Sir, - Sylvia Thompson states (Alternative Agenda, March 20th): "Homeopathy is based on the principle that like cures like, similar to the medical theory underlying vaccination". This analogy of vaccination with homeopathy treatment is not uncommon among allopaths. The fact is that they are not alike and should not be confused.
Vaccination is the deliberate introduction of toxic material directly into the bloodstream, thereby bypassing all the subtle levels of the immune system. This introduction of attenuated or killed viruses into the body has the objective of inducing immunity by causing the production of specific antibodies. However, research indicates that the disease products used in vaccination may have far deeper somatic and psychological consequences than simply to immunise against specific diseases. They may transpose aspects of pathology into overall systemic activity and thereby set in motion more intractable and exotic neurological disorders.
Homeopathy is a system of healing which assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. Remedies - usually in the form of a tablet which is allowed to dissolve in the mouth - work by stimulating the body's own healing power. The remedies are non-toxic and have no side affects. The more a homeopathic remedy is diluted the more potent it becomes as a cure. This idea - the infinitesimal dose, as it is called - is a major stumbling block for the conventionally trained medical practitioner. Indeed, a common argument used against homeopathy is that any beneficial outcome must be due to the placebo effect since the remedy has virtually no material substance.
Homeopathy is based on a vitalistic principle - more akin to Chinese than to conventional medicine. Likening vaccination to homeopathic treatment is sometimes used in an attempt to play down the dangers of vaccination. Otherwise it may, of course, merely demonstrate a lack of understanding of the basic philosophy of homeopathy. - Yours, etc.,
Myles Crowe, Clonakilty, West Cork.