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Leveraging the Placebo Effect

power of placebosWe’ve all heard about the power of the placebo – where you experience an improvement in symptoms after taking something with no pharmacological agents (like a sugar pill).
The placebo effect is so well known that the FDA requires drug companies to prove (in double blind clinical trials) that their medications are effective above and beyond what would be expected from a placebo.

In fact, 60 Minutes reported last week that the pharmacological benefit delivered by antidepressants is highly questionable (especially to those taking medication for only mild depression).

Along similar lines, there have been studies showing that patients benefit from fake knee surgery just as much as actual knee surgery.  (In fact, sometimes the benefit is even greater.)  And patients who have been hypnotized into believing they’ve had gastric lap band surgery experience the same effects as if they had the real surgery (nausea side effects and all).
So it’s obvious there is something very powerful happening in our minds to alter our physical being.
Deliberate creators won’t be surprised to hear this, since we already understand (and consciously work with) the power of our thoughts.  We know getting what we want is all about developing the expectation of it.
Which is really what a placebo is: a doctor, or someone with some sort of credibility or authority, gives us a reason to believe things could, should or even just might get better.  And regularly they do.
But you can’t exactly walk into your doctor’s office, ask for a sugar pill, and still expect any benefit, right?  Because the reason placebos work is that you don’t know it’s a placebo.
Except that’s not the case.
A recent study showed that even when patients were told they were only taking a placebo, they still saw significant improvement.
Which seems like it should fly in the face of what we know as deliberate creators.
After all, how can you expect a benefit when you know you’re only taking a sugar pill?
It puzzled me greatly.
Since results are driven by expectation, when you remove the expectation (i.e. reason to believe), why would there still be results?! It became clear as I looked further …
It turns out that a sugar pill prescription wasn’t all these study patients got.
Along with a bottle of pills clearly marked “placebo,” they were also told that placebos have proven to be very effective.
So while at the same time they were told “these pills having nothing in them” they were also told “magic things can happen.”  (Actually it was more like: “rigorous clinical testing has shown placebo pills produce significant mind-body self healing processes.”)   So they did get a reason to believe in their healing.
Which is exactly what many experienced – a significant improvement in symptoms.
Why am I talking about this?
As a deliberate creator and LOA coach, I am always on the lookout for more “reasons to believe.”  Because once we believe in something – once we fully expect it could happen – it is on its way.  That simple.
So reasons to believe are the currency of my trade.
Can we create that reason to believe, i.e. expectation, ourselves with a placebo?

Interesting side note, roughly half of American doctors have already admitted to using placebos with patients, and German physicians are actually instructed to do so!

Maybe everything we do is already a placebo of some sort.  Maybe every action we take is valuable primarily in that it gives us a reason to believe in upcoming results?
Taking an aspirin almost always gets rid of my headache, even though I know independent trials prove aspirin to be little more effective than placebos.  When I stopped taking Juice Plus supplements, I got my first cold in years.  (And thus got right back on them!)
And despite the fact that I’ve heard reports about scams and hoaxes with foot detoxes, after I received my first Aqua Chi foot treatment yesterday, I did indeed feel lighter and more clear-headed.  (Also experienced an odd change in taste buds, as Leanne Facer said might happen.  Sorry, Russ, that I accused you of swapping orange juice brands!  I do wonder if I’d have experienced that if she hadn’t said anything?)
I’m curious to hear what you think.  Where I’m at right now is appreciating an even deeper understanding of just how potent the suggestions are that those in authority give us.
And maybe once we truly understand the power of our own mind to create what we want, we won’t need to rely on another person in “authority” to give us reason to believe in our healing.
Looking forward to hearing from you all on this one …

  • February 26, 2012

Cancer in the Vortex: Zoe Routh

Of all the challenges deliberate creators may face, a diagnosis of cancer can strongly test our ability to stay happy and aligned (aka “in the vortex”).  Even if we’re just supporting friends or family with cancer, our alignment can be tough to find.
Which is why I asked the brilliant LOA Coach Zoe Routh for her take on this topic:

positive approach to cancer care, LOA Coach Zoe Routh on Cancer in the VortexWhen I was told I had cancer – almost six years ago now – I think I got belted as far as can be possibly imagined from the vortex. Terror, fear, despair are all pretty non-vortexy.
One thing I knew for sure at the time: that there was no way I would heal if I stayed out of the vortex in sludgy vibes. So my ‘work’ in dealing with cancer was to edge myself back into the vortex.  (Quick primer on the vortex here.)
How the heck do you do that when you’re faced with a potentially life threatening illness?
First of all you face the facts.
Cancer is not some evil insidious invasion. It is just some cells that have gotten out of balance and freaked out. Kind of like kids on too much sugar. They’re not evil; their behaviour is.
So I made peace with my cells and sent them loving thoughts. I made peace with lots of my body parts. I made peace with lots of my life too – let go of ‘shoulds’, and ‘ought tos’, and obligations. I became a stress free zone. I opened up to all the loving support that started to flood my way, and felt myself edging much closer to the Vortex. This is when I started to see and feel appreciation for my experience.
I started focusing on each day, valuing the loveliness and delights of life in a way I had never seen or experienced before. Very vortexy.
When I went in for my surgery, I was a lot more aligned with well-being than I was before my diagnosis.

