healing

Placebo as Medicine

In my experience, the placebo effect has always gotten a bad rap. It has either been used as a way to disprove the effectiveness of a drug or therapy being tested or to uncover a group of hypochondriacs.  Whenever the placebo effect comes out ahead in a clinical study, it usually means that an attempt at a real cure has failed.

I have been thinking about the placebo effect recently while developing my new business, a life coaching and healing enterprise called My Soul Purpose Project. (Click here for more information on how you can begin manifesting your deepest desires~ https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/). Several of the healing services I offer have no solid scientific backing. I perform Reiki, Tarot card reading, and moon phase planning in addition to the more (but not completely) proven methods of massage, craniosacral therapy, and soul journaling and the outcomes are almost always positive, sometimes in cases where more traditional methods have not worked. I have seen miracles happen and seemingly insurmountable obstacles overcome with a focus on belief, positive thinking, healing energy, and tapping into inner wisdom. I began to wonder if the success of these approaches was a result (at least in part) of the placebo effect and if so, did it dim their authenticity. 

The placebo effect is a concept used mainly in the scientific and medical fields and is defined by the Webster dictionary within this context. However, a 3rd definition is given which suggests a broader meaning, “something tending to soothe.” 

Through my recent studies and practice, I have been learning about the power of positive thinking and belief in shaping our experience and it makes me think about the placebo effect and it’s value in the healing process. Instead of looking at the placebo as a tool to prove or disprove the real cure or as a fake medicine to trick the patient into wellness, perhaps it is itself the remedy.

More recently, the placebo effect has been getting attention as a real player in the field of health and has become the subject (instead of just the control) of scientific study. According to a an article published in Harvard Health Publishing/ Harvard Medical School, The Power of the Placebo Effect (Aug. 9, 2019), “How placebos work is still not quite understood, but it involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit.”

The article also states that belief is enhanced with ritual and by taking a sugar pill regularly or following through on a prescribed course of action, the results will have a much greater chance of success.

As I refine and develop the programs and services offered through my life coaching and healing practices, I will keep this in mind. I will continue to develop methods, exercises, and rituals to help tap into inner wisdom. I will encourage positive thinking and help cultivate ways to visualize and strengthen belief in the desired outcome. I will introduce techniques for gaining clearer insights by accessing the subconscious mind through the tarot and soul journaling, and I will foster a connection to the healing energy that surrounds us.  

I believe we should all embrace the effect of the placebo as it appears to be a valuable medicine. Used alone, or in combination with other pharmaceutical, herbal or energy therapies, it offers a natural and self empowering way to heal and to me, this makes it a real cure, one of the broadest, purest and most powerful.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Photo by Liam Simpson on Unsplash

Yin Energy and the Changing Tide

Life Coaching: MySoulPurposeProject.com 
Bodywork: InBalanceTherapeutics.net 
Music: WendyDarlingandtheLostBoy.org
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

A couple of week’s ago, my daughter asked me to do a tarot card reading for her. She had been on a few dates with someone new and was feeling uncertain about where the relationship was headed. She wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling and if her intuition was correct. She believed they were no longer clicking, that he was pulling away, and she wasn’t sure what to do.

After drawing the cards, the message came forward. The man, who had seemed so promising at first, was dealing with a number of personal issues. The cards suggested that my daughter give him the needed space and although she didn’t have to push him away, she also didn’t need to get involved. If and when he was ready, he would come to her. 

Her job was to focus on nourishing and growing herself, separately. That way, no matter what happened with the current situation, she would be evolving into a more beautiful and self actualized person who would inevitably attract the ideal partner when the time was right. 

I thought it was wise advice and realized that I had been nurturing my own growth in much the same way recently. 

Ever since Covid arrived and we have been forced to social distance, a lot has changed. I am no longer able to get together with family and friends in the way I used to. My band cannot perform live. Restaurants are limited or closed. I can’t work out at the gym. There haven’t been any concerts or fairs and a limited number of sporting events. In essence, there isn’t much to do.

This has become increasingly frustrating. However, there have been a number of silver linings. I have been offered the time and space to slow down and reflect, to sleep more, to read, to take daily walks, spend more time outdoors, cook healthier meals, and rest. In essence, the pandemic restrictions have allowed me to embrace the Yin energy which is often overshadowed in our modern lives.

“Yin energy is considered feminine,” says an article on peacefulmind.com. “Yin is very contracting, passive, languid, inward, and heavier. Unlike Yang, Yin is slow moving and contracts inward.” Some common properties of Yin include: earth, moon, darkness, water, female, space, matter, rest, growth, and contraction. Yang energy, in contrast, contains the elements of sun, light, fire, activity, male, and expansion.  https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/yin-energy/

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, “Everything contains Yin and Yang. They are two opposite yet complementary energies.” and “ Although they are totally different—opposite—in their individual qualities and nature, they are interdependent. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other; they are never separate.”  https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/yin-yang-theory/

The more thought I have given to this concept of Yin and Yang, the more I can see its relationship to what is happening in the world right now.

The Covid crisis is perhaps Mother Nature’s way of rebalancing her energy. Our planet and its inhabitants have been heading down an unhealthy road for quite some time. As a culture, the pace of our lives has continued to increase to an almost break neck speed. We can’t sleep. The rates of anxiety and depression are at staggering levels, and we constantly feel rushed. We take more medication than ever and we spend less free time with our friends and loved ones. 

The earth is also suffering as our outwardly aggressive energy and lifestyles demand too much and give too little. It’s as if we’ve been stuck in Yang energy for much too long and can’t reverse the inertia on our own. No matter how devastating this pandemic has been, it seems to be a necessary step in the healing and rebalancing process. 

The tide is turning, as it always does, and we are being forced towards a more passive and reflective approach in order to survive.

As fall quickly descends into winter, I have had feelings of dread.  The virus is not yet under control. People are fed up with restrictions just as the weather is forcing us indoors. Covid cases are rising. The darkness and cold are lurking, and yet, I have felt an increasing sense of peace and joy coming from a deeper level. 

Perhaps it is my inner wisdom assuring me that all is as it should be, or maybe, like my daughter, I am getting the message that now is the time to focus on myself, to slow down, to grow, to create, and to heal. I do believe that within this contracted state, I will have the opportunity to envision, plant and nourish the seeds of a brighter future.