by Arjun Walia
Despite a wealth of scientific data showing that one can influence the other, and even more evidence proving that certain emotional states can lead to chronic illness, many who work in mainstream medicine remain entirely ignorant of these concepts.
Perhaps this is why more and more people are gravitating towards alternative forms of medicine.
As Garth Cook from Scientific American points out:
When it comes to learning about the mind-body connection and its relationship to our health, it can be difficult to choose a starting place amongst the vast and growing body of research.
One of the best places to start, however, is the placebo effect, which demonstrates that the mind can create physiological changes in the body.
Neuroscientist Fabrizio Benedetti explains:
The placebo effect is so wondrous because it unlocks the power of the mind.
The biological changes observed in the body after administration of a placebo are not triggered by the placebo itself, but rather by our mind, by our perception, by our psychological response to these fake treatments.
Despite intriguing results, research into the placebo effect has been limited.
So far, only a few model systems have been investigated, like pain, depression, and Parkinson's, but there is much more to be learned. One thing, however, does remain clear, and that is that we can change our biology simply by changing what we believe to be true.
In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton, PhD, persuasively argues for further research into this untapped resource within ourselves:
Let's take a look at a few more interesting studies that warrant further investigation into the matter.
One great one is a Baylor School of Medicine study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. It looked at surgery for patients with severe and debilitating knee pain.
Many surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery, or so most of them believe.
The patients were divided into three groups. The surgeons shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group. For the second group they flushed out the knee joint, removing all of the material believed to be causing inflammation. Both of these processes are the standard surgeries for people who have severely arthritic knees.
The third group received a "fake" surgery; the patients were only sedated and tricked into believing they had had the knee surgery.
Doctors simply made the incisions and splashed salt water on the knee as they would in normal surgery. They then sewed up the incisions like the real thing and the process was complete.
All three then groups went through the same rehab process, with astonishing results: the placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups who had surgery.
Dr Moseley, the surgeon involved in the study, made a bold comment, emphasizing that his,
Another very interesting example of a placebo technique used in medicine comes from researchers in Seattle, who have developed a virtual reality landscape known as 'Snow World.'
In the game, the participant flies around inside an ice canyon shooting snowballs at other characters, theoretically distracting them from the pain of their physical body.
Gareth Cook from Scientific American reports on his experience trying the game:
The technique was utilized to help burn victims deal with their sessions of wound treatment and physiotherapy, which can be extremely painful.
In trials, researchers discovered that undergoing these therapy sessions while immersed in Snow World lessened patients' pain by fifteen to forty percent.
This, among other research, tells us that the brain plays an enormous role in the level of pain we feel.
Another great example of the power of the placebo effect was demonstrated in a 1999 report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The report discovered that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve compared to the thirty-two percent taking a placebo. Considering all of the dangers and side effects associated with antidepressants - not to mention how much pharmaceutical companies profit from their sale - this statistic seems an important one.
If we can accomplish nearly as much with our minds alone, without harming our health or creating chemical dependencies, shouldn't we be exploring that avenue first?
Yet in a study published in the British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, it was revealed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials.
Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported.
These are the reports sent to major health authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can read more about that and access the study here.
A 2002 article published in the American Psychological Association's Prevention & Treatment, by University of Connecticut Psychology Professor Irving Kirsch titled "The Emperor's New Drugs," made even more shocking discoveries.
He found that 80 percent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect.
And the placebo effect is not just limited to depression.
One trial found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had much greater relief from their symptoms if the practitioner was warm and empathetic rather than cold but polite.
Another found that patients with acid reflux disease did dramatically better after an extended consultation with a physician, compared to the usual quick go-around. From back pain to childbirth and more, many patient outcomes depend not just on what drugs are prescribed, but on how care is delivered.
There are even studies indicating that the mind plays a role in both cancer growth and recovery. In animal studies, for example, stress hormones make a range of cancers spread faster, and patient trials suggest that stress management interventions reduce inflammation. (Chronic Stress Accelerates Pancreatic Cancer Growth and Invasion - A Critical Role for Beta-adrenergic Signaling in the Pancreatic Microenvironment)
The list goes on and on,
The placebo effect is most commonly cited during discussions of the power of the mind-body connection, but there is a wealth of other data that also strengthens the argument.
For example, studies have been conducted which investigate the influence of A's intention on B's physiological state - a process referred to as "remote intention."
They further examine the influence of A's attention on B's physiological state while A gazes at B over a 1 way video link, called "remote staring."
Last but not least, they study the influence of A's intention on B's attention or behavior, which is referred to as "remote helping."
The effects of distant mental interactions are measured using electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, and electrocortical activity (EEG electrodermal activity, heart rate, blood volume pulse, brain blood oxygenation - MRI -, and electrogastrogram - EGG).
These studies have yielded remarkable results which have since been successfully repeated in laboratories around the world. They actually hint at the possibility that another person's mental attention could possibly have some sort of physiological effect on someone else.
For more information this, you can read the publication titled "Distant Healing Intention Therapies - An Overview of the Scientific Evidence."
If our thoughts and intentions can actually affect physical systems, just imagine what our own thoughts and intentions could do to us.
If we look at it from a Quantum Mechanical perspective, factors associated with consciousness (measurement, observation, attention) have indeed influenced physical systems, which is why all of the pioneering and prominent figures in this field regarded consciousness fundamental, where matter is seen as a derivative from consciousness.
Then, we have studies published in peer-reviewed journals making even more astonishing claims.
A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, as seen in the the US National Library of Medicine, for example, demonstrated that a women with special abilities was and is able to accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock.
The examples are endless, making clear that the mind-body connection definitely warrants more attention when it comes to mainstream medicine and therapeutic interventions.
Mind Matter Interaction/Healing
Nikola Tesla once said that,
In fact, Vedic philosophy heavily influenced Nikola Tesla's ideas about free energy.
You can read more about that here.
Fast forward to today, and we now know hundreds, if not thousands of internationally recognized scientists from around the world coming together to stress the fact that matter (protons, electrons, photons, anything that has a mass) is not the only reality.
If we wish to understand the true nature of our reality, we must stop limiting ourselves to only examining physical systems. We must consider the role of non-physical systems, such as factors associated with consciousness, and their interaction with physical systems (matter).
Today, this type of science is known as post-materialist science. If Nikola Tesla was around, there would be no doubt that he would be leading the charge in this important field.
To summarize the current contrast between material science and post material science, is to look at the points made in a document that was co-authored by,
They (and hundreds of other scientists) have come to several conclusions which you can view in their Manifesto For Post-Material Science.
Below is an intriguing short video by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, with regards to mind-matter interaction, which is the topic of this article, because 'psychic healing' deals with mind interacting with human biology.
When it comes to mind/matter interaction, which is part of non-material science, measurements can and have been made in both blind and double blind peer-reviewed literature.
To learn more about and examine these concepts, feel free to browse through a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click here. It is the home of Dr. Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
I also wanted to provide a brief background with regards to this topic, because it is often ridiculed within the mainstream, despite the fact that we have some of the most brilliant scientists in the world attesting to its credibility.
One of them is Elizabeth Rauscher. She is a nuclear physicist who is a former researcher with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Stanford Research Institute, as well as NASA.
The interviewer is Jeffrey Mishlove, founder of Thinking Allowed, where he interviews a number of fascinating guests on various interesting topics: