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June 15, 2014 Homoeopathy-02 An unscientific New Age fraud earlier files on homoeopathy at this ministry’s web site homoeopathy-an unscientific new age fraud


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It beats me as to how a Christian can "be VERY careful" in consulting a homoeopathic practitioner. It is better for one to totally avoid these practitioners and their so-called remedies. Bro, Ignatius Mary himself admits that "Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age". There are no guidelines to ensure that homeopathy is "properly approached". He apparently believes that the Church has not made clear enough its stand on homeopathy ["(which the Church does not do, but if it did)"]. In fact the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age [cited by Brother further below] not only lists homeopathy along with other New Age therapies, but explains the occultic nature of the "vital" or life force energy that is purportedly the active principle in homoeopathic concoctions and at the same time one of the foundational principles of New Age. –Michael

Should Christians take homeopathic medicines?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=229

January 11, 2005

In previous posts, the phrase "homeopathic medications" seems to be used interchangeably with herbal medications in general. I am writing to clarify the difference, and obtain spiritual direction based on this.
While many homeopathic medications are made from herbs, they are unique in their manufacture and apparent mode of operation. Homeopathic medications are made from tinctures of natural substances, but that is where the similarity ends. These tinctures are then diluted and succussed (or shaken) repeatedly to increase their potency. Cures are affected through the "law of similars" by matching the effect of the natural substance on healthy people with the symptoms of the patient.
The problem rests with the process of potentization. The strongest remedies are indeed some of the most dilute and, in theory, may not even contain any of the original herbs. Given this, there is no apparent physiological explanation for why these medications work. Most explain their efficacy by pointing to energy-based theories of some sort. (This is true even of reputable homeopaths that prescribe on the basis of symptoms and get their remedies from modern pharmaceutical companies. I say this to differentiate between them and homeopaths that use divination, etc. as a part of their practice.)
Also, the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, was a Freemason and attributes his discovery of homeopathy to the "Father." I have also seen a post on your site in which the "vital energy" referred to by Hahnemann in his writings is compared with the "universal energy" of New Age teachings.
My homeopath's methods seem empirical, and the medicines do seem to affect a cure. Yet this contradicts the nature and history of the medicines themselves. I am confused? Should I continue taking them? Note that the Church, in "Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life" says New Age techniques are sometimes advertised under the title "homeopathy." Please help. –Nancy

Homeopathic medicine has at its core the idea that the body develops imbalances that must be corrected. The "vital energy" theory is the same as the "universal energy" theory in that they both seek a balance between the "energies" in the body with that if the "vital/universal energy." Although there are other aspects of Homeopathy, such as considering the whole person and not just the symptom or disease, this fundamental philosophical presumption behind Homeopathic theory is contrary to the facts of science and the body and to the Christian worldview. Given that Hahnemann was a Freemason, with their distorted view of God, a red flag should be immediate. As for the defining principle of Homeopathy of the "Law of Similars" there is no evidence from appropriately designed studies that the "law of similars" actually operates. This "law", as well as other non-scientific findings in Homeopathy that were made 100-200 years ago, were made before medical science fully understood the nature of health and disease. In fact those were times in which medical science had little knowledge of how to conduct experiments that separate cause and effect from coincidence as well as the placebo effect.

Given the totally anecdotal nature of the so-called "cures", the illogic and lack of even the remotest scientific method in developing homeopathic theories and methods, the lack of understanding and recognition of the law of coincidence and the law of placebo, and the connection with the Eastern cosmology of "energies" and "balances" should lead a Christian to abandon Homeopathy in my opinion. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1028

May 27, 2008

Do you know what the Church's teaching on Homeopathy is? I hear that many people turn to homeopathy because it works where allopathic medicine has failed.

But then there are so many reports such as


a) not understanding how homeopathy works
b) the religious beliefs of its founder
c) claims of occultic origin that make one wonder if this puts one faith and soul at risk.
Do you know if there is any truth to this? Can a catholic person turn to homeopathic medication for treatment? Does the Church specifically teach against homeopathy? Or is this something that we should stay away from because we do not understand how it works? -Joseph

The Church, as far as I know, has made no comment on homeopathy directly, but has warned about healing methods that include homeopathy as they relate to New Age philosophies and techniques.

