Become the healthiest, happiest version of yourself: Positive thinking and medication

By Christine Carey

Have you heard of the placebo effect?

According to medicinenet.com, it is “a remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo – a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution – can sometimes improve a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. The more a person believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit.”

Based on the results from an increasing number of studies of placebo pills versus actual medications, we learn that patients are benefiting from optimistic messages from their doctors, enhancing the performance of a good pharmaceutical. This research is proving the true power of the mind. This is no longer just an understanding in philosophical groups, but now in the scientific and medical communities.

Dr Ted Kaptchuk, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that, “50 per cent of a drug’s success could be attributed to the placebo effect. The more you give a positive message, the more a drug works. In this case, our message was just as important as the pharmacology of the drug.”

In one particular study researchers expected that when people knowingly received a placebo their outcome would not be as noticeable. However, people reported pain relief even when they knew the pill they were receiving was a placebo, compared with no treatment at all. This finding “contradicts the medical beliefs,” Dr Kaptchuk said, “because in medicine, we think you have to think it’s a real drug for placebo to work. But apparently the body has memories, or an embodied awareness, which operates below the level of consciousness.”

What this all means is basically this: What you are told/ or what you hear, you think. What you repeat through thoughts, you believe. What you believe creates physical responses in the body. What this knowledge allows us to do is consciously contribute to healing. I have found myself increasingly focused on the mind-body connection with my clients because, if in fact what we think impacts the health of our body, then we can play an even more proactive role in determining the quality of our life.

On a deeper level, as you consider what is happening in your life, can you determine how things you may be thinking are creating illness in your body? Are you thinking certain thoughts that cause you to choose foods or lifestyle habits that inhibit health and healing? If thoughts have been proven to create a positive health outcome, then we should extend this throughout all areas of our life. I encourage you to have a think about these questions and try to identify where you may be having limiting or negative thoughts. Surround yourself with positive words, encouraging people and healthy choices. With the guidance of your medical professional and your positive support team you can heal and live a happier, healthier life.

• All health content in this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional.

Christine Carey is a board certified holistic health coach (www.liquidnutrition.com) and director of Corporate Wellness at 242 Consulting (www.242consulting.com). With over ten years of coaching experience, Ms Carey works with individuals and groups to assess and define their health and lifestyle goals with a strong focus on increasing knowledge and implementing tools for success.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment