HRI Conference 2019
London in June is known as the height of “The Season”. The Derby and Ascot Races, Henley Regatta, Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon to name a few, form part of a long tradition of summer entertainment and events, which are looked forward to by many people for many months prior.
HRI’s 4th Homeopathy International Research Conference 2019 was also anticipated to be a show-stopping event, building on previous year’s successes and showcasing the very best in homeopathic research projects in the UK’s Capital and most visited city.
Whilst the weather remained predominately cool and grey, the HRI Conference 2019 generated much heat and discussion emanating from the high quality and powerful presentations. There was also invigorating and enthusiastic dancing into the early hours of Sunday morning, following a spectacular Gala Dinner in the Tower of London.
Congratulations are due to Rachel, Alex, Simon, Chris, Amy, and Angelina. As well as the whole HRI Team who brought together an unforgettable and most memorable experience, in a stunning location and with an Anniversary Gala Dinner that will go down in history for all the right reasons!
The Tower Guoman provided a comfortable and convenient location with wonderful views – Nestled along the River Thames, The Tower Hotel, London, is situated close to London’s most iconic landmarks and famous locations, including the Tower of London, the Shard, HMS Belfast and more.
Whilst many delegates stayed at The Tower Guoman, a couple of colleagues found exciting and adventurous alternative accommodation on a boat moored in St Katherine Dock, adjacent to the Tower Guoman! The hotel and docks are perfectly positioned, close to many restaurants and convenient to take a morning stroll or more vigorous run along the Thames, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
Over 352 attendees witnessed extensive homeopathy research projects of the highest calibre from 27 different countries. Research studies presented across the 3 days, included homeopathy for plants, pets, penguins, and of course people! It was great to see such a strong contingent of Australian Homeopaths – see photo right. With expectations high after the success of HRI’s previous homeopathy events, London delivered in spectacular fashion with a vibrant, positive atmosphere throughout as the increasing standard of homeopathy research projects was showcased in stunning surroundings – the biggest event in homeopathy international research to date!
Homeopathy International Research
HRI’s 4th International Research Conference featured more than 30 presentations by 35 top academics and 48 poster presentations. Research categories included clinical research (homeopathy study involving patients) with a range of trial designs, including pragmatic, RCT and observational trial designs; AgroHomeoapthy and Veterinary Homeopathy; cell and plant-based research (laboratory-based studies); and fundamental and basic research (laboratory-based studies, including water science). Evidence that homeopathy works.
The event offered a great overview and celebration of the ever-increasing body of clear, incontrovertible evidence base for homeopathy, and the high level of academic achievement worldwide.
The Conference and celebrations commenced on Thursday evening with welcome reception and drinks. A relaxed & enjoyable opportunity to catch up with many UK colleagues as well as those from further afield.
Day 1 – Highlights
On Friday morning Dr. Alex Tournier and Rachel Roberts opened the Conference with David Tredinnick MP, a long-standing supporter of Homeopathy, giving opening remarks.
David was an elected Member of the Commons Health Committee and Commons Science and Technology Committee during the 2010-2015 Parliament. He is also Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (PGIH), David has stood up for homeopathy in Parliament and is totally convinced of the scope and potential of homeopathy in an effective public healthcare system. He remains a huge proponent of homeopathy, homeopaths and patients alike.
Professor Robert Hahn – Research Director at Sodertaje, Sweden examined the question “Does Homeopathy get a fair hearing?” – Dr Hahn questioned why & how “Bad Science” gets published, the role Skeptics play and how academics applaud the skeptics. He also highlighted how academics & the journals favouring homeopathy may be banned & called “unscientific”
Rachel Roberts CEO HRI – followed on with an update on HRI web-site and research pages which have now been translated into many languages.
Rachel also highlighted the EASAC (European Academies Science Advisory Council) Statement on Homeopathy. The EASAC Statement clearly illustrates how NOT to do science! Rachel gave a detailed outline of the biased and flawed process of EASAC & summarised as follows where EASAC statement went wrong –
1) Starts with a conclusion – “Homeopathy is placebo because it cannot have a biological effect”
2) Recruit Working Group to write a statement – only allowed to join is hold same opinion – 3 of the 11 scientists on the working group are known “skeptics”
3) Identifies & extract evidence supporting conclusion from evidence base
4) Compiles an 8 page document and present as authorities “excellent” science
5) Adds information box to point readers to sources to find positive evidence themselves
Rigorous positive data was missing, as well as there being unsubstantial claims which Rachel has & continues to challenge with the EASAC committee.