So when I got news on Friday that my five-month pregnant sister had breast cancer there was a distinct lack of hysterics. I thought to myself, ‘this is ok, this is manageable. She’ll be fine.”

Part of me was wondering, ‘should I be more upset? Was I being callous by not being more emotional?’
Well, duh, no! How is me being hysterical in any way going to help her get in alignment with well-being?
Time to face the facts again: she is in the care of very good doctors, the cancer type is not aggressive and localised, the surgery will likely remove all the troubled cells, people survive this treatment all the time with no problems, the baby is in no danger from the surgery or any post-operative treatment, she’s got a good and loving husband around her, my mum will be there to support her too and help with her two year old, she’ll be in and out of hospital in a day, and bonus extra – the breast reconstruction will mean removal of some belly fat and matching in shape and size – a tummy tuck and boob job at the same time, all covered under insurance – nice!
The fact is, if we think that it’s no big deal, that’s what it is.
If we catastrophise and imagine the worst, we set ourselves up for alignment with an unhappy ending.
I know what I prefer.
So I’m doing cancer in the vortex:

  • I’m focusing on what’s going well, on the overwhelming evidence that there is far more wellbeing than we give the Universe credit for.
  • I’m holding an image of my sister as she truly is: happy, laughing, and vibrant.
  • I’m holding the intention that she will cruise through this, focused on what she wants, not what she doesn’t want.
  • I’m trusting her body knows how to return to balance.
  • I am trusting she is savvy enough to give herself space to align with peace and ease and flow.
  • I know she is smart enough to take the benefits of the illness: support from Mum, rest and reading, and the flood of love and support from friends around the world.
  • It’s nice to know that so many love and care.

I’m thinking of cancer with a little ‘c’. I’m not buying into  the hysteria and hype and statistics (these are as Abe says, just evidence of what other people have done with their energy and has nothing to do with this situation). I’m buying into the story that cancer is no big deal – treatments are fast, effective, and getting better and better.
I’m living proof there is life – a very good one – after a cancer diagnosis.
I’m hoping by my example I’ll invite my sister to the Vortex too.
How would you do cancer in the vortex?
Cancer in the Vortex with Law of Attraction Coach Zoe RouthZoe Routh is a Magnetic Leadership coach and expert with over 20 years experience in leadership and personal development, maximising the potential of youth and adults through outdoor adventure. She has worked with thousands of individuals and groups and counts amongst her previous leadership roles Staff and Training Director of Outward Bound Australia, President of the Chamber of Women in Business, and Chair of the Outdoor Council of Australia. Zoe also develops and delivers leadership programs for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.
Zoe is committed to better leaders, better business, and better life for her clients. Get her tips when you subscribe to the Magnetic Leader at www.innercompass.com.au

