Placebo Effect & Belief
A placebo is a medicine prescribed and given to patients without any effective ingredient contained within it supported by the idea or belief that it will provide either psychological or physiological benefits or effect.
A placebo is a fake or pretend prescribed medicine solely for the purpose of patient improvement and recovery based on this idea or belief that it will or must work.
Generally speaking a placebo effect is a measurable response to the belief that what is being taken will work and is often prescribed by GPs to certain patients and produces good results.
A placebo or placebo effect works on the basis that the patient’s belief in it is the actual treatment without the patient’s knowledge of such.
Placebos or a placebo effect has been proven by psychology and the medical profession has a successful approach for many patients.
Both psychology and the medical profession generally report results of around 30% improvement or success rate. However many professionals including some orthodox doctors do actually dismiss the positive results of the placebo effect and do not believe in its positive results and put the success down to other things at work. The results are that good therefore it can’t be just a belief at work can it?
Some old school academics and doctors are completely closed minded and ignorant and lack in the understanding and appreciation that mere belief in something can actually bring about physical or psychological and emotional improvement in a patients sickness and disease.
Understandably from their point of view this actual natural process would fall into the category of hocus pocus or quackery and works only in gullible questionable easily swayed patients.
From their point of view they only want to see hard solid evidence that can be properly measured because it is their hard unbiased approach to medical breakthroughs and discoveries which is essential in the development and success of various medical treatments and they will not allow the idea of a belief to be playing any part in patients recovery which is absurd to them.
They are gravely mistaken as within this area there is something very powerful and real taking place and they are completely closed off to it. Something so simple can’t be true but it is.
There will always be those people who will never go down this road therefore we won’t be going any further with their views on this page.
From many therapists point of view it’s more a case of 70% in improvement and success rate based on belief alone in some people but not all.
Some people may have remarkable results just by visiting a healer or a visit to a spiritual place of adoration and worship such as Lourdes, and for some people, results can be 100% including the complete disappearance of tumours all based on a belief that it will or did work. Others may argue that it was the result of a miracle and divine intervention which is in effect the same.
If one believes this is a miracle then for them it’s a miracle but for others it’s just pure belief and that alone could be enough to make dramatic changes which we as therapists know to be more effective than many people know.
Using these words the ‘power of the mind’ is corny and overused and in some way suggests that the real power of the mind is some silly belief that there really is a power at work when there is not.
The mind is capable of doing amazing things and if the belief is strong enough anything can be achieved but if there’s any doubt it will not work because you’re intruding upon that belief with other beliefs or doubts that it may not work and therefore it won’t.
The placebo effect really is a belief in something that can influence the mind and body for good or bad and it is the same reversed belief that can create sickness and ill health also.
There are many complementary and alternative therapies around that may or may not be successful at what they offer but a belief that they work is enough to make them work purely based on the belief that they will or must work backed up with the suggestion and comments from others and their positive feedback on their belief in it, reinforces your belief in turn that it works along with your own deep personal need for the healing and recovery to take place. All this and more makes way for some improvement and success in that complimentary therapist or treatment.
At no point are other professions and complementary therapies being dismissed here but there are certain complementary and alternative therapies that have not been proven to work but they still exist and people swear by them that they worked for them.
The question that has to be asked is how they know that the treatment they received is responsible for their recovery or improvement or just the belief in the need that they want to get better and so got better.
It doesn’t take much for us to become ill and sick emotionally or psychologically, just an unexpected prod or nudge in the wrong direction due to stress, tension, worries and related to bring on all sorts of negativity.
Just by being treated badly by someone is enough to upset people severely. Exposure to mistreatment on a regular basis can lead to the opposite of good health and so on.
Advertisers are manipulating us at an unconscious level every time we turn our televisions on or if we see an advertising billboard. They are programming us with all sorts of visual and auditory suggestions to act upon their imagery and symbolism. This affects you.
Advertisers are manipulating your deep thoughts more than you know. If consumers of products truly knew the level of manipulation that advertises are doing to us you would be horrified. You are vulnerable and suggestible even if you think you’re not, vulnerable and suggestible to all sorts of ideas and suggestions to buy, sell or do something that you would not normally do off your own back.
It is this open area of the mind that you don’t even know exists within you. Advertisers are eager to weave their magic upon you and they spend billions of pounds a year in doing it to you.
It is this openness or invisible door that hypnotherapists go through and work on especially when you’re critical faculty is suspended.
You are open to belief and ideas and that includes the placebo effect. The placebo affects you on many levels without you even knowing it.
Within the area of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) if it is suggested to you that all your internal body organs correspond to the soles of your feet and that by massaging the soles of your feet you can release trapped or blocked energy in around those organs to improve better health and if you are open and receptive to this idea or belief and desperately want to get well, then some people whose need is so strong that the belief that reflexology will work for them and their sickness or faulty organ will or may improve and recover from its sickness, illness or disease to some extent.
