Dr. Holden's Blog

  • Depression’s Root Cause is Not a Chemical Imbalance

    The chemical or neurotransmitter imbalance theory of depression is only a theory. The fact is the chemical imbalance theory of depression has never been scientifically proven to exist. Many people believe this myth so I wrote this article to shed more light on this common misconception and review some other theories for the root cause of depression.

    One of the best scientific articles written about how the chemical imbalance myth has been perpetuated is “The Media and the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression” published in the social sciences journal Society in 2008. I encourage you to read it because it’s a fascinating discussion and is available for free at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12115-007-9047-3

    This article describes how the chemical imbalance theory was vigorously promoted by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry and how the mainstream media was duped into perpetuating this myth. The final summary by the authors still stands today - “there is not a single peer-reviewed article that can accurately be cited to directly support claims of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder.”

    So now that you know the chemical imbalance theory of depression is unproven, let’s look at what might be possible root causes of depression. First of all, the brain is an incredibly complex organ that will likely never be completely understood. Second, the mind, or consciousness that arises from the brain is even more complex. The hard question of consciousness yet to be explained by the most intelligent scientist is how the brain produces various states of mental experiences such as the perception of color and the feeling of an emotion. 

    Root Causes of Depression

    Because of this complexity, the likely causes of depression in different individuals is complex and varied like individual fingerprints. What we do know is that nature and nurture combine to give us the answer. Our unique genetics and unique environmental influences combine to determine whether or not we experience depression. By environmental influences I mean everything from the food we eat to the toxins we’re exposed to, and everyday experiences such as stressful life events. Those nature and nurture issues are the origin, which in turn may influence changes in our brain including neurotransmitter imbalances. But the neurotransmitter imbalance, if it occurs at all in any one individual with depression, is not the root cause. 

    Traumatic life experiences and even the character trait of pessimism may predispose certain individuals to depression. Adverse childhood experiences definitely play a role in certain people because the experiences permanently change areas of the brain related to stress hormone management and epigenetically alter one’s genes through a process called methylation. Both of those changes can significantly contribute to lifelong depression in certain individuals. 

    But some of the most interesting scientific evidence discusses how uncontrolled inflammation contributes to mood disorders. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry in August 2013 showed that having an autoimmune disorder and being hospitalized for a severe infection increases the risk for developing a mood disorder. This is because research shows that mood disorders are linked to uncontrolled inflammation. 

    The authors say, “Experimental activation of inflammation in humans and animals induces symptoms of mood disorders. Infections cause the release of proinflammatory cytokines responsible for the symptoms of mood disorders and autoimmune diseases are associated with the formation of brain-reactive antibodies, which induce changes in neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine function.” 

    In other words, inflammation and infection cause a production of chemicals, which change how neurotransmitters and hormones are released in the body and brain. In addition, inflammation triggered by bacteria and viruses can cause the immune system to create antibodies against parts of the brain. When these antibodies are formed, the immune system is tricked into attacking the brain. 

    So as you can see, the root causes of depression are many and vary from individual to individual. What is clear is that the root cause of depression is not simply a chemical imbalance, which may explain why many people don’t benefit from the use of antidepressants. 

    In my next article in this series on depression, I’ll discuss why numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown that antidepressants are not substantially more effective than placebos in treating depression. So stay tuned. 

    Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg D, et al. Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Am J Prev Med. 1998;14(4):245-58.

    Benros ME, Waltoft BL, Nordentoft M, et al. Autoimmune diseases and severe infections as risk factors for mood disorders: a nationwide study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(8):812-20.

  • Curing the Incurable

    Exactly how the human body heals in every instance is still a great mystery. Figuring out why some people are cured of terminal illnesses and others are not inspires scientists across the globe. This is especially true for cancer and some viral infections.

    Viruses are incredibly diverse, differing so much that scientists have a hard time categorizing all of them. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) lives in multiple areas of the body. Other viruses like Hepatitis B and C set up house in the liver. Some we can cure like Hepatitis C. Others we can't yet cure like chronic Hepatitis B. And until 2008, scientists and doctors thought it was impossible to cure HIV.

    Only one person in the world has been scientifically documented as cured of HIV. He’s known as the Berlin patient because he was living in Berlin at the time of his cure. He received two stem cell transplants from a donor who has a rare genetic mutation that makes the donor genetically resistant to the virus.

    It’s dangerous to receive a stem cell transplant because it requires first knocking out the entire immune system with chemotherapy and whole-body irradiation. For the Berlin patient, two separate stem cell transplants were used to treat his leukemia; otherwise, he was going to die, not from HIV, but from leukemia. 

    There have been approximately fifteen other stem cell transplants performed in HIV-positive individuals since then in an attempt to replicate the HIV cure. Most of the transplant recipients died. The remaining survivors still have detectable HIV in their bodies. Despite this, scientists and doctors continue their research to decipher all of the variables that led to the lone cure. Their hope is that ultimately their research will translate into a cure for all people with HIV.

    So let's look at how someone may be miraculously cured of a condition that by scientific terms should be incurable. Miracles do occur and are well-documented in the medical literature. There are several well-documented cures of terminal metastatic cancers, even in individuals who opted for no chemotherapy or radiation. Scientists call this spontaneous remission or spontaneous regression. Others call it radical remission.

    I’ve told patients about the existence of spontaneous remission of end-stage cancers, and that it suggests there is a potential to be cured of any disease. After all, it’s been scientifically proven that terminal cancers undergo spontaneous remission and that someone has been cured of an incurable virus. Are these cases rare? Yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that it happens and gives people hope. Hope is a component of expectation, and we know from research that expectation is a big player in the placebo effect.

    Spontaneous remission of end-stage cancers is one of the great mysteries of medicine as it is unexplained by science. Even the single documented cure of HIV hasn’t been fully explained by science because doctors haven’t been able to replicate this cure. The reason we don't know why these cures happen is because there are so many variables that come into play. There are obvious physical variables, and I would argue there are also emotional and spiritual variables. Physical variables include genetic variations, stressors, toxins, nutritional status, lifestyle, and especially the status of the immune system. Emotional variables include beliefs, which trigger emotions, unresolved emotional conflicts, which are often buried in the subconscious mind, and the will to live. 

    The spiritual variable is by far the most controversial. This part of the discussion is philosophical, but an important discussion to have for those who believe in a spiritual component of the human experience.

    What if our higher selves, or souls, make a decision to have certain earthly experiences before we incarnate? This concept makes sense if you believe in reincarnation. The University of Virginia has been studying reincarnation for over 50 years, initiated by Dr. Ian Stevenson, and now being led by Dr. Jim Tucker since the death of Dr. Stevenson in 1997. As psychiatry professors at UVA’s medical school, they have documented many cases of reincarnation so thoroughly that some would say the evidence is irrefutable.

    What if before someone incarnates, his or her soul chooses to have an earthly experience of a terminal illness in that lifetime? The reasons vary from soul to soul but may simply be because he or she wants to have that experience. After all, as a soul, you know that the experience won’t last forever and that it may result in a powerful learning experience. This goes along with a philosophical concept that our souls come to earth to experience growth and transformation through learning. And through our own earthly experiences, we can positively influence the growth and transformation of others.

    Why might someone's soul choose to experience a terminal illness leading to death at a relatively early age? Maybe it was so their loved ones could have the experience of learning to heal from heart-wrenching grief. Or maybe it was so that a loved one they left behind would be inspired to choose a career involving finding the cure for a certain type of terminal cancer. Or so that his or her doctor would be inspired to find a cure for an incurable virus, i.e. the doctor in Berlin who thought of the way to cure HIV by using a stem cell donor resistant to HIV. 

