were probably
going to treat
with medicine

Trust me
this is science
so empirical
and so dilute
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:38 AM on November 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


Where's the "little uees" tag for this post?
posted by en forme de poire at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2009


homeopathic comment
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on November 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Booo
posted by kuatto at 8:54 AM on November 10, 2009


You think diluting it massively in water to the point of nonexistence is crazy? How's this for crazy:
There's at least one homeopathic cure that is water, diluted in water to the point its no longer got any 'active' water in it, its just water. Seriously - Google "Gettysburg Water".
posted by edd at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, my doctor's no-nonsense style is effective, but some people probably just want to feel "taken care of," and in many cases, the outcome is probably the same.

God, yes. My mother has practiced similar forms of highly questionable quackery for decades, and I've seen it have definite results in people. She's a very kind, charming, and charismatic person who cares about her patients and wholeheartedly believes in the efficacy of her treatments. I think it's the caring and belief that makes all the difference. I've met many of her friends and colleagues who are into alternative medicine, and the ones who are most successful at it are like my mom: sweet, a little (or a lot) misguided, but incredibly earnest, and (believe it or not) very convincing to the average person.

The lady in this video would fit right in with them, and she's probably helped people too. Not because she's right, but because she's likely willing to take the time to personally sit down with her patients and talk to them. Eventually, she can convince them she is right (despite being very, very wrong), and the patient is none the wiser, because they're just relieved to have found someone who actually seems to care about them.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh god not acupuncture. More woo that's pure placebo.

I bookmarked this on delicious, which resulted in it being posted to Twitter. Then an acupuncturist, who calls herself an "acupuncture physician" dismissed it. Apparently, in Florida, practitioners of acupuncture without training in evidence-based medicine or a doctoral degree are allowed to call themselves "physicians." Appalling.
posted by grouse at 9:08 AM on November 10, 2009


Huh, his sugar cravings were reduced after homeopathic treatment...

Now why oh why could that be?
posted by multivalent at 9:08 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well maybe in theory, but It's useful in that it may convince the body that a cure has been administered, which can allow the body to heal itself. And if you think that some disease isn't at least partly a state of mind, you're just wrong.
That's not exactly correct. The body doesn't need to be "allowed" to heal itself, but obviously your mental state can have an impact on how quickly you recover.
This isn't an argument for homeopathy, it's an argument for the placebo effect - which can be administered under competent medical supervision
Not necessarily. I'm not sure but I don't think most ethical standards allow doctors to use placebos. It would basically mean lying to their patients.
So does the material safety data sheet for water.
um, no.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on November 10, 2009


So does the material safety data sheet for water.

um, no.


Says right there on the one you linked: LD50 Oral Rat: >90 ml/Kg. Both hyponatremia and drowning are real.
posted by grouse at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If SCIENCE is so great and fantastic, and science-based medicine is so utterly holy...then why haven't they come up with a system that involves empathetic practitioners who take time to know their patients? Hmmm? Can you explain that?

Actually, they used to do it that way. But money is more holy than science, in the world of modern American medicine.
posted by Goofyy at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2009


Actually delmoi, its not so clear cut. As Ben Goldacre explains, in 1965 there was a (small, not well controlled) study which had doctors explaining exactly what they were doing and they still got good results.

Study here.
posted by edd at 9:27 AM on November 10, 2009


And yet water intoxication (hyponatremia) is very real and can be fatal.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2009


Just a comment to add to the fuel to the fire regarding the discussion around acupuncture.

There is an actual-to-god population study that indicates that acupuncture is as effective as surgery for the pain associated with endometriosis. I'm sure I could scare the link up for anyone who is interested.

This probably says more about the state of allopathic medicine in regards to chronic pain (that is, dismal) than it does about acupuncture. And surely there must be a placebo effect in there somewhere.

But, this certainly falls under the "can't hurt, might help" category, especially for women awaiting surgery (or afraid of it, because there are real risks associated with this surgery) but still suffering from the real pain of living with the disease. Acupuncture, when done by someone who is trained in the art, is as safe as anything else you might do to alleviate pain, and is definitely safer than /any/ surgery that needs to poke a hole in your torso.

And, yes, I know this says nothing about homoeopathy, or the quacks that need to dream up the pseudo-science necessary to defend it as a magical science. So make sure you untwist your panties if you think I'm somehow defending it.

But the fact is that the human body is complicated. The ways things can go wrong, and the ways things respond to various treatments is only partially understood, even to this day. And before we go making fun of often desperate people who are looking for relief from some real or imagined pain or difficulty, remember that most people get the same sort of shit service from the medical business as you and I do from our local banks. At some point even the most reasonable people start to cast their net wider in order to get some peace.

Yeah, sometimes everything is peachy accessing your stuff online, or talking to a teller. Other times banks want to make you poke your eyes out with those pens they have on the end of the chains. The only thing stopping you is that you'd only have to go see a health professional afterwards.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2009


then why haven't they come up with a system that involves empathetic practitioners who take time to know their patients

I know you were joking, but I think there really is something there to the "doctor culture" which holds that doctors' behavior is beyond reproach. Recently a study showed that just forcing surgeons to go through a simple checklist [pdf] of things like "let's double check this is the patient we think it is" can reduce deaths and complications by more than a third. (This was featured in the last season of ER where Benton saved Carter's life during his kidney transplant by forcing the surgeon to use the checklist.) But of course prior to this study if you polled surgeons as to what effect these "duh" checks would make, I'm not sure that you'd find many that would say it could ever matter significantly. I think that simply not being curt and House-like during patient interactions would be in a similar vein, but harder to lobby for since it can't be condensed into a simple checklist-style pocket card.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Homeopathy: like a hinge. It squeaks.
posted by katillathehun at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2009


Placebos have been previously discussed on Metafilter.

It makes more sense to view homeopathy as a placebo, albeit a placebo with a much more storied history (if you are so inclined to believe it in the first place). If you're going to trick your brain, it is the story that matters most, right?

A lot of people dismiss homeopathy outright because, rationally, it shouldn't work. But human beings are not rational. Religion is not rational. But people believe, they believe in the story. And it makes a huge difference.

My pregnant wife started having contractions, which was scary because she was only 32 weeks. It had happened once before, and at the ER the doctor said it was false labor, and with that knowledge, she calmed down and the contractions stopped. So they started again a week later and we got in the car to go to the hospital. Over the course of 45 minutes of Manhattan traffic, she got more and more scared that the baby was coming, she became convinced that he was coming. I knew that was not the case - I consider myself a very rational person and could see that she was getting more and more tense, which made the contractions stronger and stronger, it was a positive feedback loop and she was getting more and more irrational as we got closer to the hospital. Lots of yelling, and telling her to calm down only made it worse. Must have lost a few years of my life on that car ride.