For some people this does occur on a regular basis especially with people who have tumours and then upon their return to the doctor for an x ray they are told that they have gone into remission when the tumour reduces or even disappears but the doctors do not know why and just put it down to the body behaves in mysterious and strange ways.
I’m not suggesting reflexology or aromatherapy doesn’t work nor am I suggesting it is tricking you. I am saying that if it doesn’t work, then for some it will work even if it didn’t because some will believe it worked for them and that is the point that is being made here. It will work even when it doesn’t because people will believe, trust, hope and keep their faith in it because they are either keen to try anything or desperate to recover no matter what.
There will be others who will dismiss certain common holistic therapy practices such as reflexology or aromatherapy and for them there would be no improvement whatsoever other than a nice relaxing massage.
There are currently 11 million users and purchasers of products of homoeopathy products per week in the UK. That is a phenomenal industry running into millions of pounds in profit and yet there is no definitive, provable and solid scientific evidence to show that homoeopathy does work.
In support of homoeopathy there are those who will argue that if scientific evidence was offered then the pharmaceutical industry would come under threat as people would prefer to go and use more natural earthly medicinal products rather than toxic synthetic or chemical medicine which was made in a laboratory that can actually harm you in other ways which it will over time.
An example of that is the corrosive aspirin, thousands of people a year die because of taking aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen in high doses.
Let’s just assume that by using certain complementary and alternative therapies that do not actually work BUT will only cause a placebo effect in their effectiveness of using them, therefore by the positive results of the placebo effect alone, these therapies will work on that basis ONLY but wouldn’t normally work if it weren’t for that therapy or treatment in the first place being available therefore therapies that don’t work will work based on the belief that they will work which is incredibly powerful. So either way they work!
The problem here is there are many complimentary therapies that do actually work but not just based on a belief that they work and some don’t work but do only based upon belief but they all get tarred with the same brush from certain people who want to rubbish them all as being placebo effect and the suggestion. Either way they work for millions of people. They’re still worth having because without them you wouldn’t have gained the benefits of using them.
What exactly are the placebo and the placebo effect?
The medical profession have known as far back as the Victorian times that if a sick patient actually expects that the treatment they are receiving from doctors or the medicine that they are taking will improve them then it will work even if it does not work.
This very process has been practised by researchers and scientists in many different ways where a selection of healthy patients and ill patients are all given a recorded and monitored mixture of real and non real medicine and the results show ill patients who were given pretend medicine without any active ingredients or just sugar based, positively respond to that medicine and get better.
It is now commonplace for patients to be given empty pills, potions or injections within the medical profession with the intention that the belief alone that they are receiving real medicine or real treatments will produce a significant improvement in a variety of health conditions.
This empty or pretend medicine is called placebo and the positive results or the improvement are called the placebo effects.
Belief and hope along with expectation does cause an actual real change within body and mind. It is all down to pure belief because when there is pure belief there is not much room for negativity or disbelief often called doubt or questioning and a natural analysis or curiosity to pick it apart.
If you believe something will happen coupled with it being needed to happen then it will happen if the circumstances are internally right for that person and it is this exact process that is working throughout the human race throughout the entire world in all walks of life in every kind of circumstance imaginable from witch doctors with their potions and powders in deepest Africa to the Amazonian shamans up to Western medicine from GPs over to spiritual healers, religious faith healers etc.
There’s a part of our mind which is highly suggestible, highly susceptible and vulnerable and completely open to receive certain information providing it is allowed past are our internal filter which is called the critical faculty. The functions of the critical faculty or your own filter are another profound and unconscious working area altogether.
As long as we need to believe something and want to believe in it, then that receiving part of our mind will receive it.
The receiving of this data will grow and build up through all sorts of attachments and associations and that can be anything real or imagined, fabrication of fantasy, religion or cults, political persuasion or indoctrination into various practices and a multi million pound advertising industry which surrounds you and manipulates you daily.
Since the moment we were born we have been receiving infinite amounts of information through our five senses and storing it up in our memory banks and it will remain there for the rest of our life.
Belief Is Placebo
We are open to receive data from the entire world, the surrounding environment. This process of receiving and storing data is out of our control which we were born to do. We were born to receive and absorb all the information that meets our senses throughout the world.
At the age of five years or so we start to develop a filter which becomes a critical faculty and this filter becomes stronger and more developed as we get older and it is this filter which eventually stops information coming into our unconscious mind so freely.
This filter involves a rational conscious thinking process and we become capable of analysing and interpreting the information that comes to our senses BUT NOT ALL OF IT, this is why we hold so many false ideas and beliefs because so much gets passed our filter without us realising it. Once scrappy bits of data are formed, it is on this basis we build upon.
As children we can’t filter out receiving information and just store it up. This early learning process structures our complete adult life. Oh yes it does, it absolutely does and you can bet your life on it.
When we are born we are a blank canvas, vulnerable, dependent, receptive and suggestible to all sorts of life’s, environmental influences and we will take on board everything that meets our senses.
