Fibromyalgia is a recently defined ailment that is being increasingly diagnosed. Not considered a disease but rather a syndrome, it affects an estimated three to six million Americans. Fibromyalgia includes a disparate group of physical and psychological symptoms, including pain and tenderness in a dozen or so sites, stiffness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, memory and concentration problems, and various states of anxiety and depression.
It is unusual for conventional medicine to recognize this ailment as a syndrome. In homeopathy, it is believed that all ailments are syndromes-that is, all disease is a constellation of physical and psychological symptoms and each patient has her own subtly different version of the disease. The fact that people with fibromyalgia tend to have slightly or overtly differing symptoms from someone else with the condition is not a significant problem for homeopaths. In homeopathy, each person is considered to have his or her own syndrome of symptoms, no matter what disease conventional doctors diagnose.
Because people with fibromyalgia tend to have distinct symptoms, this makes it easier for homeopaths to treat them successfully. However, homeopaths have also observed that a small percentage of people with fibromyalgia are so ill, with an immune system so compromised, that it is difficult to provide effective treatment.
The Scientific Evidence
Two high-quality scientific studies have tested homeopathic medicines in the treatment of people with fibromyalgia. In one, Peter Fisher, FRCP, FFHom, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and editor of Homeopathy, led a team of researchers who found that 42 percent of patients with fibromyalgia had symptoms that matched those of a homeopathic medicine called Rhus toxicodendron (aka Rhus tox).
In Dr. Fisher's study, half of the patients with fibromyalgia were prescribed Rhus tox 6C during the first half of the experiment and half were prescribed a placebo. Midway through the study, patients prescribed Rhus tox were given a placebo, and those initially given a placebo were then given Rhus tox. Researchers found a significant degree of improvement in the reduction of pain and tender points and improved sleep with the homeopathic medicine as compared to a placebo.
In addition to this study, more recent research published in Rheumatology also found statistically significant results from homeopathic treatment. Scientists from the University of Arizona conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 62 fibromyalgia patients who were randomized to receive an oral daily dose of an individually chosen homeopathic medicine or a placebo.
One special feature of this trial was that the first dose of medicine was given by inhalation (using patients' sense of smell) while both groups were monitored by EEG (brainwave measurements). The researchers found a significant difference in the EEG readings in patients inhaling the real homeopathic medicine compared to those given the placebo.
Because fibromyalgia has chronic symptoms, the best results of treatment with homeopathic medicines are provided by professional homeopaths. For a list of homeopaths in your area, ask the trained staff at the store that gives you remedies or visit www.homeopathic.org or www.HomeopathicDirectory.com.
"EEG Alpha Sensitization in Individualized Homeopathic Treatment of Fibromyalgia" by I. R. Bell et al., Int J Neurosci, 2004 "Improved Clinical Status in Fibromyalgia Patients Treated with Individualized Homeopathic Remedies versus Placebo" by I. R. Bell et al., Rheumatology, 1/04
Proponents of homeopathic remedies are quick to point out that homeopathic doctors take a holistic approach to medicine. You will be asked questions about your lifestyle, diet, sleeping habits, exercise habits, personality and medical history, all in an effort to help you get your body in the best health possible using natural stimulants and remedies.
Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine in which small amounts of a substance are administered in diluted form. Samuel Hahnemann is credited with creating homeopathy.|&&|