When it comes to healing, there are a myriad of factors that promote it. By exploring the placebo effect and the principle of faith, we can discover how mental processes and belief play the most important roles in facilitating the healing process.
Meaning of Placebo and the Placebo Effect
The word placebo originates from the Latin word placēre, which means to give pleasure. Today, it is used as a name for any substance or action that produces the effect of healing in patients, despite having no scientifically-based therapeutic effect. Ironically, mainstream medicine discards its use in clinical practice no matter the effectiveness of the placebo, even if it is superior to the drug tested.
The Science Behind the Placebo Effect
Belief seems to be the number one factor influencing the actions and effectiveness of the placebo effect, but some other factors are:
- The patient’s previous therapeutic experiences: The standard of practice in the patient’s region will influence their expectations, and as a result, the effectiveness of the placebo. For example, in Western medicine many believe that the more invasive or expensive the procedure is, the higher the expectation of effectiveness for the patient!
- The emotional and mental state of the patient: As a general rule, more mentally stable patients seem to respond better to all forms of therapy.
- Spirituality as an essential part of the patient’s beliefs: Or the “real power behind the throne.” A patient’s spirituality, or lack of spirituality, will have an effect on a patient’s response to a therapy.
- The influence of the therapist/physician: The placebo effect can again occur, based on other patients’ experiences, or the degree of education and specialisation of the therapist/physician. Our medical system believes that more specialisation guarantees better care, and so this together with a compassionate professional who shows genuine interest in helping, is, in my opinion, one of the most potent activators of the placebo effect.
In all of these factors there seems to be a common denominator in the healing response: trust. That is, a relationship between the patient and the therapist that promotes trust- the trust of the patient in the therapist’s intentions, and the trust of the therapist in the patient allowing themselves to heal. The final result is that the medical professional provides the tools for healing, whilst the patient must promote their own recovery.
This unique relationship activates the faith principle:
I nner Wisdom
H eal you
Causality in the Disease Process
Wellness is the natural balance between all the parts of the universe. A disease is an imbalance created by the reaction of the elements of the universe trying to recover its equilibrium. It’s like how severe natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, are only trying to correct the imbalances created by man-made destruction of the planet.
The law of cause and effect rules all of these actions and reactions since its primary role is to keep the universe in balance.
The results of the law directly come from the intentions of all of us living in the universe.
- An intention guided by the thought of the universe and everyone in it, creating a positive result in the universe = Dharma
- An intention steered by selfishness, therefore harming the universal equilibrium = Karma
In essence, the awareness of our interconnectedness as a spiritual family will create a joyful experience, and the lack of this awareness creates suffering and disease.
Causality in the Healing Process
Healing then becomes a process of remembering the causes that originated the imbalance or disease, and then starting to reverse the unbalancing process. To heal then, we must first accept our responsibility in creating the original disparity and the subsequent suffering that it caused.
As I describe in my books, the experiences of suffering become our guiding lessons of love that reconnects us as a spiritual family.
About the Author:
Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero has four decades of practice as a pediatric surgeon and nearly a decade of practicing holistic medicine, and now heals people through the guiding principles and empowering words of his Amazon best-selling series of self-improvement books. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he was a member of the Puerto Rico Medical Association, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, American Pediatric Surgical Association, and Fellow American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is currently engaged in his private practice and continues in his role as an educator, trying to achieve full integration of traditional Chinese acupuncture courses in the curriculum of medical schools. He resides in Puerto Rico.
For more information, visit www.ifigueroa.allauthor.com.