PT Mobile Logo

Search form


Initiatives in Integrative Mental Health: Page 5 of 5

Initiatives in Integrative Mental Health: Page 5 of 5

Advances in functional brain imaging permit studies on discrete neurotransmitter/receptor systems underlying normal conscious functioning as well as on neural and molecular processes involved in the pathogenesis of specific psychiatric disorders. This results in improved diagnostic accuracy of neurological and psychiatric disorders with commensurate improvements in the efficacy of treatments that target discrete neurotransmitter systems and neural circuits.30

Emerging evidence suggests that consistent relationships exist between specific patterns of electrical brain activity and discrete psychiatric disorders.31,32 However, it is often difficult to determine whether energetic abnormalities in the CNS are causes or effects of pathology. Electrical currents and pulsed electromagnetic fields are established conventional treatments in contemporary biomedical psychiatry. They probably have real-time effects on the biomagnetic properties of brain functioning as well as long-term effects on neurochemical and biomagnetic changes in the activity of brain circuits associated with the regulation of affect, cognition, and behavior.33

As with many therapies in biomedical psychiatry, select alternative treatments also use well-described forms of energy, such as electromagnetism and sound. Treatment approaches based on such classically described forms of energy and information may have specific or general beneficial effects at the level of neurotransmitter systems or brain circuits. In contrast, alternative therapies based on postulated nonclassical kinds of energy or information, including quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, may have both direct and subtle effects on brain function and mental health. Nonconventional modalities based on concepts that are presently outside the tenets of biomedicine include acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, Healing Touch, qigong, and Reiki. Ancient healing traditions and accumulating modern research suggest that prayer and other forms of directed intention may help alleviate symptoms of physical and mental illness. This is the domain of energy medicine.34

Novel ideas of energy and information are coming from recent theoretical developments in quantum physics. A fundamentally new direction in our understanding of consciousness—and by extension the causes of mental illness—comes from an emerging theory that regards brain functioning from the perspective of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory.35,36 Quantum brain dynamics attempts to explain subtle characteristics of brain functioning in terms of nonclassical forms of energy and information.37 Quantum brain dynamics may eventually help explain reports of therapeutic benefits achieved through nonlocal interactions between the consciousness of the clinician and that of the patient.38,39

Quantum brain dynamics is an example of a nonclassical model that invokes quantum field theory to explain certain dynamic characteristics of brain functioning that may include the influences of nonclassical forms of energy or information on mental health. It has been suggested that healing intention operates through nonlocal subtle energetic interactions between the consciousness of the clinician and the physical body or consciousness of the patient.40 In contrast, energy psychology assumes that highly developed energetic techniques (eg, acupuncture, acupressure, Healing Touch) are required to effect energetic balance and health. Mind energetics is a recently introduced conceptual model that postulates the exchange of energy through language and intention during therapeutic encounters, and it claims that energy transforms psychological defenses in beneficial ways.41 Research in these emerging paradigms will eventually yield testable hypotheses about the role of intention in health and healing and will help clarify therapeutic mechanisms associated with spiritual and mind-body practices, including meditation, yoga, prayer, and energy medicine.

Looking to the future

There are strong indications that in the coming decade mental health care will emerge as a more inclusive and more open paradigm in response to research advances in both conventional biomedicine and CAM. Congressionally mandated reforms will progressively restrict the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on research priorities in both academic psychiatry and the private sector. Quality manufacturers of select CAM modalities will become established players in an increasingly diversified health care marketplace in which private insurance and Medicare will cover select alternative therapies that will have parity with conventional biomedical treatments. Government, industry, and academic research centers will work in a more coordinated fashion to develop systematic research programs that will result in more effective and more cost-effective treatment choices. In parallel with these trends, increased collaboration between researchers and clinicians on a global scale will accelerate evolution toward integrative mental health care.

By mid-century a new paradigm will be solidly in place. New ways of thinking about and practicing medicine will lead to novel explanatory models of mental illness causation and a broad range of effective and safe clinical therapeutics in mental health care. Biomedical theory will be informed by complexity theory, by novel theories in physics and information science, and by accumulating research findings from the basic sciences and consciousness research. There will no longer be a rigid dichotomy between biomedicine and CAM.

Advances in the genetics and neurobiology of mental illness will yield more specific, more effective, and more individualized pharmacological, genetic, and energetic therapies. Ongoing advances in functional brain imaging will permit studies on postulated roles of magnetic fields, biophotons, and macroscopic highly coherent quantum field effects on normal brain functioning and mental illness. In this century, medicine will continue to evolve at an accelerating pace. Select biomedical and CAM modalities will be strongly validated by unequivocal findings, while others will be relegated to interesting historical footnotes because of safety concerns or lack of efficacy.




1. Rasgon N, Pumphrey L, Prolo P, et al. Emergent oscillations in a mathematical model of the human menstrual cycle. CNS Spect. 2003;8:805-814.

2. Miller A. Advances in psychopharmacology: immune system pathology in psychiatric disease. Paper presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 1-6, 2004; New York.

3. Delgado PL, Moreno FA. Role of norepinephrine in depression. J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61(suppl 1):5-12.

4. Lin K. Ethnicity, pharmacogenetics and psychopharmacotherapy. Symposium 44: culture, ethnicity, race and psychopharmacology: new research perspectives. Paper presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 1-6, 2004; New York. Abstract 44A.

