Quantum Healing

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Quantum Healing

Quantum healing is a controversial form of mind-body medicine wherein a fundamental change in consciousness is said to produce a profound healing of the body-mind. The term "quantum healing" was introduced by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in his book Quantum Healing (1989) to explain certain types of sudden and dramatic healing of the human body, such as spontaneous remissions, that are not understood by conventional medicine. Chopra postulates that these extraordinary forms of healing are related to understandings of quantum physics and of consciousness. Just as quantum physics aims to describe physical phenomena normally hidden at a subatomic level, so quantum healing is directed to healing the body-mind from a deep, unmanifest level of consciousness. The mind and body are expressions of this profound consciousness, which Chopra calls the "quantum mechanical body." Chopra identifies the quantum mechanical body with the quantum level of physical reality. He maintains that we can activate profound healing of the mind and body by consciously accessing this quantum level of our being.

Chopra developed quantum healing by combining principles of mind-body medicine with ideas from quantum physics; Transcendental Meditation (TM); and Āyurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine that views health as a balance of mind, body, and spirit. After a number of years of traditional medical practice, Chopra became dissatisfied with the approach of Western medicine. In 1984 he was introduced to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM movement, who encouraged him to investigate Ayurveda. In 1985 Chopra became director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, where his work with cancer patients combined modern Western medical treatments with TM and Ayurveda. Since 1993 he has devoted much of his time to writing and lecturing on mind-body healing, spirituality, and related topics. Chopra has become one of the most well-known and controversial advocates of mind-body medicine in the United States.

Deepak Chopra has been criticized for promoting and profiting from medical treatments not yet tested by scientific studies, nor consistent with established scientific concepts. For example, his fundamental premise postulating a deep connection between the ideas of quantum physics and the mind-body relationship is highly controversial. Even more speculative is his hypothesis that quantum physics provides a scientific explanation for the manner in which deep transformations in consciousness produce extraordinary forms of healing in the body. As a result, Chopra's integrity has been questioned because of his apparent attempt to legitimize and further promote his methods by implying that they are based on quantum physics.

Regardless of the ultimate accuracy of Chopra's theoretical explanations, however, mainstream scientific medical research has demonstrated that various mind-body interactions such as the "placebo effect" do exist and can have significant effects in healing. The effectiveness of Chopra's methods, therefore, should not be confused with the veracity of his theoretical explanation for them. At the same time, in mind-body medicine the effectiveness of a treatment method can depend on a subject's confidence in the treatment, which in turn can be influenced by the acceptance of the theoretical explanation provided for the treatment, regardless of its scientific validity.


See alsoQuantum Physics; Spirituality; Transcendental Meditation.

Bibliography

Chopra, Deepak. Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: TheQuantum Alternative to Growing Old. 1993.

Chopra, Deepak. Quantum Healing: ExploringtheFrontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. 1989.

Thomas J. McFarlane