Letting Your Mind Support Your Healing

September 19, 2014 by  
Filed under blog

I think most people know what the “placebo effect” is and how it works. Researchers that study the brain-body connection have shown in numerous experiments how the brain can be tricked into believing that a simple sugar pill can relieve pain or cure certain illnesses if the person is told and believes that the pill that is being taken truly is genuine medicine.

Our brains are so powerful. They can make physical changes in our bodies beyond what we would normally give them credit for or realize. Last week I was re-reading a book I’ve talked about many times before called Super Brain and I discovered a super concept that I must have skipped over in earlier readings. What the authors, Depak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi point out that really jumped out at me is that any of us can, if we so chose, set up or create our own placebo effect at any time and without any sugar pill or any other kind of pill. (By the way, the word placebo is a Latin word that means ‘I shall please.’)
Chopra and Tanzi explain that “the effect isn’t limited to drugs, which is important to remember: anything you believe in can act as a placebo.” The authors go on to ask the question concerning patients that took the sugar pill “Where did the patient’s relief come from? It came from the mind telling the body to get well.” The body really believed what it was being told and then it relieved the pain or healed the sickness. In other words, your mind can and does control healing of all kinds including pain, disease, and wounds that our bodies deal with from time to time.

These authors go on to say “Being your own placebo is the same as freeing up the healing system through messages from the brain. All healing is, in the end, self-healing. Physicians aid the body’s intricate healing system (which coordinates immune cells, inflammation, hormones, genes and much else), but the actual healing takes place in an unknown way.” Wow. That’s a very powerful thought and one that if we take time to think about it and make use of it, can do some pretty amazing things to help us take care of ourselves.
Using the mind-body connection certainly takes a lot of work inside the brain but when you think of the huge possibilities you can quickly see that it’s certainly worth the work and effort. One of the conclusions that the authors suggest in conquering and taking advantage of the mind-body connection is summed up in this sentence: “In serious illness, doubts and fears play a marked role, which is why a practice like meditation or going to group counseling has been shown to help.” That is certainly worth trying for most, if not all of us, whenever we want to cure our pain, problems or disease. It’s probably a very, very good thing to do on a regular basis.

The authors suggest that there is a method through which anyone can apply their own placebo effect. It requires the same conditions as in a classic placebo response:
1. You trust what is happening.
2. You deal with doubt and fear.
3. You don’t send conflicting messages that get tangled with each other.
4. You have opened the channels of mind-body communications.
5. You let go of your intention and allow the healing system to do its work.
Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves. When we get a cut finger or knee we slap on a band aid and know that it will heal itself. In doing that, we’ve just let our brain send a positive message to our cells to do their job. But when we get a serious disease we let our minds jump into the mix with all kinds of worry and negative thoughts doing pretty much the opposite of the list above. The bottom line here is if were are going to benefit from our own built-in ‘placebo effect’ we’ve got to, at a minimum, follow the list of 5 conditions above. If you can do that, you are supporting your body’s ability to take care of you, as it is supposed to do.


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