Sunday, 26 January 2014

The placebo effect

It occurred to me last week that maybe the only thing that every cancer survivor has in common is belief. Pure belief that healing is possible and that their chosen treatment will work, be it down to faith in God or trust in green juice. Whether on the Gerson protocol, having chemotherapy or in spontaneous remission, what if people survive purely because they have an inherent belief that they're not going to die of cancer?

What does the word Placebo mean to you? According to the dictionary it's "a medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient, rather than for any physiological effect." In other words a sugar pill. But the startling reality of the placebo effect is that people often experience beneficial health due to positive belief or expectation. In short, the power of the mind can actually influence the body.

Many studies have been carried out to try to understand this positive effect. It can be caused by belief in a treatment plan, the relief of being in the capable hands of a trusted caregiver, or the administration of medication. (So we must also ask, how much of mainstream medicine's success is due to the placebo effect?) The allopathic oncologist whom I sought out for my second opinion was frank in his statement that if I was vehemently opposed to chemotherapy, if I believed that it wouldn't work, then it probably wouldn't.

I'm very excited to hear Bruce Lipton speak in May. He's a stem cell biologist who has studied the power of belief and how it is able to change us on a cellular level. If you've been newly diagnosed I would 100% recommend his book "The Biology of Belief". Positive belief has been proven to change the way our DNA behaves, and the micro-environment within our bodies. Equally, negative thoughts, and negative belief can create disease!

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