Homeopathy is a system of treatment that was first introduced by a German Physician, Samuel Hahnemann. The German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, who first formulated the laws and principles of treatment of Homeopathy was a medical physician trained in the old school who was well respected and who had produced many papers in the medical journals of his time. He was also an accomplished chemist and formulated a soluble preparation of Mercury that to this day is named after him, ‘Mercurious Solubilis Hahenmanni’.
A few facts about Homeopathy:
And in the present day:
· There have been numerous high-quality peer reviewed studies showing the biological effects of homeopathic remedies. One of the studies is about the white blood cell that is involved in inflammation. Using a homeopathic preparation it was shown that the cells involved were reduced. In another study which is called a Meta-Analysis study where a large number of research trials using homeopathic style dilutions were critically appraised, 73 % of the trails showed that the there was a measurable effect of the homeopathic remedies while in another study, which was repeated over a long time, homeopathically prepared aspirin had an effect on blood clotting While it may sound like a small thing, these studies actually show that the usual argument against homeopathic remedies being too dilute to have an effect is already being proven to be wrong. In this conference, there are topics which will address this matter in greater detail. Among the topics that will be discussed is work done by Luc Montaigner, the person who won a noble prize for discovering the HIV virus. In his work, he discovered that bacteria produced an electromagnetic signal which could be detected at very high dilutions even after the liquid containing the bacteria had been filtered and all bacteria had been removed. The significance of this finding will be presented in this conference. [[v]]
· In other case reports on Homeopathy, diseases that have no known cure in conventional medicine, one of which is Autism has been found to be helped by Homeopathy. Many parents of Autistic children have sought homeopathic treatment after reading a book written by Amy Lansky called ‘Impossible Cure’ where she recorded her autistic son’s treatment with Homeopathy. She later went on to study Homeopathy and become a Homeopath herself and wrote her book.[[vi]]
· Just now I mentioned how homeopathy played its parts in the epidemics of past times but it has been reported that Homeopathic remedies were used in Cuba in the last few years to prevent Leptospirosis epidemics and the institute that produced the homeopathic preparation is Finlay Institute which is an internationally known research based Vaccine Company. You will hear about this large trial in the conference and you will also hear about work being done for the prophylaxis of Dengue fever which is endemic in Malaysia and a disease which has been a cause for concern for the Ministry of Health.
· Homeopathic medicine has been regulated both in the United States and Canada, United Kingdom, Europe and the Indian by their respective Pharmacopeia and their respective drug agencies. Homeopathic medicines were prepared strictly according to the formulae and instructions of the Pharmacopeia. These homeopathic medicines although regulated, have been freely available in pharmacies and homeopathy stores very many countries.
The Indian government has established the Central Council of Indian Medicine (AYUSH) and also the Central Council of Homeopathy. These two institutions are working to standardise the training of traditional medicine practitioners and also homeopaths. While homeopathy has been well established in India over the past century, the Indian government is constantly looking into improving homeopathic education and fine tuning it.[[vii]].
In South Africa
Among the countries that have successfully regulated Homeopathic education and Homeopathic practitioners is South Africa. Homeopathy is fully accredited and taught in universities in South Africa and two universities that offer Homeopathy are the University of Durban and the University of Johannesburg. Only those who have had a full training in an accredited institution is allowed to register as a Homeopathic practitioner and treat patients. There was also a transition period where all homeopaths were registered but these practitioners had to pass a qualifying exam before their license to practice was renewed. Hence the government in South Africa made sure the practitioners were well trained and knew their field of practice. [[viii]]
The position of Homeopathic education in Canada is undergoing a transition and regulation is by the Transitional Council of the College of Homeopaths which was set up under the Homeopathy act of 2007.[[ix]]. The end result should see a governing body for the regulation of Homeopathy including Homeopathic education. Canada, like the US, has many regions with difference laws. The most advanced in regulating Homeopathy is the state of Ontario.
There are accredited courses for homeopathy and Endeavour College of Natural Medicine is offering a course which is not only audited by their registration body but is recognised by the vocational training and education boards in each state in Australia.
Homeopaths in Australia are regulated by the Australian Register of Homeopaths and the standards that have to be met in order to be registered include competency, training and education of the homeopath. Patients visiting registered homeopaths can be reimbursed by most of the major national health funds [[x]].
