Despite intriguing results, research into the placebo effect has been limited. So far,
only a few model systems have been investigated, like pain, depression, and Parkinson’s, but there is much more to be learned. One thing, however, does remain clear, and that is that we can
change our biology simply by changing what we believe to be true. In his book The Biology of
Belief, Bruce Lipton, PhD, persuasively argues for further research into this untapped resource within ourselves:
The placebo effect should be the
subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors an efficient, energy-based, side effect-free tool to
treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about science of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in a clinical
Let’s take a look at a few more interesting
studies that warrant further investigation into the matter. One great one is a Baylor School of Medicine study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. It looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee
pain. Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe. The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one
group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries for people who
have severely arthritic knees. The third group received a “fake” surgery; the patients were only sedated and tricked into believing they had had the knee surgery. Doctors simply made the
incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery. They then sewed up the incisions like the real thing and the process was complete. All three then groups went through
the same rehab process, with astonishing results: the placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery.
Dr Moseley, the surgeon involved in the study, made a bold comment, emphasizing that
his “skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients,” and that “the entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.” (Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of
Belief. Hay House, Inc, 2005)
Another very interesting example of a placebo
technique used in medicine comes from researchers in Seattle, who have developed a virtual reality landscape known as ‘Snow World.’ In the game, the participant flies around inside an
ice canyon shooting snowballs at other characters, theoretically distracting them from the pain of their physical body. Gareth Cook from Scientific
American reports on his experience trying the game:
It’s mean meant to work as a
painkiller: the idea is that the brain has a limited capacity for attention, so if the ice canyon commands that attention, there is less capacity left over for experiencing pain. When I tried Snow
World, the researchers used a heated box to simulate a burn to my foot – it was quite painful outside the game, but once immersed, I had so much fun I barely noticed it. (source)
The technique was utilized to help burn victims deal with their sessions of wound
treatment and physiotherapy, which can be extremely painful. In trials, researchers discovered that undergoing these therapy sessions while immersed in Snow World lessened patients’ pain by
fifteen to fourty percent.
This, among other research, tells us that the brain plays an enormous role in the level
of pain we feel. Cook explains:
So I think we’ve got our approach to
pain all wrong. Our focus is almost exclusively on trying to banish it with drugs, which is incredibly costly and causes huge problems with side effects and addiction. Research like Snow World shows
the potential of psychological approaches for treating pain: both to maximize the effectiveness of drugs and perhaps in some cases to replace them.
Another great example of the power of the placebo effect was demonstrated in a
1999 report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The report discovered that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve compared to the thirty-two percent
taking a placebo. Considering all of the dangers and side effects associated with antidepressants — not to mention how much pharmaceutical companies profit from their sale — this statistic seems an
important one. If we can accomplish nearly as much with our minds alone, without harming our health or creating chemical dependencies, shouldn’t we be exploring that avenue
Yet in a study published in the British Medical
Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, it was revealed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug
trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake
inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported. These are the reports sent to major health authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. You can read more about that and access the studyhere.
A 2002 article published in the American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment, by University of Connecticut Psychology Professor Irving Kirsch titled “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” made even more shocking
discoveries. He found that 80 perecent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. This professor even had to file a Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressants. (source)(source) “The difference between the response of the drugs and the response of the placebo was less than two points on
average on this clinical scale that goes from fifty to sixty points. That’s a very small difference, that difference is clinically meaningless,” he reveals.
And the placebo effect is not just limited to depression. One trial found that patients with irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS) had much greater relief from their symptoms if the practitioner was warm and empathetic rather than cold but polite. Another found that patients with
acid reflux disease did dramatically better after an extended consultation with a physician, compared to the usual quick go-around. From back pain to childbirth and more, many patient outcomes depend
not just on what drugs are prescribed, but on how care is delivered.
