Homeopathy, like sympathetic magic, operates upon the premise that “like affects like”. Its proposed mechanisms have been described as “physically impossible“, and the best available evidence from trials was found to be “compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects”. These are just some of the things that homeopaths may avoid mentioning when promoting “awareness” of homeopathy. The Society of Homeopaths are promoting Homeopathy Awareness Week 2014 (14-21 June). This year’s theme is skincare. Sponsors of the awareness week (Nelsons) have apparently conducted a survey on skin and lifestyle changes, and have generously provided 50,000 leaflets for members of the SoH, “to promote the campaign and their homeopathic clinic”. The SoH also say this:
These stats come on top of the one in ten people affected by conditions such as mild eczema and mild acne in the UK and this year’s campaign will be raising awareness of how homeopathy can be used to help relieve symptoms.
It’s not just the SoH that is happy to talk about homeopathy for eczema (I note that in this instance at least they are careful to refer only to mild eczema). The BHA, for example, have a couple of pages on eczema.
I took a look at the reviews of homeopathy for eczema indexed on Pubmed.
From 2003 we have “In dermatology, homeopathy is often used in atopic dermatitis, other forms of eczema, psoriasis, and many other conditions. To date, however, there is no convincing evidence for a therapeutic effect. There are only a few controlled trials, most of them with negative results. The few studies with positive results have not been reproduced. Acceptance by the patient seems largely based on counseling and emotional care rather than on objective responses to the homeopathic drugs.”
Here’s one from 2002: Maternal allergen avoidance for disease prevention, oral antihistamines, Chinese herbs, dietary restriction in established atopic eczema, homeopathy, house-dust mite reduction, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, evening primrose oil, emollients, and topical coal tar are other temporarily used treatment modalities, without, however, firm evidence of efficacy from proper controlled trials.
1992: …we have yet to be convinced by substantial evidence that any of the other alternative methods of diagnosing or treating allergic disease are of proven value. There have, however, been many false and misleading claims and serious harm may be caused by misdiagnosis or delays in appropriate treatment.
2005: “Alternative medical practices, such as homeopathy or acupuncture, represent a therapeutic alternative chosen by more than one third of patients with AD. However, no study has sufficiently demonstrated the interest of these alternatives and they cannot therefore be integrated in the validated arsenal of treatments.”
2013: “There is no clear evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy, botanical extracts or Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of AE, as large well-designed trials are lacking in these areas.”
2012: “The effectiveness of alternative therapies, such as Chinese herbal preparations, homeopathy, hypnotherapy/biofeedback, and massage therapy, has not been established.”
2012: “One randomized and two nonrandomized clinical trials met the inclusion criteria. All were methodologically weak. None demonstrated the efficacy of homeopathy.” The full text is available (free) here. You can see which trials were included (and why). You can also see that one of the trials examined individualised homeopathy, which precludes one of the common excuses given by homeopaths as to why a trial of homeopathy showed no effect.
Oh, and there’s also this: “Detailed documentation in daily practice can be helpful for preserving data of the effect of a medicine; confirmation of statements given in materia medica; improving understanding of homeopathic medicines and differentiating the indications for medicines.” Um?
I don’t think that these reviews will be part of the “awareness raising” being done by homeopaths.
I doubt this will be mentioned either: Gloria Thomas Sam.
The Good Thinking Society have a page on Homeopathy Awareness Week here.
Here’s something from 2010 I’ve just been reminded of: weird homeopathy.