Homeopathy courses in New Zealand have to be accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications agency. Students studying at accredited colleges are eligible for student loans and other Government funding. Registration and regulation of homeopaths is the same as in Australia [[xi]].
In the US, while each state has different regulations, Homeopaths themselves are forming a central accrediting body that oversees all homeopathic education and ensures that quality homeopathic education is offered. This self-regulation seems to be a model for many of the first world countries and it works in these countries because the homeopaths themselves face educated patients who are very concerned about the level and depth of the homeopathic knowledge of their homeopaths. Regulation by the government for homeopathy is seen in a positive way because it creates professionalism for the homeopath and members of the public can be assured that the homeopaths they see are well trained. Among the states that have been proactively laying down regulations for T &CM including homeopathy is the state of Arizona. In the state of Arizona, new regulations have come into force [[xii]] and for the first time since 1920, there is an American Medical College of Homeopathy [[xiii]] which has a fulltime course in medical homeopathy with a curriculum that meets the standards set by the central accreditation board and the Arizona state regulations[vi].
What I have related to you in just a few words have not been painless developments. Some very hardworking and brave people were at the fore front working tirelessly to formulate rules and regulations, to design the curriculum and syllabus in order to ensure the education and training of homeopaths were done in the best possible manner and practicing homeopaths were registered and regulated.
This system of medicine is not one that is simple and easy, it in fact involves careful study of the patient and an in depth analysis to find the best possible medicine for the patient. For this reason, it becomes a matter of grave concern that there are many training centers which offer training which are short and not in depth and the homeopaths trained by these centers are not stopped from practicing. Hence in Malaysia, we have taken steps to regulate Homeopathic practice.
I would like to make special mention about medical doctors who practice homeopathy. There are many countries in the world where only medically trained practitioners are allowed to practice homeopathy. This is true in France, Germany, Iran and many South American Countries. In Russia, Homeopathy is a medical specialty and Medical Homeopaths who have a post graduate qualification in Homeopathy are considered specialists. Most Medical Homeopaths in the UK are members of the Faculty of Homeopathy, a Faculty that was established by an Act of Parliament in 1950. Membership with the Faculty of Homeopathy UK would mean a medical doctor has been properly trained in the practice of Homeopathy. This qualification is one that is sought after by doctors who wish to practice homeopathy worldwide and training is now available in many countries including Japan, Iran, India, Italy, Russia and South Africa. Discussions are under way to make this program available in Malaysia. Besides medical doctors, the faculty of Homeopathy opens its membership to Pharmacists, Nurses, Dentists and Veterinarians. Each profession has a different training syllabus and qualifying exam. Besides medical professionals who have valid qualifications in Homeopathy there are many who practice homeopathy from self-learning and from attending short courses. This happens in countries which do not have any legislation on the practice of Homeopathy by medical doctors. In Malaysia, when the T/CM act is gazzetted by Parliament , Medical doctors practicing homeopathy will also have to have a valid qualification in Homeopathy and be registered with the Malaysian Homeopathic Medical Council.
Dr Suriyakhatun Osman MBBCh, Pg Dip Rep Med, MFHom (UK)
[ii] NCH Hahnemannn pioneered the importance of hygiene available from : http://www.homeopathic.org/content/hahnemann-pioneered-the-importance-of-hygiene
[iii] Morrel P, Hahnemann the real pioneer of Psychiatry , http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/articles/psychiatry.htm
[iv] Hehr GS Hahnemann and nutrition , http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000707858180052X
([vii]). WHO. Legal status of traditional medicine and complementary/ alternative medicine: a worldwide review – india. [Online]. 2001. Available from: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Jh2943e/8.4.html [Accessed 8 Jan 2010].
([ix]). College of Homeopaths of Ontario. Welcome to the transitional council of the college of homeopaths of ontario. [Online]. 2009. Available from: http://www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca/ [Accessed 15th April 2011]
([x]). AROH. Accredited courses. [Online]. 2003. Available from: http://www.aroh.com.au/colleges.asp [Accessed 20th Feb 2010]
([xi]). NZCH. New members and students. [Online]. [2009?]. Available from: http://www.homeopathy.co.nz/default.asp?page=new [20th Feb 2010]