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Quantum healing

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Quantum healing

For other uses, see Deepak Chopra (disambiguation).
Deepak Chopra
PAC on January 15, 2011
Born (1947-10-22) October 22, 1947 (age 66)
New Delhi, India
Nationality American
Occupation Alternative medicine practitioner, physician, public speaker, writer
Spouse(s) Rita Chopra
Children Mallika Chopra and Gotham Chopra
Parents K. L. Chopra, Pushpa Chopra

Deepak Chopra (/ˈdpɑːk ˈprə/; born October 22, 1947) is an Indian-American physician,[1] a holistic health/New Age guru,[2][3][4][5] and alternative medicine practitioner.[6] Chopra has taught at the medical schools of Tufts University, Boston University and Harvard University. He became Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH) in Massachusetts,[7] before establishing a private practice.[7] In 1985, Chopra met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who invited him to study Ayurveda.[8][9] Chopra left his position at the NEMH and became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, and was later named medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center.[8][9][10]

In 1996, Chopra and neurologist David Simon founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, which incorporated Ayurveda in its regimen. The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the American Medical Association have granted continuing medical education credits for some programs offered to physicians at the Chopra Center.[7][8]

Chopra has written more than 75 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers. His books have been translated into 35 languages and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.[11]

Chopra is a controversial figure. According to a 2008 article in Time magazine, he is "a magnet for criticism", primarily from those involved in science and medicine.[12] His critics have taken issue with his "nonsensical" references to quantum theory,[13][14] and say the claims he makes for ineffective alternative medicine may bring "false hope" to people who are sick.[12]

Early life and education

Chopra was born in New Delhi, India.[7][15] His father, Krishan Chopra (1919–2001) was a prominent Indian cardiologist, head of the department of medicine and cardiology at Mool Chand Khairati Ram Hospital, New Delhi, for over 25 years,[16] and a lieutenant in the British army.[7][15] His paternal grandfather was a sergeant in the British Army, who looked to Ayurveda for treatment for a heart condition when the condition did not improve with Western medicine.[17] Chopra's younger brother, Sanjiv, is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.[18] His mother tongue is Punjabi.[19]

Chopra completed his primary education at St. Columba's School in New Delhi and graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).[8]


Chopra's career falls into two parts. At first, Chopra adhered to mainstream medical practice; he then became an advocate of alternative medicine and a wealthy businessman[6] – continuing the long tradition of entrepreneurialism in the American medical system.[20]

Mainstream medicine

After immigrating to the US in 1968, Chopra began his clinical internship and residency training at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, New Jersey. He had residency terms at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, and at the University of Virginia Hospital.[7]

He earned his license to practice medicine in the state of Massachusetts in 1973[21] and received a California medical license in 2004.[22] Chopra is board-certified in internal medicine and specialized in endocrinology.[21] He is also a member of the American Medical Association (AMA).[23] He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians [24] and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists [25]

Chopra taught at the medical schools of Tufts University, Boston University and Harvard University. He became Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts, later known as Boston Regional Medical Center, before establishing a private practice.[7]

As a practitioner of alternative medicine

By 1992, Chopra was serving on the National Institutes of Health ad hoc panel on alternative medicine.[11] In 1993, Chopra became executive director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind–Body Medicine with a $30,000 grant from the Office of Alternative Medicine in the National Institutes to study Ayurvedic medicine.[8] Chopra's institute also maintained affiliation with Sharp Healthcare, in San Diego.[9][10] That same year Chopra moved with his family to Southern California where he lives with his wife and near his two adult children, Gotham and Mallika.[8]

Transcendental meditation

After reading about the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM), Chopra and his wife learned the practice in 1981, and two months later they went on to learn the advanced TM-Sidhi program.[26] In a 1981 meeting between Chopra and Ayurvedic physician Brihaspati Dev Triguna in Delhi, India, Triguna advised Chopra to learn the TM technique.[8]

In 1985, Chopra met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who invited him to study Ayurveda.[8][27] In that same year, Chopra left his position at the New England Memorial Hospital and became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, and was later named medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center for Stress Management and Behavioral Medicine.[8][9][28] He was initially the sole stockholder of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, but divested after three months.[29] He has been called the TM movement's "poster boy" and "its leading Ayurvedic physician".[30] In 1989, the Maharishi awarded him the title "Dhanvantari (Lord of Immortality), the keeper of perfect health for the world".[31]

