Though I have enjoyed the notion that our thoughts influence our reality, propagated by several popular books (Power of the subconscious mind, The Secret) and by self-help gurus, the idea that our thoughts can change our biology in a real way was not entirely believable until I read You are the Placebo. The author Dr Joseph Dispenza proves the science behind the miraculous healings we keep hearing about, by combining the latest research in neuroscience, biology, psychology, hypnosis, behavioural conditioning, and quantum physics, to support the workings of the placebo effect. He cites many individual case studies, including his own, to showcase how personal, medical transformations can be brought about by altering the state of mind. Dr. Dispenza’s exploration of the science of the placebo effect and the use of visualisation exercises to create the expectation of a particular outcome and change your internal state – as well as external reality solely through the action of your mind- is both convincing and inspiring.
Most of us equate a placebo with a sugar pill, injection or “sham surgery” that masquerades as the real thing, and is given to patients who don’t know the difference- the “placebo effect” is the alleviation of medical symptoms by this “fake” medicine. Studies have confirmed this effect; a report in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, for instance, demonstrated that when people with ulcers took a placebo four times a day, their ulcers healed at a greater rate than those given placebos only twice a day. The conclusion from this and other similar experiments show that that placebos don’t just change how you feel- they can change your biochemistry too, by activating your body’s natural self-healing systems. Dr Dispenza takes the placebo effect to another level though, by suggesting that we don’t need fake pills or treatments to trigger this healing. In his view, the mind can also work as a placebo, by altering the biochemistry of the body and improving the outcome of any illness.
However far-fetched this may sound, there’s nothing to be lost from adopting a positive, “I’m well” attitude, in combination with actively visualizing your improved condition, since this can actually influence your biochemistry and ultimately alter your prognosis. Though it would be simplistic to imagine that everyone who works on adopting a positive approach will be cured from their illness, there’s no disputing the impact of positive thinking on the body and healing. Let’s do it!