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Homeopathic talks ease arthritis pain

U. SOUTHAMPTON (UK) — When combined with conventional treatment, homeopathy can significantly reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

But a recent study published in the journal Rheumatology, finds that the improvement was due to homeopathy’s consultation process and not its remedies.

“Although previous trials have shown homeopathy may help patients with rheumatoid arthritis, this is the first time that we have scientific evidence that these benefits are specifically due to its unique consultation process,” comments Sarah Brien, a senior research fellow in complementary medicine at the University of Southampton and the study’s lead author.

“Homeopathic consultations differ from those in conventional medicine in that homeopaths focus on treating the patient, whereas conventional doctors tend to treat the illness. The homeopathic consultation process improves the health of these arthritis patients based on standard rheumatology measurements and does so safely and without side effects.

“What we don’t yet know is if it is possible to introduce some of the techniques or approaches used within these consultations into conventional medicine.”

Researchers recruited 83 people with rheumatoid arthritis from clinics in Southampton, Poole, and Winchester for the study. Each patient received a series of homeopathy consultations over a 24-week period between January 2006 and July 2008, while continuing their conventional treatment.

Patients and doctors reported significant reductions in a variety of symptoms including reduced ‘disease activity scores’, fewer swollen joints, reduced pain, and improved mood.

The team now plans to conduct more research into identifying which elements of the consultation process are most beneficial and if homeopathy is a cost effective treatment.

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