Methods of mastering, manipulating and controlling the conscious and subconscious minds have been written into and practiced in Chinese Medicine since its’ formation; from Qi Gong to meditations to Shen Gong to the art of Feng Shui.
Mind work is one of the many great pillars supporting the foundation of Chinese Medicine.
One of the best ways to increase your physical and mental health is to simply train your mind into a state of positivity; in this state your internal reactions, such as the building and upkeep of cells are performed at peak and productive levels.
You could imagine that if you have the opposite, a negative depressed mind, your body will slump and feel tired. Everything from your concentration to your digestion will become sluggish. And even the reproduction of your cells will be less efficient, causing weaker cells to be created, which in turn will cause you to slump even further and lay the grounds for possible future illnesses.
To clearly see the power of the mind in action, all we have to do is look at the placebo and nocebo effect in western science …
In Western Medicine and science, this physical effect is portrayed very clearly through the effects of placebo and nocebo. They are like a big pink elephant sitting in the corner of the room, creating problems for drug makers and putting a massive dent in the foundations of Western Medicine; which has unfortunately denied and ignored the effects and power of the mind throughout most of its existence.
Placebo is used in clinical drug trials, where a fake dummy pill is tested against a real medication to see if it has a genuine ability to heal or treat an illness. If a drug outperforms a placebo then it can be marketed. The problem for Western Medicine and drug makers, is that when you give sick people fake pills, that do absolutely nothing in the body, it has been found to cure them of their ills in about 30 percent of cases.
To spell this out clearly, the mind having believed it ingested a real active medicinal cure, but in reality a useless fake pill, enacted everything necessary in the body to cure it of an infliction, all by itself. The mind through the power of its own beliefs healed the body.
Every clinical trial that has been performed has noted a substantial placebo effect. It has even been shown in studies that when people are given two pills instead of one, there is a stronger effect and when dummy pills have been printed with a well-known drug name they work even more effectively.
Another study by scientists at Turin University gave 11 patients with Parkinson’s disease real injections to temporarily relieve symptoms of muscle stiffness and tremors. They later gave the same patients a placebo without any medication and noticed that six of the 11 patients had decreases in rigidity and tremors. These patients also clearly showed a reduction in nerve cell activity in a part of the brain which is affected and damaged by Parkinson’s disease.
A Paper in the Journal Of The National Cancer Institute reported a study by Mount Sinai School Of Medicine of 200 women with breast cancer. It showed that patients who had been hypnotized needed less anaesthetic and felt less pain, tiredness and nausea after surgery.
Yet again another study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in the US, showed similar results concerning surgical operations and hypnosis.
Hypnosis is not a placebo but does clearly demonstrate the power of the mind. An interesting case in 2008, concerned an overweight woman from England who travelled to a clinic in Spain. She was then put into a hypnotic state, and talked step by step through the procedure for gastric bypass surgery, a severe solution to weight loss. Now she did not actually get physical surgery, but her brain was fooled into believing she had. As a result she lost four stone in weight, a similar equivalent to what she would have lost if she had actually undergone real surgery.
In 1999 a UK Biotech firm testing their new vaccine for food allergies were very impressed by the strong results they received in their clinical trials, suggesting a high success rate of a whopping 75 percent. That is until the results of the corresponding placebo trial came in, this fake dummy pill too delivered a 75 percent success rate. The new drug was inevitably scrapped.
With the nocebo effect, people taking fake pills often develop side effects associated with similar real pills. Symptoms such as burning sensations, sleepiness, fatigue, stomach problems, skin rashes, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, diarrhea, tinnitus, loss of libido and even upper respiratory tract infections are often reported.
Most disturbingly are cases of patients given the wrong diagnosis of terminal illnesses. One such incident of an American patient who was wrongly told he had only months to live, duly died in the allotted time frame. The autopsy showed that he was misdiagnosed and it had no explanation as to why he died.
Other studies have shown that patients who believe they will not survive surgery are far more likely to die during it. Research showed that women who believed they were particularly prone to heart attacks are nearly four times as likely to die from them.
Even more than 50 percent of cancer patients start to experience nausea from taking chemo drugs days before the drugs could cause that actual effect in the body.
Chinese Medicine practitioners are not however the only ones to notice the power of placebo… In 2008, a nationwide survey in the US of 1,200 internists, reported in the journal BMJ, found that nearly two thirds of them believed in prescribing placebos to treat patients with real ailments, and nearly half of them every month will prescribe placebos during their work. These doctors prescribed sedatives, vitamins, pain relievers, antibiotics and ineffectively small doses of drugs knowing that these pills would only produce placebo effects. Studies and polls carried out in Denmark, Britain and Sweden have all provided similar results to this US one, that many Western doctors believe in the power of the mind, something that they have not learnt from their Western medical textbooks and training.
Well the more the mind focuses on something, the more it creates and grows it.
Think for example of a toothache or other pain. The more you think of it and it plays on the mind, the worse it seems to throb or ache. Whereas when the mind is distracted, by something you do or by someone around you, then the more the pain seems to diminish. Often nearly completely fading and disappearing into the background.
On a bigger scale, when the mind is going through long times of low mood and unhappiness, it is weakening your cells, leaving them more vulnerable to damage and sickness.
Thus from a western scientific viewpoint, thinking positively over a period of time will help to create a health enhancing placebo effect in our bodies, whereas thinking negatively will induce more of a nocebo ill effect.
So having already figured this out several thousand years ago; the Chinese began using and perfecting the methods of meditation, Qi Gong, Shen Gong, positive thinking and Feng Shui to impart strong empowering messages of health and wellness into the mind.
By training our minds through these methods and techniques we can induce our own placebo effect, encouraging and affirming positive thoughts and beliefs of happiness and abundant health. When we master this, our subconscious will respond by helping to keep our systems and physical bodies in better shape, running in top health and peak conditions.
So if you haven’t already, then go and find yourself a qualified instructor who can teach you real meditation and positive thinking, or a master who can teach you Qi Gong; and then start learning how to use your mind in an affirming way to help you become stronger, happier and healthier.
- Ken Ho, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Are the benefits of growth hormone in the athletes mind? , 25-06-08, www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/are-the-benefits-of-growth-hormone-all-in-the-athletes-mind.html
- Benedetti F. et al, Placebo responsive Parkinson patients show decreased activity in single neurons of sub thalamic nucleus, Nature Neuroscience 2004; 7:587-588.
- Montgomery G. et al, A randomized clinical trial of a brief hypnosis intervention to control side effects in breast surgery patients, J Nat Can Inst 2007;99(17):1304-1312.
- Lang E. et al, Adjunctive non pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: a randomized trial, Lancet April 2000;355(9214):1486-1490.
- Woman lost 4stone after hypnotist convinced her of gastric band fitting, Telegraph 20-05-09. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5357013/Woman-lost-4st-after-hypnotist-convinced-her-of-gastric-band-fitting.html
- Placebo effects shocks allergy drugs maker, BBC News, 05-07-99.
- Tilburt J. et al, Prescribing placebo treatments: results of national survey of US internists and rheumatologists, BMJ 2008; 337:a1938.