MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The ‘CANADIAN COLLEGE OF HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE’ has posted an interesting announcement:

Homeopathic Treatment of Asthma with Homeopath Kim Elia www.wholehealthnow.com/bios/kim-elia

In asthma, bronchial narrowing results in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a sense of tightness in the chest. Traditional treatments, such as bronchodilator and steroidal inhalers, reasonably control the condition, but cure is elusive. Side effects and long-term use can eventually be quite damaging, including impairment of immune function and growth rate in children. Homeopathy has an excellent track record in treating this debilitating illness, and offers the hope of weaning off of traditional injurious treatments, replacing them with a far gentler and deeper-acting solution.

About Kim Elia

Students from around the world have expressed appreciation and admiration for Kim’s superb knowledge of the history of homeopathy, his deep understanding of homeopathic prescribing, and his extensive knowledge of materia medica. He is known for his dynamic and distinctive teaching methods which reflect his immense knowledge of the remedies and his genuine desire to educate everyone about this affordable and effective healing modality.

END OF QUOTE

There a few facts that the college seems to have forgotten to mention or even deliberately distorted:

  1. Asthma is a potentially lethal disease; each year, hundreds of patients die during acute asthma attacks.
  2. The condition can be controlled with conventional treatments.
  3. The best evidence fails to show that homeopathy is an effective treatment of asthma.
  4. Therefore, encouraging homeopathy as an alternative for asthma, risks the unnecessary, premature death of many patients.

And who is Kim Elia?

Here is some background (from his own website):

  • Apparently, he was inspired to study homeopathy when he read Gandhi’s quote about homeopathy, “Homeopathy cures a greater percentage of cases than any other method of treatment. Homeopathy is the latest and refined method of treating patients economically and non-violently.” He has been studying homeopathy since 1987 and graduated from the New England School of Homeopathy.
  • Kim is the former Director of Nutrition at Heartwood Institute, California.
  • He was the Director of Fasting at Heartwood.
  • Kim was a trainer at a company providing whole food nutritional supplements.
  • Kim serves as CEO of WholeHealthNow, the distributors of OPUS Homeopathic Software and Books in North America.
  • Kim provides and coordinates software training and support, and oversees new software development with an international team of homeopaths and software developers.
  • He was inspired to create the Historic Homeopathic Timeline, and is responsible for a growing library of recorded interviews and presentations with today’s world renowned homeopaths.
  • Kim was the principal instructor and developer of the four year classical homeopathy program at the Hahnemann Academy in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.
  • He is currently developing new homeopathy projects.

What the site does not reveal is his expertise in treating asthma.

The Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine claims to be dedicated to the training of homeopaths according to the highest standard of homeopathic education, emphasizing the art and practice of homeopathy as outlined in Hahnemanns’s Organon of the Medical Art. We aim to further the field of homeopathy as a whole through the provision of quality, primary homeopathic care.

If that is what the highest standard of homeopathic education looks like, I would prefer an uneducated homeopath any time!

49 Responses to How to kill a few asthma patients with homeopathy

  • Kim modestly left out his expertise as a unicorn wrangler and fairy monger.
    Now that the Booker Prize is open to non-UK authors, he’s in with a chance.
    His encouragement for Canadian authorities to put homeopathy back in the box (as in the UK), is appreciated.

    All of which is ad hominem and very naughty of me, but really…!

  • Heck, I use various medications for asthma. I’m definitely staying on them, too, since I cannot see how sugar pills can do anything. I don’t care about present or new treatments until homeopaths stop their work and do serious research into how it can possibly work. Of course, that isn’t going to happen.

    I wonder, though, what happens if one of the patients treated for asthma wioth homeopathy dies from asthma. Could the homeopath be sued? I’d quite like to see homeopathy in court defending their treatment. It would be an interesting experience!

  • It is too too bad that good research on the homeopathic treatment of asthma has been published in the LANCET, thereby disrupting your incorrect assertion that there is no good evidence that homeopathic medicines are effective in the treatment of people with asthma. This study used standard diagnostic measures to determine which substance each asthma patient was most allergic and then gave a homeopathic dose of THAT medicine in the 30C potency.

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(94)90407-3/fulltext

    The p-value was “only” 0.003.

    • oh dear!
      and you think that over-rides a negative Cochrane review?
      by ‘good evidence’, I usually mean the totality of the reliable evidence.
      in any case, as you know Dana, the Reilly study did not withstand Lewith’s attempt of indepencent replication:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11872551
      nor was it a study of homeopathy. IT WAS ISOPATHY which is not based on homeopathy’s prime assumption, the ‘like cures like’ principle.

