Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on http://amazon.com. Bani is a mother to two children.
Authors: Beverly A. Potter & Mark J. Estren
Publisher: Ronin Publishing
This is an interesting, well researched and very well written book.
The well documented placebo effect occurs when a drug or other treatment to be tested is given to one group of people, while a second control group receives an inert sugar pill. It turns out that about thirty percent of people, getting the fake drug, actually improve. Medical science cannot account for this anomaly. There is also a reverse effect called the “nocebo effect”, in which the drug or treatment to be tested is believed to be harmful. Testing this drug can actually cause negative effects and even kill.
Many doctors including Dr. Herbert Benson have studied the placebo effect. Since healing of the physical body takes place at the cellular level, the placebo effect shows that it is not the drug alone that heals, it is the body’s intelligence that does the healing.
This book adopts the premise that the placebo effect is turned on or off by the beliefs and expectations of the patient, the healer and the relation between them. This premise is based on the work by Dr. Bruce Lipton, who has shown that our beliefs shape our biology in his brilliant book “The Biology of Belief”: Thus the authors link the optimistic/pessimistic outlook of a patient to the recovery of the same, or the lack of it as a direct consequence of the placebo/nocebo effect.
Having made the connection between the patient’s beliefs and the probability of his/her recovery, the authors present a variety of methods, aimed at enhancing the placebo effect. Knowing that the root of dis-ease is stress, they put forth a plethora of exercises to counteract the effects of stress in our bodies. Starting with an awareness of latent tension in our bodies, the methods include breathing exercises, meditation, listening to music and creating playlists, playing with water, paying attention to dreams, engaging in laughter, forgiving others, qi gong and even prayer. They have also included a chapter on the benefits of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a process that involves meridian tapping. Each chapter for the above exercises is accompanied with detailed, easy-to-follow steps.
This is a very readable book. In effect, it advocates the pursuit of spirituality as a step to counteract dis-ease and thus create a higher quality of life. It is also worth noting that in spite of advocating prayer, it is a heightened spirituality that is key to enhancing the functioning of the placebo effect within your body, not organized religion. However, the latter may also be helpful in some extreme cases.
Use this as a resource book for new ideas within a very rapidly increasing line of thought, i.e. mind-body-spirit medicine.