The Australian Report
Special mention was also made of the Australian Report; Rachel making particular tribute to Gerry Dendrinos and Teresa Nicoletti for their long standing contribution and commitment to following through with the Ombudsman. Gerry and Teresa were invited on stage to update conference attendees on current progress NHMRC/ Ombudsman report.
As we all are aware, there is as yet, no conclusion or feedback from the Commonwealth Ombudsman. And the process appears to be taking a very protracted length of time. Gerry however, remains positive and was able to share that a further “whistle-blower” has recently come forward in support of Homeopathy and that this new evidence was currently being examined by the Ombudsman.
Dr Elizabeth Thompson
Friday Keynote presentations included Dr Elizabeth Thompson CEO and Lead Clinician of The National Centre for Integrated Medicine. Dr Elizabeth Thompson has pioneered a “Wellness versus Illness” model in setting up an Integrated Medicine Model focussing on balance, wholeness and rejuvenation, drawing on other philosophies of health which assist in registering when our bodies get out of balance. Dr Thompson has recently introduced a Diploma for Medical Doctors in Homeopathy/ IM & summarised succinctly why Homeopathy is and should be an Integrated Medicine
– It empowers the individual – the body is wise
– Has healing, wholeness & balance fundamental to its philosophy
– Direct connection to nature
– Safe – environmentally friendly
– Low cost
– Combines well with conventional interventions
Dr Amjith Naisam presented on the use of Homeopathic Nosodes in agriculture through research into Tomato Leaf Curl Virus. Some seeds were soaked in Psorinum; others were not soaked in Psorinum. The seeds soaked in Psorinum germinated first. Some seeds were then “fed” daily with successes Psorinum, others were fed weekly. Seeds soaked in Psorinum germinated significantly better than those unsoaked.
Conclusion – Agro-homeopathy paves the way for a safer & chemical free way to do farming which is simple & inexpensive.
Aurum Project Research Poster Session
Friday evening saw over 48 Poster Presentations including Aurum Project’s research measuring the demographics of homeopaths and their patients in Australia was presented as a Poster session by Aurum Project Researcher, Gabrielle Brodie. This is a landmark occasion, the very first time such a study has taken place in Australia utilising an innovative mixed methods study designed to describe homeopathy practice. The study involved Homeopaths recorded aspects of their practice activity over an 8 week period in January and February 2019.
Highlights from this initial research project revealed a summary of the reasons why people come for Homeopathic consultation – Over 30% of individuals seeking Homeopathy present with Mental Health conditions including Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Separation Anxiety etc. The second largest group were skin conditions followed by gut health – Which of course we know both are intricately linked!
How we dissect this information & notify patients & the general public will go a long way to building information in the community, educating & informing people what Homeopathy has been used for in Australia, which in turn will serve to expand individual’s perception of Homeopathy.
Suggestions for future work include incorporating a patient self-reflective model (MYMOP2) which has been used for some time in the UK by not only Homeopaths but other complementary practitioners for over a decade. Other criteria might examine further into the background of the Homeopath, specific interests or “specialisations’, no of years in practice etc.
The room was buzzing with so many exciting and interesting Posters and the discussions generated around these findings.
Another Australian Homeopath Jo Greenland presented a thought-provoking and well research Poster on “Homeopathy in Conflict” examining the current conflict between biomedicine & Homeopathy and seeking an understanding of conflict and conflict management. Jo presents 4 theoretical frameworks around conflict & how it has been managed historically, comparison being drawn between these historical approaches & what is happening today between biomedicine & Homeopathy. Full paper is available from Jo Greenland firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday pm – Boat trip
An optional boat trip was arranged for delegates on the River Thames with fine dining and fabulous night time views of London from the River.
The cruise departed from St Katherine Dock at 7.30 pm, immediately after the Poster presentations & cruised until sunset returning around 9.30 when delegates continued to share time together in the bars of the Tower Hotel.