In the Church's extensive document on the New Age, A Christian Reflection on the New Age it is stated:

Formal (allopathic) medicine today tends to limit itself to curing particular, isolated ailments, and fails to look at the broader picture of a person's health: this has given rise to a fair amount of understandable dissatisfaction. Alternative therapies have gained enormously in popularity because they claim to look at the whole person and are about healing rather than curing. Holistic health, as it is known, concentrates on the important role that the mind plays in physical healing. The connection between the spiritual and the physical aspects of the person is said to be in the immune system or the Indian chakra system. In a New Age perspective, illness and suffering come from working against nature; when one is in tune with nature, one can expect a much healthier life, and even material prosperity; for some New Age healers, there should actually be no need for us to die. Developing our human potential will put us in touch with our inner divinity, and with those parts of our selves which have been alienated and suppressed. This is revealed above all in Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs), which are induced either by drugs or by various mind-expanding techniques, particularly in the context of “transpersonal psychology”. The shaman is often seen as the specialist of altered states of consciousness, one who is able to mediate between the transpersonal realms of spirits and gods and the world of humans.


There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric, others connected with the psychological theories developed in Esalen during the years 1960-1970. Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of “bodywork” (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programmes and self-help groups. The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy.

Inasmuch as health includes a prolongation of life, New Age offers an Eastern formula in Western terms. Originally, reincarnation was a part of Hindu cyclical thought, based on the atman or divine kernel of personality (later the concept of jiva), which moved from body to body in a cycle of suffering (samsara), determined by the law of karma, linked to behaviour in past lives. Hope lies in the possibility of being born into a better state, or ultimately in liberation from the need to be reborn. What is different in most Buddhist traditions is that what wanders from body to body is not a soul, but a continuum of consciousness. Present life is embedded in a potentially endless cosmic process which includes even the gods. In the West, since the time of Lessing, reincarnation has been understood far more optimistically as a process of learning and progressive individual fulfilment. Spiritualism, theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age all see reincarnation as participation in cosmic evolution. This post-Christian approach to eschatology is said to answer the unresolved questions of theodicy and dispenses with the notion of hell. When the soul is separated from the body individuals can look back on their whole life up to that point, and when the soul is united to its new body there is a preview of its coming phase of life. People have access to their former lives through dreams and meditation techniques.

In addition to the New Age cosmology of many practitioners of homeopathy there is also the problem that homeopathy is not scientifically verified. The "evidence" for homeopathy almost entirely anecdotal. Anecdotal evidence is not reliable evidence because the placebo effect cannot be separated from the objective analysis.

The alleged positive effects of homeopathy seem to be merely placebos. According to Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, author of "Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine", homeopathy is tolerated by the medical community as long as it is not used "to treat life-threatening illnesses for which conventional therapy is known to be effective."

Dr. Rosenfeld points out, however, that the World Health Organization "considers homeopathy a legitimate form or traditional medicine and is sanctioned almost "everywhere in the world, including most of the United States."

Dr. Rosenfeld's recommendation is to "stay with establishment methods that have a proven track record. However, for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative. If you go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D. Regardless of the treatment suggested, get a second opinion to make sure the diagnosis is correct."

One reason to consult a M.D. who happens to also practice homeopathy is that he is in better position to know when to use conventional medications and when to use homeopathy remedies. Also, something a lot of people do not seem to know, is that taking herbs and supplements and the like can be dangerous. There are contraindications that can be present. Taking certain herbs together with other herbs or medicines can even be poison.

The people who put out the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) also product a PDR for Herbs and a PDR for Supplements. These reference books give possible contraindications that need to be known BEFORE taking various combinations of alternative substances or combinations of those substances and conventional medicines.

Always check with a M.D. about this.

Another problem is that herb and supplements are not regulated by the government so a person has no way of knowing for sure about the quality of the substance or its potency or dosage. This can be dangerous.

If one is interested in a homeopathy alternative they need to learn ALL the facts, consult a M.D., and research the market for product that can be trusted as to its quality and potency. (Note: because the label says it is high quality, doesn't make it so). –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1065

