Homeopathy - Are Placebos Effective in Children and Animals?

Homeopathy is in the tradition of the magic signature theory "similia similibus curentur" - "something similar is healed by something similar." Accordingly, similarities in nature indicate a healing effect - a stone that looks like a kidney works for example against kidney problems. Followers of this world view see it as evidence that homeopathy also helps with children and animals.

The placebo effect
In the narrow sense, placebo describes a dummy drug that does not contain any active ingredients, but still triggers a reaction and triggers a healing process. These reactions can be demonstrated in controlled measuring procedures.

Self-suggestion works
Brain research shows that the belief in a cure has a direct effect on the neurotransmitters and hormones, for example on the body's own pain relievers, which behave very similarly to the medically effective substances in tested drugs. The decisive factor is the sense that a patient gives the pill or (in homeopathy) the globules called sugar globules - but not a non-existent pharmacological effect.

The placebo effect can also mean care, according to homeopath critic Natalie Grams. For example, if a child cries because it has cut itself and the mother sticks the proverbial consolation on it, the "unfortunate" child soon stops screaming and is happy again. The patch is rarely a blood-soothing, but a symbolic meaning.

Children of homeopathy followers
Natalie Grams writes: “Homeopathy is now particularly adept at using these two mechanisms. On the one hand, she administers tablets without active ingredients and she often combines this with a ritual of care, empathy and the strength of good experiences. The globules thus have the meaning "I will give you help, dear child" and without this being necessarily expressed in words. "

The child receives help
According to this, the child learns above all that the mother takes care of his problem. The mother also feels that she has done the “right thing” and, Grams says, is good for mother and child.

Intuitive connection
High sensitivity as the intuitive connection between mothers and their children is very strong. An infant and a toddler must recognize subtle signals from the mother and respond to them in a conspicuous manner that the mother immediately notices.

The medicine effect
Mothers calm children with a variety of rituals, but, according to Grams, the “expressly medical focus of homeopathy reinforces the“ I can and will help ”effect very positively. You don't do anything, you do something that (supposedly) makes medical sense. ”

The globules trigger a placebo effect
According to Grams, mother and child expect the globules to work and hope that something will change for the better, and the placebo effect will work: it really does change.

Illnesses or imaginations?
Norbert Aust, who is also skeptical about homeopathy, also doubts that the complaints against which convinced parents give their children globules are really illnesses.

He says: “Children obviously have to work like clockworks and accordingly the daily routine is structured by taking globules. To the delight of the homeopathy industry, they see "diseases" and "disorders" that no responsible conventional medical professional would consider a disease worth treating. "

Globules for every occasion?
According to Grams, the globule-believing parents give other globules if the first do not “work”. Then heal the disease on its own, the symptoms go away on their own, and both mother and child are convinced of the effect of the globules, and the next time the sniffing, the game repeats.

Finding globules intuitively?
Homeopathy fans attach great importance to the fact that everyone has to find their own globules individually. "The times the globules did not help excuse them with" We just did not find the right remedy in time, "Grams writes. According to her, it is a typical confirmation error, or, it should be added, a perpetual validity that always confirms itself, even if the opposite of what was expected.

Placebo and “information”
According to Hahnemann, however, homeopathy disciples do not blame the placebo effect, magical thinking or the common ritual for real or supposed effects, but "information" contained in the globules.

Is there information about the globules?
According to Grams, my homeopath gives information that cannot be explained, which could neither be found nor can be found in the future. It is dangerous that the children are calmed down, but at the same time believe in the real non-existent effect of the globules.

Magic ritual
According to Aust, the children would also be dependent on a magical ritual: "They learn that there is nothing that simply goes away and does not require special attention and treatment."

What is the danger?
According to Grams, the danger is that believers of this kind also believe that they can treat serious illnesses with globules. However, these diseases could have serious consequences and would be more bearable through rituals, beliefs and placebo - but not cured.

Animals and globules
The same applies to dogs and cats as to children, according to Grams. They would also have very fine antennas for the feelings of their owners - dogs, for example, could feel "master" epileptic seizures before he noticed anything himself.

Dogs smell fears and other moods and also react intensely when someone takes care of them. “Suffering” cats can be pacified, and rituals are very important to them.

In addition, animals cannot talk, and since homeopathy followers primarily give globules to their favorites, they are convinced of the positive effects and interpret the behavior of the animal accordingly. It remains to be seen whether Fiffi is really sad or happy.

In addition, animals have excellent self-healing powers, and the keeper really only sees a completely natural process when the symptoms subside. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

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