Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 Mar; 4(2): 60-5.
Use of and satisfaction with homeopathy in a patient population.
University of California-Los Angeles, USA.
BACKGROUND: This article describes a survey of new clients entering care with nine practicing classical homeopaths in the Los Angeles metropolitan area between January 1994 and July 1995. METHODS: Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire before undergoing diagnosis by the homeopath. Follow-up interviews were conducted by phone 1 month after diagnosis and face to face 4 months after diagnosis, along with a self-administered questionnaire before the final interview. A total of 104 participants entered the study; 77 completed all data collection. RESULTS: Clients sought homeopathic care for a wide array of largely chronic conditions. Respiratory, gastrointestinal, and female reproductive problems were the most common primary complaints. Most clients were highly educated, but had limited knowledge about homeopathy before entering treatment. Approximately 80% reported earlier, unsuccessful attempts to get relief from mainstream care. Four months after treatment, general measures of health status showed improvement, and only 29% of participants reported no improvement for the primary complaint leading to treatment. Satisfaction with homeopathic treatment was high regardless of outcome. Three outcome measures of perceived change--overall health status, primary condition for which treatment was sought, and outlook on life--were predicted by different combinations of study variables. CONCLUSIONS: Homeopathy does not divert people from seeking mainstream care. The use of alternative modes of care such as homeopathy can be understood as attractive and satisfying to educated individuals with chronic problems.