There are some things that your doctor (physiotherapist, chiropractor, massage therapist or other medical professionals) have not told you about how your body works.
Your mind matters
Let’s start with the placebo effect. Perhaps you have heard of this phenomena?
Placebo effect refers to the idea that a person can be given what they believe to be a medication. Instead of medication they are given a sugar pill or water and they report having improvements in their symptoms. The use of a “sham” drug is common practice in research as a control group to ensure the accuracy of the test results. The scientific study of the placebo effect is usually dated to the pioneering paper published in 1955 on “The Powerful Placebo” by the anesthesiologist Henry K. Beecher. 1 Similarly, there is a nocebo effect. A nocebo response is where a person’s symptoms are worsened by the administration of the fake drug.
So when a fake medication is administered to a control group for the purpose of studying the effects of a real drug trial, some people have improvements and some people have adverse reaction, but these control groups did not actually receive any medications.
This is an important realization because it tells us that it is not necessarily the medications that are creating the outcome. This shows that your mind matters and what you think or feel affects the outcome significantly.
You can be conditioned to respond a certain way
Consider the work of the Russian scientist Pavlov. Pavlov was studying digestion in dogs and stumbled across what is today know as Classic Conditioning.
Conditioning involves learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus that already brings about a particular response (i.e. a reflex) with a new (conditioned) stimulus, so that the new stimulus brings about the same response. What this means is that we can cause a physiological reaction in our body by recalling a condition that was previously associated with that reaction. In the case of Pavlov’s experiment, the dogs learned to associate the sound of a bell with being given food. Both food and the sound of the bell could equally cause the process of salivation to occur. 2
This means that the physiological processes in the body can be affected by the thoughts you have. If you previously had back pain while doing a task, just recalling the task can trigger the pain cycle. This applies for every system in the body-allergies, pain, weight gain, and more. If you associate certain foods with bloating, you can trigger the bloating before actually eating the foods. Conditioning has far reaching implications because you are subconsciously creating associations and memories all the time. You are told by all different sources how you should be responding or feeling about foods, treatments and different medical approaches all the time.
The expected outcomes, although often subconscious, can be either positive or negative and most definitely contribute to the actual outcome.
There is an upside to all of this. The person receiving the treatment has a significant influence on the success of that treatment. If the person believes in the treatment or the medical professional, the likelihood of the treatment being successful increases. The fact that you learn a behaviour and can train yourself to associate a memory with a response can be used to your advantage. This is why the use of visualization can be so successful in healing and manifesting. Your body experiences what your mind conceives. Dr. Bernie Siegel writes about his experience with cancer patients and how it is important to know before deciding about a treatment what their beliefs about it are, as this affects the outcome of the treatment. 3
If you are needing help with weight loss, chronic pain, illness, anxiety, or sleep, you can use this information to choose treatments for yourself that will have a greater chance of working and you can use visualization to see yourself as healed.
Beliefs Can Alter Genes
Hold onto your seat, this one is a big change in perspective.
Recent studies have shown the gene responsible for inflammation in the body is triggered by the emotions of guilt and shame. 4 A newer field of science called Epigenetics has changed what was previously known about genetics and the body. Epigenetics “literally means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off”. These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells “read” genes. 5 This means that you can affect the medical conditions you inherited from your ancestors. It means that what you belief can affect how your cells interact and the biological processes they cause in the body. Scientists like Bruce Lipton 6 and Candice Pert 7 have contributed to this body of knowledge and provide compelling evidence of a different biological model than what was previously held as the truth.
Your body tells you what you believe
Your doctors may recognize that stress can cause disease and illness in the body. What they may not tell you is that you can look at where an issue is in your body and understand what beliefs or emotions you are struggling with. Your body is a door into your subconscious mind. This insight can be gained with an understanding of chakra energy 8 or through the work of people like Louise Hayes 9. It can also be discovered by simply considering the function of the part of the body involved.
Below is a simple exercise you can follow to help you with this process.
What is Your Body Telling You about Your Subconscious Thoughts/Beliefs?
- Do you have any pain, stiffness, soreness or any problems with your body?
- What part of the body is involved?
- What is the job or function of this area? (use the diagram to help you answer these questions)
- Head – thinking
- Eyes – seeing
- Ears – hearing
- Mouth – communicating
- Shoulders – responsibility
- Chest – feeling love
- Arms – holding on to
- Belly – nourishment, digestion
- Back(spine) – support
- Fat – insulation or protection
- Legs – movement
- How does the area above feel? For example: pressure, tight, uncomfortable, empty, burning, heavy, numb, hard
- Your subconscious thoughts can be found by the answers to questions 1 & 2. Together the job of the area involved and how the area feels gives insight into your thoughts.
- Now consider how this relates to something that is happening in your life at the time of the symptoms? Although you cannot change facts you can always change the way you see, think and feel about these facts.
- Think of another way to see your thoughts.
- Ask yourself “do you know for 100% that this is true”?
- Ask yourself “do you know for 100% that this is not true”?
- Since the only possible answer is “no” to either question, ask yourself “what is another way I can think about this or another I can see this that makes me feel better”?
- Affirm this new way of thinking by repeating it over and over to yourself.
- Bernie Siegel. “Love. Medicine & Miracles.” 1986
- Immunological Effects of Induced Shame and Guilt SALLY S. DICKERSON et al. Psychosomatic Medicine 66:124-131 (2004)
- Bruce Lipton. “Biology of Belief”
- Candice Pert. ” Molecules of Emotion”
- Caroline Myss. “Anatomy of the Spirit”
- Louise Hayes. ” You Can Heal Your Body”