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Homeopathic Treatment Found to Reduce Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

21 Dec

Researchers from the University of Sheffield in the UK evaluated the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for reducing the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

Using a triple-blind design, 103 patients were randomly assigned to homeopathic medicine or an identical placebo condition. Patients had monthly consultations with a professional homeopath for 6 months. Outcomes were measured on the MFI - Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory.  Secondary outcome measures were the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS) and the Functional Limitations Profile (FLP).

Ninety-two patients completed treatment in the trial (47 homeopathic treatment, 45 placebo). Eighty-six patients returned fully or partially completed posttreatment outcome measures (41 homeopathic treatment group who completed treatment, 2 homeopathic treatment group who did not complete treatment, 38 placebo group who completed treatment, and 5 placebo group who did not complete treatment). Seventeen of 103 patients withdrew from treatment or were lost to follow-up.

Patients in the homeopathic medicine group showed significantly more improvement on the MFI general fatigue subscale (one of the primary outcome measures) and the FLP physical subscale, but not on other subscales. Although group differences were not statistically significant on four out of the five MFI subscales (the primary outcome measures), more people in the homeopathic medicine group showed clinically significant improvement. Also, more people in the homeopathic medicine group showed clinical improvement on all primary outcomes (relative risk=2.75, P=.09).

The investigators conclude that there is some evidence that the effects of homeopathic medicine are superior to placebo. Results also suggest that there may be nonspecific benefits from the homeopathic consultation. Further studies are needed to determine whether these differences hold in larger samples.

Citation:  Weatherley-Jones E, Nicholl JP, Thomas KJ, Parry GJ, McKendrick MW, Green ST, Stanley PJ, Lynch SP.. A randomised, controlled, triple-blind trial of the efficacy of homeopathic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2004 Feb; 56 (2): pages 189-97. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award