The Placebo Effect

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

Hey everybody. I want to talk to you guys about the power of the placebo. When you’re talking about the placebo effect, that means you’re tricking your mind into thinking you’re getting something that is going to substantially alter your biochemistry, like medication, but you’re not really getting it yet. But, you’re able to have a physiological benefit regardless.

Our Mind’s Influence

So the key thing to remember is that the mind can have a powerful influence on the body. And that’s really the issue that I want to talk about. If we can create a placebo effect, we can amplify it to really give our minds the credit that they deserve. So, that means you and I, as we go through and live our lives, can trick our minds into believing that something that we’re doing can create this sort of healing effect in our body.

More Than Positive Thinking

The placebo effect is much more than just positive thinking, though. The response to a fake treatment occurs, and many patients have no idea that what they’re responding to is essentially a fake pill or a placebo pill. Placebos are often utilized in medical research to help doctors and scientists discover and better understand the physiological and psychological effects of a new medication. In order to understand why the placebo effect is super impactful, it’s essential to understand a bit more about how and why it works.

What is a Placebo?

Let’s take a look closer at the placebo effects. The placebo effect is defined as a phenomenon in which some people experience a benefit after the administration of something fake, that is not really the medication. It’s almost like a fake treatment that you are receiving. What exactly is a placebo? A placebo is a substance with no known medical effects, such as sterile water, saline solution, or even a sugar pill. It, the placebo, is a fake treatment that, in some cases, can produce a very real response.

Why Does It Work?

 Why do people experience real physiological changes to a fake treatment? The expectation of a patient plays a significant role in the placebo effect. If you expect to heal, then it is more likely that you will heal. On the other hand, if you expect that the treatment won’t work, it is more likely that it will not. It’s the power of our attention and focus. Where our attention goes, our energy flows.

In most cases, the person does not know that the treatment they are receiving is actually a placebo. It’s typically used in medical research to showcase the difference between the placebo subjects and the true treatments subjects. By comparing the two, the goal is to show that the true treatment is effective and has more validity when it comes to the results of whatever it is being administered.

Placebo vs. Placebo Effect

It’s important to note that placebo and the placebo effect are two different things. The term placebo refers to the inactive substance itself, while the placebo effect refers to the physiological effects resulting from a certain neutral medication or pseudo-medication. Placebo is used in medical research to further figure out the impact that medications have.

While a placebo has no effect on an illness, it can have a very real effect on how some people may feel. The strength of the effect depends on a variety of factors. Some things that can influence the placebo effects include the nature of your illness, the acuity of your illness (chronic vs. acutely flared), how strongly the patient believes the treatment will work, the expectations of the patient, and they type of positive messages that the doctor or practitioner conveys to the patient. Sometimes genes may also influence how people respond to placebo treatments.

Advantages of Placebo

There are many studies exemplifying that the placebo effects are real in every aspect of these treatments and experiments. By comparing the effects of treatment to a placebo, researchers hope to determine if the effects of the medicine are due to the treatment itself or by some other unknown variable.

One of the major advantages of using placebo in medical and psychological studies and experiments is that it allows researchers to eliminate or minimize the effect that expectations can have on the outcome. If researchers expect to find a certain result, they may unknowingly convey the clues, known as demand characteristics, which may lead participants to guess what they researchers hope to find.

Minimizing Bias

Expectations cause researchers to convey biases to participants without really realizing. This is the experimental bias inherently present in any type of medical research we conduct. In order to minimize this, researchers sometimes conduct what is known as a double blind study. Such studies involve both experimenters and participants being unaware of who is receiving the real versus the fake treatments. By minimizing the risk of subtle biases influencing the study, researchers are better able to look at the effects of both the drug and the placebo.

How Can We Use the Placebo Effect?

I really want you to understand that placebo does work and it does work in our lives as well. I want you to better utilize the concept of the power of our mind to sway the body in order to have this positive physiological response. If you think that whatever ailment that you struggle with, whether it be Sjogren’s, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or MS, is declining or incurable, your mind will keep focusing on the negative impact of your disease.

You will not recognize that you’re worsening the impact that your thoughts and feelings have on the body, creating a negative expectation. But what if I told you that you have absolute command? If you believe wholeheartedly, you can affect your thoughts and your feelings to move in the direction of healing.

To Heal vs. Not to Heal

Let’s say I give you a healing diet plan with a meditation guide, or a guided meditation with some supplements. I tell you convincingly that this is what’s going to really help you. We know from research that, more than likely, if you truly believe that to be true, you’re going to be at more of an advantage. So why wouldn’t you want to increase your odds and chances of healing, by putting energy where it deserves towards the positive? It’s not just about positive affirmations and just saying them over and over again. You really have to get into the heart of the matter, and you really have to wholeheartedly believe this to be true.

The Power of the Placebo

Placebo effects used to be something that was too much “woo woo” for me in my mind. But, I’ve read enough research papers, studied enough meditation principles, yoga, neurobiology, neurochemistry, and neurology to understand that this is absolutely true. There’s quantum physics to really convey that our thoughts are super powerful in changing the vibrational frequencies in our bodies. So much so, that we can take it from a sympathetic-driven fight or flight, stressful way of living to the parasympathetic, where it rests and heals, as a Zen-like being. It’s a choice that you and I have to drive our bodies in either of those directions.

How Do You Want to Live?

The question really becomes, which is it going to be? Don’t you want to put the odds in your favor? I want you to listen to your body and convey the message of healing to your body every single day. I’m going to drop a link to a YouTube video that I shared recently in my Facebook group. The presenter of that TEDx talk really put the power of our minds into perspective. I really want you to spend some time watching it. Get encouraged about what it’s like to have the placebo effect at play in your life. That way, you can better utilize the power of your mind to sway the odds in your favor.

If you liked this message, please join me in my private Facebook group, the Tribe of Autoimmune Health Rebels. There, we have elevated conversations about all things holistic, functional medicine, yoga, and mindfulness.

I want to teach you all about holistically taking matters into your own hands and being empowered to heal yourself. Because, as I always tell my clients, healing is an inside job. You must be on board for your own health to effect a positive change. Nobody else can do that for you. So, stay empowered my rebels.

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