What if I told you that all manner of disease – from cancerous tumors the size of oranges to brain diseases, gastrointestinal disease, parasites, loss of sight, mental disorders, reproductive issues, muscular diseases and even viruses – could go away spontaneously?
You don’t have to take my word for it. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has a database of over 3,500 documented, verifiable cases of diseases, often life-threatening, that go away all on their own.
The people who had these diseases might have sought allopathic medical treatment that wasn’t working, or simply refused to get ‘treatment’ in the traditional sense at all, but there is one thing that makes all of these cases commonly remarkable. They involve what is called the placebo effect.
Whether they got ‘fake’ surgeries, a sugar pill, or believed that they would be healed because of a passionate spiritual belief, they got better without interference from drugs or radiation. They got better without chemo, or enormous medical bills that tend to linger on after someone does live from traditional treatments, often causing new layers of disease. And to be fair, they got better without natural medicine, too.
How Stress Fuels Disease more than Anything
Lissa Rankin, M.D. says that the placebo effect is seen as a ‘big problem’ for the medical industry. She goes on to explain that things like love, gratitude, and pleasure can heal our bodies. Namely, they create either a stress response, which tends to create disease, or a relaxation response, which treats disease.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have found that “chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can “promote the development and progression of disease.”
Hundreds of diseases are related to inflammation in the body. Stress, and its direct affect on our ability to reduce inflammation, can cause Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and infertility, among other health concerns.
Stress causes your fight or flight signals to go haywire. The autonomic nervous system is activated by signals from a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. When the hypothalamus perceives a threat, real or imagined, it sends a message to the pituitary gland, which then secretes hormones that activate the adrenal glands.
The adrenals then secrete other hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that increase your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory and muscular activity, and at the same time reduce the activity of your reproductive and digestive systems. It fires up for action, and when all of your body’s energy is being used to fight a perceived threat, it cannot work on healing you. Its energy reserves are depleted.
James Gordon, M.D., a professor at Georgetown Medical School and director of the Center for Mind-Body Studies, has said that:
“Science often ignores cases of spontaneous remission because it is busy looking for statistical averages. This is not good science, just convenient science. Even if they hardly ever happen, these ‘miracles’ are the kinds of exceptions to the ruling paradigm that inevitably create new areas of study.”
De-Stress Now for Ultimate Healing
Conversely, learning to live in love, gratitude, and peace, though it sounds contrite, can actually vastly improve your health, perhaps even turning around a horrible disease – but how exactly do you do that?
- You can practice being more loving to yourself and others. Dr. Cynthia Thalk, cardiologist, explains that the ‘heart of the matter is that the heart matters.’ She says that, “every thought and every emotion causes an instantaneous cascade of hundreds, if not thousands, of neuropeptides and hormones that orchestrate a symphony of positive and negative effects within the body.” It might be time to think more loving thoughts if this is the case. Some call that compassion.
- Laugh more. Humor combats fear, relaxes, and even reduces pain. It is a known fact that the neurons needed to experience ‘pain’ from receptor signals get confused when you laugh, and as such you can’t feel pain as acutely. Humor also boosts immunity and helps build confidence. Who couldn’t use more of either?
- Practice meditation. Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, studied the brainwaves of meditating monks, and found that brain circuitry is different in long-time meditators than in non-meditators. The reason is simple: when you are upset – anxious, depressed, angry – certain regions of the brain (the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex) become very active. When you’re in a positive mood these sites quiet down and the left prefrontal cortex – a region associated with happiness and positivity – becomes more active. In studying the meditating monks, Davidson found they had especially high activity in the left prefrontal cortex.
- Try mindful breathing. This is also known as a form of meditation in many traditions, but did you know that simply breathing deeply and mindfully can lower your body’s stress response? Along with circulating more oxygen in the blood, deep breathing increases prana – the vital energy that allows all things to live fully.
Might learning of the relaxation response (another common placebo effect) of other stress-reducing techniques interfere with traditional medicine’s aims of keeping everyone in the poor house while companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson get richer? Eli Bay, the founder of the Relaxation Response Institute states:
“It is inexpensive and practical for everyone to learn simple but effective breathing techniques, tension release methods and mental success skills which can measurably reduce blood pressure and heart rate, cholesterol, insulin and blood sugar levels, strengthen the immune system, naturally slow your brain waves down to the creative and healing alpha and theta frequencies, improve the flow of oxygen to your brain leading to better thinking and memory, and a whole host of other benefits from preventing heart disease to improving your golf game.”
It is true that even the diagnosis of a disease can make us create that disease more fully in our bodies – and that the placebo affect can make something both life-threatening and extremely stressful simply disappear.
Consider this Harvard researcher’s findings. When Ted Kaptchuk conducted his first randomized clinical drug trial, nearly a third of his 270 subjects complained of awful side effects, but the pills they were given were simply made of cornstarch.
However, when conducting drug trials on a common sleeping pill, it was found that over half the drug users’ good night of rest was attributed to the placebo affect.
If nothing else is certain, the mind is powerful – we just need to use it to our benefit.
||Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.