    The reasons are endless, but as long as you view it from the soul’s higher perspective, it makes sense. Since you get to experience multiple lifetimes, you’ll just choose an easier path the next lifetime. Or not, if you are adventurous.

    When a practitioner of the healing arts comes across a patient who has an incurable illness, they have the option of choosing cutting-edge and innovative ways to attempt a cure. But the limiting factor always lies with the patient. Patients may make lifestyle changes and take innovative therapies, but if some don't take steps to heal the emotional conflict that keeps their immune system suppressed through stress, or if they ultimately don't have "the fight" in them or will to live, then no matter how innovative or inspired the practitioner, the patient may not get better.

    Other patients may decide not to take any treatment and set an intention to heal themselves, as in some instances of spontaneous remission of end-stage cancer. So how do they heal themselves? We're not sure, but we do know it requires they activate their inner physician. Research on the placebo effect provides many clues on how we activate our inner physicians through the power of belief.

    Some patients may follow the innovative therapies prescribed by a healthcare practitioner, clean up their emotional body, and have the will to live, resulting in a cure. Variables abound when it comes to healing in each individual.

    What if a patient’s limiting factor for a cure lies at the level of the soul? Did their soul choose to experience an incurable illness that they would ultimately conquer? Or did their soul choose to stay chronically ill until they died at a relatively early age? Why would they choose the latter? So they could learn to heal without being cured in that lifetime. Meaning they wanted to learn how to experience surrendering to "what is" no matter how terrible, but being happy despite that. That is a very powerful experience, but it goes against everything we are taught such as "never give up," and “don't give up the fight." But I ask, “is that always the right thing?” We don't know for sure. 

    Another aspect to consider is that if prior to incarnation, your soul makes the decision to die of a terminal illness in this lifetime. What happens if you change your mind and decide to live? How would you go about reversing course? The way to do this is fairly straight-forward. You meditate with an intention to meet with your higher self and break the contract you established before incarnating.

    You start by explaining in vivid detail to your higher self why it is so important for you to recover from the terminal illness. Maybe your premature death would no longer make sense in the whole scheme of things. What if you had created a course and written a book that included how to survive a terminal illness, and you needed the story of your recovery to document exactly how this is done? There is no better way to teach than through personal experience.

    Or you’ve learned what you needed to learn and now want to live a long life as the that person who experienced powerful growth and transformation on an emotional and spiritual level.

    So after you’ve explained in detail to your higher self why you can no longer fulfill the contract you made prior to incarnation, you must show your higher self that you’ve got a tremendous will to live. Meditate daily on seeing and feeling yourself cured of the terminal illness. Take daily action as if your terminal illness has already resolved. Take steps toward your future such as initiating or continuing projects that will complete themselves in the future. Accept a new job position or a raise with the intention of fulfilling these duties far into the future. Keep the momentum of your life going in leaps and bounds.

    Most important, provide momentum for this course reversal by supplying it with energy in the form of powerful emotions. Be intensely passionate about your decision to break the contract by bringing in high energy emotions about overcoming the illness. Anger can be helpful as long as you channel the anger in a manner that inspires you to overcome the illness. Joy and gratitude are especially powerful emotions for manifesting anything in your life. In your meditations, regularly see yourself being in perfect health while feeling a profound sense of gratitude.

    Some will say this type of instruction is giving people false hope. I argue that there is no such thing as false hope. Hope is hope. And if you don’t have hope for your future, no matter the outcome, your quality of life sucks! in addition, hopelessness creates one of the biggest drains on your energy you can possibly have.

    I’m not asking you to be perfect in this endeavor. No one is ever perfect. Our foibles and follies are part of what makes life so interesting. There will be days where you’ll feel incredibly sad and angry. That’s okay too. Just let yourself feel those emotions so that you properly process them so they don’t get stuck in your body mind. Just remember, you can eventually pull yourself out of an emotional spiral by contemplating the good things in your life, by going out on a long walk in nature, or by snuggling with a loved one on the couch while letting them love on you.

    The process of self-healing is ultimately about striking a balance in your life. It’s definitely not about being in denial and trying to be happy and positive every day. Trying to do that is not being human and will result in failure. Use the techniques described to balance the harsh low energy emotions you’re going to experience in an attempt to maintain the momentum for heading in the direction of healing.

    Curing the incurable is a very complex topic. There is no "one cure fits all,” and there is no panacea that works for everyone. Functional medicine taught me that true personalized medicine helps tease out variables that will be helpful for each individual. An optimal personalized medicine approach requires a thorough evaluation of physical, emotional, and spiritual issues. So if you decide to choose a functional medicine practitioner as part of your healthcare team, makes sure they are comfortable addressing all of those issues.  

    Tackling all of the potential variables of an incurable illness is not for the faint of heart. This is especially true for emotional and spiritual variables, which requires consideration of what is outside the realm of “proven” in the traditional medical model. It is by investigating the unknown and what is deemed impossible where man’s great discoveries are made. A place to start is by acknowledging that a review of the scientific literature shows us that the word “incurable” can sometimes be a misnomer.

    For more information about the miraculous cure of HIV:



    For more information on spontaneous remission:




    For personal stories of radical remission:


    For more information about reincarnation research:




    Keith R. Holden, M.D.

  • Power of Perception Interview

    Transcript of Interview

    Scott: I’m Scott Golden the creator and founder of the power of perception radio network. What we do around here is we highlight undiscovered people from all walks of life and we give them an opportunity and a platform to share with us the things they are passionate about, the things they are working on. You can follow me on linkedin@scottgolden or you can follow us on twitter@peelperception.

    We are excited today to have Dr. Keith Holden with us who is an M.D. who specializes in functional medicine and the mind-body-spirit connection as it relates to healing. Dr. Holden has a course on Udemy.com called “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing."

    Keith: Hey Scott!

    Scott: Hello there. Thank you so much for taking time out of what I am sure is an exceptionally busy schedule to join us today. And I’m always fascinated when I see people who come from the western medical field embracing the eastern philosophies of energy and healing. So kindly take on listeners through that journey for you where you blended those two into the healing work that you do now.

    Keith: Okay well it actually started at my birth. My mom was pregnant with twins and we were very large in-utero, and because of that there were some structural issues. My twin had to wear corrective shoes and braces after he was born and I was born with a crossed eye, called strabismus, and a floppy neck. The doctor said we had those issues because we were so structurally cramped in-utero.

    After I was born, one of the first things my parents did when they left the hospital was to take me to the family chiropractor. In 1964, chiropractors were considered complete quacks. In fact, few years later, the American Medical Association tried to take the practice of chiropractic and squash it, calling it nothing but pure quackery.

    So what my family chiropractor did was do some subtle adjustments to my tiny little body. A healer is a healer and my eye uncrossed, and my neck strengthened enough to where my head didn’t need to rest on my shoulder anymore.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my first exposure to alternative medicine. My parents were always kind of naturalists. I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. My parents and grandparents always had an organic garden. My family utilized traditional medical doctors and alternative medical practitioners.

    So I can tell you that I was already influenced at a very early age to understand that alternative and complementary medicine was effective. In fact, alternative medicine played quite a role in my life at a very early age and in a very positive fashion.

    I went to medical school at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, and I had a fantastic education. I started practicing in a traditional medical practice and was kind of let down. I really enjoyed the intellectual stimulation while I was in medical school and residency. I found I wasn’t really enjoying a traditional medical practice because I felt like I was practicing with one hand tied behind my back.

