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

Camilla spent ten days at the end of October in a sophisticated meditation and fitness center in southern India. Life has recently been hectic for the Queen Consort: at 75, she has been in a non-stop succession of various ceremonies for the funeral of Elizabeth II, always one step behind her husband, not to mention her new status as sovereign… Enough to block her chakras in no time.

She came to the resort with her bodyguards and a handful of friends and was able to take advantage of the tailor-made treatments concocted for her by the master of the house, Dr Issac Mathai, who created this high-end holistic centre on a dozen hectares of scented gardens near Bangalore. The program includes massages, herbal steam baths, yoga, naturopathy, homeopathy, meditation, and Ayurvedic treatments to “cleanse, de-stress, soothe and revitalize the mind, body and soul”, as the establishment’s website states.

Guests are required to follow an individualized, meat-free diet, with organic food from the resort’s vegetable gardens, based on lots of salads or soups – Camilla is said to be a fan of sweet corn soup with spinach. Cigarettes and mobile phones are not allowed, although it is assumed that Camilla must have some privileges due to her status… and the basic rate for the suites, which starts at $950 a night – the price of the rooms varies between $260 and $760, the rate including a consultation with the doctors.

Charles and Camilla have been fans of the Soukya Centre in India for a decade. The place corresponds in every way to their deep-rooted convictions about health. Like her husband, Camilla is a follower of organic food, she also practices yoga and treats her face with creams made from nettle and bee venom. For his part, Charles has long been an advocate of alternative medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and also hypnosis… He even set up a foundation to support complementary medicine by lobbying the British health service to include it in complementary therapies for certain patients, which caused an uproar among the pundits of traditional medicine.

________________________

If you suspected I was (yet again) sarcastic about the royal couple, you are mistaken. The text above is only my (slightly shortened) translation of an article published in the French magazine LE POINT (even the title is theirs). I found the article amusing and interesting; so, I looked up the Indian health center. Here are some of the things I found:

The 1st impression is that they are not shy about promotion calling themselves THE WORLD’S BEST AYURVEDA TREATMENT CENTER. The doctor in charge was once a ‘Consultant Physician’ at the Hale Clinic in London, where he treated a number of high-profile people. As his professional background, he offers this:

M.D. (Homeopathy); Hahnemann Post-Graduate Institute of Homeopathy, London M.R.C.H, London; Chinese Pulse Diagnosis and Acupuncture, WHO Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China; Trained (Mind-Body Medicine Programme) at Harvard Medical School, USA

The approach of the center is described as follows:

The fundamental principle underlying Holistic Treatment is that the natural defense and immune system of an individual when strengthened, has the potential to heal and prevent diseases. In the age of super-specialisation where human beings are often viewed as a conglomeration of organs, it is crucial to understand ourselves as multi-dimensional beings with a body, mind and spirit. These interconnected dimensions need to be in perfect harmony to ensure real well-being.

And about homeopathy, they claim this:

Homeopathy originated in 1796 in Germany, and was discovered by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German scientist. Homeopathy is popular today as a non-intrusive, holistic system of medicine. Instead of different medicines for different parts of the body, one single constitutional remedy is prescribed. As a system of medicine, Homeopathy is highly scientific, safe, logical and an extremely effective method of healing. For over 200 years people have used Homeopathy to maintain their good health, and also to treat and cure a wide range of illnesses like allergies, metabolic disorders, atopic dermatitis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Auto-immune disorders.

At this stage, I felt I had seen enough. Yes, you are right, we did not learn a lot from this little exploration. No, hold on! We did learn that homeopathy is highly scientific, safe, logical, and extremely effective!

 

The question, however, is should we believe it?

31 Responses to Camilla went to India to cleanse her chakras

  • We did learn that homeopathy is highly scientific, safe, logical, and extremely effective!

    Long ago in high school, I encountered the following saying: “Gutta cavat lapidem – non vi, sed saepe cadendo.”
    Or, in its rather more recent (and unpleasant) incarnation: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

    Anyway, I’m curious how Camilla liked her Triple Brain Blaster cocktails with mercury, lead and arsenic. Because it appears that like many ayurvedic quacks, this Issac Mathai Nooranal person considers these highly toxic heavy metals to be to be legitimate (and even beneficial) ingredients in ‘medicinal’ concoctions.

    • I hope Charles still has a few bottles of his DUCHY ORIGINALS DETOX TINCTURE to save her life.

