About Magic Pills, the film and Ananda More –
As an experienced, highly qualified homeopath and someone who is no stranger to working with theatre companies, such as ‘One Yellow Rabbit’ and ‘SunoLoka,’ Ananda More is, in my opinion, the ideal person to make a film about homeopathy. At the University of Alberta she learnt many theatrical skills from writing and directing to acting and stage-managing. ‘Magic Pills’ is her debut film; it exposes what the media in general doesn’t dare to discuss regarding health and financial interests
In her fundraising video she describes the essence of the film as follows: ‘Our current medical system is broken. It focuses on profits and disease, rather than people and wellness. It has few answers for chronic illness, and many of the treatments have side effects which can be worse than the original illness they’re meant to treat. Homeopathy could be one of the more affordable and effective forms of medicine available. It’s been used to treat everything from Cancer to AIDS and even to prevent disease, with very compelling results. There is an increasing body of evidence in the scientific literature to support the 200 years of clinical homeopathic experience, but this evidence is concealed and falsely ridiculed by a system afraid of alternatives.
We are making this film to shine a light on the scientists, doctors, and health practitioners whose work has been hidden from the public, wrongfully discredited and silenced in the name of scepticism and public protection. The film examines large scale use of homeopathy in disease prevention, cancer treatment and AIDS/HIV, along with very compelling scientific research and evidence to support the idea that homeopathy is not only plausible but effective and affordable.’ http://magicpillsmovie.com/about-movie/
Ananda More graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine in 2005, then studied with Sunil Anand in Pune India, volunteering at a Homeopathic Hospital in Chennai, India. On her return to Toronto she started practicing with Riverdale Homeopathy and eventually bought into the business. In 2007 she started the Homeopathic Master Clinician’s course with Louis Klein. She currently sits on the council of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario and has served on the board of the OHA. She has also studied with Vega Rozenberg, Jan Scholten, Liz Lalor, Rajan Sankaran, Russell Malcolm and others. She helped expand the work of Riverdale by creating a seminar series, inviting teachers from around the world to teach in Toronto, helping to build the online store, and supporting Riverdale’s growth into a vibrant center for homeopathy. Clearly, this combination of skills has enabled her to undertake such an adventurous, revolutionary project, and she has done so with style and integrity.
Critique of the film ‘Magic Pills’
I was lucky enough to spend a few hours chatting with Ananda, who produced, and directed this pioneering new film, which challenges the claim presented by the mainstream media that there is no evidence to support the use of homeopathic medicine. I personally feel this is an inaccurate assertion and I’m delighted to be in a position to address the balance of opinion with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, based on what is strongly evidenced, throughout the world, in this film.
The film will be premiering on June 3rd 2017 at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona. Its goal is to reach out across the gulf and open a dialogue that can lead towards a fairer understanding of the evidence for homeopathy. The film juxtaposes the criticisms of the sceptic community with large scale, real world use and success of homeopathy and presents some of the genuine scientific data. It is an important issue to confront and investigate as Ananda states:
‘If homeopathy really does work, it could not only save billions of dollars in healthcare and improve patient outcomes, but it would also require a major paradigm shift and cause science to revisit some of its most basic tenets. The film is a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary with elements of ‘verité,’ with real life cases unfolding in front of the camera; in cinematography terms ‘verité,’comes from the term ‘cinéma vérité, from the French meaning ‘truthful cinema.’
The film begins with Ananda confronting the media after the gross distortion and misrepresentations of her, and other homeopaths, and the facts about homeopathy. All of that had grave repercussions leading to the erosion of journalistic integrity and academic freedom.
What particularly struck me, was, despite having being misrepresented and professionally abused, Ananda still had the emotional and physical energy to make this film. Her high intellect and dynamism are palpable. Where I found myself at times pushed to the limits of my tolerance, with a strong desire to verbally confront our detractors and at the many injustices I feel are exposed, she has an air of calm and the ability to stay focussed, a quality which means she does not rise to the bait. I see her as a truth-seeker who wishes to uncover what is a ‘xenophobia in the scientific world,’ in other words, a total intolerance of that which is foreign to their current level of understanding.