    I was taught that if you try to introduce alternative medical therapies that can border on malpractice. That was the kind of the mindset I was indoctrinated into in medical school. This created a conflict for me because I had already experienced alternative medicine and had a very positive experience.

    But I started studying alternative medicine, read many books, took courses, interacted with practitioners and found that, for the most part, if the practitioner’s intention was good, that it mostly worked. I came to realize that there is a huge mind-body-spirit connection to health and wellness, and that illness didn’t result from just physical causes like you are taught in medical school.

    I took it upon myself to learn on my own after graduating from medical school what effective therapies there are besides what’s considered traditional medicine. Thankfully, I came across the Institute for Functional Medicine. This institute founded by physicians teaches Functional Medicine courses all over the world.

    Functional medicine is basically science-based naturopathy, and all their courses are backed by solid scientific evidence to support the latest and greatest findings in medicine. Traditional medicine can be profoundly effective, especially in acute illness and injuries, but it lags behind in implementing the latest and greatest findings in medicine.

    Doctors are really big on proof, proof, proof to the point where one good study is not enough. They want two or three or more studies to prove something, and because of that mindset, it can delay bringing really profound healing methods into the traditional medical model. Functional Medicine practitioners tend to find the early medical successful evidence and start incorporating into their practice.

    So that’s basically how I came into a mindset of combining Eastern and Western philosophies of medicine. As I studied Functional Medicine, the mind-body connection became my absolute favorite part because the mind is a constant in your environment, and depending on how you use your mind, your consciousness, it can have a dramatic impact on whether you are healthy or you have disease.

    Scott: What’s interesting to me is that even scientific minded individuals would have to say the majority of medical studies have a double blind effect, or placebo effect. So in clinical trials where a placebo is given, the mind plays a role in that if a person believes that something is going to work, their results are going to be remarkably different versus a person who believes that there’s nothing that can fix their problem. Why do you believe that the traditional western medicine turns a blind eye to the effects of the mind in healing?

    Keith: It’s getting better, but as a whole, you are right. Traditional Western medicine has had a major prejudice. It’s so ironic what you are saying about using placebos in these randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials, which are considered the absolute gold standard in scientific studies.

    It’s so ironic that they were using a placebo but didn’t give it any credit. They weren’t delving into the effects of the placebo, and they were just using it as an after-thought. At the same time, they were treating the placebo like a second-class citizen. In fact, there’s a ton of prejudice in the medical literature about the placebo. They were saying that there’s nothing to it, and it’s just a trick of the mind, and other derogatory statements.

    Now what’s happening is that more scientists are studying the placebo effect and doing it properly. By properly, I mean they are accounting for all the different components of a clinical trial that may result in improvement and segregating those out so that what you are left with is the true placebo effect. When studied properly, they are finding that the true placebo effect has amazing capabilities. Even Harvard has dedicated it’s own placebo study department. There are clinical researchers like Dr. Fabrizio Bennedetti in Italy who are committing their lives to just studying the placebo effect because they are finding that it’s so powerful.

    So you have made a very good point. Why are you going to use a placebo and then bash it? I could sum it up as a prejudice, but also from a physician’s standpoint, physicians like to think they know everything. They like to be the guy in charge. I understand that you are put in a very difficult situation and people are coming to you with their lives at stake. So you want to at least think you know everything so that you feel better about what you are doing.

    When they were using the placebo and finding that it was doing really well in some clinical trials best thing, even besting what was considered some great medications, it kind of made them mad and upset because they didn’t understand it. A lot of that is fear-based and misunderstandings that contributed to the prejudice against the placebo. Now that the placebo effect research is coming out, it’s really enlightening a lot of physicians and educating them. And the placebo is starting to get a lot more respect.

    Scott: Is there also a connection between the major businesses? I mean if we are honest, the American economy is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. Is there a fear in the medical community that if alternative methods were given greater value than it would have long- term negative effects on the economy? Or is it something different?

    Keith: That’s an excellent question, and I think it’s a mixed answer. Just as every individual has different ethics and different mindsets about why they are in medicine and what their purpose is in life, you are going to have different reasons for the way you behave and that includes the medical field as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors as a whole have good intentions to get people well. They are under a lot of stress taking responsibilities for peoples’ lives even when these people don’t take responsibilities for their lives.

    The problem is the way doctors are educated and that education continues after you graduate from medical school via pharmaceutical reps. What you are asking is are people scared if we embrace alternative and complementary medicine, including the placebo effect, is it going to negatively impact our economy or their business? I would say yes; there are definitely people out there who feel that way, and hopefully it’s not the people with lots of financial influence such as the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry heavily influences legislation for an entire country, so yes there is a component of that. I don’t like conspiracy theories and I don’t advocate doom and gloom.

    I like to think that people have better ethics and a higher awareness than advocating that type of behavior but that is out there. To what extent? We don’t know. It does exist but we don’t know how much of an influence it is as a whole. Despite that, you still see large and well- known institutions like Harvard creating a placebo effect department and committing millions of dollars to studying it. I’d like to think that the right thing is always going to win out eventually. It just takes time.

    Scott: What thing can happen in the mindset of an average citizen who has a chronic illness? What changes are most helpful in a belief system to aid in the production of healing cells and thereby holistic wellness, in your experience?

    Keith: In my experience, working with the mind-body connection is the most powerful thing that a person in that situation. They can practice nonresistance, which is an old mind-body concept that is so incredibly powerful. If you can go into a mindset of nonresistance despite what’s going on within you and without you; if you can at least practice going into a state of non-resistance. It can be a state of neutrality or it can be a state of euphoria.

    You can do powerful things with your thoughts. Even if it’s just to go into a state of neutrality about your condition for even five minutes a day, it will reduce your overall stress response to your condition. This will help trigger your relaxation response. And even if it’s five minutes a day, but done on a regular basis, you’ll get better and better at it.

    As you get better and better at inducing your relaxation response by going into a mindset of nonresistance about your chronic health condition, you’ll start to balance out the mindset of fear about your chronic health issue. By using mindfulness and meditation to go into that state of nonresistance, you help balance your autonomic nervous system, which is your autopilot.

    You can practice going into those states of neutrality and nonresistance by doing something as simple as practicing five minutes of gratitude daily. This takes you out of that state of resistance to what you perceive as your stressor, and in doing, so your autonomic nervous system starts to balance. As it balances and your parasympathetic tone increases, your body starts to initiate the repair, recovery, and rejuvenation.

    People who do those types of practices on a regular basis will also find that they start to sleep better at night because their autonomic nervous system is balanced. Their balanced autonomic nervous system stops waking them up with fear and worry in the middle of the night. Because you have been practicing relaxation though nonresistance a little bit each day by conjuring gratitude or simply just focusing on your breath, it takes you out of a state of fear. That’s absolutely the most powerful thing an individual can do who has a chronic condition. Does that make sense?

    Scott: It certainly does and I don’t talk a great deal about myself on the program because I prefer to highlight the guest but for my own personal experience. I have several chronic conditions, some of which are birth related and others that have developed over time. It was only when I investigated the alternative methods that I began to see relief both in my mind and in my body.

    Is there a connection and could you speak perhaps to the differences that are caused when a person is under a great deal of stress and the connection between stress and the development of the abnormal cells or the reaction of the brain that creates the response of pain when a person is stressed versus when a person is calm or in a mindful space?

