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                                     THE NOCEBO EFFECT


Do you realize that your belief about something, even if the belief is false, can make you sick, or even kill you?

You might be experiencing negative side effects or symptoms of illness just because of what you see or believe. Remember that saying, “Seeing is Believing? Well, it turns out that learning about potential side effects or even having a false belief about what might happen in a certain situation is enough to make you sick.

This information can be good news to those who do a little research on their own and decide that maybe, just maybe, this is why they are feeling sick. Perhaps changing your beliefs can reprogram you to become a healthier person. No guarantees, of course. But does this make you want to learn more so you can have more control in your life?

You’ve probably heard about “the power of suggestion,” but my guess is most
people don’t realize that beliefs, other people’s words, suggestions about how you might feel or what to expect, and sometimes just knowing that other people are sick in certain situations -- all these things might make you physically sick. For some time now, I’ve wondered if medical doctors realized the power of their own words. Without realizing it, they might be programing their patients (like voodoo witch doctors do) to stay sick, or to experience negative side effects just by the words they use when they talk to their patients. Apparently, this happens and nobody knows how widespread
it is.

Watch this video:

NOCEBO MIGHT GET YOU

Robert A. Hahn, Ph.D., tells us some fascinating stories about the nocebo response in his paper: The Nocebo Phenomenon: Concept, Evidence, and Implications for Public Health.

I recommend that you download and read it. But here are a couple of quotes:


Sociogenic Illness

“Sickness or symptoms may also occur when one person observes or learns of the sickness or symptoms in others. Knowledge of sickness in others fosters an expectation that one may also be subject to the same condition.”

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“Colligan and Murphy [8] point out that sociogenic outbreaks are commonly associated with a source believed to be related to the symptoms, e.g., a strange odor or gas, new solvent, or an insect bite. However, sometimes reported symptoms do not fit biomedical knowledge of associations between potential toxins or pathogens and pathophysiology.”

Now get this!

The author also tells about asthmatics who were exposed to saline solution but were told they were inhaling irritants. And guess what happened? “Twelve asthmatic subjects developed full-blown attacks that were relieved by the same saline solution presented therapeutically.”   

Think about what that means! These people with asthma only “thought” they were being exposed to allergens.  Their “thoughts” - not the substance - caused their asthma attacks. What does this tell you about the true nature of some allergies?

Other shocking examples of the nocebo response are showcased in this report:    
The Nocebo Effect: Negative Thoughts Can Harm Your Health where the author says: “Patients given nothing but saline who thought it was chemotherapy actually threw up and lost their hair!"  Other examples are given of people who died because they expected to.

So what does this mean?  Well, for me it means that my positive beliefs and outlook can overcome even more than I used to think.


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