Exploring the benefits of “spooky science”

How mind-body connections can help you control your health

 Each October, in honor of All Hallows’ Eve, I typically bring you some news about scientific studies on “paranormal” mind-body experiences and how they can affect your health.

When you think of paranormal phenomenon, The Sixth Sense may come to mind. I vividly remember when M. Night Shyamalan released this film, as many of the scenes were shot in Philadelphia. At the time, I was working as the Executive Director of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia—the oldest private medical society in the country.

As you can imagine, these historic campus buildings certainly felt a bit creepy from time to time—especially the infamous Mütter Museum of historical anatomy and pathology. Surely, there had to be some sort of paranormal activity nestled inside there (and it certainly seemed to affect some who came in contact with it)…

When The Sixth Sense was first released on August 2, 1999, I saw it in downtown Philadelphia with my friend and colleague Christine Vlahos, a physical therapist at Thomas Jefferson University. Christine is now practicing holistic physical therapy in New York, and a recent contact with her inspired me to address the topic in this month’s newsletter. (You can learn about her practice in holistic physical therapy at www.TappanPhysicalTherapy.com.)

After the success of the The Sixth Sense, the topic of paranormal phenomenon saw a resurgence within popular culture. And thus, many more popular films based on the topic have been produced over the years.

Of course, any time I mention paranormal phenomenon, there are skeptics. But if scientific studies make these observations, are they really “paranormal”? Or do we need to expand our definition and boundaries for what is “normal”?

Those questions lingered in the back of my mind a decade later, as I helped my colleague, Mike Jawer, finish his first book: The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Mind, the Body and the Sixth Sense.

This fascinating book examines modern scientific explanations for paranormal phenomena. As Mike and I were researching, we found that so-called “psychic” activities such as sensing a presence, seeing an apparition, or feeling energy around a “haunted” location may actually relate to the workings of the limbic system in your brain—also referred to as the “emotional brain.”

As it turns out, your emotional brain can have an actual physical impact on your health. This is known as the “mind-body connection,” and it has been scientifically documented in dozens of studies.

As I often report, your mind-body personality type influences the types of health disorders to which you are most susceptible, as well as the  kinds of treatments that will most likely work best for you. It also influences how likely you are to encounter “paranormal” activity.

Extrasensory experiences aren’t uncommon

According to a number of surveys over the years, most people have witnessed something they can’t explain based on accepted, conventional wisdom.

As Mike and I reviewed the research, we found that certain personality types—especially people who tend to experience their feelings more immediately and strongly—tend to feel particularly susceptible to these types of experiences.

Without a doubt, highly sensitive people react deeply to subliminal feelings and environmental nuances—meaning they can process stimuli more profoundly at reputedly “haunted” places.

They also have heightened sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and smell. And they can even experience synesthesia (a phenomenon that consists of overlapping senses, like “hearing” colors or “feeling” numbers).

However, many peer-reviewed scientific studies show that you don’t have to be super-sensitive to feel physical precognition and premonition.

Experiments indicate that the human body can detect randomly delivered stimuli up to 10 seconds before they occur—through measurable changes in the heart, nervous system, and skin.2

In other words, our bodies appear to become aware of an event before it actually happens.

How your mind-body type influences your health

Interestingly, Mike and I found that people who have heightened sensitivity to paranormal phenomena also tend to be more susceptible to allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel or chronic pain syndromes.

Our book, Your Emotional Type, explains these and other mind-body connections—and tells you how you can use those connections to improve your health. It not only helps you determine your specific emotional type, but also explains when and how treatments like acupuncture, hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and relaxation techniques can work for your specific personality.

If you’d like to discover your personal Emotional Boundary type, simply scroll down the homepage on my website, www.DrMicozzi.com, to take the short quiz.

The science of healing at a distance

Paranormal science applies to health in other ways as well.

In fact, as I discuss extensively in my textbook, Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, many experiments demonstrate the ability of a healer to influence patients—and even individual tissue cells (from a great distance)—simply by using the “intention” to heal.

For example, evidence shows people who pray for others from a distant location can have a positive benefit on the prayer recipients’ health.

Some studies show there’s no difference whether or not the person being “healed” or prayed for is aware, or even a believer in religion. Other studies show the belief and expectations of the person in crisis are incredibly important when it comes to healing.

Of course, some observers attribute the “healing at a distance” phenomenon to the placebo effect, which is very real and potent in medicine—and rooted in physiology rather than psychology.

Still, skeptics dismiss the placebo effect as being “all in your head.” To which I say: So what? As I discuss in the sidebar on page 3, huge amounts of science show how the mind is connected to the body. Meaning a healing effect can be mental or emotional, as well as physical.

