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My goodness homeopathy has been getting a bit of a bashing lately, thanks to British doctors who are calling for the NHS to scrap funding for it. The doctors are at a conference of the British Medical Association in Brighton, and they’re hopping mad that the NHS spends even a penny on what they see as nothing but a placebo.

Now that makes me hopping mad. The word placebo has such negative associations – so anything that doesn’t work, it’s labelled a placebo. Uh uh, they’re just not getting it. Now I’m not a particular fan of homeopathy – I have never seen a homeopathic doctor or had cause to see one – but I certainly don’t dismiss it. If it is a placebo, then in my book it has the potential to be a powerful treatment, possibly far more powerful than an allopathic treatment (there, I’ve said it).

There is such thing as the placebo effect – most doctors know that very well because it’s a scientifically researched concept. Way back in the 1950s, a groundbreaking study concluded that an average of 32 percent of patients respond to a placebo. In studies, that’s what they call dummy pills (so half the people in the study take the real deal while the rest take something that looks like a pill but contains no active ingredients).

Let’s bring things up to date a bit. In 2000, a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee stated, ‘The placebo effect is not just an imagined experience but can positively improve objective biological measures of health’, adding that placebo therapies could help treat conditions including allergies, angina, some forms of cancer, cerebral infarction, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis ulcers and warts.

So if you think it’s doing you good, then it probably will – it’s a powerful example of mind over matter. And what the medics don’t tell you – at least those who use the word placebo in a derogatory sense – is the number of clinical studies that find the placebo group reports similar or even better results than the actual drug being trialled. The scientific world is full of these ‘anomalies’. They just don’t publish those findings very often.

I’m going to climb down from my high horse now. I understand why medically-trained doctors aren’t particularly keen on the idea that NHS funds should be directed away from them and towards a therapy that, with the best of intentions, has little or no evidence to back it up. Just lay off the word placebo, okay? It’s time we embraced it in all it’s hopelessly misunderstood glory.

And just before I finish, if you’ve found homeopathy helpful – and there are many, many thousands of people who do (and they’re not all idiots for goodness sake) – don’t let these BMA bullies put you off.