Amongst the many logical fallacies employed by supporters of homeopathy. appeal to celebrity is one of the most common. (Follow the Twitter hashtag #homeopathy to see examples.) Typically, they will latch on to some particular newsworthy event and try and use that to promote their cause. The website of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths is awash with advice for Olympic participants and spectators. At the moment we have EURO2012 and the Olympic Games in the headlines so sport is the focus, hence “David Beckham and Homeopathy” has featured prominently on my twitterfeed. Curiousity got the better of me so I decided to find out if there was any truth to the claim that David Beckham does indeed use homeopathy. I googled David Beckham and homeopathy. This produced pages and pages of results but almost exclusively they were sites promoting homeopathy and strangely enough, many of them used exactly the same wording. No reputable news source seems to have reported or commented on David Beckham’s use of homeopathy, unless that is, the Tehran Times counts as a reputable news source. A little more googling reveals that the source of the Beckham is none other than Dana Ullman who at the time was promoting the sale of a book, The Homeopathic Revolution. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know if Ullman provides sources for his claim that, numerous sports greats have bragged about their use of homeopathic medicines including David Beckham, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, and many more.
Whether he does or not is largely irrelevant. The use of homeopathy by celebrities does not validate it. Some homeopathy websites claim that Beckham’s treatment of choice was Arnica. Once again Google is my friend. A search for arnica pubmed brings up a long list of reputable studies that have investigated the efficacy of homeopathic Arnica. Top of the list is “Efficacy of homeopathic arnica: a systematic review of placebo-controlled clinical trials.” by Ernst and Pittler (1998) which concludes that, “The claim that homeopathic arnica is efficacious beyond a placebo effect is not supported by rigorous clinical trials.”
Whilst I’m on the subject of celebrities and homeopathy I cannot ignore the Queen, who, we are told, “….. is never far from 60 vials of homeopathic medicines, carried in a special leather case, without which she won’t travel anywhere.”
It would appear then that members of the Royal Family do use homeopathy ……… except when they’re ill.