Thoughts become things? 2. The placebo effect
Thoughts become things? The placebo effect
The placebo effect is defined as a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that is due to the patient’s belief in that treatment. Simply put, believing that a drug has efficacy will lead to the healing effect even if it does not. This effect has been confirmed through numerous experiments and is being utilized in therapies as it is acknowledged in the medical world.
Confidence in the skill and positive attitude of the doctor makes the placebo effect higher. And placebo effect works even if patients know they’re getting a sham drug, as long as the patients believe that this drug will work. Its efficacy has been proven to be as high as 70%.
So it delights me that such evidence can prove that our mind affects our body and that we have the power to heal ourselves. In some cases, thinking to yourself it will get better or even simply putting your hands on the sore spot without taking any medication is likely to bring about a positive outcome.
I remember whenever I had stomachache as a little child, my grandmother would massage my stomach saying it will get better, and that would instantly cure my stomachache. It is much easier to accept the efficacy in the love, warm touch of a grandmother towards her grandson as well as the grandson’s trust in his grandmother than to accept the efficacy in the effect of communicating the blood in the abdominal region.
If that’s really the case, why is it not being utilized in the overall healthcare industry? Or perhaps we should take a moment to ask ourselves why we rely heavily on medication which quite possibly carries a risk of harmful side effects. As I understand it, medication does work on our body with a sure mechanism corresponding to it. In most cases, however, the core purpose of medicament is to reduce any negative symptoms. In this sense, it is not so much as a medication with healing effects. Instead, it plays a role, for example, in blocking the nerves, artificially lowering the fever, administering hormones so that the symptoms wouldn’t be felt rather than treating them altogether.
That being said, medication may do a good job of improving the symptoms, but it may to undesirable outcomes such as adversely affecting the normal physiological mechanisms resulting in serious side effects. So it should be used in emergent conditions, but it is necessary to pay extra cautions when using it for long term or habitual use.
Every year, advanced diagnostic tools are being developed and various types of drugs are released, but diseases, as well as prescription drugs, are on the rise. We tend to subconsciously rely on the immediate efficacy of medication, become oblivious to the healing power we possess, and depend ourselves on the easy and simple method. This, coupled with the pursuit of capitalism, makes us increasingly dependent on medication.
Therefore, I dare suggest, except when it is truly inevitable, let’s limit the use of medication, and rather look for diet therapy, naturopathy, therapeutic exercise and so on to heal ourselves from any health condition we might be dealing with. Once again, let’s practice the truth which is that our mind has the power to cure our own body.
With faith in your self-healing powers,
Jinman Kim, the director of Peace Oriental Medical Clinic Centre