    Keith: First of all, your short testimonial is one that I hear over and over. When people who have a traditional western medical mindset and listen to a doctor who says to just take a pill, and then they ask why am I not getting better? At that point, they may start to explore alternatives and the mind-body connection. They start eating healthy and realize they are finally getting better. That speaks to the truly holistic medical approach, which is way more effective than just taking a pill.

    So go on from there to what you are asking about stress and how it influences the body. Yes absolutely! I want to remind everyone that stress is not something out there. Stress is always, always, always a reflection of your perception. For example, you and I live in a neighborhood and the guy across the street from us is a complete clown. I think he’s funny and you think he’s just the worst person in the world. You are going to the neighborhood authority and try to get him removed. What’s the difference between you and me? You are completely stressed and I’m laughing. It all boils down to our individual perception as to what creates stress or not.

    So always remember that emotional stress is a perception. and through mindfulness and meditation you can change the part of your brain that affects your awareness and emotional regulation so that when you do those practices on a regular basis it gives you a choice about your perception. All of a sudden choice appears that wasn’t there before. That’s because you have changed your brain through mindfulness and meditation to facilitate those processes.

    So going to back how the stress impacts the body. I always like to go the example of the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that’s always functioning in the background without you consciously being aware of it or you consciously regulating it. It’s that’s the part of your nervous system that regulates your sweating, how your pupils dilate, how your digestion occurs and so on.

    It’s important to remember that mismanaged stress or chronically uncontrolled stress, is going to negatively impact your autonomic nervous system. You have two main arms to your autonomic nervous system - the sympathetic arm, which is your fight or flight response. The other part is the parasympathetic arm, which is your relaxation response.

    When you are stressed, you go predominantly into a high sympathetic tone. Sometimes we need stress; sometimes we need to jump out of the way of a moving car or run away from something. That’s an appropriate stress response. The problem is that when stress becomes chronically mismanaged, it results in a predominance of your sympathetic nervous system. We weren’t built to sustain a sympathetic fight or flight predominance. It’s just not physiologically possible without the body starting to break down. When that happens, you’re no longer able to go into that sustained parasympathetic tone, which is your rest, repair, rejuvenation, recovery, and relaxation response. So you are no longer able to adequately initiate repair of your body’s systems.

    We know there are stressors in our environment such as toxins, and that our DNA constantly needs to repair itself. So if we don’t facilitate that process in some way by triggering our parasympathetic tone and increasing our ability to repair our DNA, that may result in cancer, especially if you have a genetic predisposition for it.

    If you’ve got a genetic predisposition for any disease, it doesn’t mean you are automatically going to get that disease. There are very few diseases that automatically happen that way. This brings up the concept of epigenetics, which is the field of medicine that looks at how your environment turns your genes on and off. How your genes turn on and off determines whether or not you develop that disease or stay healthy.

    The one thing that’s a constant in your environment is your mind - your thoughts, beliefs, and your emotions. Your attitude literally has an epigenetic influence on your genes and how they turn on and off, thus whether or not you have wellness or disease.

    Scott: It makes a whole world of sense but it’s also disturbing that we undervalue the power of the mind so greatly that people are suffering all over the world and they don’t have to be. There are thousands or millions of people who could maybe be cured or certainly at least experience prolonged or notable relief from chronic conditions.

    Now I’m curious. Does this affect the mental disorders as well? Depression? Anxiety? Post-traumatic stress disorder? Or is what you are speaking of the autoimmune challenge is more reserved for autoimmune diseases such as cancer or diabetes and those type of challenges?

    Keith: Well I wasn’t describing an autoimmune issue. Epigenetics doesn’t always equate with autoimmunity. Epigenetics is simply how your environment impacts your DNA and changes how your genes turn on or off. It can be a toxin in your environment. It can be the food you’re eating, the stressors in your life, or it can be all of the above.

    As far as how many people could get better if more of this information was out there? Millions. And that’s why the ancients were teaching the mind-body connection thousands of years ago. But what’s happening now is that the science is just now catching up with what the ancients were teaching thousands of years ago. The science is now proving it.

    In my Udemy course, I talk about a mindfulness meditation study where they took a group of individuals, some who were experienced practitioners of meditation and others who were novices. They gave them a daylong course and sent them all home with techniques for calming your mind and triggering your relaxation. They also sent them home with a guided meditation to listen to for twenty minutes a day for eight weeks.

    They tested their blood at the beginning and again at the end of the eight weeks and this is what they found. After just an eight-week mindfulness meditation practice, it turned genes on and off resulting in better blood sugar regulation, better mitochondrial resiliency (improved cellular energy), less oxidative stress (less body rust), and a dramatic reduction in inflammation. It even preserved the length of their telomeres, which are the caps at the ends of their chromosomes, which has an anti-aging effect. Now they did find that the experienced meditators had a more profound impact on their DNA, but even the novice meditators had a positive impact.

    So this is the power of the mind over body on many levels. It’s called mind-body genomics, and this is going to be an exploding field in the very near future. There’s going to be more and more scientific studies showing how mindfulness and meditation, your thoughts and emotions actually impact your DNA. If you had told scientists this ten years ago, many would have laughed in your face.

    Scott: I find this so fascinating because I think it affects everyone. I think we all know someone who...and I can think of a friend off the top of my head... who was diagnosed with cancer and he was stage three and he was told oh well, we’ve done all we can do for you. And he went through the grieving process, went through all of the challenges with that. Being in his mid-forties, he was obviously devastated. Then he said, “You know what. I’m not going to accept what the doctors tell me. I’m going to research for myself everything.” And now he’s cancer free for three and a half years when he was told he had less than a thirty percent chance of surviving. I think there’s so much to educating oneself to alternatives.

    Keith: Absolutely. We’ve got to get out of the mindset that the doctors know everything. No, actually you know everything. If people would pay more attention to their intuition, what feels right, and what their gut is telling them, we’d have better outcomes. You’re talking about your friend who had this experience. It’s very interesting. There are a lot of studies on spontaneous remission. I’m not saying he got better without therapy. I’m just saying complete recovery of a cancer was just not anticipated.

    The one finding across multiple studies of spontaneous remission is that the common denominator was what your friend said. I’m not going to accept that. I know I can get better and I’m going to do it. What is that? That is mind. The power of his mind and that’s what the placebo effect

    research shows. It shows that we have an inner physician built in that we can turn on and off by our mind. This is not voodoo anymore; this is solid science. The placebo effect research is amazing, and in my opinion, it’s one of the major breakthroughs in modern medicine. Yet people still don’t believe in it. Well they’re just not educated.

    Scott: Obviously we’re in an election year with so much going on, with the affordable healthcare act and all these challenges for millions of Americans. If we started to see medical practitioners, doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses teaching mindfulness as part of the recovery process, what do you think that would do for the average American who has health conditions? And do you think it would shift into seeing reduced medical costs across the board?

    Keith: A recent study that came out that showed a group of patients for which they instituted mindfulness meditation practices resulted in a 43% reduction in the need for healthcare services. Absolutely yes the data is out there. It does result in a dramatic reduction in healthcare costs at least in that one study and it makes sense to me that you could extrapolate that across the board. To me it’s common sense.

    You know the problem is, even if this information is out there, you’re still going to have individuals who won’t embrace it and that’s fine. It’s their choice. So you’re always going to have that group of individual patients who won’t get better because they didn’t embrace it. You’ll even have that group of individual patients that embraced it and didn’t get better. That’s just the mysteries of the human body and the human mind. Yet in that last group you’ll still have individuals who don’t cure but they heal, and I mean healing from an emotional perspective. They go into such a place of non-resistance and they know they’re dying and they still make powerful changes in their community and within their families to show what a powerful experience it was for them. And families heal - all rifts are gone. I’m going off on another topic but that’s also one of my favorite topics. There are numerous ways people will embrace it or won’t embrace it and depending on if they do or not, there’s no guarantee, but the odds are in their favor that it will have benefits for them.

