As we all know, there are many techniques to use your mind to reprogram your attitudes, beliefs and habits.
But can the mind go further? Can the mind actually influence the physical body in dramatic ways?
Science is beginning to show that it can. We’ll share some fascinating scientific studies in this post. But we’ll do more…
We will also show you how you can:
- Start using your mind to influence your body in healthy ways
- Help accelerate your body’s natural healing process
- Slow down the aging process so you look and feel better despite the years piling on 🙂
Remember, a healthy body is important to living an extraordinary life.
A Fascinating Case Study on Healing
A sixty-one-year-old man named Frank was diagnosed with a fatal type of throat cancer. His weight had dropped to 98 pounds, he had trouble breathing and could barely swallow.
Doctors placed his survival rate at 5% and even pondered whether he should be placed under radiation therapy since the treatment might only add to his discomfort and not significantly increase his survival odds.
After much thought, the doctors decided to put him under radiation treatment anyway. Fortunately for Frank, Dr. O. Carl Simonton, then medical director of the Cancer Counseling and Research Center in Dallas, Texas, was asked to participate in Frank’s treatment.
Simonton suggested that Frank himself had the ability to influence the course of his own disease and taught Frank a number of relaxation and mental-imagery techniques.
Dr. Simonton’s Suggested Treatment: Imagery Therapy
Frank had to visualize…
- The radiation he received consisted of thousands of tiny bullets of energy bombarding his cells;
- His cancer cells as being weaker than the normal cells and thus unable to repair the damage they suffered;
- His body’s white blood cells as coming in and swarming over the weakened cancer cells;
- Flushing the cancer cells out of his body through his liver and kidneys.
The results were astonishing and far exceeded what usually happens when a patient is treated solely with radiation therapy. Frank experienced almost none of the negative side effects – the skin and mucous membrane damage that normally followed such treatment.
In a mere two months, he had not only regained his weight and strength but all signs of his cancer had vanished.
Frank is one of thousands of cancer patients who have benefited from imagery therapy through the Simonton Cancer Center.
But the evidence for Mind-Body Healing goes even deeper
The Placebo Effect is Stronger than You Think
Scientists and doctors have long been puzzled by how certain patients have been able to heal themselves of life-threatening diseases.
Doctors have found that a patient can trigger self-healing by the mere belief that they will be cured. This is commonly called “the placebo effect.”
Doctors are finding that many people manage to get cured when they are given fake medication, called placebos, which usually consist of nothing more than sugar pills or distilled water, and then told by their doctors that they were taking real medication.
There is no explanation for why the placebo effect works, except that somehow, the patient’s belief that they are getting cured triggers some sort of self-healing ability within the patient. The placebo effect is probably the best-documented way in which the mind is known to affect the body.
The placebo effect, using some of the most outrageous remedies, has worked exceptionally well with warts. In 1934, a physician conducted a double-blind study showing that placebos worked almost as well as sulpharsphenamine, the drug commonly used to treat warts at the time. 53% of patients given the actual medicine were cured. But of the patients given the fake medicine, which was nothing more than distilled water and told it was a genuine wart cure, 48% were cured.
The opposite also works.
If you believe something is harmful to you, it tends to be.
One study showed that 19 out of 40 subjects developed asthmatic symptoms after inhaling a saline solution they believed to be allergenic. Twelve developed full-blown wheezing and bronchial spasms, which disappeared completely 3 minutes after receiving another saline solution placebo. The researchers concluded that suggestion played a significant role in precipitating asthmatic attacks.
Weirder still — the placebo effect also works with surgery.
In the summer of 1994, a surgeon named J. Bruce Moseley had 10 patients scheduled for an operation intended to relieve the arthritis pain in their knees. All 10 were wheeled into the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, draped, examined and anesthetized.
All 10 were then dispatched to the recovery room and sent home from the hospital by the next morning equipped with crutches and a painkiller. All 10 men believed they had just gone through a reliable medical surgery to cure them of their knee arthritis pain. But this was not the case.
In fact, while two of the men would undergo the standard arthroscopic surgery for their condition — the scraping and rinsing of the knee joint — and three would have the rinsing alone, five would have no recognized surgical procedure at all. Their surgery would be a placebo. Moseley would cut the placebo patients’ knees three times with a scalpel — to make it feel and look real, there had to be incisions and scars for the patient to believe he had undergone surgery — but that was it.