Chopra left the Transcendental Meditation movement in January 1994. According to his own account, Chopra was accused by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of attempting to compete with the Maharishi's position as guru.[32] According to Robert Todd Carroll, Chopra left the TM organization when it "became too stressful" and was a "hindrance to his success".[33]

Private practice

In 1996, Chopra parted company with the Sharp Institute. That same year, Chopra and neurologist David Simon founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, which incorporated Ayurveda in its regimen, and was located in La Jolla, California. The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and American Medical Association have granted continuing medical education credits for some programs offered to physicians at the Chopra Center.[7][8][9] In 2002, Chopra and Simon relocated the Chopra Center to the grounds of La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California, continuing to offer mind-body wellness programs, medical consultations, and instruction in meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda.

Chopra and Simon also revived an ancient mantra-based meditation practice, traveling to India to study the origins of this technique, known as Primordial Sound Meditation. This form of meditation is now taught at the Chopra Center and by certified instructors who receive their training through Chopra Center University.

Chopra wrote about the contrast between spirituality and science in his 2011 book War of the Worldviews - Science vs Spirituality, coauthored with Caltech Professor of Physics Leonard Mlodinow. In it he says he has a respect and admiration for the scientific method but he believes it has limitations and he contends there is a need for an expanded science that includes the reality and investigation of the observer, or consciousness.[34][35]

Quantum healing

Chopra coined the term quantum healing to invoke the idea of a process whereby a person's health "imbalance" is corrected by quantum mechanical means. Chopra claimed that quantum phenomena are responsible for health and wellbeing. He has attempted to integrate Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine, with quantum mechanics, in order to justify his teachings. According to Robert Carroll, he "charges $25,000 per lecture performance, where he spouts a few platitudes and gives spiritual advice while warning against the ill effects of materialism."[36]

Chopra's claims of quantum healing have attracted controversy due to what has been described as a "systematic misinterpretation" of modern physics.[28] Chopra's connections between quantum mechanics and alternative medicine are widely regarded in the scientific community as being invalid, but nevertheless have a number of followers. The main criticism revolves around the fact that macroscopic objects are too large to exhibit inherently quantum properties like interference and wave function collapse. Most literature on quantum healing is almost entirely philosophical, omitting the rigorous mathematics that makes quantum electrodynamics possible.[37]

Others have argued that Chopra's misuse of the word "quantum" has undermined the public's confidence in genuine science and has discouraged people from engaging with conventional medicine. Brian Cox says that "for some scientists, the unfortunate distortion and misappropriation of scientific ideas that often accompanies their integration into popular culture is an unacceptable price to pay."[28]

Other activities

Chopra established the Chopra Foundation in 2009 with a mission to advance the cause of mind/body spiritual healing, education, and research through fundraising for selected projects.[38]

In 2010 the Chopra Foundation sponsored the first Sages and Scientists Symposium, attended by a number of scientists, social scientists and artists from around the world, with a second symposium hosted in February 2011. The third symposium is scheduled for March 2012[39] with seminars relating to Alzheimer's Disease and "Past Life Memories" amongst others.[40]

Since 2000 Chopra has sat as an advisor for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.[41]

In 2005 Chopra was made a Senior Scientist at The Gallup Organization.[42] He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.[43] Chopra is Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School, Columbia University [44]

He participates annually as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine event sponsored by Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.[45]

He is also a weekly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, a regular contributor to The Washington Post "On Faith" section, a prolific contributor to The Huffington Post, and is also a contributor to the LinkedIn Influencer program.[46][47][48][49]

Chopra is also a monthly contributor to The Times of India Speaking Tree.[50]

In 2006, Chopra launched Virgin Comics LLC with his son Gotham Chopra and entrepreneur Richard Branson. The company's purpose is to "spread peace and awareness through comics and trading cards that display traditional Kabalistic characters and stories".[7]

Chopra is heavily featured in UniGlobe Entertainment's cancer docudrama titled 1 a Minute talking about mind, body, spirit and the mystery of life and death.[51] The documentary is directed by actress Namrata Singh Gujral and also features cancer survivors Olivia Newton-John, Diahann Carroll, Melissa Etheridge, Mumtaz and Jaclyn Smith.