    Scott: So... and I want to come back. I can’t believe we’re almost two- thirds of the way through the interview already and I feel we have just barely scratched the surface. I want to come back to when you became more vocal about your belief in mind-body-spirit connective oneness. How much resistance did you encounter from colleagues and other medical professionals and have you seen that evolve over the years?

    Keith: So that’s a really good question. I think it would’ve been different for me if I had stayed within an academic institution that hadn’t yet embraced mind-body medicine. Can you imagine being in a big wig institution where they’re arrogant - this is the way it is and this is the way it will always be?

    And then you have Harvard Medical School who has a department designated to studying the placebo effect. It just depends on where you are. For me in northeast Florida, I found a clinic where I really resonated with the other practitioners. It also depends on the individual doctor. If a doctor has a kind and caring heart, they’re good at what they do and set a good example for their colleagues, then even if they bring something to the table that seems a little different, they’ll listen. Okay we’ll just listen to doctor Holden because we like him and we know he’s a good doctor. Because we like him we’ll listen. And that’s what happened. Did they embrace it and take it into their own practices? No, but they were actually very curious and enthusiastic about it.

    I didn’t get a lot of derogatory statements or negativity. It just depends on the individual and the community you’re in and the environment and practice you’re in. It’s highly variable.

    Medicine is consumer driven believe it or not. The traditional medical model is being pushed to embrace a lot of these concepts. I started training in functional medicine in 2009. I see these so called science- based blogs online, which are written by doctors who are basically scared to death that other doctors are going to know something new that they don’t that might help patients. It’s completely psychological, but they bash doctors like functional medicine doctors and I just have to laugh because I know in my heart that the science proves it. So you have to maintain that perspective so it doesn’t take you down.

    I found that Functional Medicine was bringing things to the table very early that I’m now starting to see in big name journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, and on traditional online medical educational communities like Medscape. While Medscape does have a huge pharmaceutical influence, you can also see it’s starting to shift from the inside. They’re putting more information out there like Functional medicine concepts such as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, the use of probiotics, and mind-body medicine. Then you read the comments from the doctors and, as a whole, you’re seeing a lot of positive comments.

    When I go to these Functional Medicine conferences, there are doctors attending from all over the world and the conferences are completely sold out. There has definitely been a shift thankfully. It’s shifting and it will also be consumer driven. As you get more and more Functional Medicine type doctors out there that start to get their patients well after they have been struggling in the traditional medical model, that opens a lot of eyes, and you will start to see the shift happening faster.

    Scott: And as those shifts happen obviously courses like your course on Udemy.com, which I want to switch to now, have a lot to do with that shift. Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. So take us through the process of your Udemy course and tell us what somebody who takes it will learn and how it’s beneficial to an interested party.

    Keith: Okay. I appreciate you letting me talk about my course. I love to teach, and I actually love to teach more than I love to treat, so to be able to create this course was a huge milestone for me. Udemy hosts it and is a company that allows people to create courses, which are screened and checked for quality.

    I created a course called “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing,” which was inspired by a talk I did at a Functional Medicine conference. I had done a lot of research on mind-body medicine, mind-body genomics, and the placebo effect. The more I did the research for the talk, the more I became absolutely amazed at the solid science that’s out there on mind-body medicine. So I developed a course about it.

    I’ve also been meditating for about six years, and I like to experiment with different types of meditation. I’ve used binaural beats and isochronic tones embedded in music tracks, as well as drumming to facilitate my meditation. I’ve experimented with these types of meditation aids because I’m not going to bash something or even talk positively about something without me having experienced it personally. So used all all my experience, my education, and my research, and I created the course “Power of the Mind and Health and Healing.” It’s a six-module course designed to be taken over six weeks, though you can take it over whatever time period you prefer. Once you sign up, you have lifetime access to the course.

    It’s broken up into six modules. The first module is called “Making the Science of Mindfulness Meditation Work for You.” That module is actually free. You don’t have to pay for the course to take the first module. All the lectures in the first module are in a preview mode, and that means you can view all of them for free. So if everybody wants to just go on Udemy.com and enter “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing” in the search box, you can take the entire first module for free. If you like what I say and how I say it, then sign up for the entire course. If you go to my website www.Dr-Holden.com and, sign up for my email list, I give you a 75% discount coupon for the course.

    Module 2 is called “Biological Stress and Maximizing Energy.” I talk about stress and energy and how these issues impact the body and the mind.

    Module 3 is “Making the Science of Heart Consciousness Work for You.” There’s some amazing research done by the Institute for HeartMath, which is leading the charge on peer-reviewed clinical evidence on how the heart and the mind interact. The heart has its own consciousness and HeartMath has mastered the ability to use heart rate variability, which is the beat-to-beat variation of the heart, to actually monitor the effectiveness of your medication practices. HeartMath is also doing the latest research on nonlocal intuition, which is intuition that comes from outside of you. Nonlocal intuition has nothing to do with the type of intuition studied by the traditional medical model. That type of intuition studied by the traditional medical model which is related to memory retrieval and pattern recognition. In contrast, nonlocal intuition comes from outside of you from the unified field of energy that connects everyone.

    Nonlocal intuition relates to how parapsychology works, how psychics and mediums work. I know some people will start to call me a quack but there’s actually science backing this and HeartMath has done the research and published it in peer-reviewed medical journals.

    The fourth module is “Understanding Brainwave States and Removing Limiting Beliefs.” I talk about how to alter your brainwave states by different modalities such as isochronic tones and binaural beats embedded in music tracks, and the importance of dropping your brainwave state from a high beta, overthinking type state down into the alpha relaxation and theta dream-like states. That’s something you can do and I discuss how you know when that’s happening and why it’s important to get down into that alpha and theta range and sustain that brainwave predominance in your meditations.

    If you’re going to work with your subconscious mind, you need to sustain that lower relaxed brainwave state. I teach a technique for removing limiting beliefs from your subconscious, and it involves sustaining that alpha and theta brainwave predominance. It’s not hard to do.

    Module five is the placebo effect module. I go into all of the details about the placebo, but I do it in an interesting manner that’s not like a typical college professor teaching you a course. It’s about making the psychology of the placebo effect work for you I every day life.

    Each module has a guided meditation with a specific process. I also teach how to use positive affirmations, because unless your subconscious mind is okay with the affirmation, it’s not going to be effective no matter how much you say it. So I teach how to effectively work with your subconscious mind.

    I teach how to effectively use core positive affirmations like “I love myself unconditionally” and “I forgive myself unconditionally” and discern if there is a limiting belief linked to that affirmation. If there is, then I teach you to use meditation to go into your subconscious mind to remove the limiting belief.

    Module number six is a review, which brings all of the information together. I talk about the Higher Mind and in this course, and I categorize the different layers of consciousness I can teach all of the concepts related to each. I start with the Higher Mind, which is the consciousness related to your Higher Self or Soul Self. The Higher Mind is the part of your consciousness that sticks out of your body like an antenna and connects you to the entire unified field of energy.

    This field of energy is the energy that connects everyone and everything. Scientists are studying energy to come up with the unified field theory, a mathematical model to explain that field. You can tap into this field of energy with your Higher Mind.

