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Mr Chopra is a prominent figure in the New Age movement, with his books and videos making him one of the most famous and wealthy people in the field. However, he has also come under fire for the promotion of supposed treatments for which there is no evidence it actually helps treat disease, most notably Ayurvedic medicine. Although many medical and scientific professionals have branded it pseudoscience, Mr Chopra has earned a lot of money for his teachings and is now worth an estimated $150million (£111million).
One critic, philosopher Robert Carroll said he “charges $25,000 (£18,500) per lecture performance where he spouts a few platitudes and gives spiritual advice while warning against the ill effects of materialism”.
Mr Chopra’s theory about healing attempts to integrate Ayurveda with the physics theory of quantum mechanics.
Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system originating in India for which there is no evidence of efficacy and the Indian Medical Association has characterised the practice of modern medicine by Ayurvedic practitioners as quackery.
Quantum mechanics is a theory that explains how the universe works at a scale smaller than atoms, describing how energy moves or interacts.
Mr Chopra says what he called “quantum healing”, whereby a person’s health “imbalance” is corrected by quantum mechanical means, can cure any manner of illnesses including cancer.
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Ayurvedic medicine is widely viewed as pseudoscience
In his book ‘Quantum Healing’, he defined it as the “ability of one mode of consciousness (the mind) to spontaneously correct the mistakes in another mode of consciousness (the body)”, in other words, one can cure oneself with sheer willpower.
He has equated spontaneous remission in cancer to a change in quantum state, corresponding to a jump to “a new level of consciousness that prohibits the existence of cancer”.
Physics professor Robert L Park dubbed this “New Age quackery” and characterised his theory about cancer as a cruel fiction, because it can make people feel like it is their own fault for not getting better, compounding the ill effects of the disease with guilt.
What’s more, it can cause direct harm in luring people away from legitimate, effective treatments and even rule out the prospect of getting a genuine cure.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins said Mr Chopra uses “quantum jargon as plausible-sounding hocus-pocus”.
Deepak Chopra’s theory has been branded “New Age quackery”
Critics also argue Mr Chopra’s treatments generally elicit nothing but a placebo response and that the unfounded claims may give “false hope”.
The scientific community widely view the connection Mr Chphra has drawn between quantum mechanics and alternative medicine as being invalid.
The main criticism is that macroscopic objects ‒ those large enough to be seen by the naked eye ‒ are too large to exhibit inherently quantum properties like interference and wave function collapse.
Most literature on so-called quantum healing is almost entirely theosophical and omits the rigorous maths that makes quantum electrodynamics possible.
Physics professor Brian Cox has branded Mr Chopra’s claims about quantum healing a “systematic misinterpretation of modern physics”.
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Brian Cox labelled Mr Chopra’s claims a misunderstanding of quantum physics
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arguably promoted Mr Chopra’s teachings, albeit indirectly, by having him on their podcast.
Not only are they not based on the real scientific literature, but they can cause real harm to sick people.
This is especially controversial during a pandemic, when effective, evidence-based treatments and preventions are more important than ever.
Prince Charles came under fire for something similar last year, when he claimed a loss of biodiversity was the reason pandemics happen.
He told Sky News in June that humanity was “paying the price” for the way it has treated the planet, specifically commenting on the fact that more species are going extinct all the time.
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He added that he is worried further pandemics may occur if this is not corrected.
The Prince of Wales said: “The more we erode the natural world, the more we destroy what’s called biodiversity, which is the immense diversity of life, plant life, tree life, everything else, marine life, the more we expose ourselves to this kind of danger.
“We’ve had these other disasters with SARS and Ebola and goodness knows what else, all of these things are related to the loss of biodiversity.”
Top virologists told Express.co.uk that the issue is far more complicated than Charles seemed to be implying and one even said his claims were “not scientifically accurate”.
Professor Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham, warned that too many people without the scientific backing were making claims as if they have expertise in the matter.
Prince Charles made claims about biodiversity and pandemics that were branded “not accurate”
He said: “Too many people without scientific knowledge are commenting as if they have expertise.
“Technically pandemics are caused by too much biodiversity in wet markets, but as we threaten biodiversity and encroach on wild animals we are forcing more human-animal contacts, so we increase risk.
“Ebola in West Africa is thought most likely to have come from a child playing in a tree where there were bats.
“Clearly there are many opportunities for contact; these markets are still open – technically for Chinese medicines, but the risk persists.
“There are many bushmeat markets across Africa.
“So Charles is not completely wrong in spirit, but not scientifically accurate.”