The placebo worked.
Six months after surgery, the 10 patients still didn’t know whether they had been faked out or not.
But all of them reported much less pain.
The placebo effect can be so powerful that all modern drugs have to be tested against a placebo before they are released to the public. And many former treatments and drugs have been taken off the market when their healing properties were found to be solely due to the placebo effect.
Other Evidence for Mind-Body Interaction
Hypnotism is another way to demonstrate the mind-body effect. A hypnotist can cause someone to trigger their body’s own healing mechanism at will.
Another weird phenomenon of mind-body interaction is that of people with multiple or split personalities. Psychologists have observed that when multiples switch personalities their body also shows dramatic changes.
Eyesight can improve or worsen, allergies can reappear or disappear and even brain wave patterns can change. Multiples can also change their voice patterns in ways that even the best actors cannot emulate.
This leads to an interesting question…
Just how much of your physical body is influenced by your belief system?
The gap between mind and body seems almost non-existent.
The Growing Acceptance
The scientific evidence for mind-body healing is well established and public acceptance is now mainstream.
A 1990 Gallup Poll on American attitudes to paranormal phenomenon found that25% of Americans had had success with mental healing.
The May 2001 Gallup Poll discovered that “Americans with the highest levels of education are more likely to believe in the power of the mind to heal the body.”
The same Gallup Poll on Americans’ beliefs on the Paranormal, updated the statistics in June 2005, showing that more than 55% believe in the connection between the mind and the body in healing. These healing powers of the mind on both the physical and emotional have been demonstrated empirically, reflecting the power of placebos.
Furthermore, according to a famous survey published in 1993 in the New England Journal of Medicine, 34% of adult Americans reported using at least one unconventional therapy in the past year. This includes meditation, yoga and visualization techniques.
And finally, the 1993 New England Journal of Medicine survey found that alternative medicine category, which includes mind-body healing, energy healing and spiritual healing, is most likely to be practiced not by the socially marginal or the cognitively defective, but by affluent (incomes above $35,000), college-educated people.
But Can Your Mind Heal Someone Else’s Body?
Let’s ask a more daring question. Can you use your mind to heal a loved one – at a distance?
Some of the most surprising evidence for distant healing comes from psychologist William Braud and his colleagues at The Mind Science Foundation of San Antonio, Texas. Braud’s studies, conducted over 17 years, involved having people mentally attempt to influence the nervous system of remote participants.
The results of the study were simply mind blowing.
Braud would wire up the first group of people, known as receivers, to machines that measured up to seven different physiological responses such as blood pressure, skin conductivity and muscle tremor.
A second group of people, known as senders, would be placed in a different room and asked to attempt to arouse or calm the receiver solely by thinking about them. Both senders and receivers were ordinary people who had volunteered for the study.
Braud’s 37 experiments involved 665 sessions, 449 people and 13 experimenters. What Braud found was that at the exact moment the sender was asked to think of their receiver, the receiver would show a change in his or her physiological condition.
The 37 experiments combined resulted in odds against chance of more than 100 trillion to one in favor of distant mental interactions between the participants.
In short, the ability of one person’s mind to affect another person’s body is scientific fact.
But Just How Powerful is it?
Okay, so we know that one person’s mind can somehow influence someone else’s physical body – but is the effect really powerful enough to make a difference in someone’s state of health?
Again, the answer is surprising.
The effects of distant healing have been proven to be significantly greater than many drugs deemed to be highly successful in medicine.
For example, numerous studies have shown that propranolol and aspirin are effective in reducing heart attacks. But their effects pale in comparison to distant healing.
Effect sizes of drugs are measured on a scale from 0 to 1. An effect size of 0.03 in a medical life-or-death situation would mean that 3 out of 100 people survived. An effect size of 0.3 would mean that an additional 30 out of 100 survived.
In medical tests, the effect size of aspirin on reducing heart attack is 0.03. The effect size of propranolol was not much higher, at 0.04. These sizes were sufficient enough proof for the government to authorize the drug manufacturers to state that their products prevent heart attack.
But the effect size of distant healing in Braud’s experiments was a surprising 0.25!
