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    « Practices | Main | No one needs to be wrong for you to be right. »

    Good article in the New Yorker on placebo, belief and healing...

    We often hear of the power of belief with regard to healing, usually with regard to how believing in the doctor or the treatment that the doctor gives facilitates healing.

    I don't think that believing in the "healer" or the treatment is what matters most, though. I think it is not doubting one's innate ability to heal that matters most. Believing in the doctor or the drug matter more only if we don't believe in ourselves. 

    With all of our focus on medicine and treatment, we often lose sight of the fact that the most important component in any healing or recover is our own innate ability to heal, and preserving our faith in that is a very big part of being able to rally to recover from disease.

    Placebos work to the extent that they convince a patient that they've received treatment. If the patient doesn't believe in their own ability to heal, or they don't believe the medicine can make them heal, then placebos won't work.

    If there is trickery involved in giving someone a placebo, it is necessary only because we've first been deceived in believing its the medicine that does the healing, not you.

    Placebos make up for that mistaken belief. They are a lie used to counter a lie: the lie that healing comes from a treatment or a drug, somewhere other than inside of you. 

    If a person never came to doubt their ability to heal in the first place, the placebo would be unnecessary.

    Better not to lie in the first place. Better to be established in the understanding that if you're going to heal, treatments can help, they can save lives, but it's always going to be you that does the major part of the healing, not the treatment.

    It would be better if our health care system didn't leave us convinced we can't thrive and be healthy without treatment.


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