So we got to the hospital, and sure enough, she felt safer and calmed down. The doctor said 'false labor' again. Her mind had convinced her, and her body had responded. The funny thing was, they did an fFN test, which said that she would not go into actual labor for 2 weeks. So, exactly 2 weeks later, yet another trip to the ER. This is purely anecdotal, but I know that for my wife, the story makes all the difference. She is extremely sensitive like that, in the same way that I'm not.

Do I believe in the claimed scientific properties of homeopathic medicines? No. People who claim that dilutions have actual medicinal properties are quacks. But I believe in the power of the story. If a doctor is familiar with a patient, knows them well and knows their history, is subtle enough to pick up cues on health habits and state of mind, if a doctor has an awareness of all those things, and can see with a rational eye that his patient would benefit from a placebo, of course they will prescribe it. Maybe sometimes the placebo isn't enough - some patients need that extra story that homeopathic medicine provides (ancients used this blah blah blah). If my wife was seriously ill, we would go to the doctor. I would also look into a homeopathic remedy, because it does no harm and will have a positive (placebo) effect on her outlook.

A real treatment will generate a placebo effect, yes, but what if the patient doesn't need a real treatment? No one wants to prescribe a drug that isn't needed. Homeopathy can provide that 'treatment' for certain people who believe in the story. Isn't that enough?
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 9:49 AM on November 10, 2009


As Ben Goldacre explains, in 1965 there was a (small, not well controlled) study which had doctors explaining exactly what they were doing and they still got good results.

I am glad to see this. I was afraid that in some point in the future I'd need some crazy-alternative treatment, because no real treatment existed or was working and I would be too jaded and cynical to let the placebo effect work.

Also, if this worked on people diagnosed as “neurotic,” I think I know what my stocking stuffers will be this year!
posted by fontophilic at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2009


As to the placebo factor of acupuncture, the Dartmouth School of Veterinary Medicine uses it.

The where? It doesn't seem to exist, this school. Perhaps it's a homeopathic school of veterinary medicine!

(I did take my old (now dead) cat for acupuncture treatments. He got regular meds as well, for his various elderly cat problems, but he did seem to enjoy the acupuncture - he'd actually take a little nap on the exam table, with needles sticking out of him, and he always seemed to move more easily and be more comfortable after the treatments.)
posted by rtha at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2009


The sheer density of the denunciation in this pile-on of a thread have forced me to consider something I've never considered before; that there might just be something to Homeopathy.
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only sentence I understood was, "If I threw a bomb at my neighbors house (because his dog pooped on my lawn), would he be happy with me?"

I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
posted by anitanita at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2009


Acupuncture, when done by someone who is trained in the art, is as safe as anything else you might do to alleviate pain, and is definitely safer than /any/ surgery that needs to poke a hole in your torso.

"Legitimate" acupuncture is no more effective than fake acupuncture, so I'm pretty sure that being "trained in the art" has nothing to do with it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2009


"Dr." Werner: "So if you took that formula, E=mc^2...you can almost...cross out mass!"

E=mc^2
E=(0)c^2
∴ E=0
posted by inoculatedcities at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2009


The sheer density of the denunciation in this pile-on of a thread have forced me to consider something I've never considered before; that there might just be something to Homeopathy.

Support for homeopathy in this thread is at...

*puts on shades*

...homeopathic levels.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


The sheer density of the denunciation in this pile-on of a thread have forced me to consider something I've never considered before; that there might just be something to Homeopathy.

Please, go ahead and consider it. Read the previous discussions and links. Lots of great information there.

You should also consider whether the world is flat. People have been denouncing that idea for centuries, but there might just be something to it.
posted by grouse at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Acupuncture, when done by someone who is trained in the art, is as safe as anything else you might do to alleviate pain, and is definitely safer than /any/ surgery that needs to poke a hole in your torso.

"Legitimate" acupuncture is no more effective than fake acupuncture, so I'm pretty sure that being "trained in the art" has nothing to do with it.


I believe the poster meant trained well enough to not actually injure people with the needles. Otherwise, yeah.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2009


A real treatment will generate a placebo effect, yes, but what if the patient doesn't need a real treatment? No one wants to prescribe a drug that isn't needed. Homeopathy can provide that 'treatment' for certain people who believe in the story. Isn't that enough?


Yeah buuuuuuut..... homeopaths make spurious claims that they can actually cure illnesses that, you know, they can't (e.g. see the eczema story posted upthread). In this way they are like Christian Scientists and other religious groups who attempt to cure illness through prayer, etc. - fine if you are praying to someone who's in the hospital, getting real treatment, not so good if the person is dying of treatable diabetes or some other disease.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:08 AM on November 10, 2009


Dudes...she healed that guy's squeaky knee with one pill!!! one!!!1! and yet you still do not believe?
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2009


Apparently Dr Charlene Werner is an optometrist, who's eye care includes healing prisms and tints, and can apparently reduce the symptoms of alzheimers and autism.

posted by eye of newt at 7:01 AM on November 10 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2009


Homeopathy: You're already soaking in it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2009


I need a new eyedropper. The current one's getting old and without it I can't take homeopathic showers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The sheer density of the denunciation in this pile-on of a thread have forced me to consider something I've never considered before; that there might just be something to Homeopathy.

Please, go ahead and consider it. Read the previous discussions and links. Lots of great information there.

You should also consider whether the world is flat. People have been denouncing that idea for centuries, but there might just be something to it.
You didn't see what he did there. :(
posted by deanc at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've engaged in this kind of bullshit (Charlene Werner's, that is, not Metafilter's) and it's fun. You can only use it on the gullible and scientologists, though, because everyone else will ridicule you mercilessly. However, considerable gratification awaits you if you find the right audience and can devise ways to extract $$ from them. I'm just saying.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2009


I have seen homeopathy work, and bring about a very fast change, but it seems to be most effective for an acute disease or recent injury, chronic stuff doesn't seem to respond as fast.
No, you haven't. And no, it doesn't.
posted by scrump at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


The sheer density of the denunciation in this pile-on of a thread have forced me to consider something I've never considered before; that there might just be something to Homeopathy.

It's the sniveling arrogance that did it for me. Sure, this woman is a loon, but this simply the immature science freaks cherry-picking the things they can easily mock (and use to show everyone how wonderfully brilliant and analytical they all are).

It got me looking at Maupertuis' principle of least action - which is basically an offshoot of Fermat's principle (light travels between two given points along the path of shortest time).

I'm using Traumeel now and it works like a charm for that nagging (ok, not awful) pain in my feet after a long run or football match.

And believe me, I'm fully aware of placebo effects (see: Dr. John Sarno) and I have conquered psychosomatic pain (Sarno again). And Traumeel is no placebo.

