Today I want to talk about the Power of Beliefs in connection to the two terms ‘placebo’ and ‘nocebo’. Perhaps you’ve heard about the concept placebo before? Perhaps you haven’t, I hadn’t until a friend mentioned it a few years ago, and then when I started to dive further into it, I was amazed – once again – of the power of the mind! 🧠✨
Placebo is when people’s belief that they will get better can produce a cure. The concept of placebo is used in medical research to figure out whether a drug is working. Then one group of people get the actual drug, and another group of people believe the they get the drug, but they actually just get a ‘sugar pill’, something that doesn’t do anything- Many trials however have now showed that the people who didn’t get the drug, but believed that they did – actually got better, just because of their own belief in it.
This is highly fascinating, as it shows the power of believing in something. Perhaps you’ve seen this concept demonstrated in the Harry Potter movies – in one of the movies, Harry and Ron is going to play a Quiditch game and Ron is very nervous, so Harry pretends that he pours ‘liquid luck’ (a liquid meant to give luck to the one who drinks it) into Ron’s cup. Ron ‘accidentally’ finds out and thereby believes that he’s now got some extra luck and he does absolutely brilliant at the Quiditch game. Hermione gets mad at Harry for cheating, until she finds out that he didn’t put it into Ron’s drink – Ron only believed that he did – placebo (Ps, Sorry for the Harry Potter reference, but I just love those books/movies) – and although this might be a fiction movie, the concept of placebo is a very real one.
But there is also the opposite concept of placebo, which is called nocebo.
Nocebo is when people can make themselves sick through their beliefs. This concept is especially important for medical advisors to be aware of – because the way they deliver the diagnosis to patients and tell about their ‘future’ can really make a huge difference in whether the patients believe that they might be able to recover, or not.
The concepts of Placebo and Nocebo truly shows how powerful our thoughts – and more importantly – our beliefs are. So if we can learn to actively use this knowledge to our own advantage, we have an even bigger impact on our health than we might have first thought we did 🧠✨
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