To continue our exploration of the quantum physics of wound healing I want to take a long
detour into quantum phenomena (clinicians bear with me, no math involved, I promise).
Let’s start with the phenomenon of quantum entanglement first described by Einstein and his
colleagues in 1935, further elaborated by Schrödinger, and which became known as the EPR
paradox (EPR comes from the initials of the last names of each scientist: Einstein, Podolski, and
Rosen). Normally, the quantum state of pairs or groups of particles can be elaborated by
describing the quantum state of each of the constituent particles but sometimes this principle is
violated and a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole. Many approaches
have been made to understand this nature of quantum entanglement. For example, if attempts are
made to separate the constituents of the group, experiments have shown that other member
particle(s) somehow “know” what measurement has been performed on the other(s).
How this knowledge is transmitted simultaneously, even over vast distances (think, as an illustration, of
two photons separated by a distance of a light year), remains unknown. Einstein disliked the
phenomenon, calling it “spooky action at a distance.” To date, the largest entities that have been
deliberately entangled at the quantum level by various means are mostly small diamonds and
crystals of rare earth compositions. That’s interesting but what about quantum entanglement at
the macro level (that’s the everyday world to you and me)? That’s much harder to investigate.
It may be possible for humans to look directly into the quantum world via a “window.” Swiss
researchers have been experimenting with employing one entangled photon to switch the passage
of more powerful beam via a beam splitter, so there are enough photons—several hundred or
thousands—that can be seen by the naked eye1 and the other mechanical detector (see Figure 1).
It’s an experiment that will need to be repeated thousands of times (did the observer see the light,
yes or no) to obtain results amenable to statistical analysis. However, and even more fascinating,
the experiment can also be extended to two observers (the guinea pigs) who will actually be
entangled because they are registering entanglement phenomena.
Let’s explore the idea of two people entangled at the quantum level a bit further. There are two
theories about entanglement between people: weak quantum theory,2 which uses formal
mathematics with some requirements relaxed; and emergent entanglement, which assumes that
the only form of entanglement is that seen at the quantum level, and is entirely hypothetical.3
Regardless of formal theories, Hyland3 argues (correctly in my opinion) that it is the beliefs of
the pair which determine the ultimate degree of entanglement or whether entanglement happens
or not. Reframing his argument, those individuals who have strong positive beliefs concerning
the nature of the experiment or intervention are likely to have more success than those who have
strong negative beliefs.
Figure 1. Diagram of quantum entanglement visualization apparatus, including human detector.
Figure courtesy of Vivoli et al.1
What about healing? Would a healer-patient pair constitute a special case of a more general
quantum entanglement phenomenon? What about someone who has a chronic wound that heals
his or her wound through prayer, intent, or belief—is that a different form of quantum
entanglement? In order to navigate the possibilities, we need to discuss a concept called the wave
The original concept of the wave function arose early last century as a variable quantity that
mathematically describes the wave characteristics of a particle: The value of the wave function
of a particle at a given point of space and time is related to the probability of the particle’s
presence at that time. However, when an observer tries to measure the particle to figure out
where it is, the act of observation collapses the wave function so that a single set of properties
emerges: “reality.” (We’ll ignore what the definition of an “observer” is for now.)
In a recent quantum physics paper Colbeck and Renner4 maintain that unlike a weather forecast,
which is a probabilistic description based on what the meteorologist knows about meteorological
reality, the wave function of a given quantum system fully describes reality itself. In other
words, nothing is missing. To quote the researchers, “Take again the analogy to a
meteorologist’s work. In this analogy, the data and models used by the meteorologist take the
place of the wave function, and reality corresponds to the current weather. If there was a one-toone
correspondence between the meteorologist’s data and the weather, we would be in a very
favorable situation: the forecast would then be as accurate as it can possibly be, in the sense that
there does not exist any information that has not been accounted for. Similarly, our result that
there is a one-to-one correspondence between the wave function and the elements of reality
means that, if we know a system’s wave function then we are exactly in such a favorable
situation: any information that there exists in nature and which could be relevant for predicting
the behavior of a quantum mechanical system is represented one-to-one by the wave function. In
this sense, the wave function is an optimal description of reality.”
Yet, the mechanism by which the observer observes the particle changes the nature of the
perceived reality; change the nature of the experiment, change the outcome. Up to a point. In
order for our Newtonian view of the world to generally be maintained, wave function collapses
have to occur with the maximum probability according to all collapses that have taken place to
date. In other words, our physical world has a structural stability to it because of the pooled
consciousness of a very large number of individuals operating over time collapsing wave
functions in a defined and perhaps conservative manner. Otherwise, we would see a lot of very
strange anomalies every day and lots of chronic wounds healing spontaneously, which is what
we don’t usually observe. Nevertheless, at the macro level, the wave function encompasses far
more possibilities (or realities) regardless of how we argue the mechanism works.
I just said that we don’t usually observe lots of chronic wounds spontaneously healing. I didn’t
say it was impossible because in theory, a wave function could be collapsed so that is the
observed reality. What might be more common, at least on a statistical basis, is actual or
accelerated wound healing. Whether we frame wound healing in terms of what is “acceptable” to
our Newtonian scientific worldview or whether it’s our conservative human collective
consciousness that drives outcomes, the possibilities remain. If we think of “reality” or our life as
a sequence of wave function collapses driven by our conscious or subconscious thoughts
however expressed—desires, intentions, beliefs—then a wound healing trajectory is a summation
of those desires, intentions, or beliefs. There is nothing to prevent “outlier” choices that are
abrupt or non-linear in nature, like a recalcitrant wound that suddenly heals.
Maybe, if you are a patient with a non-healing wound, if you change your belief or intention, you
will change the outcome. Maybe, if you are a clinician, by helping your patient to be more
positive you will also influence the outcome in a quantum physical manner. Food for thought!
- Vivoli VC, Sekatski P, Sangouard N. What does it take to detect entanglement with the
human eye? Optica 2016;3:473-6.
- Atmanspacher H, Römer H, Walach H. Weal quantum theory: complementarity and
entanglement in pyshics and beyond. Found Phys 2002;32:379-406.
- Hyland ME. Does a form of ‘entanglement’ between people explain healing? An
examination of the hypotheses and methodology. Complement Ther Med 2004;12:198-
- Colbeck R, Renner R. Is a system’s wave function in one-to-one correspondence with its
elements of reality? Phys Rev Lett 2012;108:150402.