London: Homeopathy tricks you into feeling better, even if a tincture prescribed is not genuine, new research says.
Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis who approached a homeopath experienced significant easing of joint pain, inflammation and other key markers of the disease. Yet, it made no difference whether the solution they received was a genuine homeo tincture prescribed to treat rheumatism, or a placebo, according to the journal Rheumatology.
Sarah Brien of Southampton University, who led the study, said it provided the first scientific evidence to show such benefits were "specifically due to its unique consultation process".
Homoeopathy is based on a theory that substances which cause symptoms in a healthy person can, when vastly diluted, cure the same problems in a sick person.
The research compared different groups of patients, who were already being given conventional medication for the disease, reports the Telegraph.
Those who had a series of five consultations with a homeopathic doctor experienced "significant clinical benefits", whether the tincture they received was a specially prepared "homeopathic" remedy used to treat rheumatism, or a placebo.
Patients given exactly the same remedies without the consultations did not improve.
The findings suggested that simply "talking and listening" to patients could dramatically assist their health.
George Lewith, professor of health research from the university, said: "This research asked the question: `Is homeopathy about the talking, or is it about the medicine?` We found it was about the talking, and indeed about the listening."