This is from a local chiropractor about her first experience with homeopathy.
As is true with all aspects of alternative health subjects, homeopathy has its share of adherents and detractors. I've been told repeatedly that homeopathy is a “pseudoscience.” What we know as “science” these days is such a closed-minded, belief-based entity, no school of thought or practical approach to health can satisfy its demands. The scientific methodology steps I learned in grade school have been co-opted by big businesses. They buy their approval from government bodies meant to safe-guard the public and stamp on any theories that are not in their best interests. Since accepted science is such a bought-and-paid-for rubber stamp of anything touted by pharmaceutical/chemical/agricultural corporations, calling the methods I use “pseudo” is more compliment than insult.
Anecdotal evidence is never used as proof of anything in pure science. In other words, my experiences and yours are of no consequence when it comes to determining the truth about a product or methodology. The only truth that counts is that which comes from a sterile lab, is repeatable and adheres to strict, double-blind standards. All variables that might influence the outcome of an experiment are to be identical except the one being tested. Neither the experimenter nor the subject of a scientific experiment is allowed to know whether they are working with the control group or the experimental group. In this way the experiment is kept free of bias, opinion and unconscious (or deliberate) skewing of the data.
Unfortunately, in real life situations one seems to always know which group one is in!
As a chiropractor, it would be impossible for me to be unaware if I was giving a real adjustment or a pretend adjustment. It would be difficult to be unaware of the indications of my patient's condition. I routinely palpate a person's musculature and spinal misalignments, touch trigger points, etc. And for my patients to not know if they were receiving a proper adjustment or not would assume that each one was fairly new to chiropractic and had not yet learned to notice the changes in their bodies that a good adjustment evokes. One really has to experience these things to understand the value of the adjustment. Therefore, chiropractic can never measure up to the strict and sterile, double-blind requirements of pure science in order to prove it's worth.
And so it is with homeopathy. My introduction to using the remedies began with my screaming child. As a six week old baby my son began to scream. And he continued to scream, almost constantly, for years. It is true that he was my first born and I knew very little about raising children, but this little guy defied the techniques of many grandmas and grandpas and professional child care providers. Neither medicine nor chiropractic could tell me what was wrong with my child.
My son did cry, tantrum and all the other normal acting-out behaviors of a normal boy, but in addition to that he screamed. Full-throated, constant, inconsolable screaming for hours on end. He screamed in the car until my ears rang. He screamed when we went to the zoo. He screamed at night when he (and I) should have been sleeping. Over several years of screaming he developed behaviors to soothe himself. If I had not known better I would have said these were vaccine-related problems. That was not the case, however. My son was stuck only once, and that was for the state-mandated PKU test.
When he was about 3 years old my child's screaming toned down a little, so that most nights we were able to get a modicum of rest. Instead of being out of bed with him 4 to 12 times a night, it became 2 or 3 times that we were awakened by his night terrors. He gained better control, so that his day-times were less volatile, too. But there was still a big, big problem. He screamed less, but he still screamed. We knew our son, and his screaming was simply not a behavioral issue. He was miserable, and so were we. I believed that my baby really disliked me. In earlier days cases like his were said to be the result of a mother who was cold to her child. In my case I felt I was the one being rejected.
I began a campaign to get help anywhere I could find it, and my quest led me to a local alternative practitioner. This man had, for years, been helping people who had given up on more accepted methods of health care. And thus began my experience with homeopathy.
I have a guiding principal in my evaluation of any health care discipline, product or method. In my way of thinking, if something works for little children and animals, neither of whom have an opinion about the efficacy of a treatment, then it is legitimate. We adults, far too often, let our suppositions and biases determine our truth. Children and animals may or may not like our decisions on their behalf, but they do not stand in the way of a procedure's benefit if it is properly applied to them. While this way of determining the benefit of health care is not the scientific method, I have found it to be reliable in the real world devoid of labs but heavily populated with variables that cannot be eliminated from our lives.
In the interest of complete honesty, I must tell you that by the time we got homeopathic help for my baby, he had suffered for 6 years. His recovery was not an overnight miracle. In fact, for the first 5 days of the new treatment his screaming and night terrors grew worse. His emotional balance was completely askew. I was fully aware that in natural treatment circles this was not an unheard-of result. In chiropractic we refer to this as re-tracing. As the body throws off the conditions that have unbalanced it's homestasis, many processes have to be actively stabilized and recalibrated in the newly changed system.
Imagine you were in a small rowboat in the midst of a storm. A heavy stone is weighing the boat down on one side, and as the waves mount around you, the tipped boat is taking on water. To allow the boat to balance properly and restabilize itself, you toss the stone overboard, creating even more waves as it's weight is taken from inside the boat and hits the water. While you have improved the boat's chances to weather the storm, you still have to ride out the waves of the storm itself and also of the sudden rebalancing. Like the rowboat, one's body has to cope with the factors causing the tempest of a disease or condition. So, too, must it deal with the sudden change in it's precarious balancing act, even when the change is for the better.
Just as I thought I could not handle another day of J's screams, I detected a slight lessening of their intensity. Slowly, day by day, his attacks of emotional upheaval were fewer and less shrill. Then there came the day that he didn't scream at all, and the night that we all slept until the alarm went off. And so, to us, the result of using homeopathy seemed magical. My son's voice remained hoarse and scratchy for several years, but eventually it was once again the sweet voice of a child. As his emotions became easier for him to regulate, his behavior was finally that of a normal child.
For giving my son his life back, for giving my family another chance at normalcy, I have homeopathy to thank. Do I always understand how it works? No, not even 30 years later. Do I know that it does work, and work without the harsh side effects of medically approved, “scientifically” accepted drugs. Yes. I know from my own experience. Do I care that the positive effects of homeopathy have not been given approval? I do not need the validation of the pharmaceutical industry to appreciate what happened for my hurting child. I do wish that homeopathy was accepted so that more people could benefit, but I can only be thrilled and grateful that we were able to get help somewhere, regardless of the method being outside the prevailing system.
I will never forget the day when I looked at my child and felt the weight of the lost years. Instead of the usual days of carefree play as a toddler and young child, he had experienced wild days and nights of terror. We had all been victims of the horrors in his head. But I was his mother. I was supposed to be able to protect him from these things. Sadly, I apologized to J, for it taking so very long for us to find the answer for him, for not being able to make him feel better sooner. A child younger than his years, and yet somehow older, as well, he looked at me thoughtfully. “I didn't know I felt bad,” he told me. “I didn't know there was any other way to feel.”
My journey into alternative health care, begun years before when I made the decision to be a chiropractor, had just begun a new chapter.