Why aren’t we all continuously blown-away by a little thing called the Placebo Effect? You know, when you give someone a tic-tac, call it chemotherapy and within 24 hours their tumor is 1/2 the size it was yesterday? (It’s not an exaggeration! It’s happened!) Why don’t we treat this like a miracle rather than an annoyance? Big Pharma bats at the Placebo Effect like a fly at a picnic. It’s constantly irritating to them. To me, it’s nothing short of incredible awesome, the power of our minds to heal.
Ted Kaptchuk, director of Harvard University’s Program in Placebo Studies said this about it:
“A sugar pill doesn’t do anything. What does something is the context of healing. It’s the rituals of healing. It’s being in the healing relationship… But the placebo pill is a wonderful tool, or a saline injection is a wonderful tool, to isolate what is usually in the background, take it away from the medications and procedures that medicine does, and actually study just the act of caring. That’s, I think, what we’re measuring when we study placebo effects.”
Imagine, because we believe we can, we clear our arteries of the plaque that results in a terminal heart condition. Because someone cares, we wash our organs free of the cancer cells that were recently devouring them. We have three tiny incisions cut into our knee, we’re told we received a meniscus surgery (while the surgeon snickers behind our backs, because we didn’t receive anything but a 2cm incision) and we return to a fully functioning knee joint which never again troubles us… all true stories, 100% real, thanks to the power of our own minds.
It’s near impossible to ask quantitative research to measure the strength or the healing of our psychological wellbeing. It’s hard to measure the progress of a coaching relationship using controlled clinical trials. But as the millions of people across the planet who spontaneously heal themselves of supposedly terminal conditions, we show the world on a daily basis that we can’t be controlled by the scientific method. People get better. All the time. From conditions of the psyche or conditions of the physical body, it makes no difference. It’s so fascinating, I could scream!
When I read the above quote from the Harvard placebo researcher, I was so excited that an ivy league scientist nailed it, so purely. Coaching is a “ritual of healing.” It’s “being in a healing relationship.” Our minds are completely running the show. When we know somebody is partnering with us, in service to becoming our purest expression of authenticity which brings with it all the infinite power of the universe found right inside of us, we respond. Our heart expands, our mind expands, our spirit soars. Does it matter, the whys or the hows, when miracles are happening right in front of our eyes?
And in case anyone was wondering if their confidence level is high enough, I’ll share Dr. Kaptchuk’s response to an interview question when asked why he is also trained as a Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist when most randomized, controlled clinical trials failed to demonstrate its effectiveness beyond the placebo effect. In other words, in these studies, people received acupuncture and people received “fake” acupuncture with dummy needles (the placebo group) and the placebo group actually reported better results. So, to answer the question, Kaptchuk said,
“Because I am a damn good healer. That is the difficult truth. If you needed help and you came to me, you would get better. Thousands of people have. Because, in the end, it isn’t really about the needles. It’s about the man.”
BOOYA! That’s confidence.
Let that be a guide for you to own your craft, my friends. Let this be a guide for you to own your life.
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