    I also discuss the Conscious Mind, which is your thinking analytical mind, and your Heart Mind, which is the consciousness of your heart. Your Subconscious Mind is the part of your consciousness that acts like a super computer and memorizes everything. And finally, I discuss your DNA Mind, which is a category of consciousness I named that emphasizes your mind, your consciousness, impacts your genes.

    So that’s kind of my course in a nutshell. If you go on my website www.Dr-Holden.com, on the landing page is an eight-minute video that gives you an overview of my entire course.

    Scott: Obviously that would be the easiest way for people to be able to contact you. We have only got about five minutes remaining so I just want to tie things up here. So far with thousands of people taking the course, what has the feedback been and what are you looking to do in 2016 and beyond to further your efforts to educate the world that really does need this information?

    Keith: My course has been active for a year now and I have just over 2800 students enrolled from all over the world. Students from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and India make up the bulk of my students. I’ve got forty-five 5-star ratings, which is the highest rating you can get, so it’s been very well received.

    There is a discussion board within the course that I use to interact with my students. There are fantastic questions and discussions that we share with each other. In the discussion board, I introduce even more research or books that back up the concepts found in the course. I’ve gotten very positive feedback on this course, and I’m very excited it’s been so well received globally.

    I’ve just submitted my first book to the editor, which is a book based on the course. It will eventually be on Amazon.com for people who don’t want to take a course online and can just read the book. Readers will also have access to the six guided meditations associated and the course.

    I’m also working on my second Udemy course called “Healing Your Inner Child.” There is some very interesting scientific research coming out about how adverse childhood experiences impacts your body-mind and increases your risk for physical diseases and mental diseases. So it’s very important to work with the consciousness of your inner child. I do introduce that topic in my current course, but the main bulk of that information is coming in the next course.

    Scott: We have got only a few minutes remaining. I think we need to have you back on and the book will give us the opportunity to do that. I hope you keep in contact with the team and let us know when that comes out, and we’ll have you back on to discuss the book as well as the inner child work, which I’m a big fan of.

    I’ve worked with coaching clients from all over the world and one of the things that I can validate for you is so much of where we are is related to the subconscious of the inner child. Our experience and how we relate to these experiences is so fascinating and a conversation I look forward to continuing when the book has been released.

    Keith: Okay Scott thank you very much. I really appreciate you and your appreciation for my work as well as you also getting the word out there.

  • My Recovery

    I was born a twin to loving parents in a small town in Louisiana. We were large twins and cramped in-utero. This resulted in my twin needing to wear corrective shoes with braces. I was born with a crossed eye and a weak neck resulting in my head tending to rest on one shoulder. My parents immediately took me to our family chiropractor. In 1964, the traditional medical establishment considered chiropractors quacks. As I’ve come to learn, a healer is a healer. My eye uncrossed and my neck became strong enough to hold up my head after Dr. Eastman adjusted my tiny body. Dr. Eastman is a hero to me - a true pioneer in the art of medicine. He bravely faced prejudice by a powerful medical institution that attempted to squash his profession.

    In 1966, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution calling the chiropractic profession an “unscientific cult,” and in 1967 issued an official opinion making it unethical for physicians to associate with chiropractors. In 1976, four chiropractors filed an antitrust lawsuit against the AMA charging restraint of trade, and in 1987, a federal judge found the AMA guilty of conspiring to destroy chiropractic. In 1990, the Court of Appeals found the AMA guilty, and later in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the earlier legal findings. Finally, in 1992, the AMA reached a settlement with the plaintiffs requiring the AMA to complete all of the terms of the court order ending one of the longest antitrust legal battles in the history of the United States.

    My experience with Dr. Eastman was the first of many healing experiences facilitated by alternative medical practitioners. I have reflected upon that experience each time I came across prejudice against alternative forms of medicine. My story of healing through nontraditional way at an early age has become a guidepost for me. It has reminded me to keep an open mind about nontraditional therapeutic methods. Keeping an open mind has been a gift helping me become a better practitioner of the art of medicine.

    I’ve come to realize just how sensitive of a child I was. I remember my mother often trying to soothe me back to sleep after recurring bad dreams. In kindergarten, I remember often crying for my father not to leave me when he dropped me off at school. I wasn’t interested in hunting animals like my other brothers, but I went hunting with them as a way to fit in. I was bullied in sixth grade, seventh grade, and tenth grade, possibly because I was perceived as weak due to my sensitivity. Parents should nurture sensitivity in children. Sensitive children have loving hearts with an abundance of compassion and empathy.  

    I always had a nervous stomach in my childhood. This was especially true when eating out with my family at restaurants. I’d come to learn that my nervousness about eating was linked to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This state of “fight or flight” interfered with normal digestion. It also helped set me up later in life for a severe gastrointestinal disorder.

    I loved medical school and my Internal Medicine residency. I thrived in a structured educational environment and craved intellectual stimulation. I graduated from medical school as a junior year member of the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society. This honor is reserved for the top ten percent of medical school classes. When I graduated from residency and started practicing primary care, my passion for medicine began to wane. Part of my discontent was boredom. I was seeing lots of head colds, stomach viruses, and back pain, which is typical for a primary care doctor.

    The most prominent player in my discontent was the dogmatic way I was expected to practice medicine. My training in medical school and residency was indoctrination into a certain mindset. That mindset included a belief that any healing methods outside of the box hinged upon malpractice. This created an internal conflict for me that I couldn’t shake. After all, I had already experienced an alternative healing method that had actually worked.

    I was seeing many patients who didn’t get well despite following the best evidence-based medicine (EBM). I found this dogmatic approach to practicing stifling and sometimes harmful to patients. If a patient has multiple diseases, EBM sometimes calls for them to be on up to 8 or 10 medications at once. Sometimes I’d have to address the side effects of medications with guess what - more medications. In some patients, EBM creates a vicious cycle of dangerous polypharmacy. This wasn’t what I had envisioned the practice of medicine would be.

    Then came a horrible blow. One year out of residency, a patient sued me for malpractice. I was devastated. I always prided myself in ordering the right tests and making the correct diagnosis. My physician assistant had injected a patient’s Achilles tendon resulting in the tendon rupturing. We were both named in the lawsuit as well as the clinic I worked for at the time. From that point on, I became extra vigilant and practiced defensive medicine. This hypervigilance exacerbated my underlying propensity for fight or flight. Every time I saw a patient after that, the interaction was tainted by the fear that I would be sued again. I couldn’t shake this fear and it created a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The lawsuit dragged on for five years and I underwent multiple depositions. Some of the depositions were lessons in how to remain calm while undergoing a personal attack on my integrity. As I was packing my suitcase to travel to Louisiana to go to a jury trial, I got a call from my attorney. He told me that I had been dropped from the lawsuit, and the clinic had settled the claim for a small amount of money. I was relieved, but the experience left me with an unease that has taken 13 years to shed.

    I went on with my life and the practice of Internal Medicine, but in the back of my mind I was looking for a way out. I began working part-time helping case managers adjudicate Social Security disability claims. I excelled in this field because I was good at collating complex information into concise summaries. I also didn’t have the stress of seeing patients in this arena. I later left the practice of medicine and did this full-time for several years. I only came back to Internal Medicine out of sheer boredom. I missed the healing arts, and it was time for me to recertify in Internal Medicine. I returned to my old practice and put my nose to the grind. I began seeing patients while working on certification modules and studying for my board test.

    It was about this time that I also began studying the alternative healing arts. If I was going to stay in medicine, I was going to do it differently this time. I could not go back and do the same old thing that led to my dissatisfaction in the first place. I passed my board test and recertified in Internal Medicine. I decided I was going to use these credentials to establish my own practice. This time, I was going to do it my way.