Most of us in the homeopathic world prefer to ignore the sceptics and refuse to interact, as any attempt to change their thought processes would be fruitless. However, what Ananda has presented is a reality, whether we like it or not, and is all in keeping with the vérité to which she alludes.
Throughout the film, Ananda travels to many countries and witnesses for herself the successful implementation of homeopathy in diversely different circumstances, using different homeopathic methodologies and protocols. On her travels, she visits Jeremy and Camilla Sherr, who are the founders of Homeopathy for Health in Africa. They have thirty and twenty years’ experience respectively, as homeopaths, and now work alongside medical doctors and hospitals to support the treatment of HIV and AIDS as well as reaching areas that would otherwise have no access to medical care.
Camilla, with her strong character and discernible sense of humour brings us down to earth by expressing how she continues to work with homeopathy despite the abuse from its detractors, and Jeremy assures us that it is vital to work with the medical profession not against it. The many patient examples support the thesis that homeopathy can integrate beautifully with allopathic medicine,
The film is engaging and even as an experienced homeopath, I was intrigued. The film oscillates between the likes of Joe Schwarcz, who is an author, sceptic and a professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, extrapolating and holding forth, with his theories of how it does not work and there is no evidence, to the Sherrs, who as stated above, work tirelessly in the heat and poverty, with hugely positive results. Their hands on experience ‘on the front line’ in my opinion drown any sceptic sitting in his comfortable armchair in Montreal.
‘Homeopathy is not a religion, it is a science and has to be treated as such.’
They treat thousands of cases weekly, several of which are highlighted. Without divulging specifics, this eminent physician shows and discusses clear evidence of successful treatment. He is speaking as an experienced MD in homeopathy. In true form, the film swings back to Dr Steven Novella, a well-known sceptic, who states that homeopathy is all due to the placebo effect. In the light of the evidence shown here both empirically and statistically, statements such as this are unjustified and show a belief system which is clearly questionable and which needs to be addressed.
Yet more solid evidence is presented of the indisputable success of homeopathic medicine in the treatment of leptospirosis, a tropical disease in Cuba. The work of Dr Gustavo Bracho, PhD in immunology and The Finlay Institute, headed by Dr Concepción Campa is covered in depth and historic breakthroughs recorded. At the same time, and in the same vein, as previously discussed, the positive and overwhelming evidence of effective treatment, this time prophylactically, was blocked and was not permitted to be published in peer review journals. This once more demonstrates a pattern of a need to stifle and suppress clear facts and empirical and statistical evidence. Surely any sane person would be asking why and for what reason?
Ananda continues her journey in search of evidence, to Switzerland, where she meets Dr Jens Wurster and Dr Heiner Frei. Both are distinguished medical doctors as well as homeopaths. Dr. Heiner Frei was responsible for one of the most rigorously designed homeopathic clinical trials which studied the use of homeopathy in the treatment of ADHD. Dr. Wurster’s study focused on the use of homeopathy in terminal cancer patients. Both studies were published in peer reviewed medical journals. Independent of these trials, a study commissioned by the Swiss government which found homeopathy to be safe and effective and a referendum carried out by the direct democratic system in Switzerland enabled homeopathy to become part of the country’s public insurance system, (similar to OHIP in Canada). Clearly and critically, this is of huge significance to the integrity of homeopathy.
I have to confess to initially not liking the use of the word ‘Magic’ in the title of the film. As I have said time and time again, homeopathy is not magic, it is a complex science and art, invented by a medical doctor and still practiced throughout the world by many allopathically trained doctors as well as highly trained homeopaths. However, I do accept that the results of homeopathic treatment can be magical and as Ananda states, she wished to convey that: ‘Magic’ refers to something we observe happening but which we cannot fully explain. In this context the word magic has double entendre, one of illusion and one of something that amazes us in how well it works. As homeopaths we have a lot of baggage associated with the word because we’ve been beaten down by it, but the general public doesn’t have the same emotional response. The film is meant to draw in the genuine sceptic, and the target audience is a person who knows little to nothing about homeopathy or has heard over and over that there is no scientific evidence to support it.’ The exact mechanism of action of homeopathic remedies remains in part a mystery, and there is much in science we still do not understand. For example, the concept of gravity has remained a mystery for thousands of years, thus could also have been referred to as ‘magic.’ The title of the film ‘Magic Pills’ has, I feel, a huge attraction to those wishing to know more.
