Thursday, 24 May 2007

Homeopathy: science or magic?

Homeopathy has been in the news this week, with some senior doctors campaigning to stop it being funded on the NHS. I heard one of them on Radio 4 yesterday morning deriding homeopathy as 'magical thinking' - the astrology to medicine's astronomy, as it were. Shuggy is on their side and normally I would be too, as a fairly rational sort of person, the kind who doesn't regard 'Enlightenment fundamentalist' as necessarily a term of abuse.

But by coincidence, this is also the week that I've had my first personal encounter with homeopathy. I was recently diagnosed as suffering from chronic tonsillitis and told by a consultant that the only alternative to repeated bouts of the disease was tonsillectomy. For various reasons I've delayed making a decision about this, and was persuaded by a colleague (also usually a reasonable, sceptical type) to give homeopathy a go before submitting myself to the surgeon's knife. After months of feeling pretty awful, I'll try anything.

So I've become one of those people who scour the internet for alternative cures for their condition. I've started taking a couple of over-the-counter remedies that seemed to be quite widely recommended and yes, I have begun to notice a difference. Of course, it's too soon to tell, and it may just be the dreaded placebo effect that the senior medics see as the only benefit of alternative medicine. I've also made my first appointment with a homeopath for a couple of weeks' time. I'm not putting myself forward as a clinical trial here, but I'll keep you posted on how it pans out.

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