There are even studies indicating that the mind plays a role in both cancer growth and
recovery. In animal studies, for example, stress hormones make a range of cancers spread faster, and patient trials suggest that stress management interventions reduce inflammation. (source)
The list goes on and on,
Researchers all over the world have found that
placebo treatments can stimulate real biological and physiological responses — everything from changes in heart rate to blood pressure and even chemical activity in the brain. It has been
effective with a number of different ailments, from arthritis and Parkinson’s to depression, fatigue, anxiety, and more.
The placebo effect is most commonly cited during discussions of the power of the
mind-body connection, but there is a wealth of other data that also strengthens the argument. For example, studies have been conducted which investigate the influence of A’s intention on
B’s physiological state — a process referred to as “remote intention.” They further examine the influence of A’s attention on B’s physiological state while A gazes at B over a 1 way video link,
called “remote staring.” Last but not least, they study the influence of A’s intention on B’s attention or behaviour, which is referred to as “remote helping.”
The effects of distant mental interactions are measured using electrodermal activity,
heart rate, blood volume pulse, and electrocortical activity (EEG electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, brain blood oxygenation [MRI], and electrogastrogram
These studies have yielded remarkable results which have since been successfully
repeated in laboratories around the world. They actually hint at the possibility that another person’s mental attention could possibly have some sort of physiological effect on someone
For more information this, you can read the publication titled “Distant Healing Intention
Therapies: An Overview of the Scientific Evidence.”
If our thoughts and intentions can actually affect physical systems, just imagine what
our own thoughts and intentions could do to us.
If we look at it from a Quantum Mechanical perspective, factors associated with
consciousness (measurement, observation, attention) have indeed influenced physical systems, which is why all of the pioneering and prominent figures in this field regarded consciousness fundamental,
where matter is seen as a derivative from consciousness.
Then, we have studies published in peer-reviewed journals making even more
astonishing claims. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, as seen in the the US National Library of Medicine, for example,
demonstrated that a women with special abilities was and is able to accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock. As the study states:
Chulin Sun is a woman with exceptional
powers (Shen and Sun, 1996, 1998; Sun, 1998). A member of the Chinese Somatic Science Research Institute, she is a practitioner of Waiqi. Waiqi is a type of qigong that teaches the practitioner to
bring the qi energy of traditional Chinese medicine under the control of the mind. Chulin Sun can induce plant seeds to grow shoots and roots several cm long within 20 min using mentally projected qi
energy (Fig. 1). This has been demonstrated on more than 180 different occasions at universities as well as science and research institutions in China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) as well as
other countries (e.g., Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) (Ge et al., 1998; Qin et al., 1998; Lee et al., 1999). We took part in and repeated the qi germination experiments seven times, and five of
them succeeded (Ge et al., 1998). This remarkable effect on seed development has drawn widespread attention (Tompkins and Bird, 1973; Lee, 1998), but the biological mechanisms that underlie this
phenomenon are unknown.(source)
You can read more about that here.
The examples are endless, making clear that the mind-body connection definitely
warrants more attention when it comes to mainstream medicine and therapeutic interventions.
Nikola Tesla once said that “the day
science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” In fact, Vedic philosophy heavily
influenced Nikola Tesla’s ideas about free energy. You can read more about that here.
Fast forward to today, and we now know hundreds, if not thousands of internationally
recognized scientists from around the world coming together to stress the fact that matter (protons, electrons, photons, anything that has a mass) is not the only reality.
If we wish to understand the true nature of our reality, we must stop limiting
ourselves to only examining physical systems. We must consider the role of non-physical systems, such as factors associated with consciousness, and their interaction with physical systems
Today, this type of science is known as post-materialist science. If
Nikola Tesla was around, there would be no doubt that he would be leading the charge in this important field.
To summarize the current contrast between material science and post material science,
is to look at the points made in a document that was co-authored by r. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Arizona, Mario
Beauregard, PhD, from the University of Arizona, and Lisa Miller, PhD, from Columbia University. It was presented at an international summit on post-materialist science, spirituality, and
society. They (and hundreds of other scientists) have come to several conclusions which you can view in their Manifesto For Post-Material
Below is an intriguing short video by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, with regards to mind-matter interaction, which is the topic of this article, because ‘psychic
healing’ deals with mind interacting with human biology.