by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando from London

Dr. Mass R. Usuf of Sri Lanka is the Senior Vice President of the National Association of Homoeopaths & Affiliates (NAHA) and is the Chief Acupuncturist - Holistic Diagnosis & Healing Centre - Pita Kotte, Sri Lanka. He is a Doctor of Philosophy (Thesis - Palm Diagnosis) and holds a Doctorate in Acupuncture. Besides, he is qualified in Acupressure, Naturopathy and Magnet Therapy. He also practices Palm Diagnosis. Dr. Usuf is a Member of the Foundation for Homoeopathy (Medicina Alternativa) and of the International Association of Colour (UK). He is a practicing naturopath embracing many therapeutic systems and offering a combined therapeutic approach to any ailment.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is estimated to involve a dramatic figure of US$10.5bn by the end of 2005 by way of funding prevention and care programmes. Perhaps the Director General of WHO would be pleased to know that in Sri Lanka there is a Naturopath who is confident of a cure for HIV/AIDS not involving such huge sums of money!!

Dr. Mass R. Usuf, who is a specialist in acupuncture, homoeopathy, palm diagnosis, magnet therapy and naturopathy in his analysis has come out with the theory that naturopathic treatment involving non-orthodox, alternative therapeutic methods can be effectively employed to fight HIV/AIDS. Dr. Tilak S. Fernando discussed this issue with him recently when he was in Colombo.

Q. How does HIV work?

A. HIV is said to seriously compromise the immune system, which acts as a shield against disease. It causes infections out of the norm owing to the break down in immune activity. There are two types of T-cells (or T-lymphocytes) in the body. One type has molecules called CD4 on its surface and its function is to orchestrate an immune response to micro-organisms such as a virus. The other type has molecules called CD8, which has the power of destroying infected cells and produce anti-viral substances. Basically these two types comprise the immune response to antigens - bacteria, viruses, and fungi etc that enter the body. HIV attaches itself to the CD4 molecule thus permitting the virus to enter and infect these cells. A person infected with HIV for example, would feel well and have no symptoms (asymptomatic) though billions of CD4 T-cells are infected by HIV and destroyed everyday.

Q. How come?

A. Because billions more CD4 T-cells are produced daily in the body to replace them of course.

Q. Does HIV inevitably lead to AIDS?

A. The average latent period is reported to be 8 years in adults and 2 years in children from the time HIV enters the body to fully blown AIDS. But there is a school of thought compromising a galaxy of prominent immunologists, molecular biologists, virologists, biochemists, microbiologists that says HIV is an ordinary retrovirus and that there is nothing unique about this virus. They say HIV does not lead to AIDS and that AIDS is a behavioural disease rather than a late onset caused by HIV!! AIDS they say is brought on by several simultaneous strains on the immune system – drugs (pharmaceutical and recreational), sexually transmitted diseases, multiple viral infections etc. and NOT by HIV.

In any case, whatever the controversy, the bottom line is that a person infected by HIV/AIDS has his or her immune system severely compromised exposing him or her to opportunistic infections such as pneumo-cystis pneumonia, kaposi sarcoma, slim disease, persistent diarrhea etc which can kill.

Q. How would you diagnose AIDS in an infected person?

A. It becomes clear when a person has a very low count of CD4. HIV antibody factors in the system indicate a compromised immune system. When the HIV latches on to the CD4 cells and replicates, a healthy person who normally has a CD4 count of 500-1500 cells/mm3 of blood would lose about 50-100 CD4 cells per year when infected. After many years the CD4 count in the body becomes so low and starts showing the symptoms of full blown AIDS.

Q. According to your theory, how would you boost the collapsed immune system of an HIV/AIDS patient, in order to ‘energise’ it when the body has lost its vigour to counter the virus’s debilitating influence?

A. To boost a collapsed immune system, the prevalence of homoeostasis - the physiological balance in the body – is a primary must. Acupuncture for example is an excellent tool to help establish homeostasis. Once an apposite homeostasis is established along with the conversion of the body from an acid-genic state to an alkali-genic state using naturopathic methods, immuno-potentiation would be the natural outcome - the body finally finds the natural strength to fight ANY invading pathogen by eliminating it’s damaging influence on the internal economy in toto and keeping it at bay in a form of restricted latency.

