The Power Of The Mind In Healing
A new “product” in the health market is proving to work better than top pharmaceutical drugs. The bad news for drugs companies is that it’s absolutely free.
Wired Magazine recently reported: “From 2001 to 2006, the percentage of new products cut from development after Phase II clinical trials, when drugs are first tested against placebo, rose by 20 percent. The failure rate in more extensive Phase III trials increased by 11 percent, mainly due to surprisingly poor showings against ‘placebo’.”
Levels of investment in research and development of pharmaceutical drugs are at an all-time high; yet the US Food and Drug Administration only approved 19 first-of-their-kind remedies in 2007 (the fewest since 1983) and just 24 in 2008. Half of all drugs that fail in late-stage trials drop out of the pipeline due to their inability to beat sugar pills.
Wired Magazine continues: “Some products that have been on the market for decades, like Prozac, are faltering in more recent follow-up tests. In many cases, these are the compounds that, in the late ’90s, made Big Pharma more profitable than Big Oil. But if these same drugs were vetted now, the FDA might not approve some of them. It’s not that the old meds are getting weaker, drug developers say. It’s as if the ‘placebo’ effect is somehow getting stronger. The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis.”
The ‘placebo’ effect has been demonstrated in countless studies published in prestigious medical journals, and much to the drug companies’ chagrin, ‘placebo’ often works better than expensive and side-effect ridden drugs and surgeries.
And what exactly do we mean by ‘placebo’? Placebo is the word used to describe the empowerment of the mind to inspire good health.
How Can Empowerment Of The Mind Generate Health?
The science of epigenetics is now beginning to explain scenarios like placebo effect and spontaneous healing, which lacked a scientific basis until now. Epigenetics literally means “above the genes.” And what is above the genes? Your mind.
One of the scientists on the forefront of mind-body biology is Bruce Lipton. Thanks to Dr. Lipton and other leading voices, the power of your mind is finally gaining the attention it deserves.
Your mind has the power to create or cure disease because your thoughts affect the expression of your genes. Today’s “New Biology” is overlapping with consciousness science and quantum physics, and it’s showing us that we have masterful control over our own lives, including how we feel pain, depression, anxiety and even our ability to overcome diseases like cancer.
Many illnesses, from Parkinson’s disease to irritable bowel syndrome, have been proven to improve after placebo pills and treatments. Placebo pills and treatments are simply the tool that’s used to prove the power of the mind over our own health.
The jury is still out on whether the practice of taking a sugar pill or simply going through the ritual of treatment is what’s causing the beneficial responses. But either way, studies show that if you believe that you’re receiving treatment, and you expect that treatment to work, it often does.
An article in Scientific American shared: “In recent decades reports have confirmed the efficacy of various sham treatments in nearly all areas of medicine. Placebos have helped alleviate pain, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory disorders and even cancer. Placebo effects can arise not only from a conscious belief in a drug but also from subconscious associations between recovery and the experience of being treated, from the pinch of a shot to a doctor’s white coat. Such subliminal conditioning can control bodily processes of which we are unaware, such as immune responses and the release of hormones.”
These Concepts Are Not New
The effectiveness of belief in one’s ability to generate good health is not a new thing, but it is only recently, due to increasing failed trials among drug companies, that public health agencies are having to address its efficacy.
In 1955, anesthetist Henry Beecher’s paper “The Powerful Placebo” was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. This was the first paper to bring up the very real fact that simply taking a pill or receiving treatment (even if it was “fake”) could prompt healing changes.
After this paper was published, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was amended to require drug trials to use placebo control groups. The “double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial,” which is still used as the gold standard today, was a result of Henry Beecher’s work. Today, to win FDA approval, a new medication must beat placebo in at least two authenticated trials.
Unfortunately, there are many drugs and treatments on the market today that work no better than placebo, yet expose patients to serious side effects. Among the most problematic are antidepressants.
As written in Wired: “The blockbuster success of mood drugs in the ’80s and ’90s emboldened Big Pharma to promote remedies for a growing panoply of disorders that are intimately related to higher brain function. By attempting to dominate the central nervous system, Big Pharma gambled its future on treating ailments that have turned out to be particularly susceptible to the placebo effect.”
Every year, 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled, making them one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. The psychiatric industry itself is a $500 billion industry. Not bad for an enterprise that offers little in the way of cures.
Antidepressant drugs have been proven to be no more effective than sugar pills. Some studies have even found that sugar pills may produce better results than antidepressants. They certainly carry less side-effects.
One recent study from the January 2010 issue of JAMA concludes that there is little evidence that SSRIs (a popular group of antidepressants that includes Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and others) have any benefit to people with mild to moderate depression, and that they work no better than a placebo. That means that SSRIs are 33 percent effective, just like a sugar pill.
Similarly, in 2008, a meta-analysis published in PLoS Medicine concluded that the difference between antidepressants and placebo pills is very small; and that both are ineffective for most depressed patients. Only the most severely depressed showed any response to antidepressants at all, and that response was quite minimal.
The article states: “Given these results, the researchers conclude that there is little reason to prescribe new-generation antidepressant medications to any but the most severely depressed patients unless alternative treatments have been ineffective.”
These are not new revelations. In 2002, a meta-analysis of published clinical trials indicated that 75 percent of the response to antidepressants could be duplicated by placebo. Many antidepressants could actually make your “mental illness” worse, because when your body doesn’t feel good, your mood crashes along with it.
Outside of antidepressants, one of the strongest examples of the power of the placebo effect was published in the classic New England Journal of Medicine knee surgery study – an astounding piece of evidence to show the power of the mind in healing.
Having been published in one of the most well-respected medical journals on the planet, it was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial performed at some of the top U.S. hospitals. And what did the results show? That $3 Billion of knee surgery (most knee surgery) in the U.S is not responsible for the improvement, but rather is the placebo effect is. More precisely, it’s the ability of your brain to produce healing.
Research by Ted J. Kaptchuk, a Harvard medical professor, supports this theory, and goes a step further saying that the more extensive a treatment, the greater the placebo effect may be: “… the bigger and more complicated the ritual, the greater the placebo effect. Surgery and medical devices often produce a bigger placebo effect than a pill because expectations for a cure are higher,” he told Forbes.
How To Harness ‘The Placebo’ In Your Own Life
The bottom line is that if you believe you will benefit from something, you will. And the more you focus your intention on this, the more you’ll find that you can manifest nearly any result you desire.
But there is one caveat: you must resolve any emotional blocks that are standing in your way first. For example, this could be disbelief that the pain or illness will go away, resentment that you have the pain, or even an unconscious desire to keep the pain or disease because of the extra attention you gain from it.
Dr. Bruce Lipton explains: “A lot of people use the energy psychology just like a drug. ‘Oh, you’ve got a pain here. If I do this, you can get rid of the pain.’ But here’s the problem. A symptom is not generally the problem. A symptom is a reflection of a problem.”
So the pain or symptoms are not what you should focus on relieving. Instead, you must get to the root of the problem, which started in your mind. If you simply relieve your pain without addressing the related emotional conflict, your body will manifest another ache, pain or illness to tell you that there’s a problem with your system.
This is a new way of thinking about healing for most people. But if you look at it in terms of energy, pain is energy, and your mind is also energy. You can see how one directly influences the other.
So for lasting, natural good health, there is every reason to believe that the answer lies within you!
(Adapted from www.mercola.com)