    • Well, in case anyone here wants to “follow the science” (rather than “follow your own beliefs”), here’s a meta-analysis from 1994, published in a respected conventional journal, that shows measured benefits from homeopathic treatment of toxicological substances:

      https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/096032719401300706

      Ah, I guess asking you to “follow the science” is a non-starter here if the results of such research doesn’t spin in your direction.

      • “Very few studies were independently replicated using comparable models.”
        I wonder why!

      • The paper is from 1994, Dana

        “Further research with special attention to methodological detail and independent replication should be done”

        Plenty of time has passed for this to happen, Dana. 28 years. Hasn’t happened, though, has it. So we can happily recognise the paper as the bit of useless, handwaving nonsense it is and ignore it. You know. Like the rest of science and medicine has done.

        Mister Insignificance strikes again.

        • @Lenny

          Plenty of time has passed for [further research] to happen, Dana. 28 years. Hasn’t happened, though, has it.

          Well, to an extent, it has. Klaus Linde and others have done several subsequent studies, and each one of those was both of higher quality and less favourable for homeopathy than the preceding one.
          https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)02293-9/fulltext
          “The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homoeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.”
          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16125589/
          “This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.”

          @Dana Ullman
          Have you found this 12C+ homeopathic preparation yet that shows unequivocal effects or even its sheer presence in independently replicated tests?

          Every known substance on earth makes it through this simple test. Not one homeopathic preparation has ever managed it. Which is what I might call a hint that you’re humping barking up the wrong postman’s leg …

      • Oh Mr Ullman, I’m glad you have looked in. Could you take a moment to name a laboratory that can distinguish homeopathic water from other water? You said in this Blog that “only fools or liars” doubted this could be done. So who can do it. Forty-first time of asking……

      • Hi Dana,
        please name the best clinical trial that, in your opinion, shows that homeopathy eliminates lead from humans – preferably AFTER APOLOGIZING FOR CALLING ME A LIAR.

        • Here’s a study on rats and lead:
          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8070841/

          Can you please explain the mechanism of the placebo response in rats?

          • I asked for a clinical trial
            homeopaths might be rats, but the rest of us aren’t!
            and while you are at it: you still need to apologize!!!

          • “Can you please explain the mechanism of the placebo response in rats?”

            I think it is important to know how to differentiate genuinely knowledgeable persons from numpties, quacks, woomeisters, fecking eejits, and menaces to public health (MPH).

            I can [am able to] explain it to someone who understands science and is in the former group.

            Neither I nor anyone else is able to explain it to someone who is in the latter group, such as the person who wrote this [my emphasis]:

            Although it is theoretically possible for educated people to explore self-treatment with homeopathic medicines, it is generally best to work with a professional homeopath when a person has been exposed to environmental poisons, even in sub-clinical doses.

          • @Dana Ullman

            Can you please explain the mechanism of the placebo response in rats?

            Pardon me for losing my patience here, but instead of coming up with increasingly bad-smelling pieces of crap that you call ‘study’, can YOU please explain the far more basic question:

            Why is there NOT A SINGLE 12C+ homeopathic preparation has EVER been found to produce robust effects, or even show its nature, in arbitrary, independently repeatable tests?

            You keep posting endless amounts of homeopropaganda here that implicitly suggests that there must be countless such homeopathic preparations, as each and every one of your pieces of quack drivel claims that, yes, homeopathic preparations have robust effects.
            Yet not only can you not even identify ONE (1) such preparation that has indeed shown to have consistent effects in repeated scientific experiments, you even ignore the question (even though I am absolutely certain that you have read it).
            This tells me that either you are well aware that you are peddling nonsense, and are therefore just a dishonest person (a.k.a. fraud), or else you have brainwashed yourself to such an extent that you let your personal beliefs prevail over even the most basic common sense. Either way, what you are proclaiming cannot be trusted and is certainly not worthy of respect.

          • Can you please explain the mechanism of the placebo response in rats?

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1783669/

            In the first phase of experiments, some statistically significant effects of homeopathic remedies (Apis, Lachesis and Phosporus) were observed… In the second phase of experiments, the effects of homeopathic remedies were not confirmed.

      • And here’s a load of specious ignorant bumwash and special pleading written by a halfwit who exists only as an insignificant object of ridicule.

        There y’go, Dana. Fixed it for you.

  • Perhaps they went to chill out before the next series of The Crown starts.

