Placebo Healing

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Placebo Healing

Postby gmattson » Sat Jan 23, 1999 6:23 pm

One of areas we wish to stay away from is Religion. However, in this e-mail, the author could be describing many other "powers" being discussed on this forum. Lets discuss the subject as it relates to "chi", Ki and Reiki rather than Religion. gem

I was recently reading items in your web page's newsletter when I noticed a referral to "studies" that support the effect of faith on longevity and health. Whenever I see stories like this I feel obligated to point out the problems with these kinds of studies and, especially, the way they are reported.

To begin with, what has NEVER been supported by scientific research, and what has in fact been discredited by scientific research, is the ability of faith ALONE to provide measurable healing benefits. Faith healing has been demonstrated to be a scam by every objective measure ever applied. Every year
we hear reports of people, especially children, dying unneccessarily because they were denied modern medical treatment in favor of faith specific practices. What has been reported recently is the increased survival and improvement in patients of faith who are undergoing orthodox medical treatments.
However, this same effect has been demonstrated by giving people pills that contain no medication and telling them that they are powerful antibiotics or pain killers.

It is a common effect known as the placebo effect, and is a demonstration of the effect the brain can have on the rest of the body. There is no way to seperate this placebo effect from the "faith effect". Patients THINK they have someone extra watching over and protecting them, and low and behold they improve faster.

The problem is that these stories are reported as if this effect supported the
belief that the patient has; i.e. that the effect supports the existence of God.

This would be the same as saying that the placebo effect of taking a dummy pill supports the argument that the pill really contained morphine or some other drug. It doesn't. It supports the notion that positive attitudes and reduced stress as well as confidence in the treatment are all likely to increase treatment effectiveness.

Stuart W. Hazard
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