How does the placebo effect work? Why doesn’t the most expensive treatment always help? How does our relationship with loved ones affect the blood and cells of our body? In addition to nutrition and the environment, what is critical to our health? And why is it so important to keep track of what we tell our children? In her book The Victory of Reason over Medicine, therapist Lissa Rankin explains how scientifically how our feelings, emotions, work, and relationships with loved ones affect our health. Rankin explains how stress works, meditation, and how our minds dictate to the body whether it is healthy or not. Selected quotes from the book are in our “Book of the Month” section.
Material prepared by: Daria Bukhman
“Like any scientist, I have long known about placebo – the use of substances with no obvious healing properties as a drug (for example, sugar tablets, injections of saline solutions and even imitation of surgery). The therapeutic effect in this case was achieved due to the patient’s faith in the efficacy of the drug.
Studies have shown that a positive attitude towards future recovery can release natural endorphins that lead to improvement, relieve pain, and lift mood. Moreover, the positive attitude and care that surrounds the patient can have a positive effect on the immune system, which is activated, thereby reducing the stress response and stimulating relaxation. Conversely, there are enough studies that describe the health effects of negative thoughts (the “nocebo effect”). For example, 79% of medical students develop the symptoms they are currently studying. They become paranoid, convinced that they will definitely get sick, and often they do. “
Love is stronger than DNA
“You cannot change your DNA, but you can use the power of your own mind and change the way DNA is expressed. More and more scientific evidence is poured into what happens to physiology when believing in healing and what happens when you think you’ll get sick. Scientists now recognize that the genome is more susceptible to the cellular environment than genetic determinists believed. This means that most diseases can be attributed to environmental influences that affect cells. For example, this is nutrition, hormonal changes, and even love. We must not fall prey to our own DNA.
The brain largely controls the composition of the blood. He, like a chemist, changes the environment surrounding the cells. The brain releases neuropeptides, hormones, growth factors and other chemicals – like adding chemicals with a pipette to a Petri dish and thus changing their environment.
When we stop being afraid of the disease and tune in to the positive, the brain responds with a biochemical reaction, the blood changes the cell culture of the body, and the cells change at the biological level. “
“Our parents can shape our health even when we are very tiny. As a result of exposure to a number of adverse environmental factors that we experience in the womb, a whole spectrum of chronic diseases develops.
Parents also form beliefs that are embedded in our subconscious. Negative beliefs of parents are involuntarily and subconsciously programmed into our minds at a young age – for example, suggestions like “you are weak”, “you will certainly get fat and get diabetes when you become an adult.” Our subconscious is filled with beliefs that we adopt from our parents, teachers and other people who have surrounded us since childhood. Our minds are filled with programs that will guide us in later life, unless we learn to reprogram. Usually such programs are already fixed by the age of six.
You act with your subconscious about 95% of the time, even if your conscious mind as an adult is full of positive, optimistic thoughts. This habitual negative becomes our default attitude in life, as soon as we distract ourselves from the positive. They work in dreams, at work, and at any other time. This belief can activate the nocebo effect.
As a child, many of us were taught that when you get sick, you need to go to the doctor and start being treated. If a girl falls down and has an abrasion on her knee, parents rarely say, “Okay, baby! Now let your knee focus and heal itself! ” No! We rush to the pharmacy for ointments and plasters! There is absolutely nothing wrong with ointments and plasters, but because of them, the child gets used to thinking that drugs cannot be dispensed with, that he depends on external influences, and not on the self-healing mechanisms that are naturally given to the body. As adults, we are sure that we are completely powerless and cannot control our health, although in fact we can do a lot. “
How negative and positive thoughts affect the body
“Everyday stress – loneliness, unhappy relationships, fatigue and nervous tension at work, financial problems, anxiety, depression – leads to the appearance in the frontal part of the brain of thoughts and feelings that continuously stimulate the hypothalamus to develop stress responses. We understand intellectually that this is just a feeling. But the brain stem is convinced that the threat is real.
When positive thoughts and feelings such as love, bonding with loved ones, spiritual intimacy, pleasure and hope are established in the front of the brain, the hypothalamus stops stimulating stress responses. When you are full of optimism and hope, you have love and support, you are engaged in creativity, your favorite profession, then instead of a stress reaction, relaxation comes and our body reacts with improved health. “
I need to relax a little
“The most effective ways to deal with the stress response are meditation and relaxation. This can be a repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscle movement. Passivity in everyday thoughts that inevitably come to mind and return to repetition. All of this can be done during exercise, art, cooking, shopping, driving, that is, whatever.
All forms of meditation to a certain extent activate the parasympathetic nervous system, reduce the level of the stress hormone – cortisol, decrease the rate of respiration and pulse, slow down metabolism, increase the blood supply to the brain, increase activity in the anteroposterior left lobe of the cerebral cortex (which is typical for happy people), strengthen the immune system and lead to a state of relaxation.
Meditation also relieves pain, relieves stress at work, anxiety, depression, strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves cognitive function, lowers blood pressure, reduces alcohol consumption, promotes longevity, weight loss, relieves stress headaches, relieves asthma. controls blood sugar levels in diabetic patients; relieves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; chronic pain, improves the function of the immune system, improves the overall quality of life. “
★ How to start meditating can be found in this post.
Lifestyle that’s hard to get sick with
“In order to lead an active life, prevent diseases, and optimize the chance of disease remission, you need the following:
- healthy relationships, including strong family ties, having friends, colleagues, and loved ones;
- a healthy, fulfilling way of spending time, regardless of being at work or at home;
- a healthy, fulfilling creative life, when your soul rejoices and sings;
- a healthy religious life, including a sense of unity with the sacred principle in life;
- a healthy sex life, which allows you to freely express your own erotic essence and realize erotic fantasies;
- a healthy financial life, no unnecessary financial worries to
- satisfy all the physical needs of your body;
- healthy ecology, absence of harmful toxins, dangerous natural phenomena, radiation, and
- also other adverse factors;
- a healthy mental and emotional life, which is characterized by optimism, happiness, the absence of fear, anxiety, depression and other mentally disadvantaged conditions;
- a healthy lifestyle that maintains physical fitness, including good nutrition and regular exercise. “