If homeopathy can cure diabetes or cancer, then whatever. More power to it.

All I know is that Traumeel works on my foot pain and that it's definitely not a placebo.
posted by Zambrano at 10:32 AM on November 10, 2009


Sure, this woman is a loon, but this simply the immature science freaks cherry-picking the things they can easily mock (and use to show everyone how wonderfully brilliant and analytical they all are).

You sound like me in 1999 or so. Of course people are piling on homeopathy- it's nonsense that does nothing but which purports to be the equal of- or superior to- actual, real, evidence-based medicine.

I'm using Traumeel now and it works like a charm for that nagging (ok, not awful) pain in my feet after a long run or football match.

So you're rubbing your feet and then feeling better? Holy shit, I'll alert JAMA, let's get this published.

If homeopathy can cure diabetes or cancer, then whatever. More power to it.

It does no such thing, however, so damned be to it and all who profit from it.

All I know is that Traumeel works on my foot pain and that it's definitely not a placebo.

How, precisely, do you know that it's not a placebo?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on November 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Traumeel falls somewhere in the middle of the homeopathic spectrum of dilutional extremity. Like Zicam, Traumeel does not go the extremes of true homeopathic dilution, but it does use the word “homeopathic” on the packaging. Its active ingredients are diluted to the point where their concentrations are much lower than Zicam’s.

I'm also starting to come around on this homeopathic thing. I mean, if Zicam had been "properly" diluted according to homeopathic theory, it might not have harmed so many people. If you're going to be putting semi-random shit in people's medicines, you're probably better off if it's mostly inactive filler. Maybe not as well off as, say, appropriate active ingredients at effective doses, but you can't have everything.

All I know is that Traumeel works on my foot pain and that it's definitely not a placebo.

But -- ... oh.. I read you. *wink* Totally not a placebo. Glad it's helping.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's the sniveling arrogance that did it for me.

Well, you should know!
posted by rtha at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


All I know is that Traumeel works on my foot pain and that it's definitely not a placebo.
These two things are not related to each other.
posted by scrump at 10:49 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And believe me, I'm fully aware of placebo effects (see: Dr. John Sarno) and I have conquered psychosomatic pain (Sarno again). And Traumeel is no placebo.

Like Durn points out, Traumeel is not exactly "homeopathic" in the traditional sense (eg, a 100^30 diluted solution of whatever caused the ailment). Rather, it's an ointment full of herbs, some of which might have analgesic or anti-inflammatory properties (eg, like tumeric, mentioned above).

Maybe that stuff works, maybe it doesn't. It's marketed as "homeopathic" because apparently that appeals to people. The actual practice of homeopathy involves giving people water that has been "treated" with the "vibrations" of some kind of extract many thousands of folds of dilutions ago.

Which is the funnier thing about anything claiming to be "homeopathic"-- anything can call itself "homeopathic." So how do you know that traumeel is "homeopathy"? You don't. I could give you aspirin and call it a "homeopathic remedy," as well, and I'd probably get more buyers than if I just called it "aspirin."
posted by deanc at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2009


So I watched the whole thing and I think I get it now: homeopathy is when you blow up your neighbors' home with a bomb because they let their dog excrete infinitesimal amounts of poop-matter in your yard. The neighbor will thus be diluted and vibrated and then all is good.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


But water has a memory!

It goes back to ice every time I put it in the freezer. See? It remembers and returns to its original state before the Earth got all warm and stuff.
posted by rand at 10:59 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whether I do or not (though I know a bit) is irrelevant. Unless you're not only well-informed about homeopathy but you're also knowledgeable about how it was practiced in Germany decades ago and you also know how this particular German physician was trained (sounds like homeopathy was only part of their curriculum) and how he practiced, then any blanket assertion about what the tablets were is extrapolation at best.

Sorry I got here a bit late on this one. I feel it is very important, however, that I respond to this.

I am well-informed about homeopathy. I am also knowledgeable about how it was practiced in Germany decades ago. In fact, I know exactly how this particular German physician was trained and how he practiced. Indeed, I was his mentor. The tablets were a very precise mixture of bat guano, corn husks, hardcore taters, and riboflavin, wrapped in bacon and left to dry in the sun for exactly 15 days.

A real treatment will generate a placebo effect, yes, but what if the patient doesn't need a real treatment? No one wants to prescribe a drug that isn't needed. Homeopathy can provide that 'treatment' for certain people who believe in the story. Isn't that enough?

I find that four tablets of Obecalp daily is far more effective in generating the placebo effect than any application of homeopathic medicine.
posted by The World Famous at 11:08 AM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If water has a memory, and human bodies are 70% water, could I in theory talk to the dead if I asked the ocean the right questions?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:16 AM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I emailed this video to my friend, a former professor of Nuclear Physics.

I hope he doesn't die of laughter.
posted by nomisxid at 11:16 AM on November 10, 2009


I did take my old (now dead) cat for acupuncture treatments.

I have read this entire thread and all of the links. There is good information on all sides and it must be considered, giving equal weight to the entire spectrum of views from OMGScience! to OMGTIMECUBE.

Having done so I can say, with absolute certainty, that accupuncture will not cure your dead cat.
posted by The Bellman at 11:18 AM on November 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


It's the sniveling arrogance that did it for me.

Y'know, I understand this. Really: it's a feeling that homeopathy deserves a fair hearing. And in lots of cases, that desire for basic fairness is a really praiseworthy attitude. I'd sure as hell want my jurors to take that attitude.

The problem is that sooner or later you have to stop. There just has to be a point at which one says "enough." We, as a society can't really waste the time and energy on people who claim to be able to turn lead into gold, or cure AIDS by having sex with virgins, or prospecting with dowsing rods.

"Fair" doesn't mean giving equal time to people who claim the earth is flat, or that they can cure diseases by bleeding the patient. Refusing to give time to people who claim that smoking doesn't cause lung disease, or they can run your car engine on water is not arrogance. Becaue if you give any and all claims a fresh fair hearing, you'll never have time to get through them all before the world ends in 2012 as predicted by the ancient Mayans.

Homeopathy has had decades. It's produced nothing. Its competing theory has made polio and whooping cough, and death in childbirth -- all of which used to kill a few people -- things of the past. Homeopathy has produced Charlene Werner. The competing theory has produced antibiotics and transplants.

It's past time to say "Look, you've had plenty of time to show that there's truth behind your assertions, and it's come up empty. Anecdotal crap that says you may be as effective as a tent-revival healer. Reasonable people aren't going to listen to you any more unless you come up with extraordinary evidence."

And, it matters how we think about these things. Because this is the exact scenario that plays out when we discuss vaccinations and autism, global warning, and education in the basics of biology. At some point, you have to stop being polite to stupid and pighead.
posted by tyllwin at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [35 favorites]


Support for homeopathy in this thread is at...