  • July 31, 2011

Choosing to Thrive: Lessons from Jaycee Dugard

I requested this guest post from Law of Attraction Coach Flavia Daay after I heard Flavia talk about the Jaycee Dugard story in a very positive light.  Flavia’s post makes it clear she was simply following Jaycee’s lead in finding the best from a high-contrast experience:
Jaycee Dugard through the eyes of Flavia DaayMost stories of survival are stories in which the person can’t help but feel victimized, stories of being so overwhelmed by it all that they seems stuck in the past and unable to embrace their new freedoms.
Not so with Jaycee Lee Dugard! In an interview she gave to ABC’s news anchor Diane Sawyer, we saw a serene, poised woman, a genuine example of the power of forgiveness. Hers is a triumphant story of letting go of the past and moving forward in a state of gratitude, a story many can draw strength from.
When asked about feelings of anger or bitterness she replied by saying she refuses to let him have anymore of her. Even after 18 years of being kidnapped and giving birth to her captor’s children, this girl had the wisdom to realize that however she feels right now is not going to change what happened. When asked if there’s anything she’d like to say to Philip Garrido, she replied that he couldn’t steal anything else from her, that he can’t steal her and her mother’s love for each other and in fact never could.
After seeing the interview one person commented, “the next time someone tells me they can’t, I will say three words, ‘Jaycee Lee Dugard.'”
In my opinion, one of the reasons she was able to tap into her strength and do what she had to do to survive was having her children. Even though she first gave birth at the age of 14, this was a chance for her to connect outside of him – a real blessing. She promised herself she wouldn’t let anything happen to them. And she kept it. Her two girls were never outwardly harmed.
Even more amazing is that she home schooled the girls, even though all she had was a 5th grade education.
During her years in captivity, she secretly wrote a few dreams she had for the future which included seeing her mom and even riding in a hot air balloon. And see her mom she did! The night they were reunited she even woke up her daughters telling them “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!” Jaycee shared that she doesn’t see their father in the children but had concerns that her mother would be uncomfortable. Luckily those concerns were quickly put to rest as her mother feels the same way and declares that she loves them with all her heart.
Her therapist taught her that a way of vanquishing the past is through gratitude for the present moment. Among the things Jaycee feels grateful for is dinners with her family, having real food everyday, nature and horses.
She revealed employing humor as a way of coping. Jaycee explains that her young, smooth skin is due to her being locked up and not seeing the sun for years. That is truly impressive!
This beautiful, insightful young woman even created a foundation to help all members of the families that have gone through a trauma, emphasizing that it’s not just the victim who needs help in recovering.
She wrote her story in a book as a way of looking at what happened “until it doesn’t scare you anymore.”
Dianne Sawyer was very surprised to learn that Jaycee doesn’t think love is impossible. For her it’s not out of the question, she is open to finding love, the kind she reads about, she adds, but she’s quick to say “If it happens, it happens, if not, I’ll be happy anyway.” What a powerful lesson!
And she fulfilled her second wish on camera, that of riding in a hot air balloon while commenting on how peaceful it was.
Her final words to us viewers were “Live each day to the fullest whatever life brings you.”   What about you? What inspires you to forgive or live life fully even though you may have experienced some exaggerated contrast?
Flavia Daay, Law of Attraction CoachFlavia Daay is a Law of Attraction Life Coach, founder of Yes Yes Yes Coaching, and faculty member at Good Vibe University who helps people find vibrational bridges from where they are to where they want to be.
Her joy is helping you remember the perfection of who you really are, to give you back to yourself. Find Flavia online at Yes Yes Yes Coaching.
  • July 26, 2011

Animals and Law of Attraction

dog1.jpgThose of you who have been reading me for a while heard about my Sophie girl (9 year old retriever mix) who died last year. She underwent two ACL surgeries at roughly 7 years old, which honestly didn’t make a big difference in her mobility (probably because of the arthritis) and both surgeries were tough for her to recover from.
I bring that up because Sadie started limping two weeks ago. Vet suspected she blew her knee out. I suspect he’s right. He wants to do x-rays and probably perform corrective surgery.
I haven’t been back in since.
She’s skipping dog walks so as not to exacerbate the problem. (Man, is it tricky sneaking Joe and Koda out for walks without Sadie finding out!)
The thing is, I keep thinking about Abraham telling us to simply “get out of their way” so they can heal. That it’s our vibration that likely caused the imbalance, and that it’s our vibration that often hinders their natural healing.
“Get out of their way.”
(I mean, Abe said that to a vet!!)
They know how to heal. Their bodies are excellent at coming back into balance – when they’re allowed to do so. That’s why their natural inclination is to slink off and be alone when they’re not feeling fabulous.
They want to be left alone to come back to equilibrium.
I get that. And so Sadie’s not getting x-rays because that feels like the next step to a surgery that I can’t get on board with being in her best interest. And Shadow, who my clients have heard sneezing in the background for the past three months, is not getting a steroid shot for allergies. I’m getting out of his way too.
As best I can.
(This coming from a girl whose entire paycheck used to go straight to the vet. I was on a first name basis with the entire staff; I didn’t need an appointment; they let me sleep in the back room overnight when the occasion called for it; I mean we treated everything and we did it aggressively. With mixed results.)
Get out of the way?
Man, this feeling sure reminds me of that post about positive thinking vs. irresponsibility. All I can do is what feels best, and right now that is to avoid the vet. I’ll trust these beloved animal friends of mine know better than we do about healing. I’ll trust that the best way I can support their healing is to see them as whole and healthy and perfect, and to lavish them with good love. And I’ll trust that when the time comes that I can do something else to better support them, I’ll know it, and then I’ll do it.
Until then, this dog’s driving me nuts without getting her daily exercise! But I love her dearly. Isn’t she a sweetie?

  • July 9, 2007