Thursday, January 04, 2007

Homeopathy In Australia

Alternative medicine enhancerEoR is pleased to learn that there is such a thing as The Australian Register of Homoeopaths Ltd. It doesn't make the "science" behind homeopathy (or homoeopathy either) any stronger, but it makes things look so professional, and the placebo effect relies heavily on the appearance of professionalism, knowledge and effectiveness of the proferred remedies.

The Register kindly provides a Homoeoprophylaxis Statement (it's actually to do with immunisation, but it seems homeopaths can't bring themselves to use that word - not that any homeopathic treatment qualifies as immunisation). Due to the rather stringent legislative rules in Australia about who can claim to cure what, Australian homeopaths are not quite as free as those in other parts of the worlds to dismiss immunisation. They can only encourage their customers to "make informed decisions" based on "balanced information".

In the course of consultation, Homoeopaths must avoid exerting undue influence upon the patient’s decision on the treatment of their choice. When asked for advice about immunisation or prophylaxis, practitioners should avoid giving directives and instead encourage their patients to inform themselves of potential options, from a wide range of sources. Practitioners must encourage patients to make their own informed decisions about their treatment choice, in the light of their own particular circumstances.

In other words, homeopaths must provide the science and recommended, proven course of immunisation, as well as explaining other "options" (ie not immunising and taking a placebo instead, though he doubts it's couched in quite those words). Customers are required to sign a Consent Form stating:

  • I understand that no prophylactic treatment guarantees immunity from infectious disease

  • I understand that evidence for the efficacy of homoeopathic prophylaxis is limited and is not accepted by public health authorities

  • the practitioner has informed me that there is a range of evidence and views in regard to homoeoprophylaxis

  • I have selected homoeoprophylaxis by free and informed choice, not as a result of pressure from the practitioner.

  • The practitioner has made me aware of the NHMRC guidelines and management strategies for acute infectious childhood illnesses.

Certainly, "no prophylactic treatment guarantees immunity", but certain methods provide higher levels of immunity than others.

Not in the policy document, but included on the FAQ page, is this answer:

Are homoeopaths opposed to vaccination ?
There are different schools of thought about this within the homoeopathic community.

So, is that a "yes" or a "no"? Doesn't the Australian Register of Homoeopaths Ltd know the answer?

Some Homoeopaths support vaccination.

Others are concerned that the long-term effects of vaccination on the immune system are not fully known and therefore not taken into consideration in cost/benefit calculations. There is evidence within the mainstream medical literature that vaccination may predispose towards auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The AHA believes that:
Parents have a right to make their own informed choice about whether to vaccinate their child or not.
More research is needed to elucidate the long-term balance of costs and benefits arising from vaccination.

Given that Edward Jenner was experimenting with vaccination as far back as 1796, shouldn't we be avoiding the much younger "science" of homeopathy since that's had far less time to assess its "long-term effects [...] on the immune system"? What other unknown evils could homeopathy be performing on the human body? Of course, there's no answer to this since homeopathy does not operate on the principle of logic (not even highly diluted logic). Science is bad because it's not "proven" (a falsehood, by the way). Woo doesn't need proof because it feels nice. EoR suspects that anyone consulting a homeopath about whether to vaccinate or not would already be a part of a heavily biased subset of all parents.

Meanwhile, the WA College of Homeopathy (only one "O"), is offering Homeopathy for Accidents and Emergencies & Intermediate First Aid Certificate in conjunction with the Australian Red Cross. EoR was unable to find any information about homeopathy at the Australian Red Cross website, receiving the gramatically clumsy, but presciently accurate statement that Sorry no pages where found using homeopathy..

EoR is actually rather frightened that someone might offer water drops in an emergency rather than effective first aid treatment. Nonetheless, there are the personal testimonials (as always):

On Kate's most recent trip to the UK on Emirates flight EK 421 from Perth to Dubai on 16th September, an announcement was made asking for a registered nurse or doctor to make themselves known to the chief steward. A strongly built white South African man had collapsed in the aisle and needed assistance. He aready had an oxygen mask on, and a pulse monitor showed his pulse was 68 beats per minute. However he had been unconscious for 20 minutes and was not coming round. After gaining permission form his terrified wife and giving her Arnica and Aconite for the shock and trauma-Kate then gave her husband Arnica Carbo Veg and Camphor from her Helios (UK) Acccidents and Emergencies kit and Traveller's kit. The pillules were placed between the lower teeth and lower lip. The patient moved spontaneously after the first dose and after the second (given a few minutes later) the man sat up, demanded to know what was going on, got up and sat back in his seat. Kate was asked for her contact details by the chief steward who was amazed by the passenger's swift recovery. In 8 years of being a chief steward for Emirates he had "never seen anything like it"In fact the crew was wondering what to do as there was no space anywhere on board to put the patient. Every seat was taken in First Class Business Class and Economy. A registered nurse who also came to assist and witnessed the recovery, was also astonished by what she saw. Both she and the chief steward took the opportunty to learn something about the healing power of Homeopathy from Kate. You too can help in a life threatening situation if you attend a First Aid course with Arnica Montana

EoR is perfectly willing to believe that a registered nurse was "astonished" at what she saw. A collapsed man was being given magic potions by an unqualified person! Even more amusing, the saviour provided her nostrums to the collapsed man's wife first!.

1 comment:

  1. This is good news for doctors. No more heartsink moments on longhaul flights when the emergence call goes out.


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