Ten years ago, Newsweek ran an article by Howard Brody, MD, PhD, author of “The Placebo Response: How You can Release Your Body’s Inner Pharmacy for Better Health.” He begins the article by telling a story of a patient who experiences “a medical miracle”. She was undergoing experimental brain surgery for her Parkinson’s disease. She was so stiff before she had the surgery that she could barely take a step. When several months later a TV new magazine filmed the woman, she was striding easily across the room.
Now here is the exciting part of the story – the surgery she had was a fake. She was part of a fetal-cell transplant research study. The procedure consisted of drilling holes into the skull and placing fetal cells into specific targeted areas of the brain.
The woman was placed under anesthesia and holes were drilled into her head. But,she did not have any fetal cells implanted into her brain. This meant that her miraculous recovery was entirely what is called the “nuisance factor” by researchers, or better known as
– the placebo effect.
In the conclusion of the study, it was stated that the patients who received the sham operation realized almost the same effects as the ones who received the fetal cell implants. This is a powerfully important piece of information with regard to understanding that we can “tell ourselves” or implant messages into our conscious and unconscious mind about what we want to realize about our health or our lives and can manifest those very messages into reality.
The National Institute of Whole Health’s accredited health programs recognize that beliefs are powerful things and what we tell ourselves and others tell us can make us better or worse. We all have “our story” and we tell it over and over again both to ourselves and to others. We believe it, we expect it and we project it. When we change our beliefs and our story, we change the outcomes.
One of the better-known studies which demonstrates how changing our stories can change our outcomes (and our lives) is the 1980’s breast cancer support group study that was written up in the journal Advances. All of the women had breast cancer that had metastasize before the study began. Their prognosis was poor but they became a group who listened to each others stories, supported each other, cared about one another and helped each other manage their symptoms and disease. They also helped each other change their story.
It is not surprising that the women in this support group lived on average 18 months longer than breast cancer patients with the same degree of metastasis.