A friend of Michael Jackson for 20 years, Chopra has criticized the "cult of drug-pushing doctors, with their co-dependent relationships with addicted celebrities", saying that he hoped Jackson's death, attributed to an overdose of a prescription drug, would be a call to action.[52]

Since 2005, Chopra has been a board member of Men's Wearhouse, Inc., a men's clothing distributor and Fortune 1000 company.[53][54][55]

In 2012, Chopra joined the board of advisors for tech startup, creating a browsable network of structured opinions.[56]

Awards and Honors

Doctor of Science, Hartwick College [57] Doctor Honoris Causa, The Giordano Bruno University [58] In 1997, Chopra was given the Golden Gavel Award by Toastmasters International.[59] [60]

He was presented the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic awarded by the Pio Manzu International Scientific Committee. In the citation, Committee Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev referred to Chopra as "one of the most lucid and inspired philosophers of our time".[61] Chopra was awarded the 2006 Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations.[62][63][64]

As the keynote speaker, he appeared at the inauguration of the State of the World Forum, hosted by Mikhail Gorbachev and the Peace and Human Progress Foundation.[65] He was the recipient in 2009 of the Oceana Award.[66]

He received the 2010 Humanitarian Starlite Award "for his global force of human empowerment, well-being and for bringing light to the world".[67] Chopra is the recipient of the 2010 GOI Peace Award.[68] He is the 2010 Art of Life Honoree [69] and 30th Anniversary Gala Honoree, Asian American Arts Alliance [70]


Alternative medicine

According to medical anthropologist Hans Baer (2003), Chopra – as a wealthy individual – is an example of the American success story,[71] but one who has failed to explore some of the potential benefits of a truly alternative, holistic approach to health. Instead he merely offers an alternative form of medical hegemony, focused on the individual — particularly well-off members of the upper and middle-classes; the "worried well".[72]

John Gamel (2008) also acknowledges Chopra's business success, thinking him "perhaps the wealthiest" of America's alternative medicine practitioners.[6] Gamel places Chopra in a "placebo-dominated" tradition and writes that the complementary medicine profession "has moved backward by promoting remedies that are ancient and unproven – or, in some cases, ancient and proven to be worthless".[73]

A 2008 article in Time magazine by Ptolemy Tompkins commented that for most of his career Chopra had been a "magnet for criticism": Tompkins wrote that the medical and scientific communities had voiced negative opinions of Chopra which ranged from the "dismissive" to the "outright damning", particularly because Chopra's claims for the effectiveness of alternative medicine could lure sick people away from effective treatments. Tompkins however considered Chopra a "beloved" individual whose basic messages centered on "love, health and happiness" had made him rich because of their popular appeal.[12]


In 2012, reviewing War of the Worldviews – a book co-authored by Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow – physics professor Mark Alford explains that the work is set out as a debate between the two authors, "[covering] all the big questions: cosmology, life and evolution, the mind and brain, and God." Alford considers the two sides of the debate a false opposition, and concludes that "the counterpoint to Chopra's speculations is not science, with its complicated structure of facts, theories, and hypotheses, but something much more basic. The antidote to Chopra is Occam."[74]

In the Help Yourself category, Time Magazine lists Deepak Chopra as on of the 100 Heroes and Icons of the Century [75] In March 2000, President Clinton said, "My country has been enriched by the contributions of more than a million Indian Americans...which includes Dr. Deepak Chopra, the pioneer of alternative medicine." [76]

Use of scientific terminology

Reviewing Susan Jacoby's book, The Age of American Unreason, Wendy Kaminer sees Chopra's popular reception in America as being symptomatic of many Americans' historical inability (as Jacoby puts it) "to distinguish between real scientists and those who peddled theories in the guise of science". Chopra's "nonsensical references to quantum physics" are placed in a lineage of American religious pseudoscience, extending back through Scientology to Christian Science.[13] Physics professor Chad Orzel has written that "to a physicist, Chopra's babble about 'energy fields' and 'congealing quantum soup' presents as utter gibberish", but that Chopra's writing gifts enable him to construct a compelling narrative that non-scientists can find convincing.[77]

In August 2005, Chopra wrote a series of articles on the creation-evolution controversy and Intelligent design which were criticized by science writer Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society.[78][79][80] Shermer has said that Chopra is "the very definition of what we mean by pseudoscience".[81]