*puts on shades*

...homeopathic levels.


YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!
posted by grubi at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


So...who wants to get discount anti-chemtrail ayurvedic homeopathic naturopathic shamanic chi-correcting feung shui-aligned colonics at the next meetup? Anyone? Bueller?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2009


"Legitimate" acupuncture is no more effective than fake acupuncture, so I'm pretty sure that being "trained in the art" has nothing to do with it.
I never used the word "legitimate" to describe the practice of acupuncture. So, I'm not sure why you are placing scare-quotes around the word in your reply.

My point was that acupuncture, in at least one real life-study published in a real medical journal, seemed to be as effective as surgery for treatment of one real-life condition that many suffer from. So, in this regard, acupuncture can be considered /safer/ than the common allopathic treatment for this condition, while giving roughly the same benefits. Since neither of these treatments work permanently for the condition, having the ability to choose a non-invasive safe procedure that will cause no further harm, while having the option for surgery in the future is what I think we would call a win.

Acupuncture may not be effective, but it certainly it is a practice old enough to have those who are good at it. i.e., do not cause more harm, draw blood, cause pain &etc.

Also note that I used the word "art" because it is not a science (at least in the modern definition of that word.) One can practice at acupuncture and get better at it. One can have peers that determine how good you are at the practice. For better or for worse, it is a practice that was codified thousands of years ago, and if there were any short or long term dangers associated with the practice we would probably know about by now.

None of this says anything about legitimacy or proven effects. It means that the majority of people who think it works for them are in no immediate danger from the practice. Just as long as it is done by someone who, for reasons I may agree with or not, has become good at it enough to cause no further harm.

Acupuncture might be stupid woo-woo, but I just don't care if it is. I don't need acupuncture, but I refuse to lambaste those who feel they do. There are bigger fish to fry in the spurious claims domain.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2009


Definitely not a placebo?

Where'd you get the fake Traumeel to do the double-blind study with?
posted by box at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Homeopathy has had decades.

No, it has had centuries. Hahnemann invented homeopathy in the late 18th century. It is pre-scientific mythical nonsense.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:36 AM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I should've clicked preview. Or, better yet, not clicked anything. Arguing with Zambrano about homeopathy might be the most futile thing I've done today, and that includes playing FarmVille.
posted by box at 11:37 AM on November 10, 2009


Arguing with Zambrano about homeopathy might be the most futile thing I've done today, and that includes playing FarmVille.

There is nothing more futile than playing Farmville. Really, there should be a Farmville based measure of futility.

"How futile is a land war in Asia?"

"86 Farmvillecents"
posted by kmz at 11:48 AM on November 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, I checked out what's in Traumeel. The way they list the ingredients almost seems to be intentionally obfuscated, and I Am Not A Pharmacist/Homeopath, so apologies for any miscalculations:
Traumeel ointment (50 g, 100 g)
Ingredients


Ointment: Each 50 g contains: Aconitum napellus 3X (Reduces pain after injury) 0.50 g; Arnica montana, radix 3X (Reduces swelling and bruising) 0.75 g; Belladonna 3X (Reduces swelling and pain) 0.5 g; Bellis perennis 1X (Treats bruising) 0.25 g; Calendula officinalis 1X (Stimulates healing process) 0.75 g; Chamomilla 1X (Soothing pain relief) 0.25 g; Echinacea 1X (Immune support) 0.25 g; Echinacea purpurea 1X (Stimulates healing process) 0.25 g; Hamamelis virginiana 1X (Relieves bruised soreness) 0.75 g; Hepar sulphuris calcareum 8X (Stimulates injury healing) 0.125 g; Hypericum perforatum 6X (Relieves pain) 0.045 g; Mercurius solubilis 8X (Reduces swelling) 0.06 g; Millefolium 1X (Treats minor bleeding) 0.15 g; Symphytum officinale 4X (Relieves joint pain) 0.05 g. Inactive Ingredients: Cetylstearyl alcohol, ethanol, paraffin, purified water, and white petrolatum.

Packaging Information
Tube containing 50 or 100 grams of ointment.
Let's say you use 1g of Traumeel per dose (this is probably a high estimate). You're getting mostly paraffin, alcohol, & water, along with miniscule amounts of (mostly) common flowers: In total, 1 g of Traumeel contains approximately 5 mg total of "active" ingredients, and many of the individual ingredients are at such low doses that they almost certainly have no effect. This is more concentrated than many homeopathic remedies: it's only 99.47% filler.
posted by designbot at 11:50 AM on November 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


My wife is a homepath and I kept quiet for years. I even read "The memory of water" using the critical thinking skills from my degree in Chemistry.

I am deeply, thoroughly impressed your ability to maintain a close relationship with her. I have a friend who believes in that stupid shit, and the only reason we can remain on talking terms is that we never ever broach the subject.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Maybe that stuff works, maybe it doesn't. It's marketed as "homeopathic" because apparently that appeals to people.

The terms 'herbal' and 'homeopathic' get conflated pretty regularly, and it's a source of endless irritation to me... they're synonymous in a lot of people's minds, and when I tear into homeopathy in mixed company, I get a lot of 'but St. John's Wort does X!' rebuttals. A lot of products also mislabel themselves as homeopathic even when they contain (relatively) large amounts of herbal ingredients, though I honestly don't know if it's marketers misusing the term out of ignorance, or an attempt at jumping on the existing crazy-bandwagon.

How, precisely, do you know that it's not a placebo?

This is a man who thinks allergies are psychsomatic... let's not put too much stock in his medical opinions, eh?
posted by Mayor West at 12:00 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can not favorite tyllwin's comment enough.
posted by darkstar at 12:04 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


For a totally back-of-the-envelope sense of scale, one flower of St. John's wort would probably provide enough extract for about 200 million tubes of Traumeel.
posted by designbot at 12:06 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apropos of this, just ran across a ref to Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (Amazon link -- no idea if it will work or not) over on Boing^2.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:34 PM on November 10, 2009


I never used the word "legitimate" to describe the practice of acupuncture. So, I'm not sure why you are placing scare-quotes around the word in your reply.

I did so to distinguish between acupuncture as its practitioners claim it is, and just randomly sticking needles in someone. I put the scare quotes around it in order to not give the impression that I think acupuncture is in any way, well, legitimate.

My point was that acupuncture, in at least one real life-study published in a real medical journal, seemed to be as effective as surgery for treatment of one real-life condition that many suffer from.

One study does not a convincing body of evidence make, especially when there are hundreds which contradict that study. If I roll a die five hundred times and get six 499 times, I'm not going to argue on the strength of rolling one once that the die isn't loaded.