The film touches on some of the new evidence that could lead to an understanding of the mechanism of homeopathy. It highlights the discovery of nanoparticles by Dr. Jayesh Bellare, one of many recent revelations that in combination, may provide a key to understanding the mechanism of homeopathy. Ananda chose this study because it is easy for an audience to understand without getting into the more esoteric ideas of EMFs and energy medicine. This research is covered in some depth in the film and is fascinating and could begin to solve the mystery and ‘magic’ discussed.
It is also important to highlight that throughout the film, many homeopathic methodologies and protocols are used, from homeoprophylaxis, to the essentially classical methods of the Sherrs, to the Banerji’s cancer protocols, all with huge success. There is a message here for us as homeopaths and one that has emerged strongly for me having watched the film, and that is for us to stick together and to stop arguing amongst ourselves. There are bigger battles to be fought and as long as the approach has a strong philosophical foundation and we can justify it, with reference to Hahnemanian homeopathy and The Organon; if it works, do it.
Initially, I was not sure that the sceptics should feature so strongly in this film, but as I said, they are an unfortunate reality. The beauty of this film is that every criticism is counteracted with fact, which was one of its objectives; there is a highly effective oscillation in play throughout demonstrating this, and it works. Thus there is a balance I feel, which has been conclusively achieved. The content is edgy, innovative and gritty, its goal, to push people to think.
Once more, as in the film ‘Just One Drop,’ many of the homeopaths presented are also highly experienced medical doctors, but their preferred route to healing is by way of homeopathic medicine. The evidence in this film suggests they use because it is effective and does not cause the often horrendous side effects associated with conventional medicine. ‘If the disease is treated with violent allopathic drugs, other graver, more life threatening ailments are created in its place.’ (Hahnemann S, The Organon, 2003:34).
Why, in the light of this, do the sceptics featured here and otherwise, who are not medical doctors, have a right to dispute these results? Who do they think they are? What is their motive? Why do they have such difficulty in accepting what is clearly a successful healing modality? Can you really heal thousands of cases of cancer and HIV with the placebo affect? It is time for them to get real and accept the facts so brilliantly highlighted in this film. What is also exposed, is that there is no academic freedom. The sceptics feature highly in this film for a reason, demonstrating that it essential to change the media dialogue from a constant confirmation bias, in other words, ‘it has always been this way and we can therefore rationalise it.’ We need to encourage people like this to exit their comfort zones and entertain new concepts and ways of thinking. It is worth dwelling on what was stressed in the film, that both Louis Pasteur and Galileo were initially ridiculed and discredited, yet their theories were eventually embraced and changed science as we once knew it.
Although I am critiquing the film ‘Magic Pills,’ I see Ananda and its contents as inseparable; they are intertwined, her energy radiates in it and from it. She is a young woman with a mission and she is seeking justice and recognition for a healing art and science which is massively underrated and which needs to be brought to the fore. She has travelled to six countries during the course of making this film and experienced first-hand the tireless work of people like the Sherrs in Tanzania; seen their commitment and drive, their personal sacrifices in living a lifestyle which is alien to their own, their reward being the abundance of healed cases; there is no other glory. Their eminence, like that of The Banerjis and all the doctors featured, is, I feel on a back burner, waiting to finally be recognised and given the acclaim they all so richly deserve. I observe a theme amongst them all, including Ananda, one rarely apparent in conventional medics, and that is humility. I am personally proud to be associated with people such as this, which is why I dedicate much of my time to helping to give them all the credit they deserve.
The ultimate goal of this film is to confront prejudices, open dialogue, educate the public on the true nature of research and encourage a movement towards more research funding and changes in public health policy towards a more integrated system of medicine, given the compelling evidence revealed throughout.
Grassroots support is needed in terms of funding, so the film can be taken to film festivals around the world, to do substantial PR work, and eventually get the film on-line and possibly even TV, and most importantly launch a social impact campaign. So, please help by donating what you can and by joining the mailing list for the newsletter:
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A trailer of the film can be seen here: http://magicpillsmovie.com/