Many so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) traditions have their very own diagnostic techniques, unknown to conventional clinicians. Think, for instance, of:
- applied kinesiology,
- tongue diagnosis,
- pulse diagnosis,
- Kirlean photography,
- live blood cell analysis,
- the Vega test,
(Those interested in more detail can find a critical assessment of these and other diagnostic SCAM methods in my new book.)
And what about homeopathy?
Yes, homeopathy is also a diagnostic method.
Let me explain.
According to Hahnemann’s classical homeopathy, the homeopath should not be interested in conventional diagnostic labels. Instead, classical homeopaths are focussed on the symptoms and characteristics of the patient. They conduct a lengthy history to learn all about them, and they show little or no interest in a physical examination of their patient or other diagnostic procedures. Once they are confident to have all the information they need, they try to find the optimal homeopathic remedy.
This is done by matching the symptoms with the drug pictures of homeopathic remedies. Any homeopathic drug picture is essentially based on what has been noted in homeopathic provings where healthy volunteers take a remedy and monitor all that symptoms, sensations and feelings they experience subsequently. Here is an example:
Now, here is the thing: most SCAM diagnostic techniques have been tested (and found to be useless), but homeopathy as a diagnostic tool has – as far as I know – never been submitted to any rigorous tests (if you know otherwise, please let me know). And this, of course, begs an important question: is it right – ethical, legal, moral – to use homeopathy without such evidence being available?
The simplest such test would be quite easy to conduct: one would send the same patient to 10 or 20 experienced homeopaths and see how many of them prescribe the same remedy.
Simple! But I shudder to think what such an experiment might reveal.