5. Lawson WB. Pharmacotherapy in African Americans. Symposium 44: culture, ethnicity, race and psychopharmacology: new research perspectives. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association; May 1-6, 2004; New York.

6. Pi EH. Ethnicity, culture and psychopharmacology: Asian perspective. Symposium 44: culture, ethnicity, race and psychopharmacology: new research perspectives. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association; May 1-6, 2004; New York.

7. Myers AJ, Nemeroff CB. New vistas in the management of treatment-refractory psychiatric disorders: genomics and personalized medicine. Focus. 2010;8:525-535.

8. Thase ME. Do antidepressants really work? A clinician’s guide to evaluating the evidence. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2008;10:487-494.

9. Fournier JC, DeRubeis RJ, Hollon SD, et al. Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: a patient-level meta-analysis. JAMA. 2010;303:47-53.

10. Fountoulakis KN, Vieta E. Treatment of bipolar disorder: a systematic review of available data and clinical perspectives. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008;11:999-1029.

11. Katzman MA. Current considerations in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. CNS Drugs. 2009;23:103-120.

12. Tajima K, Fernández H, López-Ibor JL, et al. Schizophrenia treatment. Critical review on the drugs and mechanisms of action of antipsychotics [retracted in: Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2012;40:104]. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2009;37:330-342.

13. Birks J. Cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(1):CD005593.

14. Rein G. Bioinformation within the biofield: beyond bioelectromagnetics. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10:59-68.

15. McCraty R, Atkinson M, Tomasino D. Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance. Boulder Creek, CA: HeartMath Research Center; 2001. Institute of HeartMath publication 01-001.

16. Day SX, Schneider PL. Psychotherapy using distance technology: story and science. J Counseling Psychol. 2002;49:499-503.

17. Manchanda M, McLaren P. Cognitive behaviour therapy via interactive video. J Telemed Telecare. 1998;4(suppl 1):53-55.

18. Bouchard S, Payeur R, Rivard V, et al. Cognitive behavior therapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia in videoconference: preliminary results. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2000;3:999-1007.

19. Pertaub DP, Slater M, Barker C. An experiment on fear of public speaking in virtual reality. In: Stredney D, Westwood JD, Hoffman HM, Mogel GT, eds. Medicine Meets Virtual Reality. Amsterdam: IOS Press; 2001:372-378.

20. Emmelkamp PM, Bruynzeel M, Drost L, van der Mast CA. Virtual reality treatment in acrophobia: a comparison with exposure in vivo. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2001;4:335-339.

21. Botella C, Baños R, Guillén V, et al. Telepsychology: public speaking fear treatment on the Internet. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2000;3:959-968.

22. Sarris J, Schoendorfer N, Kavanagh DJ. Major depressive disorder and nutritional medicine: a review of monotherapies and adjuvant treatments. Nutr Rev. 2009;67:125-131.

23. Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ, Byrne G. Adjuvant use of nutritional and herbal medicines with antidepressants, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines. J Psychiatr Res. 2010;44:32-41.

24. Bajpai RP. Quantum coherence of biophotons and living systems. Indian J Exp Biol. 2003;41:514-527.

25. Popp FA. Properties of biophotons and their theoretical implications. Indian J Exp Biol. 2003;41:391-402.

26. Cohen S, Popp FA. Biophoton emission of human body. Indian J Exp Biol. 2003;41:440-445.

27. Wijk EP, Wijk RV. Multi-site recording and spectral analysis of spontaneous photon emission from human body. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005;12:96-106.

28. Yang JM, Choi C, Hyun-hee, et al. Left-right and Yin-Yang balance of biophoton emission from hands. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2004;29:197-211.

29. Morowitz H, Singer J, eds. The Mind, the Brain, and Complex Adaptive Systems. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley/Perseus Books; 1995.

30. Bandettini PA. What’s new in neuroimaging methods? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1156:260-293.

31. John ER, Prichep LS, Winterer G, et al. Electrophysiological subtypes of psychotic states [published correction appears in Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2007;116:35]. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2007;116:17-35.

32. Bares M, Brunovsky M, Kopecek M, et al. Changes in QEEG prefrontal cordance as a predictor of response to antidepressants in patients with treatment resistant depressive disorder: a pilot study. J Psychiatr Res. 2007;41:319-325.

33. Liboff AR. Toward an electromagnetic paradigm for biology and medicine. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10:41-47.

34. Chen KW. An analytic review of studies on measuring effects of external QI in China. Altern Ther Health Med. 2004;10:38-50.

35. Nadeau R, Kafatos M. The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind. New York: Oxford University Press; 1999.

36. Lorimer D. Science, Consciousness and Ultimate Reality. Exeter, England: Imprint Academic; 2004.

37. Jibu M, Yasue K. Quantum brain dynamics and consciousness: an introduction. In: Stamenov M, Globus G, eds. Advances in Consciousness Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company; 1995.

38. Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E. The efficacy of “distant healing”: a systematic review of randomized trials. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:903-910.

39. Wackermann J. Dyadic correlations between brain functional states: present facts and future perspectives. Mind Matter. 2003;2:105-122.

40. Zahourek RP. Intentionality forms the matrix of healing: a theory. Altern Ther Health Med. 2004;10:40-49.

41. Pressman M. Mind energetics: evolution and arrival. Semin Integrative Med. 2004;2(1):36-47.

Loading comments...

By clicking Accept, you agree to become a member of the UBM Medica Community.