Guest writer for Wake Up World
The so-called placebo effect has been a subject of great interest for many scientists for years now. However, it is now being found that the effect goes far beyond just a momentary feeling someone has when they take a sugar pill thinking it is actually a real drug.
In fact, recent studies have discovered that particular mindsets and beliefs about one’s body and/or health may in fact affect their physical being. This can manifest in improvements in the symptoms of disease along with changes in appetite, vision and even the chemicals in the brain itself.
This is all acting to prove what mystical traditions the world over have been trying to teach us: mind over matter is a real thing and you can, in fact, control your reality simply through your thoughts.
The placebo effect is a fascinating concept, so much so that a single article could never do it justice. In fact, it is so incredibly powerful that one study found that subjects actually demonstrated a strong placebo effect even when they were told they were being given a placebo!
Indeed placebos can be so effective that many doctors actually use them in their day-to-day clinical practice. In a 2008 survey published by the British Medical Journal which involved almost 700 rheumatologists and internists, it was found that roughly half of those surveyed actually prescribe placebos on a regular basis to their patients. The most common placebos used by these clinicians included over-the-counter painkillers which anyone can get in a drug store and even vitamins.
However, the American Medical Association (AMA) takes an interesting position.The AMA says that a placebo cannot be administered to calm a frustrating patient and they can only be used if the patient is informed of what they are getting and agree to it.
I find these strict guidelines on the use of placebos quite interesting, given that no informed consent is needed to have toxic fluoride pumped into our water supply or dangerous genetically modified foods in our food supply.
Researchers are currently trying to find out how exactly the placebo effect works and how they can increase or decrease the effects. This is because a long-lasting, powerful placebo effect could be used to treat weight and metabolism issues without the use of dangerous and costly surgery or drug regimens.
For instance, it has already been found that just thinking you’re getting a good workout can actually make you lose weight. In a study published in Psychological Science in 2007 it was found that hotel room attendants who were told that they got a good workout during their routine job activities showed a significant drop in weight, blood pressure and body fat after just four weeks. Individuals who did the same work but were not told that they were getting good exercise did not display changes like the other group. Neither of the two groups reported any changes in physical activities or their diet, meaning that the change was very likely due to the placebo effect.
These are just a couple examples of how modern science is catching up with ancient wisdom which has told us that we can indeed heal ourselves through positive thought, meditation and so forth.
Hopefully continued research will expand our knowledge of this effect and maybe teach us how we can better harness it to live healthy, happy lives without having to take tons of drugs, many of which have dangerous side effects.
Video: Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, explains the placebo effect.
Mackey is the chief of Stanford’s Pain Management Division and an associate professor at the School of Medicine.
Click here to read more from Stanford Medicine on the Placebo Effect
About the Author
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected]