Can Homeopathy Treat Domestic Violence?
A professional alternative medicine practitioner claims that homeopathy can be used to treat anxiety, aggression, and even domestic violence.
Homeopathy was invented around 1796 by a doctor named Samuel Hahnemann. He believed that a small dose of a substance will cure whatever symptoms it would cause in a high dose.
Hahnemann also invented a "law of infinitessimals," claiming that a substance becomes more potent the more it is diluted — a premise which defies both common sense and the laws of physics.
Homeopathic solutions are often so literally watered-down that they don't contain a single molecule of the original medicine or substance: the patient is drinking nothing but water. Yet many homeopathic practitioners insist that it is safe and effective for a wide variety of problems — including domestic violence.
The article, "Homeopathy for Domestic Violence and Abuse," was written by a woman named Binal Master, who lists her medical qualifications as having "a Bachelor of Homoeopathy Medicine and Surgery" from a homeopathic medical college in Mumbai, India. Her article appears on several homeopathic and alternative medicine web sites, including homeopathyplus.com, based in Australia.
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Master writes, "The seeds of violence and abuse arise from insecurities faced in day-to-day lives, in love, relationships and work, and from feelings of neglect and isolation. …. This can lead to feelings of grief, displeasure, guilt, inferiority, jealousy and anger, resulting in physical aggression…. After careful case taking and analyzing the case, the homeopathic physician decides on the remedy which suits the patient’s needs. Other therapies like yoga, meditation, music therapy, dance therapy, hypnotherapy, anger management, and family therapy are available as adjuncts. Some cases are due to psychiatric disorders such as antisocial personality, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Homeopathy has been found effective in such cases also, where it gives people a second chance to adapt to society and live within the community…. Homeopathy is a safe and effective way to treat the victims as well as the culprits of domestic violence."
Master is claiming that victims of domestic violence and their abusers can be effectively treated by drinking water—possibly in conjunction with meditation or dance therapy.
The fact is that homeopathy has never been proven effective in treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any condition other than thirst. In 2010 the British government released the results of a comprehensive examination of homeopathy, finding that "there is no evidence that homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect…. The Committee concurred with the Government that the evidence base shows that homeopathy is not efficacious and that explanations for why homeopathy would work are scientifically implausible…"
According to a story in the Australian News.com site, Dr. Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association, agreed that "homeopathy was not even 'biologically plausible' and that it was dangerous to pretend it could work, and called for sanctions against ‘outrageous claims.' 'There is a potentially very severe problem that victims or perpetrators are being diverted into a pathway for which there’s no plausible evidence,' he said. 'This may stop someone in a potentially dangerous situation from making a decision that will keep them safe, and keeping them safe should be the first priority."
Richard Saunders, president of the Australian Skeptics, said that claiming that a homeopathic preparation could any serious condition, much less domestic violence, was "dangerous" and "closer to witchcraft than to medicine."
Saunders told Discovery News, "If you sell soap powder, it must have some soap in it. If you sell 'homeopathic medicine' the 'medicine' part is optional. What next? Homeopathy to cure cancer? Treating domestic violence with sugar or water might be a gag for Krusty the Klown, but no one would be laughing."
Homeopathic practitioners dismiss such concerns, insisting that homeopathy is both safe and effective. Anyone in a domestic violence situation should call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).