September 25, 2009

Whilst feeling rather ill I was taken to an iridologist yesterday by the best Catholic I know, a friend who has visited him for years. The naturopath is a friendly elderly gentleman but did have pictures in his office of Buddha and the Dalai Lama as well as rosaries and other Catholic pictures. He started with asking my birth date and examining my hands and eyes then proceeded to give a spot on analysis of my current emotional and physical state. It contained what I already knew in both areas. I also asked him about my son (who was not present) and he told me he could help him, and asked his birth date too. I asked him whether he got his diagnostic information because of 'star signs' and he told me that Nicholas Culpeper (the herbalist) taught that astronomy and plants were linked. You must use plants that correspond with the season in which the person was born. I pointed out some inconsistencies I know about astrology (Fr Pacwa's book) and he agreed that horoscopes (that is, star signs which predict current events) are total rubbish. But, he maintained that the astronomy + plants element is true, and should be applied with the features of someone's temperament (given sign they were born later). He then gave me homeopathic remedies which will last a month and told me he could fix me up very well. Whilst he pointed out exactly what was happening physically and how I can return to normal, I feel uncomfortable that he used star signs as part of his diagnostic tool. I have no problem with iridology as a diagnostic tool (please tell me however if I should!!) but I don't like any link with tools that originate from other religions or especially astrology/astronomy.

Have I sinned by going to this fellow and sin further if I continue to take the homeopathic remedies? I intend to see my confessor in the next few days and will follow whatever his advice is also. –Bernice

From your description of this man's practice, I think it is clear that you should not go to him. He is using methods that are incompatible with Christianity and is decidedly is into the New Age lunacy.

Iridology, by the way, is quackery. There is no scientific basis for its claims.

As for homeopathy, it is best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record. "However," as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine, "for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative." Dr. Rosenfeld continues, "If you decide to go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D."



While homeopathic medicine in itself is not a problem when properly administered by a qualified practitioner who is also an M.D., there are some cautions that must be considered:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are "natural". There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other "regular" medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist.

The people who publish the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) now have a PDR the deals specifically with herbs called the PDR for Herbal Medicines. Anyone practicing homeopathy NEEDS to buy this volume and learn how to use it. It is expensive, around $60, but it is a necessity.

Here is brochure description of the PDR for Herbal Medicines

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph. To buy this volume, click here.


  • Indexed by common name

  • Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index

  • Safety Guide

  • Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products

  • Manufacturers' Index, including name, address, contact information and product list

  • Trade names of available products added to each monograph

  • Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide

  • Therapeutic Category Index

  • Clinical Management of Interactions

4) When consulting a homeopathic practitioner be VERY careful. Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A LOT of practitioners may also be involved in the New Age, occult, or even witchcraft activities. Avoid such people.

Following these guidelines, one should be able to navigate homeopathy world successfully.

Anyone with an interest in Alternative Medicine needs to read up on what really works and doesn't work. "Testimonials" from the company selling the product or from your next door neighbor are utterly useless. One needs to have a scientific approach to analyze the claims of various Alternative Medicine claims. 

I recommend the book by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D., Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What doesn’t and what’s Right for You

Dr. Rosenfeld is open to Alternative methods, and gives a fair and balanced evaluation of more than thirty alternative therapies. He gives the history of each therapy, explains a little about how the therapy is suppose to work, gives scientific information and research on the topic, and ends with a no-nonsense "bottom line".  Dr. Rosenfeld begins his book with excellent chapters on people searching for hope are lured by alternative methods with clear advice on how to proceed with hopeful alternatives, the nature of the placebo effect, and how to spot a quack.

I highly recommend this book. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
How does one being an M.D. make that person a more reliable dispenser of a quack remedy that claims to work on the alleged "vital body" of a patient? Do not buy the books recommended by Bro. Ignatius Mary.

There are a number of helpful articles and reports concerning the dangers of homoeopathy at this ministry’s web site.
Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1073 EXTRACT

September 30, 2009

In response to Bernice about her naturopaths… many of these Naturopaths have new age practices, Hindu, Buddha references in their offices. It seems to get mixed into their field of medicine. My naturopath never brought anything up.

This is where I have a question. Why not give hope to those who are not Catholic and show them our loving joy of self denial and achieving great health because we follow their instructions for healing. We may have many opportunities to show these people how true Catholics live by their faith! -Elizabeth

As for giving hope to others (Catholic or not), hope comes from knowing the Truth. The Truth is that any system of medicine that incorporates the Eastern (Hindu, Buddhist, Taoism, etc.) philosophies and cosmologies and theories of how the body maintains health, is a major problem. Those philosophies and theories are inconsistent with Christianity, and usually inconsistent with sound science. Unfortunately, the medical community has begun to adopt these techniques from the East, even though they have little to no scientific veracity, and practice them or refer their patients to practitioners. Many hospitals are now running what is essentially New Age medical clinics.

As the old saying goes, "Do not throw the baby out with the bath water", thus we should not indict the whole of many Alternative medical approaches because some of the methods are quackery, or because some of the practitioners of legitimate methods indulge in Eastern nonsense.

