Remedies do work: local therapists

HOMEOPATHS practising on the Northern Rivers have laughed off suggestions there is no medical basis to their treatments.

Goonellabah-based homeopathic specialist Julie Green said she has seen "immediate" improvements in patients who have used homeopathy.

"I think when it's used well it can be absolutely brilliant," Ms Green said.

However, a draft public statement leaked from the National Health and Medical Research Council has said it is "unethical for health practitioners to treat patients using homeopathy" as it has not been shown to be effective.

The confidential statement is based on a 2010 evaluation of homeopathy by the British House of Commons science and technology committee, which declared it was no more effective than a placebo

Australian Homeopathic Association president Greg Cope said the draft statement leaked from the research council is out of date and incorrect.

"On the basis of the submission they received from us last year and on other research they are actually reviewing that position and investigating the details," Mr Cope said.

He said the House of Commons in the UK has since rejected criticisms that homeopathy is no better than a placebo.

"It's not true because there is a significant amount of researchdemonstrating it's more effective than a placebo," Mr Cope said.

"We see that it's effective on plants, animals and babies; all of which are circumstances under which a placebo could definitely not work."

Homeopathy is said to use the body's own healing mechanism to treat illness and is based on the law of "similars" or "like cures like".

Practitioners treat patients using a natural substance that has been diluted many times, however in large quantities these substances are said to cause the same symptoms the patient is trying to cure.

Mr Cope said it's a theory used all over the world.

"It's been around for 200 years and the World Health Organisation has recognised it's the sec- ond-most used therapy internationally, with upwards of 500 million users," he said. "We see it as an important part of the health-care system and an important option for people to be able to use."

Ms Green said she was concerned the criticism of homeopathy could result in quality treatment options in Australia being lost.

"I think there will always be sceptics, but what concerns me is if they get enough push we may not be able to get good-quality remedies," Ms Green said.

"If I had to get them in from India I wouldn't know what I was getting, but at the moment I can get them from reputable companies in South Australia."

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