    Though Camilla always struck me as more of a gin and tonic and a packet of Woodbines type.

    • I think you can do both- an holistic approach with SCAM therapies will counter the Gs&Ts and Woodbines (other brands of unfiltered toxins are available).

  • The placebo effect in rats?

    I don’t know about rats specifically but when it comes to pets and farm animals who decides the animal’s condition has improved? Could it be the same human owner who decided to embark on this treatment? Or the homeopath who prescribed the treatment? So given the regression to the mean and the often subjective nature of “improvement” I see no need for any further explanation.

    • one element of the placebo effect was discovered in animals [dogs] by Pavlov

    • What’s so interesting here is that you’ve just proven that you didn’t read the rat study…and what’s more interesting is that no one here even seems to give a fig that you’ve shown your “intelligence” by proving your ignorance and your desire for ignorance…which is par for the course here.

    • @Socrates
      There are other mechanisms apart from placebo effects that can cause positive study outcomes, the most important one being simple chance. A certain percentage of studies will come up positive due to chance alone – and this percentage increases with decreasing population size, effect size, and study quality. So if you just keep churning out study after study, you will inevitably get false positive outcomes, even if bias or fraud played no role.

      And that is what you see in homeopathy: a couple of hundred positive studies that our water-shaking brethren keep coming up with as evidence for their beliefs. However, not one of those studies has been or can be replicated by independent scientists(*) – which means that they’ re probably one-off flukes. And no doubt, a far greater number of studies was actually done but came up negative, and remained unpublished.

      *: Which is what I keep hammering on: do homeopaths have a positive result? OK, fine, but that result is says exactly nothing unless it can be replicated by independent scientists – and not just once, but (almost) every time the crucial experiment is carried out. None of this has ever happened; I believe the highest number of successful replications was two or three – by the same scientist, who probably made the same error every time. Because when other scientists tried to replicate her positive results, they all failed.

    • @ Socrates, I hope you find these interesting…

      My comment about placebo terminology.

      I thoroughly recommend reading the following, which includes the term “true placebo effect” proposed by Edzard Ernst (1995)[1]:
      Placebo, Are You There?, by Jean Brissonnet, translation by Harriet Hall, MD.
      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/placebo-are-you-there/

      [1] Ernst E., Resch KL. (1995). Concept of true and perceived placebo effects. BMJ 311: 551‑553.

      Presentation on Placebos in Animals, SkeptVet, which expands on Edzard’s reply to you:

      Animals receiving inert treatments often show improvement in subjective outcomes, such as pain, which are assessed by caregivers, clinicians or researchers. While it is generally accepted that most animals are not cognitively capable of having beliefs and expectations about their medical care, and so cannot have the classic direct placebo response, caregivers and other humans involved in these studies are susceptible to such effects. The caregiver placebo effect, in which humans report improvement in subjective symptoms for animals receiving inert treatment, has been clearly demonstrated.

      It is also likely that animals receiving inert treatments may show improvement due to causes other than direct placebo effects. Research has shown human contact has predictable effects on behavioral and physiologic responses in domesticated animals, and these effects can easily be interpreted as improvement in clinical symptoms. And just as classical condition contributes to placebo effects in humans, such conditioned responses are certainly present in other animals and likely generate changes in the condition of animal patients and research subjects receiving inert treatments.

      Even relatively objective outcome measures have been shown to change in response to the administration of inert treatments. Seizure frequency, heart rate, and other objectively measurable outcomes show non-specific treatment effects in animals just as in humans. Conditioning, the Hawthorne Effect, general response to human contact, and other variables are likely responsible for these apparent placebo effects.

      See also
      https://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=placebo

      • Thanks for that. It’s pretty much what I thought. I can’t comment on farm animals but I have seen the way some homepathically inclined pet owners act. Their beloved critter is a bit off colour with some unspecified lurgy so they give it the magic pill, pamper it with treats and fuss then, what do you know, it perks up!

        And some animals are quite capable of learning behaviour which brings rewards.

  • It would of more help to her health if she gave up smoking!
    Just a suggestion.

    • Nah, no doubt court homeopaths have assured her that the filters on her cigarettes dilute the noxious fumes to 30C, which would mean that by smoking, she is in fact protecting herself against lung cancer, COPD and that host of other nasty conditions associated with smoking.

  • How can I measure the level of dirt in/on my chakras if I want to do a before and after assessment?

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