Placebo and Homeopathy

Thank you for your article "From Placebo to Homeopathy: The Fear of the Irrational" (D. Viza, The Scientist, 12[18]:8, Sept. 14, 1998). I can fully endorse Viza's position, from a clinical and psychological perspective. The whole placebo issue is a reflection of a paradigmatic impasse: Our therapeutic endeavors rest on the unreflected presupposition that only causally specific, hence biochemically specifiable and explainable, interventions are scientifically warranted. While this certainly is

Harald Walach
Jan 3, 1999

Thank you for your article "From Placebo to Homeopathy: The Fear of the Irrational" (D. Viza, The Scientist, 12[18]:8, Sept. 14, 1998). I can fully endorse Viza's position, from a clinical and psychological perspective. The whole placebo issue is a reflection of a paradigmatic impasse: Our therapeutic endeavors rest on the unreflected presupposition that only causally specific, hence biochemically specifiable and explainable, interventions are scientifically warranted.

While this certainly is one viable perspective, this approach neglects the fact that the organism, a very complex and probably autopoietic system, acts, in part, self-directed. This entails that any causal intervention leads to a cascade of correcting answers, besides the intended causal action. Other systems of healing, like homeopathy or maybe other complementary and native healing systems, rely on the triggering of the systemic self-healing response, which probably is a complex redirection of the system's balance. This might be brought...

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