Mixed Methods Homeopathy Research of the ‘3 Hs’: History; Health-Related Quality of Life; Hearing the Voices of Parents
05 February 2020 (online)
Background: Homeopathy is a charismatic medical practice but an under-investigated clinical field. We present a research contribution from Bulgaria. The aim is three-fold, within the ‘3Hs’ framework: 1) to review the History of homeopathy in a post-communist country; 2) to investigate the Health-related Quality of Life (HrQoL) of chronically ill homeopathy patients; and 3) to Hear parents’ voices.
Methods: The observational multi-centered study (Ethical approval, 2016) followed a mixed methods convergent-parallel design. The EQ-5D-3L instrument was used during the quantitative phase for assessing HrQoL of patients receiving individualized homeopathic medical treatment (IHMT) for more than a year (n = 211; >18 years old); there were no restrictions on the consultation length and prescribed homeopathic remedies. The qualitative phases included historical research and in-depth interviews with parents who choose homeopathy for their children (n = 19). The research settings were out-patient homeopathic clinics.
Homeopathy was introduced into Bulgaria by Dr Mirkovic in 1885; its use was forbidden in 1944. Its modern history began in 1992 with the first teaching course; legal recognition was granted in 2001.
HrQoL results: patients without problems in any of the five domains of EQ-5D represented 29.5% of the total (n = 65); only 6.2% (n = 13) reported any extreme problem. The mean state of health/VAS was 75.3 (SD, 18.2). More than half of the patients (n = 137, 64%) had used IHMT for longer than 3 years. There was a positive correlation between duration of IHMT and VAS-self-rated valuation (r = 0.171; p = 0.013). More than a quarter of the patients (n = 64, 30.3%) were using homeopathic remedies as complementary to conventional (n = 39, 18.5%) or to non-conventional therapies (n = 25, 11.8%). Further research is needed to prove causality of the intervention.
Hearing parents’ voices was considered in four fields: Choice of homeopathy; Family dynamics; Supportive environment; Relationships (parent–child–homeopath).
Conclusion: The presented research promotes integration of homeopathy in the national healthcare of Bulgaria.
Keywords: Homeopathy research, history, EQ-5D-3L, Bulgaria