Clare Relton – Senior lecturer in Clinical Trials at Queen Mary
Dr Clare Relton, an honorary fellow of the Society of Homeopaths and a senior lecturer in clinical trials at Queen Mary University London, was one of the five international keynote speakers at the Homeopathy Research Institute’s fourth International Research Conference in London in June.
Clare’s presentation centered on randomised controlled trials and asked if they could actually prove that homeopathy worked. Six trials were presented as well as a new trial design “TwiCs”.
She explored how trials were designed and established to help patients, clinicians and homeopaths make informed decisions, particularly within economic, political and cultural contexts as well as highlighting an on-going need for Homeopaths to collect data on a routine day to day basis
I met up with a friend and colleague Bev Nickols who is conducting a research study into Psoriasis as part of her Ph.D. under Clare Relton using the “Twics” model. It would be informative and useful for Australian Homeopaths to be made aware of the trial design – I have encouraged Bev to consider applying to present at AHMC 2020 in Melbourne, to assist in Australian Homeopaths developing their research base and encourage the routine collection of data by Homeopaths.
Another interesting study involving Magellanic penguins was presented by Franscinne Narita from Brazil. Penguins who, after becoming stranded off the coast of Brazil on their migration route, were often sent to rescue centres and zoos if they were unable to be returned to the wild.
Once there, they were kept in penguinariums where antifungal cleaning agents were detrimental to their liver health. After homeopathic remedies were used to treat the penguins, lab results showed clear improvement in their liver enzyme counts, without the significant side effects of the drugs normally administered to the birds.
HK Homeopaths generous support of HRI Conference 2019
It was during Sat mornings’ presentation, that Rachel announced that since Malta, the HK Homeopaths had been setting aside regular contributions from their practice and had donated 10,000 GB pounds to HRI.
As Rachel thanked the considerable HK delegation and invited them up to the stage, each one came carrying more 50 pound notes – They kept on coming each holding substantial wads of notes, it what was almost like a scene from Disney’s sorcerer’s apprentice when the water wouldn’t stop flooding, pound notes coming in more & more quantity until it was announced that a further 35,000 GB pounds had been collected. An incredible gesture, generosity and commitment to assist in keeping HRI at the forefront of Homeopathic research projects. A tear struck Rachel (and much of the audience too!) thanked the delegation with a standing ovation
The HK Homeopath’s moto “Give to Grow together” was to grace our tables at the Tower Ball that evening
Gala Ball and 10th Anniversary Party
Saturday night’s celebrations commenced with a special private viewing of the Crown Jewels for delegates who were successful in the HRI Fundraising auction. It was many years since I had seen the Crown Jewels as a child and they have retained all of their beauty, historical significance and mystery. To have been able to view as a private group meant we were able to linger and notice the very small head size of certain crowns, the many jewels encrusted within the sceptres and orbs. Indeed the collection boasts an amazing 23,578 gemstones and has been under armed guard at the Tower since 1661.
An additional, thoughtful and lovely touch were the shoe bags for women, which Rachel initiated, so we could wear trainers across the cobbles and then change into our evening shoes!
From the Private viewing, we were escorted by the Yeoman to the Great Hall where drinks & canapés were served and we were able to view a magnificent HRI Birthday Cake, which Rachel’s Mother had commissioned and donated to the event.
The Yeoman summoned our attention and Rachel welcomed us and then invited us to go through for dinner. Another short walk across the cobbles (back into our training shoes!)
What followed was a sumptuous & delicious dinner accompanied with fine wines and several speeches to celebrate the 10th Anniversary & pay tribute to HRI’s progress and substantial contribution to global status & awareness of Homeopathic research.
The post Gala Dinner Birthday Party took place in the Tower Hotel with dancing into the small hours of the morning to a fabulous local band. Sunday morning showed a good attendance for the final sessions and closing ceremony.
The whole HRI Conference 2019 ran seamlessly from start to finish offering a very high standard of presentations in a superb location with opportunities to expand our knowledge and develop Homeopathic research projects and connections. As well as thoroughly enjoy ourselves!
We do not yet know where the 2021 HRI Conference will be but it will be a very hard act to follow. In the meanwhile when the going gets tough – Keep Calm and Think of London.
Thank you to Jane Lindsay, Aurum Project Member for writing this report.