Recently I watched a very interesting program in a TV series called “Alternative Medicine”. The host is Kathy Sykes, a physics professor in the U.K., and the theme of the hour-long show was an investigation of the placebo effect. She travelled to Houston, Texas and Vancouver, B.C. to look into two examples of the way in which an administered placebo can produce results that rival, if not improve upon, an actual pharmaceutical or surgical procedure.
In Houston, a group of people suffering with arthritic conditions of the knee were part of a program ostensibly to treat and relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness. While some had conventional surgery performed on the affected knee, for others there was only an incision made and sutured, nothing more. A video was played showing an operation, and the medical team performed a “pretend” process the usual length of a real surgery. In the weeks following, the patients were consulted about their outcomes. Kathy Sykes interviewed one of them, a man who had been in excruciating pain prior to his “surgery”, and who had experienced very significant improvement. He was never operated on – nothing more was done than an incision.
In Vancouver, another program studying patients with Parkinson’s disease was similarly conducted, this time with the administering of a pharmaceutical for one group, and simple saline for the other. The Parkinson’s patient’s brain doesn’t produce sufficient dopamine and as a result the symptoms of progressive stiffness and uncontrolled movements occur. Again, following this experiment, Kathy Sykes interviewed an artist who had received only saline and whose symptoms were greatly reduced. Using scans to determine the effects of this test on the brain, researchers observed that the saline patients’ placebo response had resulted in their brain’s producing dopamine that considerably reduced the effects of the disease!
To a scientist trained in conventional principles, these conclusions were a revelation. It was possible to attribute the results of these experiments only to the placebo effect. The very fact that the participants believed their procedures would benefit them brought about positive results. When I watched this program I recalled, as I described in my “EFT – The Ultimate Power Tool” post, how the confident reassurance of my naturopath when I was struggling with rheumatoid arthritis was a turning point for me. I began to entertain the notion, despite all “conclusive evidence” by medical authorities, that it was possible to recover, and from that day forward my healing began. The memory of that remarkable moment illustrates to me, as well, the undeniable effect of any consulting practitioner’s voiced opinion on the belief system of the client or patient.
There are many such stories in the world – bookstores abound with the research and investigations of spiritual teachers who have long known and taught about the mind/body connection. But the big news now is that some inquisitive members of mainstream science and medicine are beginning to acknowledge that our thoughts and emotions may be playing a real and significant part in our physical conditions.
So, if we can use our belief to heal from disease and degenerative disorders like arthritis and Parkinson’s (and others, it’s thought, by medical researchers who conducted these experiments), what else do we powerful humans have the ability to create? Well, the answer seems to be plenty. If you read Gregg Braden’s The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, or watch on DVD “The Living Matrix” – a few excellent resources representing the research and experience of many experts in science, branches of medicine and spirituality – it’s indicated time and time again that this faculty we call belief has extraordinary influence over our personal well-being, our levels of success and abundance, our relationships, and, when we combine our focus and intent with that of others, the world itself.
It’s a monumental concept to take in, and in the face of decades of teaching to the contrary – we function at the whim of fate, of the government, our financial institutions, our boss, our bodies, and therefore our outcomes are largely beyond our control – it’s a concept that’s challenged by, yes, our belief system. Despite all the excitement we feel when we hear the good news of our greatness, until we can delve beneath our creative conscious to the “gatekeeper”, our sub-conscious mind, where our files and manuals are kept and referred to 98% of our day, we will adhere to our perceived limitations and short change our extraordinary gifts and the possibilities they can bring to reality.
EFT has the unique capacity to gently and often swiftly loosen the grip of the programming that may have had its purpose in the past but now frustrates our thriving in all its aspects. In addition it calms and comforts and helps to sharpen our vision of a longed-for future. There is too much evidence now to deny the part we play in our reality – placebo is only part of the story. We require the methods of freedom and discovery that will assist us in seeing beyond our limitations and remembering who we really are, and Emotional Freedom Techniques stands prominently among the most effective methods available today.