Mind Over Medicine

Think you have no control over physical problems or illness you may have?

Think again.

Scanning of a human brain by X-rays

We all know that the brain runs the show. Your body couldn’t function without being guided and driven by your brain. What you think affects how your body functions. For example:

  • If you think “Oh no, why is everyone staring at me?”… your body’s reaction to that thought could be blushing. Your thought released adrenaline into your body, which caused your capillaries to widen, which caused blood to be brought closer to the surface of the skin.
  • If you think “OMG what if I get stuck on that elevator”… your body’s reaction to that thought is accelerated heart beat, maybe knots in your stomach or getting sweaty or flush (a typical anxiety reaction).  If you think nothing of it when you get on an elevator, your body will not produce any of those reactions.

Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself

Mind Over Medicine is actually the name of a book by Dr. Lissa Rankin.  She reviews scientific research showing how your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can literally alter your body’s physiology. Your brain talks to your body and your body responds.

Changing your thoughts can actually change how your brain communicates with the rest of your body, thereby altering your body’s biochemistry, according to Dr. Rankin’s review of a half-century of scientific research.

Want to see the proof that your thoughts can affect your physical health, disease, pain and more?

Proof: Think Sick, Be Sick

Check out these research study results from Mind Over Medicine (get ready, some of these are hard to believe!):

  • Sugar Water Causes Vomiting:  Hospitalized patients were given a treatment (they didn’t know if was actually just sugar water) and told it would make them throw up.  80% of them actually vomited.
  • Saline Solution Causes Hair Loss:  30% of patients who thought they were getting chemotherapy but were actually getting nothing but saline lost their hair.
  • “Nothing” Causes Headaches: Study participants hooked up to monitors were told that an electric current would pass through their heads and that headaches might be a side effect.  No current was actually used. More than 2/3 of participants reported headaches.

Proof: Think Healing, Be Healed

  • Fake Surgery Heals Knees:  In a study on knee surgery for debilitating knee pain, one group got the actual surgery and a control group got a fake surgery, during which the patient was sedated and three incisions were made in the same location as those getting the real surgery but no work was actually done on the knee. Patients didn’t know which group they were in. As expected, 1/3 of patients getting the real surgery experienced resolution of their knee pain. But what really shocked the researchers was that those getting the fake surgery had the same result! In fact, at one point they were actually having less knee pain than those getting the real surgery.  They THOUGHT they had surgery that would fix the problem, so the problem was fixed.
  • Fake Surgery Heals Chest Pain: In another study of angina (chest pain) patients, one group got surgery to have their internal mammary arteries ligated.  The control group got a fake surgical procedure where the artery itself was not ligated. What happened? 71 percent of those subjected to the fake surgery got better! Researchers concluded their bodies responding to the belief that the surgery would be helpful. Only 67 percent of those who got the real surgery improved.
  • Sugar Pills Grow Hair: Bald men in Rogaine trials who were getting nothing but sugar pills grew hair.

 

Your Mind Can Heal Your Body

The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg.  Research also shows that:

Young smiling woman enjoying a relaxing moment. Concepts: dreams, tranquility, relaxation, serenity, calm.  Vertical, studio photography.

  • Optimists are healthier than pessimists
  • Negative beliefs predispose the body to disease
  • Unhappy marriage can harm your health
  • Patients are healthier with supportive, caring health practitioners
  • Those with more social connections have lower cancer rates
  • Loneliness leads to suppressed immune function and higher cortisol levels
  • People who are part of a spiritual community have lower blood pressure, less risk of cardiovascular disease, less depression, and stronger immune systems

What do you think?  (P.S. It matters)

Seems to me that learning to change your thoughts, and learning how to get happier are the best medicine.

You may want to check out:

Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Ted Talk by Dr. Lissa Rankin