Understanding the mind-body connection

Although it’s respected by physicists, the mind-body connection garners little respect from mainstream medicine.

During the 20th century, doctors discounted the influence of “mind over matter” when it came to health. And even in this century, unenlightened doctors still don’t believe (or even bother to look at) “paranormal” or mind-body science and human health.

However, the U.S. government acknowledges and even fosters emerging science and clinical research showing the real influence of paranormal activity and the mind-body connection.

Government mind control

For instance, there’s documented evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Defense (DOD) have spent over half a century researching “paranormal activity” like extrasensory perception and telekinesis.

It all started with the Nazis during World War II.

Nazi leaders were obsessed with the occult, as you may recall from the hit movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. They raided historical sites and museums searching for the Holy Grail and the Holy Lance (the spear of the Roman centurion Longinus that was thrust into the side of Jesus Christ on the cross). And Nazis also conducted unethical experiments that pushed human physiology to extremes.

After World War II, the U.S. and Russia divided up whatever Nazi research they could find, and created the so-called “occult sciences.” But as the Cold War heated up, the two countries began looking for opportunities to gain an advantage over the other—whether it was getting to the moon first or learning more about how to harness the mind’s psychic power.

At the time, many believed that the Communists were practicing “mind control.” We now know that they did indeed try brainwashing prisoners. But it didn’t necessarily involve anything “paranormal.” Videos from American prisoners of war reciting Communist propaganda during the Korean and Vietnam wars show the techniques the Soviets used.

The CIA countered with its own program, MK-ULTRA, which used “enhanced psychic functioning” with biological and chemical agents like LSD.3 (In fact, in the late 1990s, when I was directing the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, I saw a leading neurosurgeon who had participated in MK-ULTRA slowly go “off the rails.” I always thought being administered LSD as a young Army physician was at least partially responsible for his sad situation…)

Meanwhile, declassified documents show the DOD established a “remote viewing program” in the 1970s that involved visualizing details of distant people and objects through telekinesis.4

According to Annie Jacobsen’s 2017 blockbuster book Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis, a secretary at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio used “psychic powers” to locate a top-secret Soviet aircraft that had gone down in the African jungle in 1976. The book also discusses the U.S. Army’s Detachment G unit, which used remote viewing to investigate a Soviet naval base in 1979.

The program never really died, and made a resurgence during the war in Iraq. A soldier reportedly used precognition (the ability to envision something before it happens) to discover an explosive device planted in an Iraqi café.

Jacobsen says a similar program, Anomalous Mental Cognition, was launched in 2014 by the U.S. Office of Naval Research to investigate whether precognition really exists.

Clearly, there’s something to say about the government’s involvement and interest in paranormal studies. Unfortunately, I’m sure many of these findings will remain “classified”…

Listen to yourself and trust your instincts

The takeaway is this: You don’t have to rely on the government or mainstream medicine to tell you what you may already “inexplicably” sense and feel in your mind and body.

So while you’re using good old-fashioned common sense regarding your health, don’t forget your “sixth sense” as well.

After all, as Shakespeare wrote when Hamlet and Horatio encountered the ghost, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

If you’d like to learn more about the mind-body connection, mind-body treatments, or any of the books I mentioned here, simply visit

Researching the paranormal

Some paranormal science derives from quantum physics—which Einstein himself described as “spooky effects at a distance.”

For example, the famous “delayed choice” experiments of the 1970s and ‘80s (originally conducted by the father of one of my Penn professors) show that what happens in the present can change what happened in the past. These experiments illustrate how time can go backwards and how cause-and-effect can be reversed.

Quantum physics and other fundamental sciences open up entirely different vistas about what is “real.” Some people (or even animals) may “see” other dimensions that others can’t.

Parapsychological researchers take this concept further through their investigations of paranormal phenomena and extended human capabilities, such as precognition and telepathy. This is known as psychical research, or simply “psi” (pronounced “sigh”).

These biologists, engineers, physicists, and psychologists are hardly crackpots. In fact, scientists at reputable institutions all over the world conduct psi studies.

Case in point: The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) project, which took a comprehensive approach to paranormal science when it ran from 1979 to 2007. Researchers found highly statistically significant evidence for extrasensory perception (ESP) and “mind-matter interactions.”

And the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Division of Perceptual Studies investigates near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, precognition (déjà vu), and even reincarnation (perhaps the ultimate example of “been there, done that”).

As a result, we have many documented cases of people who were clinically brain dead, but regained consciousness and reported everything that happened to them while they were “dead.”



2“Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis.” Front. Psychol. 3:390.