Monday, May 12, 2014
'You are the Placebo' by Joe Dispenza
Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery? The truth is that it happens more often than you might expect. In You Are the Placebo, Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, Dr. Joe tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness. Belief can be so strong that pharmaceutical companies use double- and triple-blind randomized studies to try to exclude the power of the mind over the body when evaluating new drugs. Dr. Joe does more than simply explore the history and the physiology of the placebo effect. He asks the question: “Is it possible to teach the principles of the placebo, and without relying on any external substance, produce the same internal changes in a person’s health and ultimately in his or her life?” Then he shares scientific evidence (including color brain scans) of amazing healings from his workshops, in which participants learn his model of personal transformation, based on practical applications of the so-called placebo effect. The book ends with a “how-to” meditation for changing beliefs and perceptions that hold us back—the first step in healing. You Are the Placebo combines the latest research in neuroscience, biology, psychology, hypnosis, behavioral conditioning, and quantum physics to demystify the workings of the placebo effect . . . and show how the seemingly impossible can become possible.
This is a very hopeful book combining science and spirituality with the author's own experience and that of several others. He convincingly writes that the state of our health may not be as much out of our control as many of us have been brought up to believe. Basically, he says, the body experiences what the mind believes to be true, although it's more complex than that.
The book begins with a story from the author's past. As a 23-year-old cyclist, Joe Dispenza shattered and compressed six spinal vertebrae in a freak accident in which he was dragged along the road. Surgeons suggested radical surgery and planting a rod in his back as the only solution. This would mean lifelong pain, but it seemed a choice between that and certain paralysis. Dispenza chose a third option which seemed more like a fantasy than anything reasonable.
With faith and concentration, he gave his body mental instructions and a template for health, and refused to let any thoughts slip through of scenarios he didn't want to experience. Although his return to perfect health seemed like a miracle, he's sure there's more to it. He believes that as he selected one of several possible futures (of his choice) and experienced the appropriate emotions in anticipation, the cells of his body began to accommodate him.
He believes negative emotions raise our stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenaline), and changing our internal state through our thoughts, attitudes, emotions and habits can change our external states. This sort of practice has even been given the name of self-directed neuro-plasticity. We direct the formation of new neural pathways and destructions of old ones through what we chose to allow in our brains.
As a Christian, I'm excited to see how this lines up with principles in the Bible (of belief and faith preceding outcomes). I've read several other, Christian-based healing books in the past which suggest similar outcomes, and it's great to see a book based on scientific studies agree. Although I'm a dunce when it comes to science and quantum physics, I could just manage to wrap my mind around this if I took it in small doses. I'm hoping to see these medical developments, which seem to back up what many people of deep faith have already known for centuries, herald an exciting future for healing.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Hay House in return for an honest review.
You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter available at Amazon