    • A ‘study’ with only a dozen or so subjects in each group? And the results of which have NOT been reproduced in the past quarter-century? Sorry, but this is stupid rubbish.
      And a nice example of Betteridges law of headlines:
      “Is evidence for homoeopathy reproducible?”
      NO

      • Ohhhh…doing one of your porkies again! First, the Lewith study was not a “replication” (and you KNOW this…but it is cute to watch your pretend assertion).

        Reilly noted that his study used much more rigorous admission criteria, with a full re-diagnosis of asthma in every patient in a laboratory histamine provocation test before being accepted, and then again 4 weeks later. Secondly, the Reilly trial purposefully did not conduct their study at the peak of the house dust mite season (as compared with the Lewith trial which conducted their trial at the peak of the season). The Reilly team reasoned that isopathy (the use of the SAME medicine that might use the allergy symptoms, rather than the most SIMILAR medicine) is a weak form of homeopathy and tends to be less effectiveness when the body is being maximally challenged by the allergen.

        Further, Reilly noted that his study evaluated patients during the same 4-week period for all subjects in the study and only used patients from specific geographical zone (west-central Scotland), while the Lewith trial treated patients over a 30-32 week period, and Lewith’s team never divulged from which geographical zones for his subjects.

        Of additional significance, Reilly noted that all of the patients in his study were prescribed a (single-blind) placebo run-in as a way to reduce the placebo effect once the trial formally begins. The Lewith trial did not utilize this important feature.

        Ultimately, because the Lewith trial sought to be a replication trial, there are simply too many differences between the two trials. Even with these differences, it is important, even vital, to note that there WERE statistically significant differences between the symptoms of the patients given a placebo and those given a homeopathic medicines, though these differences were not primary outcome measures.

        • he would, wouldn’t he

        • still not homeopathy at all, old chap

          • The use of a HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE in a “homeopathic potency” is still HOMEOPATHIC! “Isopathy” is simply a style of homeopathic medicine. What a VERY WEAK response you’ve given, and you know this.

          • wrong!
            just plainly wrong!
            homeopathy is defined by the ‘like cures like’ assumption:
            ‘Homeopathy is a therapeutic method using substances whose effects, when administered to healthy subjects, correspond to the manifestations of the disorder in the individual patient.’ [Int Dict Homeop]

          • Oh, another PORKIE!

            Are you REALLY saying that your major concern about homeopathy is that it is based on its principle of “like cures like,” and NOT the nanodoses used? We all KNOW that your primary concern is the nanodoses…but are you saying that ISOPATHY works?

            You seem to be like our American President, you cannot seem to tell the truth…

          • oh Dana, I do love your comments! they are a reliable source of hilarity.
            this might some of your questions
            https://edzardernst.com/2017/06/is-homeopathy-nano-medicine/
            and thank you for likening me to Trump; this shows your mental state [are you sure you take the right remedies?]

    • N=28??

      How did tosh like this get past peer review? The straws Dana grasps grow more risible by the day.

    • Dana, aside from your gullible acceptance of a result with minuscule patient groups and no independent replication, treating patients with a diluted version of a substance that causes them problems is not homeopathy. It’s isopathy, as pointed out very recently on this blog: https://edzardernst.com/2018/10/brazilian-homeopaths-in-line-for-a-nobel-prize/.

    • FDA issued a strong advisory against OTC homeopathic drugs purportedly for asthma. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm438976.htm

    • Oh dear.

      n=28
      A + B vs B design
      Isopathy

      Mathie et al. only rated it (reference A112) as a B5 (uncertain risk of bias in five domains), far too poor even to be included in his analysis. [1]

      If it was possible to feel sorry for Ullman, I’d feel sorry for Ullman.