We need to be careful to avoid those methods with no scientific veracity (hence my recommendation of Dr. Rosenfeld's book).

With methods that may have some usefulness we need to be very wary of practitioners who incorporate the Eastern trappings and philosophies. Those who do that will be necessarily tainted in their medical judgment. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Homeopathy confusion

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1213

May 12, 2010

The forum contains contradictory info and advice regarding homeopathy. Some posts say it's New Age and to be avoided, while others say it's fine.
A 2004 post has an explanation of New Age energy healing. The list of occultic energy forces includes the vital energy of Hahnemann's homeopathy. The post says, "... it is better and prudent to stay away from anything that offers a risk of damaging our life with Christ.... We live in an age of MANY contaminations to the Christian worldview. We cannot be too careful and circumspect." "The sneaky thing is that we can develop New Age attitudes and beliefs without knowing it. Once we open the door, even without our cognitive knowledge, we can find our thinking and belief system contaminated...." ("Therapeutic Touch healing," November 4, 2004)
A few days later, a post said, "homeopathic medicine in itself is not a problem;" the practitioners may be bad. ("Homeopathic medicine," November 7, 2004)
Then a 2005 post found homeopathy to be not only contrary to a Christian worldview, but contrary to science and the body. ("Should Christians take homeopathic medications?" January 11, 2005)
But in 2009, homeopathy was OK again. Readers were advised to purchase a PDR and a book by an MD. "Following these guidelines," the post said, "one should be able to navigate the homeopathy world successfully."
Considering the warnings of the first 2004 post, this advice -- "to step into Satan's sandbox" but to be careful -- seems spiritually dangerous. Doctors are not authorities on what's safe from a spiritual point of view (thus Reiki and New Age healing techniques in hospitals today).
From Susan Brinkmann's New Age blog (http://lhla.org/newage/?p=13):

"The only reason the FDA recognizes homeopathy at all is because a homeopathic physician who was serving as a senator in 1938 managed to have all the drugs listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States recognized as drugs under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. However, information recently obtained from the FDA by a physician under the Freedom of Information Act found that approval of several dozen homeopathic products was withdrawn in 1970 and no homeopathic drugs have been approved since."

Supporters of homeopathy, including the Huffington Post, theorize that homeopathy works on the quantum level, with "the memory of water" and we can't understand it. In other words, we need to take it on faith. Note that that's faith in "changed water." The water that changes Christians is in baptism.
How can something that was created and manufactured on New Age principles no longer be New Age? I know that the Church has not condemned homeopathy as it did Reiki, but there must be some spiritual principles which we can apply to discern the truth. What are those spiritual principles?
As St. Louis De Montfort wrote in The Secret of the Rosary, "The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the science of Christians and the science of salvation." –Lucy
First I would thank you tremendously for providing specific references. That makes my job much easier. Thanks.

I am sorry you are confused, but that confusion is coming from mixing apples and oranges, or not understanding the Homeopathy is not a monolithic endeavor.

In the examples you reference Therapeutic Touch healing is not Homeopathy. Therapeutic Touch healing and Homeopathy are two completely separate practices. Thus, what you perceive as a contradiction does not actually exist. Our readers can view the posts: Therapeutic Touch healing and Homeopathic medicine and easily see that these are two different topics.

There does appear to be a contradiction between the 2005 post, Should Christians take homeopathic medications?, and the 2009 post, Homeopathy and Diagnostic Tools, there really is not a contradiction. The problem was that I did not explain thoroughly enough in the 2005 post. I was speaking of the homeopathic practitioners who tend to have an errant cosmology.

In the 2009 post I clearly stated that homeopathic medicine may have value when administered by a Medical Doctor (M.D.). And I extensively quote Dr. Rosenfeld's scientific analysis of homeopathic medicine. I also give many "cautions". You cannot take that one sentence out of context of the whole post.

The Church officially teaches that truth can found anywhere, and anywhere it is found, to the extent of that grain of truth, we can acknowledge it as true.

Homeopathic medicine in it "theory" is incorrect. But, some of the herbs that are used in Homeopathy have valid use, or have no effect. As Dr. Rosenfeld said, and which I agree with:

It is best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record. "However," as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine, "for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative."

The bottom line is that the 2009 post is the accurate response. I am afraid I did not do a good job on the 2005 post.

