For those of you who have sat in one of our workshops or met us at an event, you will know that the emphasis of the work we do at ATTIC is towards promoting good health within ourselves, be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
One of my ‘heroes’ as I have travelled this road is Dr. Andrew Weil, the founding father of Integrative medicine, a healing-oriented approach that shifts the focus of medicine away from disease management towards prevention and health promotion.
A big part of this healthcare system is really emphasising the intrinsic capacity of the human body to heal itself, under the right conditions, a principle understood for Millennia that has been completely forgotten in modern times.
I was very fortunate to hear Dr. Weil talk a couple of years ago and although the whole talk was fascinating, one aspect of it really stood out for me: The power of the message of the placebo response.
For those unfamiliar with a placebo, it is a substance that has no therapeutic effect, but in medical trials, it is used as a control in testing out new drugs. Generally, when testing the effects of new drugs and treatments, a ‘randomised controlled trial’ is used to reduce any other bias that might alter the outcomes and to do this, it is carried out by comparing it to a group who have taken a placebo, but are not aware of it.
Dr. Weil found that the outcomes of any of these trials ALWAYS had at least one or two people from the placebo group who showed all of the same changes that presented in the experimental group.
He says “this means that ANY change you can produce in a human being by administering a drug, can be exactly mimicked in at least some people, some of the time, purely by a mind-mediated mechanism” (namely, given the right belief)
“That fact is what we should be taking advantage of- you cannot separate these two things because the mind and body are not separate”
Funnily enough, the placebo response has a negative connotation, as though it puts a spanner in the works. But Dr. Weil’s point is that we should change our perception and see it as ‘the meat of medicine’ as it is a pure healing response from within and the very best medicine is that which elicits a maximum healing response with the minimum intervention.
Our bodies are amazing- they are capable of knowing when they have been injured, of repairing themselves, of regenerating tissue and of adapting to injury and loss. So really in our quest for good health, we are looking for the best conditions to facilitate, unblock and stimulate natural healing, an intrinsic drive that already exists within us.
But as this is a time for gratitude, maybe it is just enough right now to thank them for being so truly incredible!