      __________
      1 Mathie RT, Ramparsad N, Legg LA, et al. Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of non-individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Syst Rev 2017;6. doi:10.1186/s13643-017-0445-3

  • The CCHM is based in Toronto, Ontario. In Ontario, homeopathy is recognised and self-regulated by the College of Homeopaths of Ontario. Their Standard of Practice can be found here http://www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca/Standards%20March%202014/Standard%2015%20%20Scope%20of%20Practice.pdf

    It is rather a long but somewhat informative document. In Ontario, homeopaths can not legally diagnose any disease or condition. They have a legal duty to refer patients to real doctors. And the Ontario Registered Health Professions Act states –

    30. (1) No person, other than a member treating or advising within the scope of practice of his or her
    profession, shall treat or advise a person with respect to his or her health in circumstances in which it is
    reasonably foreseeable that serious bodily harm may result from the treatment or advice or from an
    omission from them. 1991, c. 18, s. 30 (1); 2007, c. 10, Sched. M, s. 6

    So advising patients to ditch their asthma medication in favour of homeopathy is a no-no. The College made an interesting statement regarding CEASE therapy – they saw no reason to explicitly ban it as treating autism was outside of their scope of practice.

    Lay homeopaths do seem to delight in taking courses about diseases/conditions that they can not legally offer to treat. In the UK courses in the homeopathic treatment of cancer lead by Indian homeopaths aren’t exactly unknown. Most of the attendees are lay homeopaths.

  • For some reason, the people here at this website don’t seem to remember the wise words of the father of medicine, Hippocrates, “First, do no harm.”

  • Four years ago I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I have had asthma all my life. I have just been to the doctors and seen a senior nurse who has told me I no longer have this condition but asthma and she has change my medication. My breathing is great and I don’t feel I need the COPD inhaler anyway, but have managed with my Ventolin for years. The nurse won’t give it back to me. I was told by the doctor that once you have COPD you can’t not have. I am puzzled.

  • Yes, first do no harm.
    And second?

    Be realistic, apply critical thinking, set aside whim and imagination, study the real world, use plausible reproducible scientific methods to provide evidence that the therapy/treatment/remedy used does have identifiable beneficial effects over and above placebo, and beneficial effects over and above those of any harmful side effects.

    Oh, and be honest and tell patients what the issues are and obtain their fully in formed consent.

    With that established, those who seriously want to diagnose diseases, illnesses and injuries and treat patients suffering from them by attending to those conditions will study, train and qualify as medical practitioners.

    It is to be regretted that even some medical practitioners ‘loose their way’ (I quote from a biography of Hahnemann) and enter the the esoteric, imaginative, bizarre, spiritual realm where, no doubt, unicorns dwell. So be it. We cannot all be perfect – but we can try our best to be as perfect as we can be. Dragging us back 250 years is not helpful and is unkind, and may be harmful, to patients who need care with integrity, not quackery.

  • I understand that Ghandi thought doctors should not receive payments from patients for treatment. A very reasonable principle in the case of homeopathy – pay nothing get nothing.

    I don’t think Gandhi would approve of Kim Elia’s apparently lucrative homeopathic business model.

    • It is so interesting that you actually think that YOU can speak for Gandhi. THIS is the level of arrogance that is so common from skeptics…and what’s also interesting is that no one has called her out on it.

      • You appear to think you can speak for Darwin and his supposed support of homeopathy though, Dana.

        One rule for you one rule for me. Keep shifting those goalposts, Dana.

        • What else is there to do, if one is shifty?

        • The BIG diff is that Darwin’s favorite physician just happened to be a homeopath and hydrotherapist, while he had NO respect for allopaths of his day. And as my article notes, Darwin experienced a TREMENDOUS amount of benefit after just 8 days of treatment, and this HUGE benefit was not from a placebo effect because he didn’t initially believe in homeopathy.

          Thanx for reminding me of this amazing story from history that cannot be denied:
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816387/

          • Quite right, Dana. It was unlikely to be the placebo effect. It would have been regression to the mean.

            Your hapless prating regarding Darwin has been demolished elsewhere and, as ever, remains nonsense no matter how much you might wish it to be otherwise. Carry on with your inconsequential flanneling, Dana. It will do nothing to alter reality no matter how much you might wish it to be otherwise.

      • Best not to ask what Gandhi thought of homeopathy…

  • It’s so interesting that Eli has became rich by selling quack medicines, having been inspired by Gandhi to do so – not that Gandhi believed homeopathy was quackery.

    So interesting that Gandhi apparently thought doctors should not charge patients for treatments.

    I don’t claim to speak for Gandhi. That is a false premiss to set up an opportunity for your ad hominem.

    I’m reasoning on the basis of what he is reported to have thought.

    If he thought that doctors should not take payments from patients, the rational conclusion must be that he would disappove of Eli – and all doctors who take money from patients.

  • If Eli doesn’t sell homeopathic treatments for profit but dispenses them purely out of goodness of his heart then Gandhi would be proud of him. Otherwise not.

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