As for the Huffington Post, they are a bunch of idiots and the idea of a quantum level and "the memory of water" is lunacy.

As to your question of how something that was developed with "new age" principles no longer be new age. Well, to begin with, I never said that the Homeopathic industry has ceased to be "new age." Second, not every dotted "i" in the new age is wrong. Even the devil can say something right once-in-awhile. Satan recognized Jesus as God. He was right. If Hitler said that 1 + 1 = 2, is he wrong because he is Hitler? Truth is truth no matter who says it.

In addition, God can bring goodness even out of evil. Thus, even if something was sourced in evil, God can make it good. The Church has done this many times -- taking pagan practices (which are in error) and Christianizing them (changing them to conform to truth) to evangelize pagan peoples.

As for Homeopathy, in as much as the herbs used in Homeopathic medicine have scientifically verifiable effects those herbs are okay -- independent of homeopathy, or even if homeopathy did not exist. Either such herbs are useful or not objectively.

However, as I have advised, since the so-called Homeopathic practitioners almost always involve themselves in the New Age aspects and theories, I do not recommend them.

I agree with Dr. Rosenfeld, "If you decide to go that route (of homeopathic medicine), consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D."

And, I would add, since Dr. Rosenfeld does not understand the spiritual dangers, and since some M. D's are new agers, that we ensure that any M.D. we consult does not does not approach his prescription of herbs from a point-of-view of new age philosophies.

As for principles to use to guard ourselves against something that is improper, I gave a list of cautions to consider in the 2009 post. I'll repeat them here:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are "natural". There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other "regular" medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist. The PDR for Herbs is helpful in learning about this.

4) When consulting a homeopathic practitioner be VERY careful. Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A LOT of practitioners may also be involved in the New Age, occult, or even witchcraft activities. Avoid such people.

In terms of spiritual or theological principles the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age, and USCCB document, Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy, provides several principles useful in evaluating anything from the new age.

In short, we must take notice when the cosmology (view of the way universe works) and ontology (view of the nature of man) runs counter to our Faith.

I hope this clears things up and I apologise for the confusion. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1705

October 18, 2012

I did look up the questions on homeopathy, but need to clarify further.
I consulted a homeopath doctor registered at a hospital. He is not Christian. It was my first appointment and while he was checking on my background he asked me to show him my hands. He enquired about the number of children I had and then correctly told me that I had an abortion (actually I miscarried at 12 weeks, I did not abort). When I asked him to tell me how he knew, he said he couldn't tell me, he was just learning about reading the hands.
While I do know a lot of people who have been successfully treated with homeopathy where allopathic treatments have had bad side effects, I do not want to do anything unChristian. I have been seeking allopathic treatment for my ailment but it hasn't helped, and so was recommended to go see this doctor by a friend. I would appreciate your thoughts. –Agnes

You are correct in wondering about the practice of "reading hands." This practice is not part of homeopathy. Many people who gravitate toward alternative medical techniques are occultist, witches, or New Agers. Beware of these people and run, do not walk, away from them. Find a homeopath who is not into these aberrations.

Such things as "reading of hands" and palm reading are forms of divination and is absolutely condemned by the Church:

Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future (cf. Deut 18:10; Jeremiah 29:8.). Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

Never go back to this so-called homeopath.

Unfortunately, medicine is returning to superstitions and unscientific methods. While some homeopathic, naturopathy, and other alternative approaches have scientific veracity, some do not.

Often homeopaths, naturopaths, and other will indulge themselves in Oriental alternative medical approaches. This includes a cosmology that is utterly inconsistent with Christianity. There is no such thing as Ch'i, Chakras, energy flows in the body, and other such nonsense.

We recently placed Dr. Oz on our Hall of Shame for promoting physician-assisted suicide and other intrinsic evils. We are about to induct him again for his promotion of Oriental occultism (i.e. nonexistent ch'i, chakras, energy flows) as an alternative to legitimate medicine or homeopathic/naturopathic approaches.

Herbs and plants may have legitimate medicinal value, but be careful. Some herbs are marketed to do things for which they do not do, and thus can harm you. One should always talk to their doctor and never, and I mean never, self-diagnose or self-medicate. Various herbs in certain dosages can be poison. Some herbs can react to other herbs or medicines in way that can harm you.

The problem is that the FDA does not regulate the herbal industry, so you cannot know for sure about the real dose or quality of the herb you buy. Be careful. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

How many Catholics have enough knowledge to be able to "Find a homeopath who is not into these aberrations."?

