Friday, October 30, 2015

If the Dummy Effect is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right


: medicine : a pill or substance that is given to a patient like a drug but that has no physical effect on the patient
b :  an inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (as a drug)
Happy pills.....dummy pills......placebos.  I have long been a science geek and have been reading medical studies since maybe middle school. I used to read articles and interpret them just the way the writer intended for the reader to.  It is hard to understand the actual studies and I often allow others to interpret them for me and then explain them in their own words. For many years I think this served me very shallowly, for instance; I always had a negative connotation when referring to a placebo. This is because I was always lead to believe that when a placebo worked it was because the patient in the study was a 'dummy'. Now maybe this is not what the articles said directly but this is what I took away from them.  Not only do I no longer have this understanding but I am in the opposite belief.  Could it be that those with a very strong mental power actually willed their bodies to do what they believed would happen?
I think has a closer more accurate definition that the above.
Placebo: Any effect that seems to be a consequence of administering a placebo; the change is usually beneficial and is assumed result from the person's faith in the treatment or preconceptions about what the experimental drug was supposed to do; pharmacologists were the first to talk about placebo effects but now the idea has been generalized to many situations having nothing to do with drugs
In many studies it is found that the placebo was just as effective as the drug being studied.  This is not just the case in new drugs but drugs that have been on the market for many decades. My point in pointing all this out is two fold.  One, if our minds are powerful enough to will or evoke healing in ourselves why aren't we taught to use it by our doctors? It seems like a very simple task to tell yourself to generate a healing.  This isn't voodoo magic, its just evidence based science.  And secondly, if we can see the evidence of this placebo effect or 'self talk' in drug studies why shouldn't we be implementing an order of operations in order just to limit the amount of drugs one must be on. I'm not at this time arguing that pharmaceutical drugs don't have a benefit in our heath, I'm just saying maybe it could be a last resort more often
Let me explain by example and a practical way I work with my clients.
Practical Application in  Theoretical Examples
A Client with a diagnosed or suspected sinus infection is directed to a:Naturopathic doctor, herbalist, aromatherapist, etc.  Alternative health care expert goes over possible remedies with the client in detail, explaining why this remedy is beneficial. In this important exchange you are giving the body a chance to believe it can be healed by this natural remedy and telling it how to use it.  This may seem a bit on the voodooy side again, but remember science shows evidence that our bodies do respond to 'faith' in a remedy. Then client chooses one or more remedies that they believe might help them.  I always instruct my clients to remind their bodies that they believe it will be healed by this (herb, homeopathic, essential oil, fill in the blank) that they have been empowered to choose to take-as they are taking it.  So the self talk would look a bit like this, "I am taking this blend of astragulus, Echinacea and mullein to aid in my bodies ability to help an infection.  I believe it will work on a cellular and systematic level. Therefore I will start to feel better soon"
The important thing here is that the alternative health care expert and the client is using their instincts to constantly be monitoring worsening or plateauing symptoms and informing their regular physician of progress. If client doesn't feel better in a reasonable amount of time then they can move on to a pharmaceutical(that posses more recorded side affects)with knowing that they have tried to minimalize exposure to strong drugs.  The positive self talk should continue with each treatment for best results. 
There is no herb, oil, or drug that will work for everyone or anyone at every given time and the placebo effect/self talk is much the same.  It is just a tool to help our wondrous bodies do their thing. Maybe just start seeing how this 'smart effect' can effect your life, by positively reminding yourself what you want your body to do for you.
*Not intended to prescribe, diagnose or give medical advise. Always use your best judgment and consult with your physician about your medical choices.