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The Placebo Effect

A fascinating phenomenon where the imaginary transforms the reality

by Eddy Savary

The placebo effect is a phenomenon that puzzles most of the medical doctors and scientists. For some of them, to deal with a reality in which imaginary medication cures illness is an unbearable intellectual nightmare.

Focus on

In spite of the great progress of science, the recovery or aggravation of any illness remains a misunderstood process. If we can honestly consider the different interpretations of the phenomenon, maybe the various experiments carried out during these past few years on an “inert” matter called a placebo may induce a basic breakthrough in the field of health and, at the same time, an opening of consciousness.

A placebo is an inert substance, usually a solution of sugar or salt. Placebos have been known for a long time, since about the middle of the 18th century. At that time the “micas panis” pills (the crumb of the loaf) were a regular medication at the French royal court. The Latin word placebo means “to please.” It was defined in the medical dictionary of that time as “a qualificative given to any medication prescribed to please the patient more than to be useful.”

The placebo effect or placebo- sensitivity is a recently observed phenomenon in which the “inert” matter induces real positive physiological changes.

The placebo effect called placebo-resistance is a lack of reaction to the administering of a placebo. The nocebo effect is a negative change, which means that the taking of the inert matter creates secondary effects such as nausea, aggravation of disease.

Not staying in the medical field, we can spread out the placebo effect to any interaction between an indisposed (ill) person and a substance, a method or a rite that is inert or neutral in itself.

Experimental conditions

In a therapeutic environment, more in-depth observations about the placebo effect pointed out that the positive results are variable from 35% to 70% according to some factors present or not during the consultation:

• The patient’s trust in the doctor.

• The doctor’s attitude: serious or relaxed, worried or quiet.

• The trust of both (patient and doctor) in the prescription or method.

• The nature of the product: name, taste, aspect, color, or the nature of the therapeutic action.

The double-blind experiments* showed the subtle mechanisms of the phenomenon in which the convictions of the medical doctor influence the patient. If the doctor doesn't know that s/he is dealing with a placebo, the result is better than if the doctor does know. This is not really surprising if we look at the conclusions of the experiments in quantum physics that demonstrate that a result is determined by the act of the measurement, or in other words by the observer’s consciousness.
For some scientists, there is no misunderstanding about that fact: “It's likely that the physical reality only exists according to the human being’s consciousness,” Brian Josephson, Physics Nobel Laureate. “We are witnessing a re-establishment of the consciousness as an essential ingredient of the universe and phenomena,” Remy Chauvin, Biologist.

Many examples of healing exist that are in the field of the placebo effect. Here is a singular one: “Some years ago, a patient came to me, suffering with violent abdominal pain and jaundice. Thinking it was biliary calculus, I immediately took her into surgery, but on the operating table we discovered a big malignant tumor which already had invaded the whole liver and metastases were covering almost all the abdominal wall. Thinking the case hopeless, the surgeons decided to close up without attempting anything. Her daughter, very insistent, begged for me to say nothing. So, I just told the patient that the biliary calculus was successfully removed...Eight months later, to my great surprise, this woman came again to see me. The medical examination no longer revealed any jaundice or pain or cancer sign anymore. She then told me this amazing thing: ”I was so sure to have a cancer, when I knew it was just biliary calculus, I promised to myself not to be ill in my life anymore.”

Here the placebo effect was to stifle the cancer and to make her believe that the operation really took place.

Consciousness and its content

We are faced with inexplicable and uncertain healings. One thing is for sure: The observations of the phenomenon mainly focus on the limits and the conditions of the experiments but rarely focus on the creator of the consciousness content.

Let's examine things closely.

• Who does trust or not trust in the doctor?

• Who does perceive and explain the behavior or emotional state of the doctor?

• Who does perceive and explain the product according to his/her own criteria: appearance, name, color, taste, or nature of the action?

• Who does know and who decides if it's better to quickly recover or delay?

• Who does give importance or value to his/her symptoms or scientific name of the disease?

• Who has conviction or not that he/she can pull through?

In other words, whatever happens outside (the one who treats, the family, the product) who is going to give a special color to the treatment that results in an instant healing or a total collapse?

In 1986, Avatar arrived as a deep revelation with this simple concept: beliefs cause one to create or attract situations and events that one experiences as life. This concept offers to us the assumption that as consciousness, according to our own filters such as prejudice, conviction, value or degree of importance attributed, belief, we induce the reality.

Spontaneous creation

Indeed, it appears that it's not what happens “outside” that would be the most important, but the interpretation process of the perception. Someone perceives a smile and interprets it as a complicity and a kindness that will have a stimulating effect on him or her. The same smile within the same circumstances (the “outside” doesn't change) is perceived and interpreted by someone else as a mockery that will have a hurtful effect and will damage his or her state.

Once the filters are “activated” or once the focusing is finished, as with photography, this alchemy of consciousness plus the specific filters create one's own energy, which activates the relating psychological processes.

Actually, in the placebo effect, all occurs as though the organism, according to the energetic message(s) received, mobilizes or synthesizes molecules according to the image of the message(s) transmitted. Some researchers shed a new light on spontaneous creation of some poisoning substance such as adrenaline (harmful in time) or curing substances in the body such as endorphins, paracetamol or interleukins. Aren't we looking outside for what we are able to generate from inside?

Where are the limits?

If we keep going with the Avatar assumption, 35 % to 70% of people with sensitiveness-placebo-effect are entering into a dynamic of trust and healing, thanks to their favorable filters. The rest, which represent the resistance-placebo-effect and the nocebo-effect, enter into a dynamic of no change or degradation, thanks to their unfavorable filters (Nothing works with me. I already tried everything. There is no hope in my life. I am sure to have something serious). Maybe some of them are the well-known inveterate cases in the therapeutic field or maybe they only need to be in a light and safe environment. How far can we go? Where are the limits? The numerous examples of the placebo effect point out that limits are not really in the nature of harm but in the content of consciousness. From this arise many questions about the best way to approach the suffering people. How to best help the recovery process?

Possible answers:

The first answer is of a collective nature: to reinforce the sensitiveness-placebo-effect by reinforcing the ritual scope surrounding the diagnosis, the prescription and the medication. The more it's credible (believable), the higher is the rate. Simply reinforcing the confidence in a climate of lightness will favor the recovery. And it's another breakthrough of Avatar with multiple implications: a serious atmosphere full of gravity leads to slowing down and contraction and brings up doubts, limitations and difficulties. On the contrary, a smiling, loving confidence is a magical faculty that makes miracles! Some current “clown doctor” experiments in hospitals for children and teenagers are demonstrating a faster recovery in the presence of a joyful atmosphere.

The second answer is more individual: it's a matter of changing the content of consciousness by revealing the transparent filters that determine the reality. It's becoming possible to defuse the filters that are unfavorable to you. Consequently, an ability to manage your attention precisely where you decide comes up: health or illness, sadness or happiness, failure or success.

With Avatar, you go directly. No middleman or middlething, no ritual. The placebo effect — it's you!

* single blind: the patient doesn't know, the doctor does know. Double blind: neither patient or doctor knows.

Eddy Savary, France

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