So, in this regard, acupuncture can be considered /safer/ than the common allopathic treatment for this condition, while giving roughly the same benefits.

According to a single study.

Also note that I used the word "art" because it is not a science (at least in the modern definition of that word.) One can practice at acupuncture and get better at it. One can have peers that determine how good you are at the practice. For better or for worse, it is a practice that was codified thousands of years ago, and if there were any short or long term dangers associated with the practice we would probably know about by now.

This is unfiltered nonsense, pure argument from antiquity. People also pray for diseases to be cured, and have as long as there's been people, and there is no evidence that that is effective, either.

None of this says anything about legitimacy or proven effects. It means that the majority of people who think it works for them are in no immediate danger from the practice.

No, that's ridiculous. Anybody who thinks they are getting good medicine will not go after more. If someone is selling you acupuncture and you think it is working, that is completely irrelevant to whether or not it works, and if you are suffering from something severe or fatal, the acupuncturist is guilty of manslaughter for discouraging you from seeking real medicine. You- yes, you personally- are guilty of giving aid and comfort to frauds and conmen, to being part of the culture which supports them and allows them to work their frauds at the cost of the wealth, health, and lives of their victims.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:35 PM on November 10, 2009


So, let's say I am mixing up some Traumeel, and I am making my Belladonna. I am up to my third dilution, and I dump the waste down the drain.

It flows to the trap, mixing with more water and becoming more powerful. From there it falls into the plumbing stack, becoming even more powerful. From there, into the sewer becoming even more powerful. From there, into a water facility, a river, and a bay, each time gaining massive amounts of power. By the time it gets to the ocean, I have killed all life on earth.

Small price to pay so long as a few sore feet feel better.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


And yet water intoxication (hyponatremia) is very real and can be fatal.

I would imagine that putting several thousand hats on your head might cause spinal injuries, but come on, that's not the kind of thing we're talking about here.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mr Guilty, you seem to be arguing only with yourself at this point, since I have no idea what you are attempting to say. All I see is the tenor and froth of the argument increasing, which is about as interesting and helpful as little lactose pills.

Accusing me of making some sort of false argument by cherry picking and contorting my obvious meaning into something else, and then turning around and making a series of strawman arguments by putting words into my mouth is too rich for me.

Perhaps you should re-read my comments, because you seem to be engaging with me on some argument I don't recall making, and would never make.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:01 PM on November 10, 2009


next time i see a doctor i am gonna say "doc, i'm poorly, no homeo"

binsaid?

i saw this vid somewhere else recently and stopped at the E=c bit. it just short-circuited my brain.
posted by marienbad at 1:02 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


WinnipegDragon wins. Perfect. :-)
posted by grubi at 1:03 PM on November 10, 2009


The claim was that a certain medication listed death as a possible (however unlikely) outcome. The response was that drinking water can also be toxic in unlikely circumstances, which is just as true. The links given show a dozen or more famous cases of people dying from drinking too much water.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:04 PM on November 10, 2009


Homeopathic believers and supports are fucking idiots. Why are you people even deigning to hold conversation with them? The maroons are never going to change their minds because it is all about what they believe and has nothing to do with fact.

The only solution to to apply homeopathic oxygen remedy.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:11 PM on November 10, 2009


Because it can never be watched too many times

Homeopathy Explained

posted by CarolynG at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, you take a tiny amount of physics, and then dilute it in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and then dilute that in bullshit, and you end up with?

You end up with all of the essential properties of bullshit without any actual bullshit being detectable.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:31 PM on November 10, 2009


If someone is selling you acupuncture and you think it is working, that is completely irrelevant to whether or not it works, and if you are suffering from something severe or fatal, the acupuncturist is guilty of manslaughter for discouraging you from seeking real medicine.

My father was referred to an acupuncturist by his doctor in order to alleviate symptoms of quitting smoking. It did work, and insurance covered it, but it's not permanent. He ended up quitting with the patch when it finally was his time.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2009


So... this every single one of us, it vibrates?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2009


By the time it gets to the ocean, I have killed all life on earth.

Ah, but maybe it wasn't properly shaken at each stage of serial dilution.

That is to say, the water would certainly be agitated by the process you describe, but maybe it needed to be shaken by hand. Why would it? I don't know, some sort of OMG you just got your chocolate in my peanut butter.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2009


Just to be clear, I tried to dig up the study I referenced earlier. I know there is at least another study that has similar results to this one. The one I know about compared a similar group against those that had a specific surgery that can sometimes assist with endometriosis pain. I find it interesting that this particular study has the notion of "sham" practices as a control. Some would find deep irony in this. I see only ordinary science, but diff'rent strokes, I guess.
"Preliminary estimates indicate that Japanese-style acupuncture may be an effective, safe, and well-tolerated adjunct therapy for endometriosis-related pelvic pain in adolescents. A more definitive trial evaluating Japanese-style acupuncture in this population is both feasible and warranted."
Which is exactly what I meant when I suggested that this is one case where I just can't get excited about the use of woo-woo medicine. Yes, it is only one or two studies, but the sad fact is that a great majority of modern medicine is predicated on the evidence from one or two studies.

Endo is one of those problems that women don't die of, and acupuncture is not going to keep them from searching out more traditionally scientifically accepted solutions. In fact, most women with endo come to "alternative" medicine precisely because they can't get any relief with traditional methods. These are not stupid, naive women, but people who want some relief from a chronic problem that modern medicine often cannot help with, or comes with significant risk.

So, /in this specific case/ acupuncture incurs no additional risk, does not interfere with traditional modern medical procedures, and /may/ help with a chronic problem that modern medicine is not much better at helping. Not to mention that, by any estimation, acupuncture is actually safer than the best solution offered by modern medicine: surgery. Surgery always comes with a number of risks, and the procedure in this case can lead to complications with the entire UI tract and risks of infertility.

I think it bears repeating that one of the risks of surgery for the purpose of lessening endometriosis pain is that you might lose the ability to urinate like a normal person, and be expected to pee into a bag on your hip for the rest of your life.

As I said in a previous comment, the fact that a woman has access to a safe procedure she can use to alleviate pain now, while awaiting surgery that can be assessed later, means more choice. And, in fact, this is a typical pattern in the treatment of endometriosis.

None of this has anything to do with whether or not acupuncture works, or is legitimate in the main.

I say all of this not to make some grand argument for or against all this shit, but only to add to the dialogue. I will always demand that people go see their doctors. I will always criticize choices people make to eschew modern medicine. But I understand why some of these practices persist, and realize that in a great number of cases the simple approach of "might help, can't hurt" is fair and reasonable.

But if someone wants to make the absolutist argument that modern medicine is the only solution for every single medical problem, and that even trying safe and non-invasive practices in concert with modern medicine is always wrong, then I have no choice but to disagree.

