I hear it all the time: “Yeah but it was just the placebo effect,” dismissing the net result, no matter how profound. A test group is given a cancer medication, a control group is given a placebo. 80% of the cancer in the test subjects was cured, but 80% was also cured in the control group, meaning the medication had no noticeable effect. “Welp, the medication is crap. On to the next study!”
“But wait…did you not realize that 80% of the cancer was cured?”
“Yeah but it was just the placebo effect.”
Obviously this is an extreme, fictitious example, but it illustrates my point. People are quick to dismiss the placebo effect because it’s not “real”.
The truth is that the placebo effect is proof that, in no small way, our minds can control our bodies. If we believe a medication we’re taking will heal us, often it does heal us even if that “medication” is just sugar pills. The opposite is also true: if we believe a medication that has been proven effective will not heal us, often it doesn’t. This is referred to as the nocebo effect.
Isn’t that amazing? What we believe will happen, happens, with no outside influence. It’s all up here baby:
These are examples not specifically of the placebo effect with regard to medication, but rather examples of the incredible power of the mind over the body.
John Matzke had a malignant melanoma removed from his armpit. Years later the cancer spread to his lungs. Upon this discovery, his oncologist recommended he undergo immediate treatment since when a melanoma invades a vital organ, the usually invariable outcome is death, and soon. Instead, Matzke took a month to become healthier and prepare himself for the debilitating treatment. He hiked in the mountains to breathe in the fresh air and meditated often, envisioning a perfectly healthy body and his inner body fighting off the cancer. When he went back to the doctor to undergo the cancer treatment, there was no trace of the cancer in his body. You can read more here.
Dr. Bruno Klopfer was involved in research on the drug Krebiozen, which was for a time touted as a cure for cancer. One of his patients, Wright, had an advanced stage of a cancer infecting his lymph nodes and also spread throughout his body. He required an oxygen mask and was almost immobile. Wright begged Dr. Klopfer to be part of the Krebiozen test group. Klopfer agreed to administer the drug, and shortly thereafter, Wright recovered enough to be fully able-bodied. In the doctor’s words, the tumors “melted like snowballs on a hot stove”.
News reports spread about the newfound ineffectiveness of Krebiozen as a cancer treatment, and upon hearing that news, Wright almost immediately regressed to his previous, cancer-filled state. Dr. Klopfer, deciding the circumstances were extreme enough, tried something strange: he told the patient he had a new formula of Krebiozen that was twice as strong and twice as effective, and that the recent news on Krebiozen was the result of bad samples that had degraded over time. However, instead of injecting Krebiozen, he injected the patient with sterile water. The patient’s tumors shrank and he recovered such that he could once again live a normal life.
Unfortunately, subsequent news reports surfaced that completely dismissed Krebiozen as having any effect as a cure for cancer whatsoever, and within days, Wright was dead. (Reference here.)
Anita Moorjani – she was taken to the hospital in a coma after seemingly having finally lost her battle against lymphoma. She had open lesions, large tumors all over, and she wasn’t expected to live for more than a couple of hours.
She reported having a near-death experience (like the one I wrote about here) during which she was shown that she has more to accomplish in her life and was given the choice to return to her body or proceed with her death. If she returned, she would be cured of cancer and be free to spread the positive message of her experience. She chose to return and the doctors were completely baffled when, within days, they found no trace of cancer in her body, continually testing and retesting her due to their disbelief.
I happen to believe in the reality of such near-death experiences, but many or most people think such experiences are constructs of the mind. Hallucinations experienced near death. If that’s the case, then Ms. Moorjani’s experience is one of the most incredible examples of the placebo effect. You can read about her experience here.
There are many other such stories if you just search my favorite website.
Stories like the above induce skepticism in many, and understandably so. For most of us, everything we’ve been taught our entire lives is based in hard science, and even more so based on the hard reality of this physical existence. When certain “impossible” things happen, it’s just due to dumb luck, it’s unexplainable, it’s not worth thinking about, or whatever.
I can’t prove to you that it’s possible we can heal supposedly incurable ailments with our minds alone. The above mentioned remissions could be due to something of which we’re completely unaware, something that has nothing to do with our own thoughts or beliefs. I don’t know.
I do know it’s important to keep an open mind and consider that it might be possible. The truth is, we don’t know one way or the other, so why not at least be open to new possibilities?
I do know that, with our thoughts and beliefs alone, we can easily cure much less severe ailments than cancer such as headaches or muscle pains. I have experienced this directly myself on numerous occasions through meditation and positive thinking. Still, I can’t prove it to you. As with every single truth in this world, in order for you to know it, you must experience it personally. You must feel the truth yourself.
Just know that if it is possible, in an objective sense, literally to alter our physiology and heal incurable diseases with our thoughts alone, it’s most likely the case that we must believe it possible in order to accomplish such feats.
Choose your beliefs wisely.