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A type of homeopathy that uses medicines made by diluting and succussing the suspected causes of disease, such as a virus, toxin, or pollutant. It is common in isopathy to administer nosodes. Johann Joseph Wilhelm Lux (1773-1849), a veterinarian, is credited with creating isopathy in 1833.

Isopathy is not a type of vaccine treatment. Isopathic medicines are not administered to evoke an immune response. A vaccine against a flu virus may contain only non-living viruses, which are introduced to stimulate the immune system to create antibodies against the virus. An isopathic medicine contains a miniscule amount of a live virus in the belief that like cures like (law of similars) and that succussing the potion releases vital spirits and makes it more potent (the law of infinitesimals). Vaccine theory rejects the notion that there is any such thing as "vital spirits," a law of similars, or a law of infinitesimals.

John Goodwin, an isopathic homeopath in New Zealand, claims that the Theratest machine he uses can detect any toxins in the body. He uses it to determine what he calls "the toxic pecking order." He then develops homeopathic remedies from the toxins and promises to completely detoxify anyone who comes to him for treatment.* Goodwin describes the theratest machine as "a highly sophisticated bio-electrical machine that functions by measuring minute electrical impulses that travel throughout the body meridians via the acupuncture points found on the skin surface."* In another place, Goodwin claims that with his theratest machine: "I can measure the energy fields particular to poisons, bacteria, viruses, etc. In this way I can determine what, if anything, is the causative agent in any given body or animal."* This is interesting since no scientific instrument has ever detected a single meridian, yet Goodwin uses a machine that he somehow knows sends electrical impulses (which can be measured) into these undetectable channels and end points and can measure subtle energies that no other scientific instrument can detect. Amazing. (Note: whatever device Goodwin is using, it should not be confused with the TheraTest invented at TheraTest Laboratories, Inc.™, founded in 1988 by a group of clinical rheumatologists and laboratory investigators from the University of Illinois at Chicago. This device is used for autoantibody testing and allows clinicians to effectively track the changes in autoantibody profiles for improved disease management.)

See also anthroposophic medicine, complex homeopathy, detoxification therapies, homeopathy, natural cancer cures, nosode, sarcode, theratest machine, and sympathetic magic.

further reading

books and articles

Barrett, Stephen and William T. Jarvis. eds. The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America, (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1993).

Barrett, Stephen and Kurt Butler (eds.), A Consumers Guide to Alternative Medicine: A Close Look at Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Faith-Healing, and Other Unconventional Treatments; edited by (Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1992).

Barrett, Stephen. "Homeopathy: Is It Medicine?," in The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal - A Skeptical Inquirer Collection, ed. Kendrick Frazier (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1991), pp. 271-277.

Bausell, R. Barker. (2007). Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine Oxford.

Bellavite, Paulo, Peter Fisher, and Andrea Signorini. The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology. 2 Ed. Translated by Anthony Steele. (North Atlantic Books 2002).

Campbell, Anthony. (2008). Homeopathy in Perspective - Myth and Reality.  lulu.com.

Gardner, Martin. 1989. "Water with memory? The dilution affair." Skeptical Inquirer 12(2):132-141.

Hill, C. and F. Doyon. "Review of randomized trials of homeopathy," Review d'epidemiologie et de sante publique, 38(2):139-47, 1990.

Hines, Terence. Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (Prometheus 2003).

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. "Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions," (by the father of the great jurist), 1842.

Jarvis, William. ed. "Homeopathy: A Position Statement by the National Council Against Health Fraud," Skeptic vol. 3, no. 1, 1994, pp. 50-57.

Kaminer, Wendy. Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials (Pantheon Books, 1999).

Kleinjen J., P. Knipschild, and G. ter Reit. "Clinical trials of homeopathy." British Medical Journal. 302: 316-323, 1991.

Lessell, Colin B. The Infinitesimal Dose: The Scientific Roots of Homoeopathy (C.W. Daniel Company Ltd. 1995).

Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, Melchart D, Eitel F, Hedges LV, et al. "Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials," Lancet 1997;350:834-43.

Loudon, Irvine. ed. Western Medicine: An Illustrated History, (Oxford University Press 1997).

Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud  (Oxford U. Press, 2000).

Ramey, David W. "The Scientific Evidence on Homeopathy," Health Priorities, Volume 12, Number 1, 2000.

Raso, Jack. "Alternative" Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1994).

Reilly, David. Morag A. Taylor, Neil G. M. Beattie, Jim H. Campbell, Charles McSharry, Tom C. Aitchison, Roger Carter, Robin D. Stevenson. "Is Evidence for Homeopathy Reproducible?" The Lancet, Vol 344 . December 10, 1994. Pages 1601-1606.

Sampson W, and W. London. "Analysis of homeopathic treatment of childhood diarrhea." Pediatrics 96:961-964, 1995.

Sampson, Wallace and Lewis Vaughn. 2000. editors. Science Meets Alternative Medicine: What the Evidence Says About Unconventional Treatments; Prometheus Books.

Satel, Sally M.D. and James Taranto. (1996). "The battle over alternative therapies," Sacramento Bee, January 3. First published in The New Republic.

Shapiro, Rose. 2008. Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All. Random House 

Sheaffer, Robert. "Psychic Vibrations - E-mailed Antigens and Iridium's Iridescence," Skeptical Inquirer, January/February 1998.

Singh, Simon and Edzard Ernst. 2008. Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. W. W. Norton.

Stevens, Phillips Jr. "Magical Thinking in Complementary and Alternative Medicine." Skeptical Inquirer. November/December 2001.