We live with a multitude of varied harmless and harmful pathogens in our bodies. It is estimated that we breathe in 14 billion pathogens in the space of an hour! But our immune system neutralises these pathogens every second of the day. It is this same immune system that has to be revitalised to fight off the ravages of HIV/AIDS.

Q. Could other kinds of alternative therapeutic methods such as homeopathy, palm diagnosis techniques, magnetotherapy, ayurveda etc also help towards a cure of a HIV/AIDS patient?

A. Complementing acupuncture treatment with other alternative/naturopathic methods would keep the virus at bay by greatly enhancing immuno-potentiation. It is immuno-deficiency that is the culprit and the start of all problems – not the virus per se.

If the physiological terrain within oneself imposes a physiological barrier the virus cannot replicate, it cannot take a virulent form. This explains why some of those infected with HIV live a normal life without ever showing symptoms of AIDS.

Q. So in short there is a cure in your mind for HIV/AIDS?

A. The only medicine an HIV/AIDS patient needs is his own powerful immune system. Orthodox medications tend to blunt the immune system in trying to keep the virus at arms length. An HIV/AIDS patient would then never get over the problem as his immune system is compromised not only by the virus but by the drugs as well! A paradox indeed!

Give back to a patient the powerful immune system he or she lost and the patient will be on the road to recovery sans symptoms. Suppress an already debilitated immune system and he or she goes nowhere except for maybe wait for an opportunistic infection to mercifully end his or her life.

Taking recourse to alternative therapeutics, which work with bio-energy (life force) at the subtle dynamic level, as opposed to crude palliation by orthodox therapy, would indubitably help in boosting the immune system.

Q. What is the difference between orthodox medicine and alternative therapies?

A. Alternative therapeutics work differently from orthodox medicine. The former, rather than suppressing the disease (which orthodox treatment does) penetrates through to the root cause of the problem and meets it head on at a subtle dynamic level. The true treatment of all derangements involves addressing the disorder at the subtle dynamic level instead of mere gross palliation.

Our body is governed by bio-energy operating at a subtle dynamic level (life force, prana, élan vital, dynamis, chi) manifesting in gross physiological phenomena. Derangements are a result of an imbalance in this bio-energy. Alternative therapeutics help balance and enhance this bio-energy, which would then set right any pathogenic state brought about by the bio-imbalance.

Orthodox medicine cannot correct a derangement of the internal economy at the dynamic level as it is gross (chemical drug) meeting gross (symptoms). Homoeopathy for example works on the basis of dynamic (potentised drug) meeting dynamic (heart of the disorder).

Q. Can you explain the development of the disease to me…!

A. The disease, any disease for that matter, evolves from the subtle to the gross and symptoms manifest at the gross level. To eradicate the gross symptoms is mere palliation and not a true cure - achieved by orthodox medicine - but to bring about eradication at the subtle level is to go beyond the gross, to regress - and that is where alternative therapeutics excel.

Q. Do you have a drug that could be used as a supplement to your other recommended methods such as acupuncture and magnet therapy?

A. I am, actually in possession of an experimental drug for use on HIV/AIDS patients developed by Dr. Peter Chapel, a homoeopath from UK.

Q. Good! But have you tried this drug on any patients and what was the outcome of it?

A. Yes, not me personally but Dr. Chapel has tried this drug initially on 200 patients with HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. This was done in the form of a clinical trial and there was great amelioration of conditions. The most amazing factor Dr. Chapel found in his clinical trials was that the CD4 count increased to near normal levels of treated patients and symptoms disappeared to a great extent.

Q. So what happened to the drug and his clinical trials after such an apparently convincing drug performance?

A. Unfortunately due to the lack of co-operation and support from the State and medical authorities and due to monetary constraints, Dr. Chapel was forced to abandon the big plans he had. But I hear he still continues in a small way making his own discoveries!!

Much more research and much more clinical trials are required to enable this experimental drug evolve into something truly catholic.