Because such a stance is not /rational/, nor is it /reasonable/.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2009


Yes, it is only one or two studies, but the sad fact is that a great majority of modern medicine is predicated on the evidence from one or two studies.

Wow. You are gonna need a cite for that whopper.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:40 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to mention that, by any estimation, acupuncture is actually safer than the best solution offered by modern medicine: surgery.

Actual attempts to fix problems are often riskier than doing something unrelated but comforting.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:41 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what's safer than acupuncture? Fluffling your pillows.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:44 PM on November 10, 2009


Apropos Traumeel -- I bet rubbing paraffin wax-based ointment into your foot does make it feel better.

Also, shortly I'll be releasing my new work, "Cure it with long chain hydrocarbons" which will explain how waxy substances, topically applied, can provide relief for a variety of chronic and acute ailments.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:45 PM on November 10, 2009


But I understand why some of these practices persist, and realize that in a great number of cases the simple approach of "might help, can't hurt" is fair and reasonable.

That was my oncologist's attitude about anything that wasn't harmful which purported to help with cancer, although he never recommended doing without modern medical techniques as the primary course of treatment, but that alternatives might be better than doing nothing extra, and sometimes that made a difference in a patient's state of mind. Throughout my treatments I encountered the same basic philosophy, that modern medicine was key to treating and curing cancer, but that patients shouldn't be discouraged from seeking out alternatives, as long as it was not harmful and that the regular course of treatment was followed. In fact for the more serious cases the mind-body ideas became much more prominent in their formal treatments, including visualization and working with dreams. And the attitude was more strongly as the disease became more serious, "might help, can't hurt."
posted by krinklyfig at 1:49 PM on November 10, 2009


Long chain hydrocarbons my ass. It's WINDEX you want to be using, unless you happen to have a can of WD-40 kicking around. They cure everything. Granpa swore by them!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2009


Duct tape.
posted by Evangeline at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2009


All I know is that Traumeel works on my foot pain and that it's definitely not a placebo.

Uh, I don't understand this. How do you know it isn't a placebo? Pain relief is perhaps the single most obvious and demonstrable condition subject to a large placebo effect.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would like to see that bowling ball that is the size of all the matter in the universe.
posted by Cranberry at 2:02 PM on November 10, 2009


I would like to see that bowling ball that is the size of all the matter in the universe.

I would like to bowl with it. In my bathrobe. And sunglasses.
posted by The World Famous at 2:06 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to see that bowling ball that is the size of all the matter in the universe.

Hop in a time machine and go back about 13.7 Billion years
posted by Midnight Rambler at 2:07 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can I ask a serious question guys?

If homeopathic treatments are diluted x30, how do they stop the water having previous 'treatments' in it?

I'm serious.

Presumably it would involve some kind of distilled water. But how do they stop it picking up the 'memory' of the cold condensing surface...?
posted by twine42 at 2:32 PM on November 10, 2009


If homeopathic treatments are diluted x30, how do they stop the water having previous 'treatments' in it?

Because magical homeopathic shaking techniques erase the old memories while imparting the new ones.

I am not making this up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:38 PM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Because magical homeopathic shaking techniques erase the old memories while imparting the new ones

So you could 'ruin' a homeopathic treatment by sticking it in the post?

I'd laugh, but I can't stop shaking my head in disbelief...
posted by twine42 at 2:41 PM on November 10, 2009


I'd laugh, but I can't stop shaking my head in disbelief...

Shake your head just right and you're liable to erase the old memories and impart new ones. Be careful.
posted by The World Famous at 2:45 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Shake your head just right and you're liable to erase the old memories and impart new ones. Be careful.

I knew it! Those chairs in the Dollhouse were just fancy massage chairs.
posted by The Whelk at 2:50 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those chairs in the Dollhouse were just fancy massage chairs.

No shiatsu...!?
posted by twine42 at 2:56 PM on November 10, 2009


If homeopathic treatments are diluted x30, how do they stop the water having previous 'treatments' in it?

This would, indeed, be the single most logical argument against homeopathy--every glass of water you pour from the tap potentially has as much {magic homeopathic medicine} in it as any vial of homeopathic medicine.

And here's an explanation, in very clear prose, by a prominent homeopath, of why he believes the "succussion" process is magic.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:18 PM on November 10, 2009


And here is why Traumeel might, apart from the placebo effect, work for some people.

From the Traumeel contents list: Inactive Ingredients: Cetylstearyl alcohol, ethanol, paraffin, purified water, and white petrolatum.

Now, consider that we are in Homeopathy Land, so the definition of "active" and "inactive" are kind of reversed.

Then think about whether or not rubbing an injured part of the body with rubbing alcohol, paraffin, and petroleum jelly results in symptom alleviation for some people some of the time.

I mean, it's called "rubbing alcohol" for a reason, folks!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Can I ask a serious question guys? If homeopathic treatments…

The words "serious" and "homeopathic" do not belong near one another.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:30 PM on November 10, 2009


Help me! I watched part of that idiotic video and now I can't unwatch it! Please help!!
posted by unblinking at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2009


Help me! I watched part of that idiotic video and now I can't unwatch it! Please help!!

Whatever you do, don't start watching lots of other videos to try to forget it. All that will do is dilute the idiotic video and make it more powerful than you can imagine. What you need to do is treat the idiotic video symptom with tiny doses of other idiotic videos.
posted by The World Famous at 4:11 PM on November 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Whatever you do, don't start watching lots of other videos to try to forget it. All that will do is dilute the idiotic video and make it more powerful than you can imagine.

Whoah. You finally explained the mystery of Ben Kenobi's Jedi magic. Old man went homeopathic on Vader's ass.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:19 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh, unblinking. What you need is a critical thinking palate cleanser, like some Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort action.


[not intended to suggest slashfic]
posted by darkstar at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2009


[not intended to suggest slashfic]

Faith and divine revelation- the strongest of evidence- suggest otherwise.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:27 PM on November 10, 2009


There's that whole possibility of death from liver and kidney failure, lungs turning into a solid mass, etc, that goes a long with real treatment. Even those toenail fungus medications list death as a possible side effect.

If you're going to worry about the incredibly unlikely remote of death from toenail fungus medications, there's something you should know about water ...
posted by Amanojaku at 5:07 PM on November 10, 2009


Or what Rhomboid said, like, seven and a half hours before me. Sheesh.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:20 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone please photoshop the homeopathy video in this post to make it look like she's giving a TED talk?
posted by water bear at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2009


Dammit. I did just that, water bear, but accidentally 'shopped too many frames and all of a sudden, it wasn't funny any more. Which is a shame, because the homeopathic dose of humour contained in your suggestion (resulting in my imagining this framing eeffect, which caused me to snork in laughter) was a powerful cure for the blues. But I overdid it! I failed to dilute! It's no longer a cure — it's a poison!

