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December 2022

Mystical States of Consciousness: Neurophysiological and Clinical Aspects

Author(s): Kiely, W.

Journal/Book: The Journal of Nervous and Mental Desease. 1972; 154: 399-405.

Abstract: The relationship of the trophotropic and ergotropic systems of autonomic-somatic integration and their relevance to a variety of emotional states and levels of consciousness is reviewed. The importance of proprioceptive afferent feedback to the reticular formation and hypothalamus for the maintenance of ergotropic responsivity is indicated together with the beneficial clinical effects of certain behavior therapies which employ skeletal muscular relaxation as a technique for modifying central nervous system arousal. The neurophysiological basis of Asian and Oriental meditation exercises is reviewed as well as the basis of Yoga ecstasy. EEG patterns in states of meditation indicate that conditions reflective of trophotropic dominance are compatible with full awareness. The failure of habituation of alpha-blocking by sensory input would appear to indicate that some ergotropic influence continues to be exerted upon the cerebral cortex in the meditation state and seems in some way to be a correlate of the heightened perceptual sensitivity reported by such subjects. Clinical obsersvations suggest that certain formerly drug-dependent adolescents and young adults have achieved psychological benefit from systematic practice of meditation. Its potential for therapeutic benefit in certain states of anxiety, phobia, and psychosomatic disorder is suggested.

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