On the Power of Belief (Placebo Effect)

to heal or to kill

copyright © 2004 Healing Cancer Naturally

The following is the powerful true story of a cancer patient who was literally first healed but finally killed by his mind, i.e. his own assumptions and beliefs (placebo effect / nocebo effect). It was written by Peter and Helen Evans, the founders of OneCenter.

“We're currently listening to a series of taped talks by Bernie Siegel, MD speaking about the wondrous powers of belief he's encountered with cancer patients.

He tells a story of a man who had cancerous tumors the size of melons in his body. The hospital was getting ready to test a new cancer drug. Even though the drug was intended for people in the early stages of cancer, this patient decided it was the drug for him, that it was going to cure him.

One Friday, to get him to stop pestering the doctors, the hospital decided to give him one injection, thinking he would die over the weekend anyway and then they could get on with their intended test group. On Monday he was still very much alive.

The doctors examined him and reported that his tumors had "melted like snow on a hot stove". They didn't know what happened but were delighted.

Everything is going along fine for the patient until a few weeks later he read a newspaper story reporting that the drug he took doesn't show much promise for helping cancer patients. The next day he's back in the doctor's office with tumors the size of melons again.

Aware of the man's response to the first injection, his doctor thought he'd try a different experiment. He told his patient that the newspaper story was referring to an earlier form of the drug, and that he just happened to have a "new, improved" version of the medicine that the papers didn't know about. The doctor gave the patient an injection of pure water. The next day the patient's tumors had disappeared again!

Everything was fine for a few months until the patient read another report in the papers saying that the drug he thought he had been given was determined to be of no use at all in fighting cancer. The man died that night.

While this is not "scientific proof" of anything, there is a strong suggestion that the power of belief was at work.

Another point Dr. Siegel brings up is that the patients that recover haven't simply decided they "don't want to die". Rather, as we teach, they have decided to go toward something.

Testimony, after testimony spoke about remarkable "cures" that happened when the patient just decided to make life worth living, or to find out what was the meaning of their life before they died. They began to move toward living, and wonderful things resulted.

Today's post is more an inspiration than a contemplation. We can all remember to make life worth living. We can look to what is already good and wonderful in our lives. For what is the alternative? We don't want to send signals to our body that life is not worth living by dwelling on what's wrong with life... it just might get the message.

We also remind you about one of our prior contemplations now published in the book, "Freedom Through Contemplation".

Whatever Works

Excerpt from a national newspaper:

"An image of Jesus Christ's face on the outside wall of a church in Guatemala City caused huge excitement among the locals and it was claimed that the image gave miraculous cures. The excitement lasted for two weeks before it was found to be a whitewashed poster of country and western singer Willie Nelson."

So what do you think caused the miraculous cures? Willie Nelson? Jesus Christ? People wanted to and DID believe. Some people "need a reason" to get well; they just can't accept that they can do it themselves and so the poster was really their "excuse" to get well.... some may have rationalized that they were following the "wishes" of God.

Recall what Jesus said when the afflicted woman sneaked up and touched the hem of his robe... "Your faith has healed you."

A few weeks ago we suggested that rituals may be helpful for some of you. There is no reason for the "long, hard road" to happiness. If treatment itself works for you, use it. If a ritual will help, use it, knowing that you're using it; but allow yourself to fulfill the desire for a happy life the easiest and simplest way you know how. There is no particular virtue in the long, hard road.

One of our friends, a psychiatrist, told us that some people criticized him for prescribing Prozac at the appropriate times for some of his patients. The critics said, "it was the easy way out". He replied, "Isn't there enough suffering in the world? Why can't we make it easy for people?" We make the point that he is a very wholistic healer and makes these decisions mindfully.

There is already enough suffering. Let's give ourselves a break and learn to relax into our magnificence without bringing any more suffering into our lives through the "required sacrifices" of "long, hard work", or the "dark night of the soul".

Are you using everything you can for happiness in your life?

Compare Mind.

More on the Power of Belief

by Mike Beebe (reproduced by Healing Cancer Naturally with permission of the author)

... Deepak tells a story about a medical doctor who had not had a check-up for 25 years. (Physician! Heal thyself!) When he was compelled to get a physical due to life insurance requirements, a large dark spot was found on his lung. It was diagnosed as inoperable cancer. The doc died a couple of months later.

Some days after the funeral, Chopra was sorting through the physician's effects and came across a chest x-ray that was 25 years old. Out of curiosity, he put it up to the light and, lo and behold, there was that same dark spot on the lung! The deceased doctor had lived a vigorous life all those years and was, in effect, killed by the diagnosis and not the disease.

Note by Healing Cancer Naturally: Perhaps thís should be put more precisely as "he was killed by the power of his thoughts and feelings (beliefs) upon learning the diagnosis"... (and the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of his surroundings, of course).

Compare The Nocebo Effect: Placebo's Evil Twin, Developing and Healing Cancer: The Power of Thought to Make Ill and to Heal, Survival Predictions May Hasten Death, and Cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment..


Freedom Through Contemplation
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by Peter Evans, Helen Evans


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