International Symposium | 7-9 June 2013 | Berlin

 

Homeopathy 2013: From experience to knowledge?

Debate • Information • Dialogue

Successful self-resumé:

International Symposium „Homeopathy 2013: From experience to knowledge?“ was a complete success

 “A fantastic symposium at all levels: multifaceted, high-class, fascinating, informative lectures, colorful projects world-wide, and a reunion (partly) after years with dozens of colleagues and friends with whom I have shared deep, beautiful, and hard times in Bosnia and in Iran.” The personal resumé of the participant Sonja Gasparini tells a lot about the atmosphere and quality of the HOG symposium with top-class lecturers that took part from June 7-9, 2013 in Berlin. 15 years of Homöopathen ohne Grenzen e.V. (HOG) were the reason for a retrospect, a profound self-evaluation, and last but not least a look ahead: roundabout 200 participants got a comprehensive insight into current research on homeopathy.

With the guiding theme “Homeopathy 2013: From experience to knowledge?” HOG deliberately focused on the crucial question of the symposium. Elisabeth von Wedel, 1st chairwoman of HOG: “We have to reflect our homeopathic work over and over and have to confront ourselves with the discussion, even in the media. Never before has homeopathy been more widely spread than today – and at the same time it has never been more controversial. The symposium was an important step to present our work to a broader public.” During the symposium, experts from all over the world examined the gap between successful practice and the uncleared items in research from different angles.

The organizers deliberately looked for controversy as well. Within the framework of a debate with a top-class cast, even opponents of homeopathy got the chance to speak. Debate participant Dr. Christian Weymayr, author of the book “The homeopathy lie”, appeared surprised after the symposium: “I did not get any angry, but many friendly looks, and instead of being excluded, many interesting discussions arose that in fact did not dissuade me from my fundamental conviction, but made me think differently about some things.” Of course, the symposium also gave room for celebration: The wonderful location, the Werkstatt der Kulturen in Berlin-Neukölln, with a huge back yard for conversation, the sunny weather, and a long night with dancing and exuberance created a very special atmosphere in this anniversary year of HOG, which will certainly be remembered for a long time. The symposium also opened the chance to find new members and supporters and to pointedly collect funds.

 

Key issue „Homeopathy between the poles: significance and limits of research”

Homeopathy is still moving between the poles: again and again proofs of the effectiveness of homeopathy are being demanded. Dr. Klaus von Ammon proved himself a real “juggler of data”: Vividly and yet comprehensible to laymen he gave insight into the different directions of research on the phenomenon of homeopathy. The auditorium got a broad review of the current trials. Ammon gave clear evidence for the repeatedly claimed effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. Studies on ADHD, for example, showed very good results. The impact of homeopathic remedies can even be shown in vitro. Case series on patients showed positive results, as has been proven in some cohort studies. The “why” of the effects still have to be explored, though. Find more information on the lecture of Dr. Klaus von Ammon.

 

Dr. sc. nat. Stephan Baumgartner introduced basic research on the method of potentisation to the participants of the symposium. His “duckweed” (Lemna) experiment has been reproduced just like the tadpole experiments of Prof. Christian Endler. This fulfills an important scientific claim. Validation of this research by a different institution has not been possible so far due to the lack of funds.  Find more information on the lecture of Dr. sc. nat. Stephan Baumgartner.

 

Researcher due to the personal level of suffering: Rachel Roberts presented the current situation of homeopathy in Great Britain. In 2005, the renowned journal “The Lancet” loudly announced the definite end of homeopathy, after Shang et al. had wanted to prove the ineffectiveness of homeopathy by means of a meta-analysis. Henceforth, homeopaths world-wide had to stand against sharp criticism by sceptics. Roberts, Chief Executive of the Homeopathy Research Institute London, was able to highlight the shortcomings of the mentioned meta-analysis and to indicate several positive studies on the effectiveness of homeopathy. She also invalidated the argument that homeopathy should not be used as long as the mechanism of its effects was not cleared: The mechanism of action of aspirin, e.g., has remained in the dark for decades and even today has only been partly discovered. Currently, considerable 51 percent of the medical interventions used in British medical care today are of unresolved efficacy. We are not authorized to publish more information on the lecture of Rachel Roberts at the moment. (The film about the lecture will probably come out in the beginning of November, we will inform you then!)