Q. But you say that you are in possession of that drug now. How come you do not do anything with it then?

A. True, I am in possession of the drug developed by Dr. Chapel - but I have still not been able to try it out as no HIV/AIDS patient has visited me in numbers suitable for clinical trials. And I face the same problem as Dr. Chapel does as regards cooperation and support. Moreover, the few HIV/AIDS patients I met and discussed their status with never came back for treatment. Apparently, they did not understand the ‘philosophy’ behind alternative therapeutics and felt more comfortable with popping toxic pills!!

Q. Have you drawn the attention of the government and international authorities or may be even of the WHO? President Clinton is running a world wide campaign to find a solution to combat AIDS. Have you not contacted his Foundation and offered your services in this regard?

A. Well, I am an unknown quantity in small Sri Lanka and perhaps journalists like you can provide the requisite publicity in newspapers, international magazines and in the Internet that would go a long way in helping the suffering millions …………….. provided authorities, medical institutions etc take the cue from such publicity.

Q. No doubt there is a great gulf between the allopathic and alternative systems of medicine at present. During a recent TV interview following a study done on Homoeopathic treatment one western doctor put it bluntly down to sheer imagination and said, “there is no difference between drinking plain water and taking homeopathic medicine”. What are your comments on that?

A. What he says is absolutely true! At the gross level, drinking a glass of water and drinking a glass of water with a mere drop of a potentised homoeopathic drug appears to have no difference as one would easily discount any possibility of a cure with such a highly diluted mixture.

As I said before, the orthodox system administers drugs that are gross in nature and palliates the gross symptoms. Take a glass of water, put in a gross aspirin, dissolve it, drink it and viola! ……….. your gross headache goes off!! That is science!

But homoeopathically what goes into that glass of water is NOT gross matter like a gross aspirin – it is a highly potentised drug which has dynamic properties acting upon the disorder at the dynamic level – addressing the bio-energy in us directly! But when the gross headache disappears the accusation is: it is the placebo effect!!

What takes place physiologically at the subtle dynamic level beyond the mere drinking of water with that one drop of the homoeopathic drug is what the western doctor cannot comprehend. It belongs to the realm of quantum physics and nano-behaviour – realms still not fully understood by scientists.

Q. Particularly on the issue of HIV/AIDS what would you suggest to those who condemn alternative methods of treatment?

A. I firmly believe that for the mere sake of HIV/AIDS victims, practitioners, authorities and institutions aligned to the two branches of therapeutics namely, allopathic and alternative, should lay aside their differences and try alternative therapies on patients on the basis of a scientific clinical trial by a joint exercise. After all, orthodox medicine has failed for the last two decades ……….. so why not try something else just for a month – and end the controversy! But surely that would not appear as a savory idea to the pharmaceutical giants!!

Q. How much of financial support are you thinking of to execute a programme of alternative therapeutics versus HIV/AIDS?

A. One need not fund multi-million dollar research programs nor wait for years for results of drug tests and approval. The experimental homoeopathic drug could be complemented with other alternative interventions to boost the immune system. There is also an ayurvedic drug developed in India that has shown promise in immune-potentiation and elimination of symptoms.

One has to only try it. Is it asking too much when taking into consideration the immense suffering and cost involved? Cost wise clinical trials involving alternative therapeutics would be a non-entity!

Q. You are a man of nature as far as I can see. Looking at the patients who visit your clinic three days a week in the afternoons and your services to them being absolutely free of charge is highly commendable.

A. I am an ardent naturopath who believes that ‘Man is nature and must by nature be nurtured’ and ‘Let thyself be thy cure’. Nature never deserted man and has showed him the many paths of prevention and cure. Nature never meant man to use artificial agents, as anything unnatural would be detrimental to the internal economy of man - an amazing product of nature.

Man has in himself the power to cure ailments. In times of distress, therefore, man has to only prod the curative power in him by natural ways …………. isn’t this how our forefathers lived with great therapeutic systems like ayurveda, acupuncture etc??

99% of the patients who visit my clinic seeking relief, and relief they get aplenty, are those who have ingested toxic western drugs for years and years with chronicity setting in and with no amelioration or those suffering from iatrogenic conditions (western drug induced disorders). They desert long term orthodox treatment and come to seek natural ways of healing, for now they believe ……….. ‘Man is nature and must by nature be nurtured’ and ‘Let thyself be thy cure’.