The practice of homeopathy was pioneered by the Germans, but the Indians just eat it up. Homeopathy, which was invented by Samuel Hahnemann, is one of India’s national systems of medicine. It’s a thing. In fact, my Indian father took me to an Indian homeopathic doctor (we’ll call him “h-doctor”) in my not-so-Indian hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I fancy myself a fairly open-minded person. At first I was happy to give homeopathy a go:
I have vitiligo and struggled with sleep eating for a while. My father was determined to help me make both of them go away. He introduced me to h-doctor, who told me that if he were able to diagnose me correctly his medication would ‘restore the flow of my life force.’ Alright … That definitely sounded like flowery phrasing to me, but if the meds work then I’ve got no issues! I had some vague idea that the little sugary pebbles h-doctor gave me were saturated with leaf juices and good vibes or something. As it turns out, my assumption that homeopathic medication was akin to that of Ayurveda (a relatively reputable plant-based, Indian system of medicine) was wrong.
Basically, homeopaths take a substance and dilute it with water or alcohol. Then they perform something called succussion, where they beat it. You know, paddle + bum? That kind of beating. They repeat this process a lot: dilute then beat, dilute then beat … until it is pretty much impossible that any of the original substance is left. The claim is that dilution and succussion make the medicine even more potent. That the water has a “water memory” for the essence of the original substance. And that the water-memorized essence, of something no longer there, will restore the flow of your life force and cure all of your problems (physical, mental, psychological). Well, such lofty promises. Cover up those red flags with fool’s gold why don’t ya!
Still, many people swear by homeopathy. And that made me think that the placebo effect must be something significant.
I became a closeted skeptic. I figured, if I can ignore my criticisms and harness the power of placebo, maybe it’ll work anyway! And that’s just it – being fully aware of the possibility of placebo kind of makes no sense. And if I think a placebo could have a real effect on me, then why can I not just use my own mind to make those changes, instead of tricking it?
The following are, in my opinion, the two redeeming qualities of homeopathy:
1) The placebo.
2) The “therapist” aspect.
At times homeopathic doctors really sound like therapists. “Do you have a tendency to have a short temper?” “How do you feel in crowds?” “Are you very sensitive?” “When you were a child did you feel that someone important in your life was controlling?” … H-doctor asked me all sorts of questions. He always looked over his glasses at me with neutral eyes, waiting for the answer so that he could simply acknowledge what I’d said and write it on a piece of paper. Sounds a lot like accidental therapy to me.
I’d like to think that the conclusion I’ve come to is the right one (fingers crossed), that I’m not just being dismissive of things the scientific community (and I) don’t yet understand, that by acknowledging my skepticism and realizing the power of my own mind I’ll be able to help myself in the ways homeopathy claims to.
Have you ever tried homeopathic medicine? What did/do you think?
Peace, love, and THE MIND, MAN … O.O