To appreciate the problems associated with herbal treatments and with homeopathy, please examine

A MAGICKAL HERBALL COMPLEAT-PINO LONGCHILD

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/A_MAGICKAL_HERBALL_COMPLEAT-PINO_LONGCHILD.doc
Pilates, Vitalism, Acupuncture

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1380 EXTRACT

January 18, 2011

My husband has a sore back and his physiotherapist has now recommended him to start doing Pilates*. I have warned him about getting involved with New Age but he thinks Pilates will just strengthen up his back. Is this OK to do? Also the physiotherapist has used acupuncture on his as part of his treatment. –Rachael
I really do not know much about Pilates. From what I gather there are some medical effects that have been demonstrated with some of the techniques. On the other hand, some of the underlying philosophy is really problematic -- the mind over matter aspects and some of the ideas about breathing -- a typical exaggeration of effects that is most common with alternative medical techniques.

I would be cautious, but as far as I know none of the techniques brings on into an altered state of consciousness (which is the primary problem with most Eastern methods).

It does not appear, as best as I can tell for now, that your husband's participation in this method would be spiritually harmful.

But, the problem with these sorts of techniques is that they are co-opted by New Agers and intertwined with everything from feng fooy to Ch'i and other forms of what is called vitalism. Vitalism is "the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life. Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes."

Even if Pilates is in itself spiritual neutral, in a lot of cases the instructors will contaminate it by infusing the gobbledygook of the New Age, sometimes in way subtle enough to not be noticed by the average person.

Thus, caution is warranted.

Frankly, there are many specific exercises that have been prescribed for many years, and used by physical therapist (before the age of gobbledygook) that work just fine. One does not have to go to some "systematic" program that is oftentimes intertwined with New Age philosophies.

As for acupuncture**, the fundamental and essential foundation of acupuncture is the non-existent Ch'i, the vitalism philosophy that is nonsense. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



*See PILATES

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/PILATES.doc

**ACUPUNCTURE, ACUPRESSURE, SHIATSU AND REFLEXOLOGY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ACUPUNCTURE_ACUPRESSURE_SHIATSU_AND_REFLEXOLOGY.doc

Vitalism or "Vital Force" is the very same monistic universal or life force energy that is the main operating element in all New Age medicine. It is the same as the ch'i of acupuncture and the martial arts, the ki of reiki and the prana of Hinduism. It is critically examined in the Vatican Document on the New Age.

Any system such as homeopathy which purports to heal the "vital body" or use "vital force" must be rejected by Christians.
St Hildegard and crystals

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2277 EXTRACT

December 1, 2012

The 2003 Vatican Document "Jesus Christ, The Bearer Of The Water Of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age" says:

"Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of “bodywork” (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programmes and self-help groups." -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



Here Bro. Ignatius Mary reproduces part of #2.2.3 of the Pontifical Document. It mentions "acupuncture" in listing some New Age remedies and therapies, "a wide range of practices" that includes "homeopathy".
Naturopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2205

August 17, 2012

I am wondering how familiar with Naturopathy you are, and whether or not the Church has a stance on it. I can see how it has the potential to be dangerous given that in some cases the idea is to break psychological blocks which cause physical symptoms or ailments, so the patient is very vulnerable during that time. However, my concern with conventional medicine is that it doesn't address or recognize that our minds and bodies are very much connected, especially on a subconscious level. So, back to my question: does the Church take a stance on this type of medicine? –Phil

At one time, when I was an apostate who had abandoned the faith in favor of the New Age, I was heavily into things like acupressure and homeopathy/naturopathy.

Homeopathic/Naturopathic medicine has at its core the idea that the body develops imbalances that must be corrected. The "vital energy" theory is the same as the "universal energy" theory in that they both seek a balance between the "energies" in the body with that if the "vital/universal energy." Although there are other aspects of Homeopathy, such as considering the whole person and not just the symptom or disease, this fundamental philosophical presumption behind Homeopathic theory is contrary to the facts of science and the body and to the Christian worldview. 

As for the defining principle of Homeopathy of the "Law of Similars" there is no evidence from appropriately designed studies that the "law of similars" actually operates. This "law", as well as other non-scientific findings in Homeopathy that were made 100-200 years ago, were made before medical science fully understood the nature of health and disease. In fact those were times in which medical science had little knowledge of how to conduct experiments that separate cause and effect from coincidence as well as the placebo effect.