Chopra has been criticized for his frequent references to the relationship of quantum mechanics to healing processes, a connection that has drawn skepticism from physicists who say it can be considered as contributing to the general confusion in the popular press regarding quantum measurement, decoherence and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.[14] In 1998, Chopra was awarded the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in physics for "his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness".[82] According to the book Skeptics Dictionary, Chopra's "mind-body claims get even murkier as he tries to connect Ayurveda with quantum physics."[33] When interviewed by ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in the Channel 4 (UK) documentary The Enemies of Reason, Chopra said that he used the term "quantum physics" as "a metaphor" and that it had little to do with quantum theory in physics.[83] In March 2010, Chopra and Jean Houston debated Sam Harris and Michael Shermer at Caltech on the question "Does God Have a Future?" Shermer and Harris criticized Chopra's use of scientific terminology to expound unrelated spiritual concepts.[81]


In April 2010, Aseem Shukla criticized Chopra for suggesting that yoga did not have origins in Hinduism but is an older Indian spiritual tradition.[84] Chopra later said that yoga was rooted in "consciousness alone" which is a universal, non-sectarian eternal wisdom of life expounded by Vedic rishis long before historic Hinduism ever arose. He accused Shukla of having a "fundamentalist agenda". Shukla responded by saying Chopra was an exponent of the art of "How to Deconstruct, Repackage and Sell Hindu Philosophy Without Calling it Hindu!", and he said Chopra's mentioning of fundamentalism was an attempt to divert the debate.[85][86]

Legal actions

In its May 22/29, 1991, issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article coauthored by Chopra, Hari M. Sharma, and Brihaspati Dev Triguna: "Letter from New Delhi: Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights Into Ancient Medicine".[87] JAMA editors claimed that Chopra and his co-authors had financial interests in "Maharishi Vedic Medicine" products and services and had failed to inform JAMA of this in a required financial disclosure form submitted with their manuscript. In the August 14, 1991 edition of JAMA, the editors published a financial disclosure correction[88] and followed up on October 2, 1991 with a six-page Medical News and Perspectives exposé.[89][90] An article discussing this chain of events was authored by Andrew A. Skolnick in the Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers.[91] A 1992 defamation lawsuit brought against the article's author and the editor of JAMA was dismissed in 1993.[92][93] Media reports published four years later saying that there had been a monetary settlement of the case were later withdrawn as untrue.[94]

Chopra was sued for copyright infringement by Robert Sapolsky, for using a chart displaying information on the endocrinology of stress without proper attribution, after the publication of Chopra’s book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.[95] An out-of-court settlement resulted in Chopra correctly attributing material that was researched by Sapolsky.[96] Chopra acknowledges that his thought has been inspired by Jiddu Krishnamurti and others.[97]

In 1996, The Weekly Standard published an article which accused Chopra of "plagiarism and soliciting a prostitute"; however, Chopra sued and the paper withdrew its statements and published an apology.[98]


Chopra has written more than 75 books with 21 New York Times bestsellers. His books have been translated into 35 languages and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.[11] His first book, Creating Health, is credited with helping to create initial, international recognition for Chopra.[7] The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year.[99] Another work, The Way of the Wizard was a bestseller at the same time [100] followed by The Return of Merlin.[101] Quantum Healing,[102] Ageless Body Timeless Mind,[103] Perfect Health[104] and Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul (2009)[105] all incorporate the principles of Ayurveda. His book Peace Is the Way: Bringing War and Violence to an End[106] won the Quill Awards[107] and The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of your Life received the Nautilus Award.[108] The Path to Love (1997)[109] A series of bestsellers on spiritual experiences includes:The Third Jesus[110] which also awarded one of the best spiritual books of 2008 [111] Buddha: A story of Enlightenment[112] How To Know God[113] Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment [114] Muhammad: A Story of a Prophet[115] Life After Death: The Burden of Proof[116] selected Chopra's book The Soul of Leadership as one of five best business books of 2011 to read for your career.[117] Some of his recent bestsellers include The Shadow Effect (2010) coauthored with Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson [118] The War of the Worldviews coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow (2011),[119] Spiritual Solutions (2011),[120] God: A Story of Revelation (2012), and Super Brain coauthored with Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.,[121] which received the 2013 Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal in Science/Cosmology [122] (2012).

Chopra has over 80 filmography credits as an actor, producer and writer.[123][124]

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Official website
  • The Chopra Center for Wellbeing

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