    It was about this time that I came across The Institute of Functional Medicine. Their courses teach Functional Medicine, which is essentially science-based American naturopathy. As I began to learn the concepts, at first, I became angry. The information I was learning filled in the blanks medical school and residency left out. Why wasn’t I taught this in medical school? It would have made such a difference in the lives of my patients. It’s the same reasons the AMA tried to squash chiropractic - bias, academic arrogance, and shortsightedness.

    The traditional medical model does well treating acute injury and illness but not so well treating chronic illness. This is where Functional Medicine excels. A major obstacle in bringing Functional Medicine mainstream is that many insurance companies won’t pay for it. It also requires practitioners to spend quality time with their patients. Insurance companies won’t adequately pay for that either.

    About the time I found Functional Medicine, I also discovered electroceuticals. Electroceuticals are energy-based devices that are making a comeback into mainstream medicine. Some examples include pulsed electromagnetic field devices, microcurrent devices, and vagus nerve stimulators. I adopted a pulsed electromagnetic field device and a microcurrent device into my practice with amazing results. Physicians use electroceuticals in the early 1900s but passage of the Flexner Report in 1910 banished these devices.

    So life was good again. I began practicing as a Functional Medicine specialist in a cash-based practice. I was using some effective electroceutical devices. Then life threw me another curve ball. I decided to have all my dental amalgams removed after having read about the risk of mercury toxicity. In my haste, I did not adequately prepare and asked my awesome dentist to remove all seven in one day. This turned out to be a big mistake.

    Less than one month after their removal, my stomach swelled like I was 6 months pregnant. No matter what I did, I could not get rid of the bloating. Shortly after that, I started having diarrhea and weight loss. Over several months, I lost 10 pounds, and I became very scared. In addition, I started having severe bouts of anxiety. I would be getting ready for work in the morning and would feel this intense anxiousness wash over me. I’d start having intensely worried thoughts followed by what seemed like someone turning on a water faucet under my armpits. Some mornings I was so drenched in sweat, I would have to take another shower.

    I saw a gastroenterologist and underwent an upper and lower endoscopy. The upper endoscopy was normal but the colonoscopy showed aphthous ulcers scattered throughout my sigmoid colon. Biopsies were consistent with aphthous ulcers and not Chron’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis. My gastroenterologist prescribed a well-known drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A few days later, I flew out of state. That night on October 10, 2010, I became the sickest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I developed constant diarrhea with abdominal cramps so bad the only thing that gave me relief was lying submerged in warm water. So I laid in a warm bathtub for almost 24 hours on the first day of my vacation.

    I didn’t want to go to a hospital out of state, so I called my gastroenterologist. She prescribed Questran powder and I began taking it. In about four hours, my symptoms started to subside. She called to check on me and told me to stop the IBD drug because in some individuals it can exacerbate IBD. How ironic - a drug used to treat a condition can cause worsening of the condition, which is actually not a rarity. I decided I wasn’t going to take any more medications for this condition since the medication had made me drastically worse. I would find another way to get better.

    I returned home and began experiencing fatigue so bad that I was only able to see a few patients a day. I’d often come home and take a nap at lunchtime just to be able to get through the rest of the day. I’d spend some Saturdays on the couch recovering from the week. When I’d make it to the gym, my muscles would ache like the worst case of post-workout muscle soreness. I was no longer able to hold a chiropractic adjustment for more than a few days. My body would frequently torque causing one shoulder or one hip to be higher than the other. I’d also get intense spasms in my neck and upper back causing terrible tension headaches.

    Then I began waking up in the middle of the night with intense hunger. I’d need to get up and eat before I could go back to sleep. Sometimes when I’d stand up suddenly, I’d have to sit back down because of dizziness caused by low blood pressure. All of this was due to adrenal fatigue and mitochondrial dysfunction. The scariest part was when I’d develop severe palpitations when drinking cold water. I’d have to lie down and perform a Valsalva maneuver before the palpitations would stop. When I’d check my pulse during these episodes, it felt irregularly irregular at a rate of about 140. This was consistent with atrial fibrillation. My body was in chaos.

    I ordered labs on myself and underwent a computed tomography (CT) scan of my chest and abdomen. Heartburn was so severe it would cause difficulty swallowing at times. The Chest CT was normal and the Abdominal CT only showed a benign hemangioma in my liver. My relief was short-lived as the weight loss continued despite eating 5000 calories a day. Something was terribly wrong and I thought I was going to die. I tried every Functional Medicine trick in the book and nothing seemed to help. I know what you are thinking - doctors should never treat themselves. I agree. But after my bad experience with the medication, I was wary of seeing traditional doctors. 

    I saw an alternative medicine practitioner who diagnosed me with mercury toxicity. He told me that my body had been bordering on the brink of disaster due to multiple precursors. The most prominent being my longstanding poorly managed stress. Years of discontent, hypervigilance, and emotional hypersensitivity also played a role. These combined with my genetic aberrancies created a tipping point when I was exposed to the excess mercury. My body had been accumulating mercury over the years from the environment, eating tuna, and mercury leaching from my amalgams. The significant exposure during the removal of my amalgams was the final straw. My weakest link - my gut - was poisoned and went into chaos.  

    I had several other contributors to this disaster. I struggled with severe acne in high school and college for which I took multiple rounds of antibiotics. The antibiotics wiped out my healthy gut microbiome causing immune dysfunction, leaky gut, and yeast overgrowth. He explained to me that depending on each person’s unique genetic makeup, some are good detoxifiers of mercury and some are not. A homozygous methylation defect plus other single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contributed to my inability to detoxify mercury well. These revelations finally put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    I began a mercury chelation regimen including injections of DMPS, a powerful mercury chelator. He warned me that because of my weakened system, I might experience intense side effects. I didn’t care at that point because I was already miserable and had tried so much else. Shortly after I began the DMPS injections, I experienced bouts of bloody diarrhea and worsening fatigue. Thankfully after a couple of weeks, things began to improve. The DMPS injections helped me finally turn the corner by eliminating mercury from my body. My gut came back online and I began gaining weight.

    It’s been 4 years since my gut started functioning with some semblance of normalcy. It’s been a long and slow process of recovery. Only in the past month has the constant bloating stopped. My energy is much better and I’ve put on 5 pounds of muscle in the past 9 months.

    A key to my recovery is the consistent practice of mindfulness and meditation. This practice helps keep my perceived level of stress low. I say perceived because it’s always a perception that creates an emotional stress response. Mindfulness and meditation balance my excessive sensitivity by helping me create a perception filter. Slowing down and paying attention to the present moment enhances this filter. This reduces the onslaught of overwhelming sensory stimuli and keeps me from catastrophizing. A regular meditation practice has honed my ability to stay fully present and calm in the midst of chaos.

    Regularly meditating on trust has helped me to stay trustful about my life’s experiences. Before I would fall into a victim’s role, which is completely disempowering. If I do start to feel disempowered, the feeling doesn’t last long. This is because I’ve created deep neuronal pathways of trust in my brain through regular meditation. Meditation has strengthened my ability to tap into a deeper knowing about my life’s experiences. This lets me more easily find the path of least resistance. 

    I’m telling my story of recovery despite feeling vulnerable because I want you to know that things will get better no matter how tough life seems. Getting better requires that you establish a state of mind of peace, patience, and trust. This type of mindset leads to self-confidence and a sense of empowerment, which leads to your life getting better. These attributes are easier to achieve through a regular practice of mindfulness and meditation. So stick with your practices and never forget - you can do it. You are all-powerful. 