We were born to consume light and sound, taste, smell and touch and all this information is the basis and the foundation of our data and intellect and it is through these five channels and only these five channels that all our data comes through which produces intellect and ego.
We were born to receive information and store it up. The receiving process of gathering this information up is determined by our genetics and it is our genetics that determines how we receive information.
Therefore there is a door which is invisible to your conscious awareness that opens and it is intimately connected to the creation of belief and the development of all beliefs.
Anything and everything is a belief, the word belief is a word being used to describe a thing which is given a label, that which you hold to be unquestionable and true or in other words the thing you live with, live by, act upon and interact with without the removing of it or the fighting off of it. You retain it and act upon it and keep it alive. We are carriers of tons of data and beliefs and live by them. We cannot survive without them as a species. They make us who and what we are amongst many other things.
A part of the mind which is so receptive and pure in itself to receive data and if it is clear of any ideas against a belief being there then it will receive data as long as you want it or need it and once it becomes established you will build upon that data and develop it into an incredible belief with information coming from it out into the world to be shared with others and a two way pathway of information is formed, further reinforcing it and building it to grow and develop stronger.
Every single one of us has this at work. Receiving information through your senses and storing that information up to make your personality, character, identity, ego etc. It is a collection of all this data that makes you what you are.
Placebo or placebo effect is part of this process, part of you and all hypnotherapists work with this area in one form or another.
You have a belief and that belief started somewhere. Sometime in the past one original piece of information was received by you and then a second and then the third and so on to form an idea and a choice of whether you want to keep it or not and it turned into a belief and you arrived at an acceptance of this information at some point and it was from that point on your belief was formed to be what it is now. Many components and parts were at work before it became a belief in your unconscious.
Every single thing in your mind and the universe is belief, everything is belief and it all started somewhere at some point in your mind because you received the necessary information to develop and grow it.
In other words you received the seeds that fell onto fertile ground and grew into ideas and desires and interests. There are mathematically impossible amounts of data that contribute to the whole substrata or scaffolding of the mind that hold up ideas and beliefs to make them what they are today.
When that part of your mind is open to receive certain data it will get past your internal filters and it will establish itself as unconscious beliefs or programs which you have no control or choice over and depending on the associated information and data you already have stored up, you then create beliefs.
When you’re open and not aware of the information you’re taking in then it is exactly that process which produces the placebo effect.
Placebo effect can be described in many different ways using different words and sentences from many different angles or approaches.
Sales people and advertisers will try to exploit this area of your mind and you are really vulnerable to it.
Placebo works if you have a need to believe in something because you are built that way, we were born this way and this is the nature of how we receive information from the external world.
Babies receive information without any filtering process whatsoever therefore babies will take on board anything and everything in its most primitive form and most this stuff just lies dormant but can be awakened if there are associated experiences in your life to the information that is stored up resulting in disorders, symptoms and irregularities of mind.
It is true to say that many things are rooted originally in babyhood or in other words scrappy pieces of information were taken in and it’s these pieces of information which make the foundation of everything else throughout your life that become beliefs.
Belief is everything and everything is belief however far out this explanation appears, it is true.
We are literally computers in the unconscious sense and our unconscious is exactly the same as a computer programme.
It could be fair to say that all the amazing and sophisticated computers around the world were created by the mind and that all computers are an outward hardware expression of the mind or in other words computers are in some way a mirror reflection of our own brains and minds workings and how we think and how we are programmed to behave. Well we did invent computers with our own thinking, didn’t we?
Within psychology we have confirmation bias which leads us to pay specific attention to certain ideas that reinforce or backup current beliefs which we hold, we specifically select certain evidence that props up that which we already believe and avoid or deny other evidence that contradicts it thus maintaining our belief and people die, fight and kill for their beliefs, don’t they?
Others just cannot make sense of other people’s beliefs and what people do to each other because of those beliefs. Beliefs are very powerful and they are part of human evolution, they are part of our structure to keep the human race going. Replication and mememtics is an area to explore on this if you would like to learn more.
Step by step we are slowly bit by bit building and validating our own pre existing beliefs, reinforcing them and they develop almost as natural as breathing and blinking.
A belief is anything that we hold as true to the exclusion of anything else or anyone else’s contradictory views or opinions against it. A mental attitude that a proposition is true.
A placebo effect can appear everywhere even within the emotional manipulation of a loving relationship.
It is not so much the placebo or the effects but more a case of you being open to receive information that leads you to retain or act upon that information which in a word is called a belief once it is formed. Once the receiving information is established, you uphold it and express it in a way that is known as a belief. Just take one of your beliefs and that one belief is made up of many components if not thousands of pieces of data and once it’s all gelled together to become a belief then you may spend years if not your whole life demonstrating it, showing it off, teaching it, defending it, fighting for it, killing for it, enjoying it, selling it, manipulating and so on forever.
An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof because its basis is formed unconsciously without you knowing it and it is this unconscious data or programming that is driving you.
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