August 5, 2011

Can a sugar pill cure your illness?

What if I told you the secret to solving your health problem was a sugar pill? You might think I was crazy. But evidence now shows that taking a placebo solves more health challenges than many drugs.

New research confirms this is true even if you KNOW that the doctor is giving you a placebo. In this new study, researchers followed 80 patients with irritable bowel disease. They found that up to 59% of a group of IBS patients got adequate relief simply by taking a known placebo. Amazingly, knowing they were taking a placebo worked better than not knowing. Only 30-40% of those who didn’t know they were taking a placebo saw adequate relief.

This is important information for the world of medicine. This study tells us that it is the “ritual” of medicine (pill pushing) that might be giving us the most response in healing, not what the doctor actually gives the patient. The human mind is amazing. It works as one with the body, unlike what medicine used to think.

This study makes me wonder what might happen if Pharma simply melted away, and we just took colorful pills off the shelf. I think it would work for a variety of mind-influenced conditions, including pain, fibromyalgia, IBS, etc. That’s not to say that there are not real physical causes for these illnesses. There definitely are, like say, gluten sensitivity, infection, interference fields, toxins, etc. But the mind certainly plays a major role. It sets your level of stress, which influences everything to some extent!

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When I was in family practice training, I used to watch an attending gastroenterologist. Many times he would be totally baffled at how to treat his irritable bowel patients. So he simply gave them a pill based on its shape and color. He’d admit, “I’m going to give Mrs. Jones a purple triangle.” In the next room, he’d give Mrs. Smith a “pink rectangle.” He often got results, not based on his medical expertise in healing, but in exacting the “placebo effect” in his patients.

He definitely was on to something, even if he didn’t have a clue as to what was really ailing his patients.

Medicine in the U.S. has turned into a ritual, with Big Pharma sitting at the top. I hope that this study will encourage doctors to wisely consider placebos before giving you toxic Pharma petrochemicals. With this type of research out there, doctors should feel more secure that they won’t be charged with malpractice for a benign intervention. They have a proven 30-60% chance of improvement simply by prescribing a placebo!

Ref: Medpage, 12-22-10.

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