9 April, 2013
Homeopathy’s Perceived Effects are the Result of the Placebo Effect
Homeopathy is a paranormal form of alternative medicine that relies on natural remedies to cure illnesses. Much of the current scientific community is skeptic of homeopathy’s effectiveness as it is rooted in unconventional beliefs of healing that do not necessarily involve medical treatment with an active ingredient. Homeopathy is based on the paranormal belief that maladies may be treated by medicine absent of an active ingredient. This means that the results of homeopathy, by reason, are based only on the placebo effect, or the quantifiable and observable improvement in health or behavior that is not attributable to the medication. In this essay I will explain homeopathy’s reliance on the law of similars, the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine, and the scientific value of homeopathic medicine. I will show that homeopathy’s practice of treatment with inactive medicine owes its perceived effectiveness to the placebo effect, not any actual influence of real medicine. Founder Samuel Hahnemann’s beliefs formed the practice of homeopathy. The paranormal belief in homeopathy is based on the principle of ‘like cures like,’ the idea that a sick person with certain symptoms may be cured by the substance that causes the same symptoms in a healthy person (Hahnemann, 48-50). Hahnemann believed that in order to treat a patient, one must introduce a substance that will cause the symptoms that the patient displays. In his theory, this would raise the body’s natural defences and make the immune system stronger and more capable of fighting the illness (Hahnemann, 58-59). Hahnemann based this theory on his reaction to cinchona bark. When translating a work by another physician, Hahnemann wondered about the effectiveness of treating malaria with cinchona bark, as the physician proposed. Upon consuming the bark, Hahnemann experienced malaria-like symptoms such as fever, shivering, and pain...
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