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Homeopathy & Social Prescribing

Homeopathy & Social Prescribing

Written By Seren A. Razak

Though homeopathy has been available and used successfully by the public for more than 200 years, the issue of a lack of scientific evidence has been raised several times for many years, every now and then, in an attempt to persuade the public that there are no benefits out of resorting to get any help or support from it. It might, therefore, be a good idea to look at evidence in favour of homeopathy and evidence in support of certain NHS approaches, comparing both.

Homeopathy has been developed as a gentle and natural approach and looks at each person as a unique individual. It aims to stimulate the body’s healing abilities. This is done by building rapport with the individuals to find the reason behind the disharmony between mental, physical, emotional and spiritual issues, which we believe is the foundation of illness. We then offer remedies to restore the balance that the body craves during the development of a condition. The belief is that these factors are involved in starting, developing the healing process and would have a direct impact on its outcome.

Homeopathy is one of the most commonly used systems of complementary therapies. In the UK, 12% of the population - equivalent to 8 million people - use homeopathy. The percentage is higher in many European countries like France where 56% of the population use homeopathy.

There are powerful outcomes from studies demonstrating that homeopathy has improved patient’s health, which is one of the most important evidence to prove that it does work. This is according to Homeopathy research institute (HRI), which held its 4th conference in June this year. The conference included delegates from 27 countries with David Tredinnick MP as an opening speaker. In India, Brazil, Russia and China, there any many research and progress, however these are not published, which might be attributed to scientific irrationality, taking no consideration to improvements in people conditions as an evidence to its applications.

One of the above researches had been conducted by Dr. Robert Mathie BSC, PhD in Physiology at Glasgow University. According to the Homeopathy Research Institute website, this research has been conducted in 4 phases using both Placebo-controlled and non-Placebo-controlled trails. Though the quality of evidence was low or unclear, but these trails collectively displayed a significant treatment effect.

On the other hand, during the last two years NHS has been adapting a new approach in health management for patients, especially people who have long term conditions, called Social Prescribing. This approach has been applied widely in most of London boroughs. What is Social Prescribing, what is rational behind using it and how we can link it to homeopathy?

According to NHS sources, the definition of SP is ‘helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be run by the council or a local charity.’ It involves meeting with patients on one to one basis and having a thorough conversation with them on their physical issues. It might have different application models in different boroughs but the essences for all are the same, all have been popular and prove to be very helpful in supporting patient’s health to the triumph of NHS directors.

So how has the NHS considered this to be a success? Its success was measured by reducing patients visits to the GP and increasing patient wellbeing. If homeopathy has continuously proves the same results, why hasn’t it been considered as helpful to patients?

I could only hope that the actual success of homeopathy services with the evidence of its survival for two centuries supported by the researches will be published soon. This, with patients’ testimonies, would prove effective in raising the awareness of the bright side of homeopathy.

Adapting this approach would support the NHS services, as homeopathy has no side effects, unlike many prescribed medications and its remedies are much cheaper also. This will support the medical establishment by saving money, in addition to helping patients. So rather than conflicting with, it will be better and more effective if there will be collaboration between different methods of alternative therapy and the NHS by making them available to all. This will bring more understanding of different therapies available, giving patients the choice to use any complementary medicine to achieve better health and wellbeing, and would ultimately provide patients a choice in their treatment, in a democratic and free way.

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