Don't make the mistake I made, kids! Don't abuse homeopathic medicines!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 PM on November 10, 2009


The claim was that a certain medication listed death as a possible (however unlikely) outcome. The response was that drinking water can also be toxic in unlikely circumstances, which is just as true. The links given show a dozen or more famous cases of people dying from drinking too much water.
posted by Rhomboid


Enough already, but I think we can all see the difference between the possibility of death resulting from the correct and specified usage of an FDA approved drug, and death resulting from uninformed experimentation involving orders of magnitude overdoses.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:56 PM on November 10, 2009


Help me! I watched part of that idiotic video and now I can't unwatch it! Please help!!

Some of you folks are way too sensitive. Try spending some serious time on the Gulf Islands of coastal British Columbia where, let's just say, a conversation on this topic would have a significantly different skew.

A recent anecdote I heard. Hard partying (and drugging) woman turns forty and declares to all that she's had it with drugs (they're destroying her soul) and that she's going into treatment. Treatment, it turns out, involves incense, chanting, massage, various herbal concoctions and something to with crystals.

A few weeks later, she's right back at it (the partying and drugging, that is) claiming that now that she's purified herself, she's ready to take on the rest of her life.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 PM on November 10, 2009


This would, indeed, be the single most logical argument against homeopathy--every glass of water you pour from the tap potentially has as much {magic homeopathic medicine} in it as any vial of homeopathic medicine.

Uh, no. The is exactly why drinking seawater causes you to vomit. It's not the salt, it's the incredibly powerful homeopathic urine of Julius Caesar.
posted by benzenedream at 11:00 PM on November 10, 2009


Do you know anything about homoeopathy and recent viral flu?
posted by andyg at 2:26 AM on November 11, 2009


Uh, no. The is exactly why drinking seawater causes you to vomit. It's not the salt, it's the incredibly powerful homeopathic urine of Julius Caesar.

So now I'm breathing manually and can't go back to autopilot. Thanks, benzene.

(seriously that is awesome)


Do you know anything about homoeopathy and recent viral flu?

Homeopaths are trying to use H1N1 as a selling point, claiming that homeopathy saved a bunch of lives (hahahahahahahahaha, oh, my sides, oh god!) back during the last similar epidemic. It's just more quack assholes doing what they do best: profiting at the cost of the health, wealth, and lives of human beings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:45 AM on November 11, 2009


Methylviolet: so I brought her home some info about that -- what nutrients to supplement, foods to combine, that kind of thing.
You know that the idea that vegans should combine foods is a myth, right?
posted by davar at 4:40 AM on November 11, 2009


The Ultimate Olympian"People will say: 'Oh herbal medicine has been around for hundreds of years' - indeed it has, and then we tested it all and the stuff that worked became "medicine"... and the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some pot-pourri, so knock yourself out."
You make the mistake of confusing homeopathy and herbal medicine and thereby you only make homeopathy believers feel validated (see also what Mayor West says). Homeopathy has nothing in common with herbal medicine (except they both use plants sometimes). It are two completely different things. It is ridiculous to say that "we tested it all" when it comes to herbal medicine. There are still many medical trials with herbs (search pubmed for turmeric, for example). Herbal medicine can be practiced by quacks, but like you quoted, it can also become medicine. This is not some process that ended many years ago.
posted by davar at 4:42 AM on November 11, 2009


How the hell does someone carrying so much confusion about basic science become a doctor? Are they just handing out medical degrees in random bottlecaps now?

I need someone with more clarity of thought to explain homeopathy to me. Someone like Miss Teen South Carolina.
posted by vanar sena at 6:18 AM on November 11, 2009



Do you know anything about homoeopathy and recent viral flu?
posted by andyg at 4:26 AM on November 11 [+] [!]


Yes, one is real, and one is complete bullshit.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:52 AM on November 11, 2009


Something I haven't seen mentioned here is that I suspect one appeal of homeopathy is that it is impressively faux-scientific. Look at this description of Gettysburg Water, which someone mentioned up thread.

My kids and I used to attend a local homeschool group; one reason we left was the preponderance of people doing homeopathy and ranting about amalgam fillings and pursuing bizarre diet plans (that ensure they can NEVER GET CANCER). But before I gave up on the group, I got to see some of this up close. If you asked one of the homeopaths in the group for advice, she would consult huge books and notebooks. Remedies were specific to a wide variety of symptoms and body types (she once gave me a tip based on my son being a big-headed baby who sweated a lot when he slept).

As someone who has lived for 15 years with constant pain that allopathic medicine has been unable to diagnose or effectively treat, I can really see the appeal for the desperate and gullible of a practitioner who you can tell, "I have this headache, and minor pain in my neck on the left side, and about four days a month I tend to have diarrhea for no reason, and my blood type is 0+, and I sleep about nine hours a night, and I am attracted to carbohydrates but nauseated by most green vegetables, and sometimes I have a localized tender spot above my left breast..." and have her take a peak at your tongue, look in a book or two, and announce, "I have just the thing for you..."
posted by not that girl at 8:33 AM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I would like to bowl with it. In my bathrobe. And sunglasses." Finally, a Big Lebowski reference.
posted by ancguy at 9:34 AM on November 11, 2009


I have a friend who somehow manages to simultaneously hold firm beliefs about the efficacy of homeopathic medicine and took part in an experimental Hep-C treatment program that successfully eliminated the virus from her body. She bad-mouths modern medicine and rah-rah the flakiest woo-woo bullshit.

We can no longer have conversations that involve health or science.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 AM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you know anything about homoeopathy and recent viral flu?

The viral flu I have is making me shit a bunch. Homeopathy is a bunch of shit.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:29 AM on November 11, 2009


How the hell does someone carrying so much confusion about basic science become a doctor?

