Let’s get the usual explanation out of the way: homeopathy is the belief that “like cures like” (if you get a burn, you should hold it over a flame!) and the more you dilute something, the stronger it gets (the majority of dilutions don’t have a single atom left of the original material).
Knowing this, we bet you can’t wait to hear how homeopath Binal Master says she can cure domestic violence! Obvious trigger warning is obvious.
Don’t worry, she’s not suggesting your abusive partner give you a light spanking, or anything. She’s just printed some sensible advice for people who are escaping an abusive relationship alongside a list of useless “remedies” for the psychological problems that might plague both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
Let’s start with the very worst thing she wrote:
Some cases are due to psychiatric disorders such as antisocial personality, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Homeopathy has been found effective in such cases also, where it gives people a second chance to adapt to society and live within the community.
Yep, she’s saying that homeopathy can help people with schizophrenia who are abusing their partners. I don’t know if you’re a person with schizophrenia or if you know anyone who is, but let me tell you what I know: finding the right real medication, like an anti-psychotic, is very, very important for someone with schizophrenia to live a normal, happy life. And once they find the right medication, staying on it can be extremely difficult but necessary. You know what people with severe psychiatric disorders don’t need? Magical water masquerading as medicine.
Let’s just say this clearly: homeopathy has not been found to be effective for psychiatric disorders in clinical trials. In perusing controlled studies, the most positive conclusion I could find was this, in a meta-analysis of 25 studies:
The database on studies of homeopathy and placebo in psychiatry is very limited, but results do not preclude the possibility of some benefit.
Even with that kind of waffling, the authors still state outright that there was no efficacy at all found for stress and anxiety. (They only saw the chance of some efficacy for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, both of which are medical mysteries in their own right.) Here’s one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that found there was no difference between homeopathy and placebo when it comes to anxiety. However, both placebo and homeopathy had substantial positive results, which helps explain why people actually think that the magical water works. In fact, according to a study last month, most people who use homeopathy for psychiatric issues use it for anxiety.
I couldn’t find any studies that looked into the homeopathic treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality, probably because it would be highly unethical for researchers to treat severe psychological disorders with magical water. But I guess that in Binal Master’s professional opinion, if it seems to work for anxiety, it must work for severe psychological disorders, right? And according to her bio at the end of the article, she “wants homeopathy to be considered the first line of treatment and not merely alternative.” If you had an abusive, schizophrenic partner, would you want his or her first line of treatment to be sugar water?
Anyway, Master goes on to provides an entire list of which magic sugar water mixture should be used for which case of domestic violence. For instance, Ignatia should be used if your partner’s abuse caused you “disappointment in one’s life dreams”. Like, your life dream had been to be safe and healthy, and so now you are very disappointed. Natrum Muriaticum should be used if, because of your partner’s abuse, you now “cry horribly while alone looking at pictures and listening to music”. Arnica, which has been shown again and again to not have any effect, will help if the spousal abuse has made you feel “hurt, bruised, and tender”.
There are also “remedies” for the abuser. It’s unclear whether Master expects abusers to read this article, recognize themselves, and medicate accordingly, or whether she wants the abused partner to surreptitiously dose the abuser and wait for a magical cure, rather than get out of the relationship. Regardless, one cure is apparently Lycopodium to improve his self-esteem. Master says he may be domineering to family but meek in public, so Lycopodium should . . . make him . . . domineering everywhere? Unclear.
Lachesis is for the partner who is abusing you out of jealousy, and Anacardium is just for your typical violent, raging abuser. Considering the homeopathic principal of “like cures like,” I assume that Anacardium is a plant that, when eaten, gives you rabies.
I would say that this is the most irresponsible article on alternative medicine I’ve ever read, but let’s be honest, I read a lot of irresponsible articles on alt med. Master gets a few points for actually suggesting that domestic violence victims alert authorities and seek help from a doctor, even if by “doctor” she actually means “the magical shaman who hangs out at the Whole Foods on 15th Street.” Overall, on a scale from “harmless nonsense” to “horrific bullshit,” I’d rate this one as “deplorable fuckery.”