Essay about Alt Medicine

Submitted By sexyguy123
Words: 1303
Pages: 6

Homeopathy has seen a rise in approval in resent times. Its peddlers offer arcane treatments for every ailment imaginable. Alternative medicine enthusiasts are quick to promote ancient cures that mainstream medicine has yet to accept as viable health care. Are these unconventional treatments worth the medical fields recognition?

To truly understand the nature of the debate, it's important to understand exactly what homeopathy is and where it came from. Homeopathy was first developed by Samuel Hahnemann, in the late 18th century. Hahnemann, who earned a MD from the University of Erlangen, felt that the remedies of the time were lacking in credibility and caused him to abandon medicine and pursue a writing career. During his time as a writer he vowed to correct the malpractice he believed was going on in the medical community. He began developing theories on ways to treat illness while translating a text by William Cullen. Encouraged by a claim that bark from a Cinchona tree was a useful cure for malaria, he self-administered the bark on himself to evaluate its affects. He discovered that cinchona bark induced symptoms similar to malaria in his healthy body. This led to the conclusion that "like cures like." In other words he theorized that if a substance causes specific symptoms in a healthy person, then the same substance would cure those symptoms in an unhealthy person. The theory of "like cures like" or more commonly "the law of similars" is the fundamental principle in homeopathy. The next step is taking the substances and engineer the medicine.

The process in which homeopathic remedies are manufactured is called "succession". This is the method in which the original substance is diluted by either water or alcohol and then aggressively shaken. It would seem obvious that substances that can cause negative symptoms would need to be diluted in order to be consumed, but the immense amount of dilution that homeopathic medicine goes through is part of what defines them as homeopathic medication and causes such controversy. The substances are diluted according to the "C scale" which is a measurements system designed by Hahnemann. According to the C Scale, homeopathic medicine's potency is measured by the larger the dilution. Most commonly the products go through dilutions to the 10,000th degree. Practitioners claim that the substances leave a "water memory" and although it is impossible to distinguish the chemical, its energy was awakened during the shaking process. If the methods in which homeopathy follow are so controversial, why do people believe that homeopathic medicine is effective?

Homeopathic practitioners rely mainly on anecdotal evidence as proof that their remedies work. Proponents argue that the fact that patients claim that they feel better is suficenct enough to justify homeopathic practices. Proponents also argue that homeopathy has been practiced for more then two hundred years, so it must work. They also claim that the scientific community doesn't want homeopathic medicine because it’s a cheaper alternative to modern medicine. Credibility has largely been established through support by the World Health Organization and that homeopathic remedies are FDA approved. Despite approval by these organizations and all of the anecdotal support, mainstream medicine still doesn't except homeopathic medicine as a valid treatment. One of the major reasons conventional medicine doesn't except homeopathy has to do with the "law of similars." It's a completely counter-intuitive theory, but it is still an essential component to homeopathy's reasoning. Consider the conventional and homeopathic treatments for insomnia. Conventional medicine use sedatives which slow function in the central nervous system and result in sleepiness. The Homeopathic treatment for insomnia is a caffeine pill. Any rational observer should understand why treating a illness or symptom with a substance that…