Finally got around to doing a quick blog on this ….
(Mon 9 Nov) Whilst out and about in Ashby de la Zouch, I chanced upon Jane’s Health Foods, I’d heard that there was a homeopath who held clinics there, so decided to have a look.
Inside it looks pretty much like every other health food shop I’ve ever been in, filled with the usual assortment of products designed to appeal to the ‘worried well’ or those wanting the latest fad food, fat-busting or detox products.
Nothing to get too excited about, however I soon found a flyer for Helen Saunders ‘registered homeopath’, she works around the S. Derbyshire, NW Leicestershire, Staffordshire area and qualifies for 6 ‘canards’ when checked in The Quackometer. The next clinic in Ashby was scheduled for early Dec.
I got home and decided I’d drop this homeopath an email and see exactly what she was prepared to offer. I wasn’t really interested in cures for the usual range of aches, pains, coughs and colds, so I decided to ask something a little more creative.
Here is the email I sent her: ( 13 Nov 2009)
Last Monday I called into Jane’s Health Foods in Ashby de la Zouch as I’d been told there was a homeopath there.
They gave me one of your flyers and I just though I’d email you before deciding to book an appointment.
I am planning on travelling to Senegal sometime early in the new year (prob early Feb) and have been looking at the vaccination requirements for the country. I have been to that area before and didn’t get on too well with some of the medications I was given,particularly malaria, it caused lots of tiredness & headaches, although far preferable to malaria !
There seems to be quite a list of suggested vaccinations. Can you tell me if there are any homeopathic alternatives for the following:
*Vaccination sometimes recommended
* Recommendations that are marked “Vaccination sometimes recommended” should be considered as “Vaccination strongly recommended” if a person is travelling frequently or spending extended time in that country.The list of vaccinations was taken from this site: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/africa/senegal.shtml
I should be there for less than 3 months, but ideally would like to be covered for the first 3 and also Rabies & yellow fever.If you can help then I’ll contact you to arrange an appointment during your next clinic in Ashby
As you can see there are some pretty serious conditions listed for that area, the netdoctor site also states that there is a significant risk of malaria. I should point out that I have no intention of travelling to Senegal, however in the past I have spent time in Sierra Leone and Senegal and my comments regarding the effects of anti-malaria meds were perfectly true, they did give me some side effects, but they were perfectly manageable. I also saw at first had the effects of malaria on those unprotected against it. Within a few days of our arrival, fully fit para’s & Royal Marines were being flown home, totally incapacitated by a simple insect bite!
So I waited to see if I’d get a response. At the time there was much talk among both homeopaths and skeptics about the Home Office Evidence Check into Homeopathy, so I thought she may smell a rat and avoid answering ……. I totally underestimated her belief in her own abilities!
A couple of days later in came the reply: (16 Nov 2009)
Thank you for your enquiry. Homeopathy can provide an alternative to vaccinations, however, I do have to point out that I cannot provide any guarantees that you will not still pick up the conditions that are prevalent in the area you are going to. Research in the area of homeopathic prophylactics for tropical diseases is a bit thin on the ground, although there has been considerable research in the area of treating cows prophylactically for mastitis which is a similar situation.
I can provide prophylactics for all the conditions listed however, I would also treat you constitutionally which would mean giving you a remedy which is more individualised which should assist in boosting your immune system. I would also provide information on other self-help measures which should all help to keep you well. This can be carried out by us getting together for one consultation (which is 50 pounds).
If you would like to go ahead with treatment then please get back to me.
Now there are a few problems I have with this email.
Although she does state she cannot provide any guarantees that I won’t still get ill, she clearly says she can provide an ‘alternative to vaccinations‘ and also says she can provide ‘prophylactics’ for ALL the conditions listed. She makes no mention of the fact that there is no known cure for Yellow Fever and in some cases it can be fatal and although I realise she is offering an ‘alternative’ to vaccination, yellow fever vaccinations can only be given at an accredited centre.
However, what I find really annoying and totally indefensible is that she is prepared to offer me homeopathic protection against a range of dangerous and in some cases life threatening diseases, despite acknowledging that there has been very little research into the homeopathy for tropical diseases.
As if that isn’t bad enough, she then adds insult to injury by stating that bovine mastitis is a similar condition.
This is a cow with mastitis and it looks a particularly uncomfortable condition and not one I would like to experience first hand!
I am not aware that any of the conditions listed on the page of travel advice for Senegal would produce symptoms such as this.
If there were a disease that could potentially cause this to happen to me ….. I would stay well away from Senegal !
On a more serious note. I firmly believe that had I been fool enough to use homeopathy as an alternative to vaccinations for these diseases, there is the distinct possibility that I may not have survived to complain and ask for a refund !
Finally, I will just say that anybody using homeopathy to treat an animal in this condition should be prosecuted for animal cruelty !