    With love,

    Dr. Holden

  • The Higher Mind

    In a course I teach called “Power of the Mind in Health and Healing,” I categorize the different layers of human consciousness. Some of my process is philosophical, but it gives me a way to categorize consciousness so that I can teach it, and demonstrate different ways to work with each category.

    Here I want to introduce you to the part of human consciousness I call the Higher Mind. Some call it the Higher Self or Soul Self. Your Higher Mind is an energetic aspect of you that projects out of your physical body like an antenna, and connects with the unified field of energy. The unified field of energy is what scientists are hoping to explain one day by a Unified Field Theory, but haven’t yet developed a mathematical model for it. This unified field is the combination of energies that connect everyone and everything, including the energies of the spiritual realm with the energies of the earth plane.

    Scientists are studying energy and its components they call particles, with tools like the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. They're trying to discover all of the particles of energy in the hope of figuring out how the energies of everything interrelate.

    Your Higher Mind is the part of your consciousness that you are really tapping into when you do spiritual practices. Your Higher Mind, as part of your Divine soul self, only knows the truth, and is literally a spiritual channel. You don’t have to consider yourself spiritual to tap into this aspect of your consciousness. You can even consider yourself an atheist, and it still works quite well. This is because our universe is based on energy, and this part of you is simply energy. It doesn’t care whether you believe in it or not, though belief in it may create resonance in energy fields to optimize its function.

    Some people are so disenchanted with religion and spiritual movements, that they have a personal bias against any terminology that has the slightest air of anything religious or spiritual. Believe me, I truly understand. But when I use terms like “spirituality” and “Divine” in this article, I’m only referencing awesome energies in our universe, unexplained by science, that are available to us to facilitate our paths in life.

    Nonlocal Intuition Versus Local Intuition

    Your Higher Mind is an aspect of your consciousness that you can use to channel nonlocal intuition. Nonlocal intuition comes from an unexplained knowing, and has nothing to do with pattern recognition or memory retrieval.

    In contrast, local intuition is derived from pattern recognition and memory retrieval, and is the type of intuition the traditional scientific model studies. These traditional studies look at how your conscious mind and subconscious mind work together to bring up old forgotten memories, and to see patterns in situations, so as to help you intuit something.

    Local intuition, or intuition confined to the body, is very different from nonlocal intuition, or intuition channeled from outside of the physical body. Here some of you skeptics may start to tune out and write me off as some type of quack. That’s your choice, but I’ll challenge you to use healthy skepticism and release your personal bias. You might just learn something new:)

    As a physician trained in the scientific method, I understand it pretty well. As a human being with an open mind who has personally experienced phenomena I can’t scientifically explain, I also understand that science does not have all of the answers. Science is limited by the current technology available to us at this point in time. In addition, the sacred god of science is also heavily influenced by personal bias, even in some of the most well designed scientific studies. So because of that, I have to combine a little philosophy with science in an attempt to explain the unexplainable. Let me tell you about a crazy experience I had that can’t be fully explained by science.

    Nonlocal Intuition in Action

    I often go to Sedona, Arizona, a place I consider very spiritual due to its unique natural settings. I love nature knowing it is chock-full of Divine energies. Sedona has some of the most beautiful red rock hills in the world, and is a mesmerizing place to behold. When I go to Sedona, I set an intention to connect with the Divine, and so it was no surprise to me that it was here where I was introduced to some supernatural energies of the Divine.

    On my first ever visit to Sedona, I met a beautiful, loving, and highly spiritual person named Nataya. Nataya is a clairvoyant artist. When she paints, she goes into a flow state by aligning with the spiritual channel of her Higher Mind, and she gets messages. These messages are for the person she is doing the painting, and contain information that she can’t logically know. Nataya is unconditionally loving and nonjudgmental, and her intention is pure. Because of this, the messages she receives are pure and full of unconditional love. In some way, these messages are meant to facilitate her clients’ highest purposes in life.

    Nataya calls these types of in-the-flow paintings “totem paintings,” as she resonates strongly with Native American spirituality. So while she was doing my totem painting, which turned out to be a butterfly, one of the things she said to me was, "I see you going to Germany to get a medical device.” I thought to myself "Okay, but I don't have any plans to go to Germany.”

    The End Result

    I returned home, went back to work at my primary care clinic, and was working the evening shift. There was a family practice resident working that evening, who is a good friend of mine to this day. He came up to me at the end of the shift, and said, "Hey, I hear you are into alternative medicine,” and I said, "Yes, are you?" Daniel, who is German, told me that his parents have an alternative medicine clinic in Germany. I later found out that it is a world-class alternative medicine clinic that draws patients from all over the globe.

    As we were chatting, he wrote down two website addresses on a piece of paper and handed it to me. One was the web address for his parents’ clinic, and the other was a web address for a pulsed electromagnetic field device, which his father helped prototype. Over the next few days, I studied both of these websites, and then began an intensive PubMed search to see if there were any peer-reviewed research articles on low-level pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. To my surprise, there were hundreds of published studies, with the bulk of these studies showing beneficial effects on animals and humans.

    Shortly thereafter, I purchased the device, and incorporated it into my medical practice with good results. So Nataya’s message to me was mostly correct, with a minor issue being that I didn’t go to Germany to get a medical device. Germany came to me.

    My use of and writings about this device later led to me being asked to speak at multiple medical conferences for the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. So in essence, Nataya’s channeled message helped facilitate my higher purpose by expanding my tool chest as a practicing clinician. Her message also helped lead me to teach large audiences at medical conferences, which was a major goal of mine.

    Divine Synchronicities

    The series of coincidences I just described can’t be explained by chance, so I call these synchronicities. In my opinion, synchronicities have some type of Divine facilitation. How could Nataya have known that I was going to incorporate some type of German medical device into my practice? There is no way she could have concocted that message to me based on memory retrieval from her subconscious mind or through cognitive pattern recognition.

    Our Universe is Teeming with Energy

    That message came to me via her Higher Mind - a spiritual channel - from the Divine unified field that connects the energies of everyone and everything. If you look out into this unified field with the naked eye, you’ll see lots of empty space. The paradox is that there is no empty space in our universe because all space is teeming with energy. This is because our universe originated as energy, which is the story of the Big Bang Theory.  

    According to scientists, a few seconds after The Big Bang, our universe was nothing but intensely hot energy particles and gases. As our newly birthed universe began to cool, mass started to form, and planets were created. I don't want to take anything away from the spiritual component of the birth of our universe. Ultimately, it’s at the merger of science and spirituality where we're going to find the true answers.

    All Energy Contains Information

    So I hope you are beginning to understand that the part of human consciousness I call the Higher Mind is where the energies of the earth plane merge with the energies of the spiritual plane. These energies contain information, including information from the unified field as Divine messages to facilitate our higher paths in life.

    Ask any scientist who studies energy, and she or he will tell you that all energy contains information. Examples of this are how the sun’s rays contain energy, which tells receptors in the leaves of plants to initiate photosynthesis, and tells receptors in our skin to initiate the production of vitamin D.

    Consciousness is Energy

    Ultimately, it all boils down to energy to theoretically explain how currently scientifically unexplainable phenomena happen in our universe. More important, the revelation that consciousness is energy goes a long way in explaining parapsychological phenomena and even life after death. Our universe is energy based, and because of that, we are all energetic beings. When you as an energetic being learn to work with and channel these energies, you can do some amazing things.