Befriending Your Placebo
pla·ce·bo: a substance that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs.
The placebo effect is most commonly regarded as the failed case in medical research — a treatment is compared to a placebo, and any treatment must beat the placebo to be deemed effective. Our focus is on the external treatment, with the “imagined” treatment merely as a benchmark. Because the latter is no big deal, just the power of your imagination causing your body to physically heal itself. Just the power of the mind to trigger one’s innate healing faculties. No big deal at all.
Actually, IT’S A BIG FREAKING DEAL. The fact that well-studied and carefully developed drugs and protocols yield comparable results to the placebo effect, which all of us just have within us at our disposal at all times, is itself miraculous. We have the ability to mobilize our immunity and healing systems simply through our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and state of consciousness!
I’d like to posit that much more research should be done on how to create the placebo effect instead of beat it. What today lives in the niche “woo woo” world of mind-body medicine stands to be systematized and given to the masses as the first resort rather than a side effect. Imagine a world where we don’t even have to be tricked with a sugar pill into healing ourselves. Imagine we can be taught how put our minds in a state that directly controls our innate healing mechanisms to our desired results? What can we activate on-demand to treat back pain, heal a wound more quickly, get over a cold, or even fight cancer?
Beneath the surface of our cognition lies the entire and grossly under-studied realm of our subconscious, the bridge to our autonomic nervous system. My greatest invitation for everyone is to explore and invest in the mind and body’s aptitude to self-mobilize for treatment — to befriend and empower the placebo effect to become one’s first resort and most willing accomplice.