Doctors aren't scientists. They apply knowledge that is generated by science (ideally). Some, like Harriet Hall, take a hard line against this sort of thing, but a lot of doctors don't know any more about science than any random person on the street.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:44 AM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here's an explanation, in very clear prose, by a prominent homeopath...
Personally, I liken a Homeopathic remedy to a Computer Chip., and the body, a Computer. If some processes are out of balance, or off.. the remedy, when taken. acts like a collective chip inserted into the computer, which click click clicks the out of balance conditions back to where they are supposed to be.
I suppose it's possible this person's first language is German, but I've found that when a person Capitalizes Nouns in a manner befitting a Document of Olden Times, it's a surefire indicator they have no idea what they're talking about. People who refuse to hit SHIFT are just being cute; people who over-capitalize are compensating in terms of utilizing impactful verbiage.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:10 PM on November 11, 2009


Also, that's not how a computer works at all.
posted by The World Famous at 12:13 PM on November 11, 2009


I loathe the word "utilize" and wish people would just use "use" instead. Also, capitalization of nouns is useful for to convey Cynical Hipster mode.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:17 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


To the contrary that is precisely how a computer works. In a healthy computer software cannot crash. It only crashes when the computer is out of balance and in that case an additional computer chip will click-click-click it back into proper vibration.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:20 PM on November 11, 2009


2012 woo — sweet diagram and one that exactly parallels my experiences with woo-believing fools: facts and counterfacts be damned, they Want To Believe.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:26 PM on November 11, 2009


I don't believe in 2012 because we all died in 1990 already.
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:32 PM on November 11, 2009


I'm actually pretty annoyed by that fucking movie already because I know some 2012'ers and the film just reinforces their fears. Thanks, Cusack.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:37 PM on November 11, 2009


Rat Spatula, you're way behind me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:27 PM on November 11, 2009


I don't know if this thread is still open but I've got to say that I have never read so much bullshit from so many people who seem to be deeply committed to a view of science that makes it little short of a religion. Some people call it Scientism and what the believers do not realize is that they have fallen into the same trap that they accuse others of falling into. If, for example, you want to look at survival rates for cancer over the years you will find that the only thing positive about them is that early diagnosis has helped save some lives. But most of the most common cancers are just as deadly as ever, in spite of all the money that is poured into Cancer research. Did anyone ever ask where this money goes? Who gets it? Who decides who gets it? Have a look at the politics involved in the world of orthodox medicine before you write of its alternatives. And you might just find that there is a vested interest in keeping the game alive rather than the patients.

As for the placebo effect, has anyone here looked into research on this? There is practically none. The idea is that it is just an excuse to avoid admitting to ignorance. Is anyone here aware that it turns up in animal studies at around the same levels as with humans? Although placebos are seldom used in animal studies. But does it mean that animals, or about the same percentage as with humans, believe in their medications? Can anyone here find any studies that actually are aimed at figuring out why a so-called placebo effect exists and generally exists at about the same percentage for patients of any species? Shouldn't scientists ask why, rather than just ignore what doesn't fit?
posted by donfactor at 5:12 AM on November 12, 2009


As for the placebo effect, has anyone here looked into research on this? There is practically none.

An administrator at the NIH, with the power to select projects for funding, said that he was divided on this issue. Placebos work, and this is a good thing. Studies that undermine the belief mechanisms that they rely on could simply reduce their effectiveness, with no added benefit.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:25 AM on November 12, 2009


Fair Deal Homeopathy
posted by edd at 5:36 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


donfactor, I'm perfectly comfortable holding the modern medico-industrial complex in contempt for being corrupt and greedy.

I wasn't aware that SCIENCE! considered the placebo effect an explained-and-understood phenomenon, any more than physicists "understand" why gravity exists. As you alluded to in an older post, the scientific process is about forming models and then confirming or denying them through experiment (the really long-lasting models get called "laws", but that's a misleading sort of name).

But homeopathy, like creationism, avoids observation and modeling and starts instead with an axiom and then tries to cram the 100 pounds of horseshit it can't explain into the five pound bag of its preconceptions. You're terrified of "scientism" and I suppose I am too (to the same extent I fear fundamentalist Zoroastrians), but I don't see any here.

And be honest; you don't see any horseshit coming from Werner or Boericke or Irish? If you'll stipulate that they're unreliable, can you point us to some homeopathic references that don't have the tang of the midway huckster?
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:52 AM on November 12, 2009


Have a look at the politics involved in the world of orthodox medicine before you write of its alternatives. And you might just find that there is a vested interest in keeping the game alive rather than the patients.

You're obviously full of shit. You're implying there's a worldwide conspiracy of thousands of doctors who literally have no interest in keeping people alive and healthy in their mad pursuit of profit.

That's just... dumb. Shame on you. I hope when you get sick, you stick to your healiopothists and chiropractors and witch doctors, because you don't deserve the least bit of assistance actual science-based medicine can provide.
posted by grubi at 7:16 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come on, grubi.

8:-[   It's about time we gave homeopathy...

 8-[   ...a fair shake.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

Inspired by the business edd linked to who must be kicking themselves.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:57 AM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


donfactor:
Okay, but the medical community has a process called evidence-based medicine, wherein you try something to see if it improves patient outcomes. If it doesn't, it's discarded, or attempts are made to improve upon it, or quacks pick it up and run with it.

Your statement about cancer survival rates not improving is blatantly false.

Childhood leukemias used to be a 90% death sentence. Now there's a 70% cure rate.
CML used to kill 50% of its sufferers in 5 years. Now that's down to 5%.

Heck:
Trends in cancer survival rates.
posted by Laen at 2:03 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't inject facts where they don't belong, Laen! Don't you know magic is the best way to heal cancer? Drink Moar Water!
posted by five fresh fish at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2009


As for the placebo effect, has anyone here looked into research on this?

There is practically none.
posted by benzenedream at 7:29 PM on November 12, 2009


How, precisely, do you know that it's not a placebo?

Maybe the same way you and splice and others in this thread knew that what the German physician gave his daughter in donfactor's story were pure sugar pills and couldn't have been anything else.

No, see, it's completely, utterly relevant. If you really knew what homeopathy was, you would understand just how completely impossible it is for the "pills" to have contained any kind of active ingredient. It's just that damn simple.

Really? So, when you find out that some people who practice homeopathy (a) use low dilutions with actual traces of the elements in question and (b) actually sometimes have other things in their array of treatments other than the dilution shit (particularly if they've studied other folk medicine or actual medicine), are you going to back off at all there, tiger?

But hey, according to your argument, unless you were physically present at every place and time homeopathy has ever been taught, researched or discussed, you wouldn't know what homeopathy was. So nobody can really ever know anything, is this it? Pretty damn weak argument.

Another excellent display of those mad wild extrapolation skills.

I don't find homeopathy credible. What I'm asking for here is that the people who so ardently defend rational and evidence-based approaches to examining world take a little care in keeping their own discourse to the same standards.
posted by namespan at 12:39 AM on November 13, 2009


A few people in this thread have used the term "allopathic" to refer to modern western medicine. I'd just like to to point out that this is a derogatory term coined by the founder of homeopathy to distinguish mainstream medicine of his era from his own concepts. It's frequently still used derisively by smug practioners of alternative medicine and their followers and (ignoring the argument that meanings/uses may change over time) I believe it's use is inappropriate unless you are deliberately mocking modern western medicine.
Homeopathy & allopathy
posted by goshling at 5:16 PM on November 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


« Older The Heidegger Question   |   Who needs the Kwik-E-mart? Not me. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post