Homeopathy, a medical science which has expanded exponentially in the field of treating disease and has become the second fastest growing medical science of the 21st century. But for the skeptics who fail to see its growth and mass effect, it still remains in a doubt. People who don’t believe in Homeopathy simply declare it a placebo and call the Homeopaths quack. It is always simple to deny something rather than taking up the task to study and understand it. Skeptics of Homeopathy only think in one narrow direction. They simply declare Homeopathy does not work and it only has a Placebo effect. Though even if the Placebo effect is true, it is not applicable on how Homeopathy works. But let us first see what Placebo effect really is.
Placebo effect is absolutely true and tested. A placebo is an inert substance which looks like a medicine but has no medicinal content. The placebo is given to a patient for an ailment with an assurance that this will cure his problem. Sometimes when the patient is truly convinced, he gets better as the psychological effect makes the physical conditions better. This is called a Placebo Effect.
Influencing factors of Placebo Effect –
But Placebo effect only comes with terms and conditions. Studies show that the Placebo effect is affected by various factors, which are:
1.Consciousness of the patient – The receiver should be conscious. He should know that he has been given some medicine for his ailment.
2.Maturity of the patient – The receiver should be in a mental capacity and maturity to understand that he/she has been given that medicine for that particular aliment.
3.Type of patient – The receiver should be a human, as they only can understand why they have been given the medicine.
4.The type of Placebo – The placebo used in the trial should look like an authentic medicine or drug to make the receiver believe. Studies show more the size of the tablet, more would be the effect. Studies also show the colored tablets show more effect than simple white tablets as these features helps the receiver to believe more on its authenticity. Two tablets show more effect than one. Even placebo injections show powerful effect than taking oral placebo pills.
5.Relationship with the doctor – Trust on the doctor from the patient is very important in Placebo effect. If the patient trusts and has faith in the doctor, then the chances of success are likely to be more.
So the basic point of all factors is the patient should be truly convinced with the treatment and still the presence of Placebo effect is not sure. Also it is subjected to the type of problem the patient has.
Now let us see how Homeopathy does not fall in any of the 5 criteria’s by a very simple logical reasoning:
1.Placebo effect demands the patient should be conscious, but Homeopathy has shown improvement in people being in coma and delirium unless the patient was brain dead. World over, there are cases where Homeopathic medicines have worked on such patients and has shown improvement in vital signs. Now the Placebo effect cannot work here as the patient is not even aware of what he/she has been given but still the Homeopathic medicines have worked.
2.When it comes to maturity of the patient, which the Placebo effect demands, Homeopathic medicines have done wonders to small babies and infants with numerable problems. Infants and small children are not at all capable of even thinking what problems they are having and what they have been given for it. Still there are so many parents who always prefer Homeopathy for their baby as they have seen its benefits. They choose Homeopathy over conventional medicines for day to day problems for their children and do not prefer antibiotics and steroids which doesn’t even let the child’s immunity to build.
3.Placebo effect is only seen on humans. Though Homeopathy has shown results in animals too. It is just not possible to make your dog believe that the Homeopathic medicine he has been given will cure him. But the medicines have cured ailments of animals. There have been numerous trials and studies which have shown a good success rate on animals with Homeopathy.
4.The biggest issue with all Homeopathic medicines is that they all look the same. Rather they are dispensed in white small pills which have always made a new comer doubtful of its effectiveness. As studies on Placebo effect have shown that colorful, big tablets or even Placebo injections have better effects, Homeopathic medicines are totally opposite to them, in just the simple form of white sweet pills. A person taking Homeopathic treatment for the first time is always doubtful of its effectiveness. They even think if the simple small white pills could actually do something. The only thing which makes them believe is the relief from symptoms which they get after the medication. This is rather a counter situation between Placebo effect and Homeopathic effect.
5.When it comes to the doctor patient relationship, it develops much faster in case of conventional medicine as they show immediate effect. But as a day to day practical experience, a Homeopath knows that people are suspicious of the benefit they would get by a Homeopathic doctor on their first visit. Placebo effect needs a better patient doctor relation. But in case of Homeopathy, this relation of faith develops after the patient has felt the improvement in the conditions.
All these logical points show that Homeopathy does not fall in the criteria of the Placebo effect. And so, Homeopathic effect is totally different from the Placebo effect. Although both the effects can work together and show results but these above conditions clearly show that Homeopathy does not work on the Placebo effect theory.
Indeed the Placebo effect is true but it cannot be applied on Homeopathy as its mode of operation. So to simply call Homeopathy as a quackery and Placebo would be totally wrong. Even during the study of Homeopathic medicine and their trials, half of the patients are given actual Homeopathic medicine and the rest of the patients are given mere Placebo. The patients are unaware of what they have been given. The results have shown that those who were given Homeopathic medicine had a greater success rate than those who were simply given Placebo.