Taylor, M. A., Reilly, D., Llewellyn-Jones, R. H., McSharry, C., and Aitchison, T. C. (2000) "Randomised Controlled Trial of Homoeopathy Versus Placebo in Perennial Allergic Rhinitis with Overview of Four Trial Series" BMJ 321, 471-476

Timmer, John and Chris Lee, Jonathan M. Gitlin, and Matt Ford. (2007). "Diluting the scientific method: Ars looks at homeopathy," Ars Technica, September 11.

Wagner, M. W. 1997. "Is Homeopathy 'New Science' or 'New Age'?" Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 1(1):7-12.

Williams, Guy R. The Age of Miracles: Medicine and Surgery in the Nineteenth Century (Academy Chicago Publishers 1981).

websites and blogs

Homeopathy; what's the harm? By Simon Singh

Is Alexa Ray Joel's "homeopathic overdose" possible? by Abel Pharmboy at Terra Sigillata
If Traumeel is truly homeopathic, there is absolutely no way this product could have caused Joel's hospitalization....She is very fortunate that she took what appears to be a homeopathic remedy rather than some other kind of pill.

Homeopathy Pushers Sink Their Case Before The Trial Begins by Rebecca at Skepchick
Spokesmen for homeopathy "freely admit that there’s no evidence for homeopathy and that they only sell it because people are throwing money at them."

The Montagnier “Homeopathy” Study by Harriet Hall
"Homeopaths are grasping at straws when they cite this study. It involved dilution and agitation: that’s the only possible hint of anything homeopathic and it is nothing but a false analogy." See also: Why I am Nominating Luc Montagnier for an IgNobel Prize by Andy Lewis

A total disaster for homeopathy - The Donner report by Jan Willem Nienhuys
"Fritz Donner (1896-1979) was ... a homeopath....he discovered that many things were seriously wrong in homeopathy....Donner was very surprised that nobody wanted to listen to his findings....When Donner got the idea to ... give everybody three rounds of placebo (in three successive weeks), his testees, physicians who took his introductory course in homeopathy, filled their diaries with just as many 'symptoms' as when they got a real (highly diluted) remedy. When Donner told this to his homeopathic colleagues, they didn't believe him....The whole Donner report was published in German in a not very well-known journal (Perfusion) in 1995, and also in a dissertation of 2003....the original German texts are now available on the internet (as well as a Dutch translation)."

What's the Harm? homeopathy

Social and judgmental biases that make inert treatments seem to work by Barry L. Beyerstein (1999)

Homeopathy - the ultimate fake by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Alternative Medicine and the Laws of Physics by Robert L. Park

The End of Homeopathy? by Ben Goldacre

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Fifty woo-ful facts [about homeopathy] - Respectful Insolence

Your Friday Dose of Woo: When a mad mathematician meets quantum homeopathy

Homeopathy - a position statement by the National Council Against Health Fraud

BBC Horizon program: Homeopathy put to the test

James Randi's take on the response to the Horizon program

Randi responds to Benveniste's claim that he is the victim of a witch hunt (September 5, 2003)

HomeoWatch Your Skeptical Guide to Homeopathic History, Theories, and Current Practices A Quackwatch subsidiary operated by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

What's up with homeopathy? - Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope

The End of Homeopathy? by Leon Jaroff

Are the principles of Homeopathy scientifically valid?

Classical Homeopathy by Douglas Hoff

Homeopathic Glossary by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The Quackometer: The "New Fundamentalism": Why Lionel Milgrom is Plain Wrong (Again)

Bad Science: Lionel Milgrom - Quality Homeopathic Debate

Sense About Science on Homeopathy

Bad Science and Humorous Research Skewered at the Ignoble Awards by Sheila Gibson

Homeopathic proving methods

Homoeopathy by Andrew Vickers and Catherine Zollman

Jacques Benveniste's corner

Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann

The National Center for Homeopathy

Canine Natural Cures Looking for a homoeopathic product to help your dog?

news stories

Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO People with conditions such as HIV, TB, and malaria should not rely on homeopathic treatments. Dr. Nick Beeching, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: "Infections such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis all have a high mortality rate but can usually be controlled or cured by a variety of proven treatments, for which there is ample experience and scientific trial data. "There is no objective evidence that homeopathy has any effect on these infections, and I think it is irresponsible for a healthcare worker to promote the use of homeopathy in place of proven treatment for any life-threatening illness." (emphasis added)

British scientists ask WHO to condemn homeopathy for diseases such as HIV "Clinics throughout Asia and sub-Saharan Africa offering ineffective remedies for serious illnesses, putting lives at risk, researchers say."

As a fourth study says it's no better than a placebo, is this the end for homeopathy? by Sarah Boseley

Does Homeopathy Work? by Nathan Williams

"Many previous studies have demonstrated that homeopathy has an effect over and above placebo....It has been established beyond doubt and accepted by many researchers, that the placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial is not a fitting research tool with which to test homeopathy." --a spokeswoman from the Society of Homeopaths

Homeopaths 'endangering lives' by offering malaria remedies

Homoeopathy: voodoo on the NHS

Study [in Lancet] says homeopathic medicines don’t work - Evidence suggests remedies offer placebo effect, but no real benefits

Sceptic's tests support homoeopathy. Now the challenge for scientists is to repeat it, The Independent, by Steve Connor

Three-month ban for homeopathy GP


Richard Dawkins interviews Prof. Michael Baum on YouTube

Last updated 03-Jan-2016

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