February 26, 2018

A New Wellness Approach Beyond Prevention.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD

After decades of prevention, which is based on countering specific risks like smoking, cholesterol, and obesity, a positive approach emerged known as the wellness movement. Instead of measuring good health as the avoidance of threats, the wellness movement shifted the focus to positive lifestyle changes that will preserve the body’s normal state of balance and renewal for a lifetime.


We feel that the aim of wellness should be expanded in one crucial way, which is to stop thinking of mind and body separately. In our new book, The Healing Self , we argue that abundant research confirms that thoughts, feelings, moods, and the mental response to stress directly affect the cells of the body. By keeping mind and body separate, people are following an outmoded model. But when a single entity, the bodymind, is adopted, wellness can reach extraordinary heights.


As an inspiration, there are already individual cases of control over mind and body that point the way for everyone. What if you could wake up every morning for years at a time at precisely the same minute on the clock? This was the case with the pioneering American psychologist William James (although it seems to have been an unconscious ability).

What if you could instantly make an allergy go away? Such a feat has been recorded with patients suffering from multiple personality disorder, where one personality has an allergy that vanishes when a different personality appears. In one case a child would break out in hives while drinking orange juice as his allergic personality emerged at that moment, but he showed no symptoms if another personality was present.

What if you could sit in a freezing ice cave overnight wearing only a thin silk robe? Such a feat has been observed among Tibetan Buddhist monks who have mastered a meditation known as tumo, in which body temperature, which is normally involuntary, comes under conscious control. At one extreme a Westerner who has been submitted to medical testing, Dutchman Wim Hof, performs feats of body temperature control like hiking to a mountaintop in a blizzard wearing only a pair of summer shorts or sitting submerged up to his neck in ice-filled water for several hours.

Hof has his own explanation of how he arrived at his accomplishments. “I said the autonomic nervous system will no longer be autonomic.” The problem with this statement is that standard medical understanding holds that the autonomic nervous system cannot be affected voluntarily. A significant study from Holland, however, strongly challenges that understanding and comes down on the side of Hof.


The study, published in 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides evidence for voluntary activation of one activity linked to the autonomic nervous system, the immune response. Healthy volunteers “were trained for 10 days in meditation (third eye meditation), breathing techniques (cyclic hyperventilation followed by breath retention), and exposure to cold (immersions in ice cold water).” The control group was not trained. Then both groups were injected with toxins from a strain of the bacteria Escherichia coli, commonly called E. coli. E. Coli resides normally in the intestinal tract and is harmless, but there are pathogenic strains that cause food poisoning, for example.

After receiving the toxin, the trained group followed their voluntary techniques while the control group did nothing. Blood samples were taken, and they revealed that the trained group had a lower release of pro-inflammatory chemicals that the researchers connected to a profound increase in the hormone epinephrine, which is known to decrease inflammation. Besides showing that Wim Hof had grasped the link between his extraordinary physical control and the autonomic nervous system, the Dutch results could theoretically be used by sufferers of persistent inflammation, especially those with autoimmune diseases.

As exotic as these examples may seem, almost anyone can successfully make their palms grow warm using simple biofeedback. In the age of wearables, medical inventors are seeking ways that we can monitor signs of potential disease or stress through a wrist-worn device that then allows us to return to a normal state of balance at will, again using simple biofeedback.


Wearables and other aids will become more commonplace in the future, but the opportunity to promote one’s own extraordinary wellness is personal. In The Healing Self we offer a lifestyle plan for every day of the week that opens the door to extraordinary wellness.  The journey begins with a realization that such a possibility is real. Make this your immediate goal, and many beneficial changes will follow.


Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are The Healing Self co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.  www.deepakchopra.com   


Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Vice Chair of Neurology at Mass. General Hospital. Dr. Tanzi is the co-author with Deepak Chopra of the New York Times bestsellers, Super Brain, and Super Genes. His latest book is The Healing Self co-authored with Deepak Chopra. He is also an internationally acclaimed expert on Alzheimer’s disease and brain health with over 500 research publications. He was included in TIME Magazine’s “TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World.”



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