Homeopathy will not survive if research is not pursued passionately: Dr Rajesh Shah

World Homeopathy Summit (WHS), an international conference dedicated to scientific research in homeopathy is getting organized in Mumbai. This is the first of its kind event in India, which is expected to change the perception of homeopathy. Dr Rajesh Shah, MD, Organizing Secretary for the Summit, who is a researcher himself, shares his mind with the readers of NJH, explaining the why, what, and how of the event. He emphasizes that homeopathy will not survive without research. Let us have chai-pe-charcha with Dr Shah, who is the director of Life Force Homeopathy and enjoys an unbeaten position in the Limca book of world records for treating patients from the highest number of countries (now 180) in the world.

WHS is scheduled for 11-12 April 2015 in Mumbai at Birla Matushree auditorium, Near Bombay Hospital.

NJH: Dr Rajesh, let's start with your campaigning of WHS by using the Whatsapp channel. How did you think of using Whatsapp as a medium?

Dr Rajesh Shah (RS): Yes, there are over 80 Whatsapp groups started in the last three weeks across the country as well as in other countries talking about WHS (World Homeopathy Summit). You see, the whole idea is to stimulate the minds of homeopaths and students about the need for change in the way homeopathy is looked at. Social media is a great thread to connect with the target audience and kindle thought process. Also, we at Global Homeopathy Foundation (GHF) have decided not to use papers and to save ecology.

NJH: Tell us about Global Homeopathy Foundation and its purpose.

RS: After having an active involvement in homeopathy for 15 to 40 years, about six homeopaths from different parts of India decided to put hands together to work for homeopathy, taking it to its next level. Dr Eswara Das (New Delhi), Dr SreevalsMenon, Dr Sait, Dr Kanan (Kerala), Dr Jayesh Sanghvi from Chennai, and myself decided to put hands together and founded GHF. We are fortunate to have MsEla Gandhi (Gandhiji’s granddaughter), Mr Nambiar (retired IAS officer), MrDangayach (director, Sintex) as our patrons. And, we have found that there are hundreds of professionals who are willing to work for the common cause, that is homeopathy.

The vision of GHF is to work strategically to boost the position of homeopathy, by supporting research, education, and promotion. WHS is the first step in that direction.

NJH: How did you conceive WHS and what is it all about?

RS: Well, as you are aware, there is a lot of negative publicity in the media about homeopathy, lately. Homeopathy has been criticized as a non-science system, especially in the UK and Australia. This wave may affect India anytime. We realized that the criticism about homeopathy is simply due to the fact that it is getting distanced from science. This is because of inadequate research. Personally, I am involved in organized research for over 15 years. I have firmly believed that homeopathy will not survive if research is not pursued passionately.

In retrospect, we observed that there is definite scientific research in many parts of the world. However, this research has not reached to the media, homeopaths, conventional doctors, and the masses. As a result, there is a gap. Also, this gap is responsible for the lack of confidence among young homeopaths about the science of homeopathy.

So, as a first step, we decided to bring as much original research as possible from all over, and showcase them to the homeopathy professionals, students, and the media. I am happy to say that we could persuade over 25 scientists-speakers from 9 countries (Austria, Brazil, Cuba, India, Italy, Nederland, France, UK, US,) to come together for the first time in the history of homeopathy, that too, in India! That is WHS.

NJH: That’s amazing. Please tell me more…

RS: Yes, it's incredible that in a short time so many of them agreed to present papers on fundamental research in homeopathy and to share how we could benefit from their work. This conference will be a great learning forum for all of us.

NJH: So, are the speakers’ homeopaths?

RS: Interestingly, about 80% of them are not homeopaths! They are basic scientists from the areas of physics, chemistry, engineering, pharmacology, nanotechnology, nuclear physics, molecular biologist, proteomics, etc. And, they have worked on homeopathy research! Isn’t it astonishing?

NJH: How is it that such scientists do research in homeopathy? Why should they be interested in homeopathy?

RS: Well, this question is coming to us because we have forgotten that homeopathy is a science! Research in any medical field is done by scientists and not by practitioners. Even in conventional medicine (allopathy), research is done by molecular biologists, pharmacologists, biomedical engineers and the like; not really by the doctors.

NJH: In that case, what is the relevance of such research to the practitioners? How will it help the homeopaths in practice?

RS: Good question! The research in homeopathy can change the way we have been applying homeopathy in practice. Since most of us are not simply unaware of the recent advances in homeopathy research, our approach tends to be a bit old-fashioned and rigid. The latest research can help us to think differently. For example, the research done by IIT-B can change the very belief that homeopathic medicines contain energy. The breakthrough research by IIT-B engineers has compelled us to think very differently. Likewise, the investigators will share many such path-breaking outcomes.

NJH: Will there be anything for the clinicians? After all, we have to go back to the clinic and treat patients! How would research help in practice?

RS: I am also a full-time practitioner; and also a researcher. I have understood that only research and the scientific approach can bring more success in practice.

WHS has a lot for practitioner-speakers. The diseases which will be touch-based at WHS will include cancer, hemophilia, eczema, atopic diseases, HIV, Hepatitis C, Leishmaniasis, auto-immune diseases, infections, and many more. There will be papers on clinical trials, animal studies, as well as new medicines with their evaluations.

I can say that the moment you will reach the clinic after the conference, your approach will likely to be drastically different.

NJH: What about scientific research in India? Are there scientists who are engaged in research in homeopathy?

RS: You will be amazed to find that scientists from eminent institutions such as TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), BARC, IIT-B, UDCT (ICT), Haffkine Institute, Bose Institute, ICMR, CSIR, etc. are going to present their homeopathy research works! This unprecedented conference will surely change the way homeopathy has been looked at all these years.

NJH: Would it be useful to students of homeopathy?

RS: let's not forget that we all are students of science. This conference will be a boon for all students (Ph.D., PG, and UG) of homeopathy. They will learn the newer thought process, new technology, new methods, new remedies, and new application. The research-based information will boost their self-confidence as well as reinforce their faith in the system of medicine. This will help them take up good projects, write a grander thesis, and select useful topics for higher studies.

WHS is likely to change its language!

NJH: Will there be anything for the teachers of homeopathy?

RS: In my personal opinion, WHS has come as a blessing for the faculties of all homeopathic colleges; as well as for the principals. How else can you expect to have access to such a huge treasure of information, that too, directly from the mouths of the investigators? The teachers will become much better in their skill-sets after the conference. Also, on a lighter side, if students will attend the WHS, it would be highly embarrassing for the teachers if they would find themselves not updated about the recent advances! Interestedly, there are two colleges where the management has decided to send all of the teachers to WHS. That is the wisest thing the management could do. I also suggest that the homeopathic colleges should also sponsor their allopathic doctor-teachers

NJH: Please tell us in brief, what will be the take-home message from WHS?

RS: We have chosen the best of the scientists and speakers; about 25 of them! Every scientist has invested at least 3-4 years, which makes about 100 years of accumulated research, after having invested a few million dollars; which is going to be made available to us in two days, right here in Mumbai! What else can be a better treat than this? Simply log into the conference. See you there!

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