How widespread is the use of homeopathy?
Homeopathy forms a large and important part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), a market which is forecast to grow at a rate of 23 per cent every year.1
Today it is estimated that more than 600 million people use and trust homeopathy in 80 countries around the world.2
In Europe alone, nearly 130 million people access homeopathic treatment.2 It is used by 15 per cent of UK citizens (more than 9 million) and trusted by 69% of French and Belgian citizens.3 In Germany, there are almost 9,000 homeopathic practitioners and in Switzerland, where homeopathy is included as part of the National Health provision, 23% of doctors in outpatient care prescribe homeopathy.3
In 2004, the World Health Organisation stated that homeopathy was the second most used medical system worldwide.4
600 million people
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years.
Homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.
It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’ – a substance taken in small amounts can cure the same symptoms it causes when taken in large amounts.
Homeopathy is mainly taken in tablet form and can be used to treat both acute and chronic conditions in old and young, including babies and pregnant women. It can be safely used alongside conventional medicine.
a system of natural healthcare
What makes people want to try homeopathy?
Most people in the UK are brought up with conventional medicine and use the NHS as a first port of call in most instances. When they have tried everything that this has to offer and if they are no better, or are worse, or cannot tolerate the drugs and treatments, they look around for some other way to get better.
Some people prefer a more natural approach from the outset and try homeopathy and other forms of natural medicine first. They tend to use conventional medicine more as a ‘back-up’ rather than as a first choice.
Homeopathy is well known for being natural, gentle, safe and effective. It is entirely patient-centred in its approach and patients greatly appreciate this. First appointments usually last over an hour and qualitative research suggests that patients value: the therapeutic relationship with their homeopath; the length of consultations; the ‘whole person’ approach; being listened to; and treated as an individual.5
There are currently around 3,000 registered homeopaths in the UK6, 400 homeopaths who are also qualified doctors, 60 homeopathic vets, several registers and 16 homeopathic schools. People who train in homeopathy tend to be in their 30s and 40s, are highly educated and moving into their second career. Registered homeopaths have undertaken rigorous academic and clinical training, are insured and adhere to a Code of Ethics.
When they have tried everything that conventional medicine has to offer
Does homeopathy help people to improve their health?
Yes it does, particularly with regard to chronic, long term conditions.
For example, an observational study at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital included over 6,500 consecutive patients with more than 23,000 attendances in a six-year period;7 70% of follow up patients reported improved health, 50% reported major improvement. The largest improvements were reported in childhood eczema or asthma, and in inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal problems and migraines.
Other examples: in 2018 a study in Italy observed nearly 4000 patients who were assessed before and after receiving homeopathic treatment at a clinic in Tuscany.8 Improvements were recorded in 88.8% of patients overall, with significant improvements seen in 68.1%. In the nearby Oncology clinic, homeopathic and integrative treatment of the adverse effects of anti-cancer therapies was effective in 89.1% of followed-up cancer patients, particularly for hot flashes, nausea, depression, asthenia and anxiety.
A study in Germany followed over 3,500 chronically ill adults and children receiving routine homeopathic care from GPs over an eight-year period.9 At the start, 97% of participants were diagnosed with a chronic complaint and 95% declared previous conventional treatment for their condition. The study found that, “patients who seek homeopathic treatment are likely to improve considerably” and that health benefits were steady and long term.
There are more studies of this nature, especially from France, Germany and Switzerland, all countries where homeopathy is widely used.
70% of follow up patients reported improved health
What sort of people use homeopathy?
Since its development over 200 years ago, homeopathy has benefited millions of people, young and old, from all walks of life, in countries all over the world.
Research shows that 79% of the UK population are open to the idea of homeopathy and 15% of the population regularly use it.2
There are generally two types of people that use homeopathy: ‘TEETH’ and those who prefer a more natural approach.
TEETH stands for: Tried Everything Else Try Homeopathy. These people have tried everything conventional medicine has to offer, yet continue to suffer. Those who opt for natural medicine as a first choice usually do so because they do not want to take synthesised chemical drugs that are often accompanied by side effects. This is why so many mothers use homeopathy for their children.
Research suggests that more people would use homeopathy if they knew more about it.2 And not surprisingly, most people prefer a recommendation from someone they know and trust.
Find out about Homeopathy Awareness Week
79% of the UK population open to the idea of homeopathy