Given the totally anecdotal nature of the so-called "cures", the illogical and lack of even the remotest scientific method in developing homeopathic theories and methods, the lack of understanding and recognition of the law of coincidence and the law of placebo, and the connection with the Eastern cosmology of "energies" and "balances" should lead a Christian to abandon Homeopathy in my opinion. Thus, any aspect of homeopathy/naturopathy that speaks to "energy flows" (Ch'i), meridians in the body, chakras, etc. should be avoided.
Homeopathic/naturopathic medicine, removed from the oriental cosmology, if properly approached, is not a problem in-and-of-itself. Many of our medicines from drug companies are derived from herbs and other plants. Constant research on these resources is being done by the drug companies.

While homeopathic/naturopathic medicine in itself is not a problem, there are many problems with the people in that movement, most of whom are New Age.

There are some cautions that must be considered:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic/naturopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are "natural". There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other "regular" medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic/naturopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist.

The people who publish the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) now have a PDR the deals specifically with herbs called the PDR for Herbal Medicines. Anyone practicing homeopathy/naturopathy needs to buy this volume and learn how to use it. It is expensive, around $60, but it is a necessity.

Here is brochure description of the PDR for Herbal Medicines

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph.

-Indexed by common name

-Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index

-Safety Guide

-Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products

-Manufacturers' Index, including name, address, contact information and product list

-Trade names of available products added to each monograph

-Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide

-Therapeutic Category Index

-Clinical Management of Interactions

To buy this volume, click here for Herbal-Medicines and here for Nutritional Supplements.

4) When consulting a homeopathic/naturopathic practitioner be very careful*. Homeopathy/naturopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A lot of practitioners may also be involved in New Ageism, occult or even witchcraft activities.

While it may be best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record, "However," as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine : What Works, What Doesn't And What's Right for You, "for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative."

Dr. Rosenfeld continues, "If you decide to go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D."

Following these guidelines, one should be able to navigate homeopathy/naturopathy world successfully.

Anyone with an interest in Alternative Medicine needs to read up on what really works and doesn't work. "Testimonials" from the company selling the product or from your next door neighbor are utterly useless. One needs to have a scientific approach to analyze the claims of various Alternative Medicine claims. 

I highly recommend the book by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D.

Dr. Rosenfeld is open to Alternative methods, and gives a fair and balanced evaluation of more than thirty alternative therapies. He gives the history of each therapy, explains a little about how the therapy is suppose to work, gives scientific information and research on the topic, and ends with a no nonsense "bottom line".  

Dr. Rosenfeld begins his book with excellent chapters on people searching for hope are lured by alternative methods with clear advice on how to proceed with hopeful alternatives, the nature of the placebo effect, and how to spot a quack.

In terms of Church comments, the Church cautions about any approach that has a New Age or oriental worldview that is hostile to the Christian worldview:

In short, we must take notice when the cosmology (view of the way universe works) and ontology (view of the nature of man) runs counter to our Faith.

In terms of spiritual or theological principles the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age, and USCCB document, Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy, provides several principles useful in evaluating anything from the new age. Find other documents in our Spiritual Warfare Library. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM [all emphases his]

The use of Naturopathy is almost always associated with other New Age systems such as ayurveda and yoga, and often with homoeopathy.

*Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM says "Be very careful when consulting a homeopathic/naturopathic practitioner". My advice: "Completely abstain" -Michael
Why the placebo effect can occasionally be effective: Think Yourself Better http://www.economist.com/node/18710090

May 19, 2011

Alternative medical treatments rarely work. But the placebo effect they induce sometimes does

On May 29th Edzard Ernst, the world's first professor of complementary medicine, will step down after 18 years in his post at the Peninsula Medical School, in south-west England.

Despite his job title (and the initial hopes of some purveyors of non-mainstream treatments), Dr Ernst is no breathless promoter of snake oil. Instead, he and his research group have pioneered the rigorous study of everything from acupuncture and crystal healing to Reiki channelling and herbal remedies.

Alternative medicine is big business. Since it is largely unregulated, reliable statistics are hard to come by. The market in Britain alone, however, is believed to be worth around £210m ($340m), with one in five adults thought to be consumers, and some treatments (particularly homeopathy) available from the National Health Service. Around the world, according to an estimate made in 2008, the industry's value is about $60 billion.

