Here in the UK, as covered in much of the media, particularly at a time of economic downturn… A House of Commons body has recommended that homeopathy no longer receive state support.

For many it is because of the perfectly good reason that there is no evidence that the theory behind homeopathy has any validity. There are many people who argue consistently for and against the efficacy of homeopathy and I am not debating that today.

What I did want to briefly mention is that homeopathy is recognised to possibly have value as a placebo and hence help some people to get better and be well as a result. The idea, though, seems to be that patients should not be misled. Which leads to a bit of a quandry… A placebo paradox in fact…

Professor Irving Kirsch, as one of the most prolific researchers in my own field ( hypnosis of course) has famously pointed out in his work that hypnosis is a “non-deceptive mega-placebo” – a term I love simply because it sounds so very cool – placebo effects fascinate me… Placebos can work; but according to healthcare ethics with the desire for transparency and honesty, patients should be told that they are taking placebos – which usually tends to reduce their effectiveness.

And there is the dilemma… I wonder how many poorly patients would prefer to be told and remain poorly…or rather ‘trivially deceived’ yet be made better? After all, how many patients worry about the theory behind prescriptions more than whether what is prescribed will make them better?

At school I was once told the medicine was in the sugar cube I ate while the doctor gave me an injection at the same time… Today, I guess that may not have been the whole truth… 😉