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Don't ignore the power of self-healing

I am a full-time GP practising homeopathy, acupuncture and other healing techniques alongside usual medicine in 10-minute appointments. Professor Edzard Ernst, as a professor of complementary and alternative medicine, has a partial view of healing and medicine ('If evidence supports it, so will I').

He falls into the trap of most clinicians and almost all scientists in ignoring the inherent design feature we all possess - namely self-healing. Should the placebo effect be the most useful aspect of an antibiotic or SSRI then I would gladly prescribe and consume them in appropriate circumstances - wouldn't you? That they might have additional benefits is a bonus.

Should there be a medicine with wider benefits to self-healing, scientific logic would suggest this to be a preferable medication, bearing in mind 'first do no harm' and our tragic record of iatrogenicity.

I request that the professor study the null hypothesis: placebo has no benefit in disease. And perhaps he could address another null hypothesis: Professor Ernst is not being defensive.

From Dr Andrew Sikorski, Ticehurst, East Sussex

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