 

Kate Chatfield examined the issue of ethics in the controversy about homeopathy: While a number of publications depict homeopathic treatments as unethical measures, Chatfield developed a fascinating line of argument in the course of her speech that illustrated current decisions in health care from an ethical view. This brought up quite astonishing results: The three main principles in medical ethics are the promotion of health, autonomy, and justice/equity. And yet the conditions that are responsible for 90 percent of the diseases and the sufferings world-wide only have relevance for 10 percent of medical research world-wide. We are not authorized to publish more information on the lecture of Kate Chatfield at the moment. (The film about the lecture will probably come out in the beginning of November, we will inform you then!)

 

Anne Schadde’s lecture dealt with the first paragraphs of the organon. With her usual sublteness, she analysed Hahnemann’s language and revealed the hidden numerology that shows Hahnemann’s Masonic mind. The highlight of her lecture was the description of an impressive healing with the help of tourmaline. Find more information on the lecture of Anne Schadde.

 

A debate on the issue “Controversial homeopathy: No homeopathic humanitarian aid without scientific imprint ?“ brought together Dr. Klaus von Ammon, Kate Chatfield, Dr. Ellis Huber and Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach on the side of the advocates, and Prof. Dr. Martin Lambeck and Dr. Christian Weymayr on the side of the opponents. The debate was moderated by Malte W. WilkesFind more information on the guidelines of the debate of Malte W. Wilkes.

With pointed questions he revealed the different positions of the participants and led them to a civilized exchange of views. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to allow both sides to respond in detail to the arguments of the opposing party. The different views were fanned out too far. Eventually, all participants reached a minimum consensus. They agreed upon the use of healing methods whose mechanisms of action are still not completely revealed – providing that the patient is being informed about this fact and the possible consequences. At this point, Homöopathen ohne Grenzen found themselves confirmed in their work: One of the main tasks of the association is the comprehensive information about  homeopathy, its opportunities and limitations.

Key issue “Trauma”

Humanitarian missions in war zones and after natural disasters confront HOG’s aid workers with severely traumatized patients. One key issue in Berlin was working in conflict areas – one of the most important tasks of HOG world-wide. Elisabeth von Wedel, 1st Chairwoman of HOG, pointed out the concept of Homöopathen ohne Grenzen: “We work on an equal footing and above all want to educate in foreign countries. The symposium was able to combine both views and experiences – those of the instructors and those of the trained persons on site.” Media relations at HOG show that this is an issue of special interest for journalists.

 

Dr. Ingrid Pfanzelt, medical specialist for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, showed the potential and the limitations of homeopathic treatment of post traumatic stress disorders both at home and abroad. Trauma ist not always equal: After clearly traumatic events like accidents, natural disasters, or wars many people develop the typical post traumatic stress disorder. In everyday practice, rather subtle traumata causing post traumatic stress disorders are quite more frequent. They are not as obvious in their symptoms. Often, psychotherapy is necessary for sustainable healing. Find more information on the lecture of Dr. Ingrid Pfanzelt.

Dr. Seila Kulenovic-Latal, physician and classical homeopath from Bosnia-Herzegowina, strikingly described the treatment of women who are still suffering from the consequences of having been expelled or raped. Her lecture with many examples from practice drew a positive balance of the work of the last two decades. Homeopaths make an important contribution to the restoration of the torn social structure. The patients do not chose their homeopaths according to nationality or political orientation. Find more information on the lecture of Dr. Seila Kulenovic-Latal.

Key issue “Homeopathy in an intercultural setting”

Another key issue of the symposium was the significance of HOG’s work in foreign countries and its ethical tenability. Ethnologist Angelika Wolf gave an overview of healing methods and medical traditions. People from different cultures have different expectations on healing and experience health, illness, and cures in different ways. There are also various models of interaction between patients and homeopaths. Angelika Wolf put the debate about the effectiveness of homeopathy into a context of a sound alliance between academic medicine and state. Homeopathy in Germany today is considered a complementary value as long as it is practiced under medical supervision. Find more information on the lecture of Angelika Wolf.

Matthias Strelow, companion of HOG for many years, presented parts of his Master’s thesis – partly with astonishing results. The insights into the preferred forms of learning of the students in HOG projects and the most promising options for the transfer of knowledge and practice will surely enhance future projects. Knowledge transfer in the local language – in the courses as well as in the teaching materials – is of particular importance. Find more information on the lecture of Matthias Strelow.

 

 

 

 

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