Here’s the link to a 1/10/12 piece from, The Wall Street Journal, called “Why Placebos Work Wonders: from weight loss to fertility, new legitimacy for ‘fake’ treatments”.
The author, Shirley S. Wang, gives several impressive examples of effective placebo treatments but also reports this: “It doesn’t seem to matter whether people know they are getting a placebo and not a ‘real’ treatment.” What?!
She mentions a study done by Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, director of Harvard’s Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter. Patients were informed that what they were taking was made with inert ingredients and yet they still had beneficial results.
In trying to figure out why, Dr. Kaptchuk mentions expectations. The patients were told that even though there was no actual medicine in them, the pills had still been shown to improve symptoms and that they didn’t have to believe in the placebo effect. So, they expected there to be a positive result and there was.
The article then goes on to question whether the actual biology of the condition had been changed or just the person’s perception of it. I’m here to say that they are linked. Maybe even part of the same thing.
Those patients expected there to be good outcomes and there was real, physical improvement. So then what’s the difference? If changing our expectations about a treatment or an illness brings relief and healing, then isn’t that effective medicine?
It’s the kind of treatment I practice all the time by spiritualizing my thinking – turning to God in the specific kind of prayer I’ve learned in Christian Science.
One thing I focus on is the idea that I’ve been created by a God who is all-powerful Love. And so He’s created me and maintains me in perfect health. Isn’t that what omnipotent Love would do? I strive to understand and keep expecting that. The good results have been both healing and preventative.
Most of us recognize that our mindset determines a lot of what we experience in many areas of life. We can apply that same principle to our health.