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Research project: A qualitative study of rheumatoid arthritis patient’s perceptions of the homeopathic consultation - Dormant - Dormant

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The aim of this study was to explore RA patients’ perceptions of the homeopathic consultation including any perceived benefit.


The role of the consultation in mediating improved clinical outcomes has been demonstrated in both conventional and complementary medicine but to date no depth study has explored how complementary medical consultations achieve such benefits.  The aim of this study was to explore RA patients’ perceptions of the homeopathic consultation including any perceived benefit.



Qualitative study nested within a placebo-controlled multi-centre trial assessing adjunctive homeopathy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In-depth, narrative style interviews with 16 participants were carried out and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.



The super-ordinate theme indicated that homeopathic consultations enabled participants to cope better with their RA resulting in perceived improvement in their physical health, wellbeing and/or illness management. Four themes associated with improved coping were: receiving emotional support; exploring the illness; exploring self; and gaining advice. Participants gained benefit by engaging in those aspects of the consultation they perceived appropriate to meet their individual needs. Perceived benefits were often mediated by increased cognitive and emotional awareness and subsequent changes in perception. 


Participants valued a range of benefits arising from the homeopathic consultation. These benefits resulted from exploring the participants’ wider narrative of their illness. Homeopathic consultations may provide an additional resource for RA patients and address unmet needs. Identifying the “active ingredients” that confer benefit may be appropriate for other clinicians.


Project team

Prof Sarah Brien (PI), Dr Geraldine Leydon, Reader, Primary Care, Medicine
Prof George Lewith, Professor, Primary Care, Medicine


Associated research themes

Self management in chronic health conditions

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Orally presented at the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research Norway 2010

Orally presented at the South West Society for Academic Primary Care Annual conference, Oxford 2010

Key Publication

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