Over the years Dr Ernst and his group have run clinical trials and published over 160 meta-analyses of other studies. (Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for extracting information from lots of small trials that are not, by themselves, statistically reliable.) His findings are stark. According to his “Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine”, around 95% of the treatments he and his colleagues examined—in fields as diverse as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and reflexology—are statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments. In only 5% of cases was there either a clear benefit above and beyond a placebo (there is, for instance, evidence suggesting that St John's Wort, a herbal remedy, can help with mild depression), or even just a hint that something interesting was happening to suggest that further research might be warranted.

It was, at times, a lonely experience. Money was hard to come by. Practitioners of alternative medicine became increasingly reluctant to co-operate as the negative results piled up (a row in 2005 with an alternative-medicine lobby group founded by Prince Charles did not help), while traditional medical-research bodies saw investigations into things like Ayurvedic healing as a waste of time.

Yet Dr Ernst believes his work helps address a serious public-health problem. He points out that conventional medicines must be shown to be both safe and efficacious before they can be licensed for sale. That is rarely true of alternative treatments, which rely on a mixture of appeals to tradition and to the “natural” wholesomeness of their products to reassure consumers. That explains why, for instance, some homeopaths can market treatments for malaria, despite a lack of evidence to suggest that such treatments work, or why some chiropractors can claim to cure infertility.

Despite this lack of evidence, and despite the possibility that some alternative practitioners may be harming their patients (either directly, or by convincing them to forgo more conventional treatments for their ailments), Dr Ernst also believes there is something that conventional doctors can usefully learn from the chiropractors, homeopaths and Ascended Masters. This is the therapeutic value of the placebo effect, one of the strangest and slipperiest phenomena in medicine.

Mind and body

A placebo is a sham medical treatment—a pharmacologically inert sugar pill, perhaps, or a piece of pretend surgery. Its main scientific use at the moment is in clinical trials as a baseline for comparison with another treatment. But just because the medicine is not real does not mean it doesn't work. That is precisely the point of using it in trials: researchers have known for years that comparing treatment against no treatment at all will give a misleading result.

Giving pretend painkillers, for instance, can reduce the amount of pain a patient experiences. A study carried out in 2002 suggested that fake surgery for arthritis in the knee provides similar benefits to the real thing. And the effects can be harmful as well as helpful. Patients taking fake opiates after having been prescribed the real thing may experience the shallow breathing that is a side-effect of the real drugs.

Besides being benchmarks, placebos are a topic of research in their own right. On May 16th the Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific academy, published a volume of its Philosophical Transactions devoted to the field.

One conclusion emerging from the research, says Irving Kirsch, a professor at Harvard Medical School who wrote the preface to the volume, is that the effect is strongest for those disorders that are predominantly mental and subjective, a conclusion backed by a meta-analysis of placebo studies that was carried out in 2010 by researchers at the Cochrane Collaboration, an organisation that reviews evidence for medical treatments. In the case of depression, says Dr Kirsch, giving patients placebo pills can produce very nearly the same effect as dosing them with the latest antidepressant medicines.
Pain is another nerve-related symptom susceptible to treatment by placebo. Here, patients' expectations influence the potency of the effect. Telling someone that you are giving him morphine provides more pain relief than saying you are dosing him with aspirin—even when both pills actually contain nothing more than sugar. Neuro-imaging shows that this deception stimulates the production of naturally occurring painkilling chemicals in the brain. A paper in Philosophical Transactions by Karin Meissner of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich concludes that placebo treatments are also able to affect the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure, digestion and the like. Drama is important, too. Placebo injections are more effective than placebo pills, and neither is as potent as sham surgery. And the more positive a doctor is when telling a patient about the placebo he is prescribing, the more likely it is to do that patient good.

Despite the power of placebos, many conventional doctors are leery of prescribing them. They worry that to do so is to deceive their patients. Yet perhaps the most fascinating results in placebo research—most recently examined by Ted Kaptchuk and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School, in the context of irritable-bowel syndrome—is that the effect may persist even if patients are told that they are getting placebo treatments.

Unlike their conventional counterparts, practitioners of alternative medicine often excel at harnessing the placebo effect, says Dr Ernst. They offer long, relaxed consultations with their customers (exactly the sort of “good bedside manner” that harried modern doctors struggle to provide). And they believe passionately in their treatments, which are often delivered with great and reassuring ceremony. That alone can be enough to do good, even though the magnets, crystals and ultra-dilute solutions applied to the patients are, by themselves, completely useless.


Alternative therapies are increasingly mainstream: The Believers

http://www.economist.com/node/21552554

Tucson, Arizona, April 12, 2012


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