A placebo can have a remarkable effect on a sick person, even if it’s nothing but a sugar pill. If you believe you will be benefited, your body will often kick into the right mode to accomplish it.
The placebo effect has been described as one of the most remarkable phenomenons. It’s very common in every medical experiment. Tell a sick person they are getting a powerful medicine, give them a saltwater injection and about a third will improve. It is the patients believe in the treatment that works. The body can be healed by this belief system that we are only beginning to understand.
The mind can trigger healing through proper suggestions. Pregnant women have been given ipecac for nausea (which induces vomiting) and being told it would cure their nausea, has actually soothed the discomfort. The message is, that whatever you put your trust in can cure you.
Most of us can’t just take a placebo knowingly and have a cure. If we could we would always cure ourselves. But the power is still there. We just don’t know how to use it. With research going on it seems that endorphins play a large role.
In one study done at the University of California at San Frisco, 23 dental patients who had teeth pulled a few hours earlier were given a placebo for pain. Over a third reported their pain eased. When injected with a substance that blocked the action of endorphins the pain returned. This shows their belief in the placebo unlocked endorphins that eased the pain.
C Norman Sheely, M.D. founder of Pain and Health Rehabilitation Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, says he has found relaxation and visualization techniques to be the most single important therapy to offer chronically ill individuals. He says, drugs and surgery are often the least effective treatments for dealing with chronic pain.
People who use relaxation and visualization to control their pain have a 60% rate of success. They are able to resume a productive life style. Many more achieve a significant amount of relief.