The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of reflexology and homeopathy as adjunctive therapies in asthma. In a single centre, randomised, investigator blinded, controlled study, 86 asthma patients were enrolled. They were assigned to one of three study groups:
- conventional treatment alone,
- conventional treatment with homeopathy
- conventional treatment with reflexology
All patients received their asthma treatment during the study and were followed as usual by their general practitioner. The clinical assessors were blinded to group allocations. The primary outcome was the change in the asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ) scores after 26 weeks. Secondary outcomes included asthma control questionnaire, EuroQol, forced expiratory volume in 1 sec, morning and evening peak expiratory flow, asthma symptoms, rescue medication use, and total medication score.
Minor improvements in the AQLQ score were observed in all three groups. However, no statistically significant changes in AQLQ scores were seen within or between groups. Likewise, secondary outcomes did not differ between groups.
The authors concluded that, in this study, the addition of homeopathy or reflexology to conventional treatment did not result in improved quality of life in asthma.
This study has several flaws. For instance, its sample size is too small to allow firm conclusions and it follows the ‘A+B versus B’ design. Therefore, we need to ask whether the findings are perhaps not reliable. The best answer to this question might be found by looking up the current Cochrane review. It concludes that there is not enough evidence to reliably assess the possible role of homeopathy in asthma. In other (and clearer) words, there is no good reason to assume that homeopathy is effective for asthma; in the present study, it did not even convey a placebo effect. This, I think, suggests that the conclusion of this new trial might be correct:
HOMEOPATHY DOES NOTHING FOR ASTHMA PATIENTS.