There is a saying that faith can move mountains and believing in something is enough to make it happen. While this can be true for some people, it has always been a topic under debate in the field of medicine. It is no secret that scientific beliefs and spiritual beliefs usually clash especially when it comes to healing. While scientists and doctors say that medicines work best for disease, spiritual groups say faith, positive belief, and meditation can work wonders on the physical body.
The mind, the body, and spirit are thought to be connected to each other and an individual’s feelings are known to affect one’s thoughts. Holistically speaking, physically taking care of your body is just as beneficial as looking after one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Spiritual healing, pranic healing (using prana or energy to heal ailments), and meditation are all alternative forms of medicine that use other means of healing aside from conventional medical methods such as medicine.
One of the schools of thought in healing and health is positive belief. It is believed that positive belief can trigger a healing response within the body even without using medical intervention. Positive belief can also affect mental health positively by promoting balance in the body. While self healing is believed to be possible through positive belief, illness and diseases are believed to be caused by negative beliefs and emotions.
Positive Belief in the Field of Medicine
The power of belief has been the center of many studies in the past decades. Positive belief is believed to be powerful enough to heal the body without the need for any other medical intervention. While the medical community has yet to fully accept the power of positive belief in healing, placebo studies that have long been conducted by different medical schools and medical organizations have shown positive results.
In Harvard Medical School, a group of researchers conducted a study on 12 patients with bone fractures in the emergency department. With two groups of 6 patients each, both groups received the treatment usually given for fractures like x-rays, casts, and orthopedic care. The researchers utilized hypnosis to encourage better bone healing among patients in the experimental group. The radiologist made a blind review of the patients’ x-rays after 6 weeks and it was found that bones of the patients in the experimental group were healed at a more advanced rate at which the control group needed another 2 ½ weeks of healing time to achieve the same level of healing.
In the Baylor School of Medicine, an arthroscopic surgeon, Dr. Bruce Moseley, performed surgical repair to the knees of three different patient groups with incapacitating knee pain. Two patient groups received the standard surgical procedure while one patient group got a sham surgical procedure but the patients were unable to differentiate the surgery visually since the experimental group also had knee incisions to give the impression that they had a real surgical procedure. The results of the study showed the same improvement in all patient groups, with the healing effect in the experimental group grounded in the belief that they would heal because they had a surgical procedure.
Placebo Effect and Nocebo Effect
A placebo effect is defined as a measurable improvement in an individual’s health or behavior which is not brought about by medical intervention such as a medication or invasive treatment. Nocebo effect, on the other hand, refers to something that causes symptoms of illness even when it should have been ineffective. It is brought about by the belief that something can be harmful. There are many factors that can lead to a placebo or nocebo effect but one of the factors believed to have a major effect on the body is belief of the individual.
The power of suggestion has always been a point of interest in the medical field despite refusal of many to acknowledge the possibility of the benefits of positive belief. Placebo studies are often conducted especially when testing a particular treatment or drug to gauge its effectiveness.
Positive Belief and Healing
Numerous studies have shown the value of positive belief in healing the body. Although more studies are needed to conclude the effectiveness of positive belief and to know how exactly it helps the body heal itself, it doesn’t hurt to have a little faith at all times.