This means that if 100 people were going through a therapy with a success rate of 35%, this success rate would go up to 60% with the addition of distant healing. Almost twice as many patients would be saved.
In his studies, Braud also discovered some strange properties of distant healing. His volunteers were asked to participate in another experiment where they would attempt to mentally calm down two groups. One was a group of highly nervous people and the other a calmer group.
First, Braud found that the distant healing effect was the strongest when the person on the receiving end actually had a serious need for healing. The effect size on the highly nervous group was far greater than on the calm group.
More surprisingly, he found that the effect size on the agitated group by those trying to calm them down was only slightly less than the effect that people had on themselves when using relaxation techniques.
In statistical terms, this means that other people could have the same mind-body effect on you as you could have on yourself and vice-versa.
Think about that for a moment. That’s astounding!
The Five Rules for Mind-Body Healing
William Braud outlined five major mental techniques that he believed have important effects on the self-healing processes.
- The need for relaxation and quietude.
- Learning to focus your attention on one thing (e.g. breathing), which allows you to develop mental self-control and avoid distractions.(The above two points are achieved through meditation).
- Learning visualization or imagery techniques since pictures are the preferred language of the mind.
- Incorporating intent into the process, a wish for some goal to be reached and an expectation that it will.
- The evocations of strong positive emotions during the healing process.
The Technique for Self-Healing
The following is the basic technique:
1. Go to your alpha level of mind.
This can be done through any simple meditation technique. Lie down or sit upright in a comfortable position, remove all distracting noise. Inhale and exhale slowly and with each breath, let go of any tension that you may have. Relax more and more with each breath.
2. Visualize Your Current State of Health on Your Mental Screen.
Visualize the current condition of the body, including the ailment or pain that is bothering you. You do not need to memorize or know what each component of your body actually looks like. Simple pictures are enough to speak to your mind. A lung can be imagined as a balloon. A kidney can resemble a kidney bean. Create a representative picture of the ailment. Feel the emotions associated with this problem.
3. See Yourself Healing and Getting Better and Healthier.
Now visualize the ailment disappearing. Create, with your imagination, a system to remove the ailment.
- Kidney stones can be crushed into harmless powder that is then excreted.
- Tumors can be visualized as large black blobs, while your immune system and white blood cells are visualized as tiny soldiers attacking the tumor. On each attack the tumor shrinks.
- A sore muscle can be bathed in an imaginary healing light that alleviates the pain and restores the muscle to a healthy state.
The exact image you use is irrelevant – create something that speaks to you. It does not have to be scientifically correct. It only has to be symbolic. Your subconscious mind will get the message.
Feel the joy and energy of having perfect health. Imagine it to be true and already occurring.
It helps to say an affirmation such as:
“I have a perfectly healthy body and mind”
“My ______ is now functioning perfectly and is in a state of excellent health.”
5. Let Go.
Let go and trust your body’s self-healing ability. You can now come out of the alpha level. Trust that the healing action is taking place.
Please note that mental healing should not be used as a replacement for a visit to your doctor. Always consult a doctor first for serious health conditions. Mental healing is a type of complementary medicine – as the name suggests it is to be used alongside but not as a replacement for modern medicine.
“What If I’m already Healthy?”
If you have no health problems and are perfectly healthy at the moment, you can still meditate and visualize yourself staying in perfect health. This way you may never have to worry about having to heal yourself.
Sources for this Article:
Dean Radin, PhD, “The Conscious Universe,” (HarperEdge, 1997), p.153-155.
Lynne McTaggart, “The Field,” (Quill, 2003), p.117, 132-133.
Margaret Talbot, “The Placebo Prescription,” (New York Times, Jan 9, 2000).
William Braud, “Mental Techniques for Self-Healing and for Remote Viewing,” ASPRNewsletter, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, pp. 4-8.
Michael Murphy, The Future of the Body (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1992), 250-251.
Michael Talbot, “The Holographic Universe,” (New York: HarperPerennial, 1991), pp. 82-85, 87-88.
Shakti Gawain, “Creative Visualization,” (Novato CA: New World Publishing, 1978), pp. 80-81.
Michael Schmicker, “Best Evidence,” (Lincoln NE: Writers Club Press, 2002), pp. 3-10.