“In the spirit of having argued against multiple words

for the placebo effect, I facetiously suggest calling this the “temptado” effect, after the Latin

for “I will try”

Mark Jacunski 2015

In the so often frustrating world of navigating chronic and mysterious illnesses it is hard to not come across explanations for and against the “placebo effect.” While there is much scientific proof that speaks to those that have healed from conditions while on the placebo – the reasons for it continue to be debated. When so ill, it can be almost insulting to think you can heal yourself –  however the science behind how you can train your brain and change your neural pathways without drug interventions stands up to the tests over and over again. In order to measure the effectiveness of a new drug, pharmaceutical companies are required to test the medication in a double-blind placebo trial.  Instead of giving people the medication in question, they are given sugar pills in place of the medication and none of the participants in the study know whether they have the real drug or the placebo. Study after study has shown that during these trials unexpected results take place even when  the people that were given the “placebo” improve.

For obvious reasons the medical industry tends to down play placebo results. That hasn’t stopped many studies and researchers looking at why this phenomenon tends to take place and the importance behind it.  Research to date on the placebo effect has focused on the relationship between the mind and the body and the connection to genetic changes. Common theories are that the placebo effect can be built on the power of expectation – if a person expects a pill to do something, or believes they are being treated, that it’s possible that their body’s own healing mechanisms can cause changes similar to what the medication was intended. Therefore changing your thought processes and your emotional state can activate healing in your body.

In fact, some studies have documented that those that merely believed they were receiving the drug – had an increase in the body’s production of endorphins, one of the body’s natural pain relievers.  It has also been documented that the placebo effect is sometimes just as effective as the drug being tested.  We can than surmise that this ability to shift our thoughts and emotions has a profound effect on the body’s physiology (neuro imaging can measure changes in the brain) and our ability to heal from certain ailments.

An investigation by scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois studied 60 volunteers with chronic back pain. They split the group into two study arms; one took either the drug or placebo, while another attended the clinic but underwent no treatment. Each person completed a number of in-depth questionnaires that assessed their personality and the type of pain that they experienced. They also went through four neuroimaging sessions. As expected, some individuals who took the placebo felt significant pain relief; these participants were then examined further.

The scientists found that those who responded to the placebo had asymmetry in their subcortical limbic system, which is a part of the brain involved in emotion. Particularly, the investigators found it to be larger on the right side than on the left. These people also had a larger cortical sensory area than those who did not respond to the placebo. These results could be significant for people with chronic pain and other conditions, and they might also revolutionize the way that some clinical trials are carried out. http://eatfrsh.com/2018/09/16/chronic-pain-and-the-power-of-placebo

While there is no evidence that a placebo can shrink a tumor or heal a broken bone, when it comes to ailments grounded in self-awareness, such as pain, the placebo effect can be tremendous. In the 1980’s, neuroscientist Jon Levine conducted what is now considered one of the quintessential analyses of the placebo effect.  In this study, postoperative patients received either a secret dose of 6-8 mg of morphine, or an overt dose of a substance described as a powerful painkiller (but was actually saline solution!). The results were remarkable: patients in both groups reported the same degree of pain relief. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/just-sugar-pill-placebo-effect-real/

The more we understand about the placebo effect, the closer we get to treating illnesses without the need for toxic chemicals. “It’s much better to give someone a nonactive drug rather than an active drug and get the same result,” Prof. Apkarian adds.  Although the placebo effect holds a great many mysteries left to solve, the more we understand, the closer we get to treat certain conditions in a much more gentle manner.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of the Biology of Belief, explains that our genes respond to both our external and internal environment. Engaging in more positive thoughts and emotional states changes the body’s physiology and chemistry that alters our internal environment. What this research suggests is that we may have more power to influence our health than we thought.

A new science based on epigenetics “control above the genes” suggests the ability to change our thoughts and emotional state can also change our genetics.   Epigenetics is a new type of science that is growing in popularity and promise in the scientific world. Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind, and the cells in our body. https://www.brucelipton.com/what-epigenetics

The research undeniably suggests that we have more power to influence our health than we thought. That being said, changing our internal chemistry takes practice,patience and time. Truly, the ability to heal resides in each and every one of us as we connect with the physician within.

So, if you’ve got the will – we’ve got the way!

Sometimes you have to just try!  –

 See if  the Dynamic Neural Retraining System is right for you at www.retrainingthebrain.com/whatwetreat


 “You are not alone, your suffering has not been in vain, and you can live the life you dreamed of , even if you stopped dreaming a long time ago.” Annie Hopper – Wired for Healing

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