For years, Dr Grams prescribed homoeopathic remedies, as she was convinced of their effectiveness. Today, this is very different.
Religious war, homoeopathy, wishful thinking and reality, was the title of a conference at Abbaye Neimünster which was organised on invitation by AHA, the Alliance of Atheists and Agnostics.
The topic wasn't so much religious belief, but the belief in the medical efficacy of the little homoeopathic globules. There are no figures for Luxembourg, but in Germany alone, €670 million worth of these remedies were sold in 2018 - a huge market with many convinced followers.
The speaker, Natalie Grams, used to prescribe these homoeopathic remedies in her own surgery and was fully convinced of the efficacy of this alternative treatment.
Her conviction stemmed from her own experience as a patient when she was 22 years old. As no doctor was able to help her following a car accident, she found what she needed with a homoeopath: somebody who took their time to listen to her and understood that her symptoms were the result of trauma caused by the accident.
A critical book was then the trigger for her change of sides. Originally, she wanted to refute the criticism presented in the book, but as she delved deeper into research, she came to the conclusion that homoeopaths help their patients, but that the globules don't actually work. Following the so-called potentisation (homoeopathic dilution), there are no traceable amounts of the original active substance left in the end product. Since then, Natalie Grams has been advocating for a more rational and scientific perspective on homoeopathy. In the eyes of former colleagues she is perceived as a traitor and is often attacked vehemently.
Much of the debate is about emotions, as many doctors and patients ant to keep believing in homoeopathy, as they are disappointed with conventional medicine.
Prescribing both, under the motto of "in the worst case it won't do any harm, and in the best case the patient will feel better" is not an option for Dr Natalie Grams. It is an illusion that might lead to patients receiving inappropriate treatment. Medicine should orient itself on the scientific findings of the 21st century. The study of Samuel's homoeopathy dates back to 1796.
The debate is also useful to highlight those aspects that do not work in conventional medicine: very often, practitioners lack time to spend with the patient, who is not listened to properly and whose life story is not taken into consideration. Most doctors simply do not have the time for this and aren't paid for it either.
Natalie Grams pleads for a more human approach to medicine, where the doctor and the therapeutic relation with the patient help to heal, but which does not require little white sugar globules.