The Body’s Innate Capacity To Heal
If our thoughts could make us sick, our thoughts could make us well — Joe Dispenza
Today I started watching a documentary on Netflix titled Heal which motivated me to write about what I’ve believed in for so long — the power of the human mind.
“How could you be a Cognitive Science degree major and believe in all that energy bogus?” my best friend asks me one day as we were walking on the streets of downtown Toronto.
I replied, “It’s because I am a Cognitive Science major I believe in it.”
“Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, embracing philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology.” — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Why is it that when the research supported phenomena of the placebo exists people are reluctant to believe similarly, the mind alone is powerful enough to alter the body biologically without medication?
What is the placebo effect?
The placebo effect is when the mind tricks you into believing that a fake treatment has real therapeutic results which then causes real biological changes in the body.
In 1957 there was once a man doctors referred to as Mr Wright. Mr Wright had cancer of the lymph nodes. His doctors tried all treatments which failed. Mr Wright bedridden believed that an anticancer drug Krebiozen will cure him. Krebiozen was just horse serum and wasn’t proven to cure cancer. Yet doctors injected Mr. Wright with this Krebiozen and three days later his tumours had shrunk by half and he was standing and moving with energy.
Other cancer patients in the hospital were given this Krebiozen but showed no difference in their symptoms. Why was this? It’s because Mr Wright believed the drug to be a literal anticancer drug. To read about this story in detail please feel free to read On the Mysterious, Powerful Effects of Placebos by Lauren Slater.
Conventional medicine is not all bad
I must note that I am not refuting conventional medicine and it’s strength. Especially right now during this pandemic, I am not claiming “hey y’all just use your mind to cure yourselves of COVID!” Modern or conventional medicine is necessary. It saves lives, it heals and helps prevent disease-related death. Your thinking and positive thoughts isn’t going to save your life from a car accident. You need a hospital. You need western medicine.
What I am trying to express is that the healing power of the mind is often ignorantly dismissed. I believe knowing about the power we inherently hold can change our lives — both physically and mentally.
We don’t have to blindly rely on medicine alone. Don’t forget the pharmaceutical industry is a billion-dollar industry. It’s ultimately a business first and foremost.
“A pharmaceutical company, or drug company, is a commercial business licensed to research, develop, market and/or distribute drugs, most commonly in the context of healthcare.” — Science Daily
Why don’t people use their thoughts to heal already?
It could be because not everyone knows about this phenomenon. Or it’s because some of us dismiss it as bogus pseudoscience.
Or could it be because we are inherently lazy? We don’t want to put our minds to work when we can get a quick cure — pop a pill and our cold is gone. Ironically, the brain is to be blamed for our inherent laziness as well but that’s for another post.
Today’s focus is on the healing power of the mind. Your thoughts can improve your physical well-being. Positive thoughts have a tremendous effect on your body.
So how exactly do our thoughts shape our body?
- Our thoughts affect chemical messengers in our brain responsible for communicating with our nervous system. These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters.
- The nervous system is responsible for receiving signals from different parts of the body and responding to these signals by sending signals. It basically receives and sends signals.
- Our thoughts cause neurochemical changes. For instance, if we consciously practise gratitude, a surge of dopamine is released. Dopamine is known as a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. When dopamine is released we feel pleasure, reward and increased motivation.
- Neurotransmitters control all of the body’s functions from feelings like dopamine which makes you “happy” to regulating hormones that deals with stress.
- This is how thoughts directly influence our body. The body takes our thoughts and communicates these thoughts through neurotransmitters. This is interpreted by the body as incoming messages which affect how the body reacts.
What can we do to heal ourselves and live a healthy life?
We know the body can heal itself. How? Think about when we get a small cut. We throw on a bandage and eventually it’s healed. Similarly, the body has the power to heal itself for greater health concerns if you allow it to.
Control your thoughts to relax and destress. When you stress the body’s natural healing mechanisms won’t work. It’s too busy trying to react and protect yourself from the stress that probably isn’t worth using up your body’s energy for or stress that the body can’t fix. Such stress could be financial stress or stress due to interpersonal relationships.
When you turn off the body’s stress response and let it relax it’s given permission to get to work at healing. Its energy sources aren’t being wasted at what it can’t fix. Instead, it’s given the focus on what it could fix.
So if you have a loved one going through a health concern — try to get them to relax and be positive. See if it will work. Possibly western medicine and the body’s innate ability to heal can work hand-in-hand. Putting both forces together could have you healing faster in no time.
For now, if you don’t have a particular health concern you should still practice meditation.
Read Can Meditation Cure Disease?, to read about a 37-year-old Tibetan lama Phakyab Rinpoche who had a gangrenous leg. He was told by doctors that the leg needed to be amputated for him to survive. He spoke with the Dalaï Lama who told him not to amputate but instead focus on healing meditation practices.
After months of intensive healing meditation practice, he achieved something that was considered medically impossible — within a year the leg had healed and the lama was walking again.
This is only one of the many fascinating true stories I’ve read about the healing power of the mind and body especially through mediation and the power of our thoughts.