Video Playback Time: 13 minutes
I urge you to listen to the whole video.
For those who want the juicy snippets, cliff notes, and/or the references, the write-up and notes are below.
The Video Recap and Summary: How Belief and Mindset Impact Health Outcomes
My most recent articles and video have been intended to take you on a journey. The destination has been to arrive in a world where you believe that it is possible to have healthcare that truly empowers the patient and allows all individuals to flourish.
This is in stark contrast to what our current sick care system provides. America’s expensive and ineffective medical model is mostly focused on symptom suppression and disease management. The results have been dismal.
You don’t have to settle with living longer with more chronic diseases to manage. Rather, you can seek to become healthier, more vibrant, and happier as you move gracefully through life.
In part I, I reviewed the twists and turns of traveling from being a passive patient to a participant in whole-body healing.
In this video, I bring together what are the most important aspects of achieving the optimal health you deserve, your mindset and beliefs.
Now is the time to commit once again to the fact that your body has an innate and prevailing healing potential that you can tap into, at any time, starting with the power of your mind.
The Topics in this video include:
(1) The power of placebo:
- Placebos are among one of my favorite topics in medicine, because they scientifically validate the connection between the mind and body and the power that belief has on affecting health results. In all clinical trials, researchers seek to outcompete the biochemical shifts that occur because of one’s expectations about a sugar pill (the “placebo”)!
- I give an example on how my love of essential oils and my strong belief in their healing capacities synergizes with their psychological and physiological properties to enhance and potentize their impact.
- It is important to me to ask my clients if they feel comfortable with an intervention and do not push “compliance” if they do not. After all, that would mean I’m fighting an uphill battle. Their belief about the effects a modality will have on their body will trump mine, every time!
- The differences that occur in your biochemistry and emotional health if your mantra is “I’m sick, I’m stressed, I’m….” vs. “I’m healthy, I’ll recover.” This is a mind-body link that goes beyond the power of positive thinking.
- The “reverse placebo”, the nocebo effect, is based on the belief that a placebo will be detrimental. This results in negative physical effects on the brain and body.
- I highlight the many mechanisms being explored on how the placebo and nocebo effects work. Several theories and clinical-based trials have suggested multiple pathways. These pathways include psychological, biological (e.g., genetics, opioids, CCK, and dopamine), and changes in brain patterns.
- Open vs. closed placebo trial? Effects may still be the same according to trials!
(2) The scientific evidence of the power of the placebo effect:
- A 2021 meta-analysis published in Trial reported that half of the impact in randomized trials is related to contextual effects vs. the actual intervention. This is true for both physical and mental health.
- In the 2011 article, How Placebos Change the Patient’s Brain, the authors wrote: The real placebo response, that is, the real psychobiological phenomenon, is not irrelevant. Its contribution to the clinical improvement is substantial. For example, in antidepressant clinical trials, it has been shown that the natural history of the disease (i.e., spontaneous remission) accounts for 23.87% of the overall effect, the real placebo effect (i.e., expectations of benefit) for 50.97%, and the drug effect for 25.16% only (Kirsch and Sapirstein, 1998). Therefore, in clinical trials for major depression, one-quarter of the benefit is due to the specific action of the active medication, one-quarter is due to other factors such as spontaneous remission, and one-half is the real placebo effect, that is, the real psychobiological phenomenon.
- Placebos provide proof that what you think and your subconscious thoughts that lie dormant (from past traumas or belief systems) will ultimately determine the efficacy of your wellness and medical treatments.
“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” – William Osler
- Your belief and connection to your physician impacts how well your treatment will work. Utilizing the placebo effect and harnessing the qualities of healthy interactions with those seeking their services, doctors have a unique ability to multiply the impact of their treatments.
- According to a 2017 commentary in the British Medical Journal: When interacting with patients, physicians communicate scientific evidence within the framework of subjective judgments, expectations of treatment outcomes, and perceived patient preferences. Patients are influenced by their trust in physicians and how their physicians listen to, engage, and inform them. Context or environment, such as the branding, price, and advertising of drugs, or the hospital or doctor’s credentials, also have an influence. Rather than being incidental to treatment, these psychological and social elements play crucial roles in determining clinical outcomes. From this perspective, the whole meaning of placebo effect changes.
- Naturopathic doctors embody the principles of holistic medicine, personalized treatment, and therapeutic doctor-patient partnerships. Functional medicine also honors the sacred interaction between the physician and their patient.
- You can use this information to empower yourself and change your thoughts.
(4) Changing your mindset with essential oils
- According to Psychology Today:
- A mindset is a belief that orients the way we handle situations—the way we sort out what is going on and what we should do. Our mindsets help us spot opportunities, but they can also trap us in self-defeating cycles.
- The Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck (2006) popularized the idea of mindsets by contrasting different beliefs about where our abilities come from. If we have a fixed mindset and think that our ability is innate, then a failure can be unsettling because it makes us doubt how good we are. In contrast, if we have a growth mindset, then we expect that we can improve our ability—and a failure, therefore, shows us what we need to work on.
- How does one get from a place fixed in fear and anxiety to positive expectations and grit to achieve growth? Below are some of my previous articles that I referred to in the video about how using essential oils and other holistic tools can help to reset the mind:
- Feeling Fatigued? My Favorite Herbs and Essential Oils to Boost Focus, Energy, and Cognition Health (Part 3: My Top Essential Oils for Attention, Mood, and Brain Vitality)
- Essential oils and brain effects: (i.e., influencing neurotransmitters, brain functioning, and biochemistry)
- In vitro and animal studies have shown various mechanisms on how essential oils impact brain signaling. Below are several examples.
- Sage- modulates dopamine (the reward-motivation neurotransmitter)
- Lavender– effects serotonin (equated with mood and calming)
- Lemon– suppresses dopamine and accentuates serotonin
- Bergamot– enhances synaptic connections for better brain communication
- Bitter orange– impacts serotonin (source)
- This post provides further details on how essential oils can be neuroprotective and how specific essential oils can benefit cognitive and mental health. The topics covered include:
- An overview of bergamot essential oil’s beneficial properties and its calming aspects on the body, nervous system, heart, and mind.
- Orange oil’s use for soothing anxiety and how it uplifts spirits.
- Rosemary’s stimulating characteristics that benefit focus, stress relief, and alleviation of low mood.
- Jasmine essential oil’s ability to calm the electrical activity on the brain and its psychological benefits.
- A summary of which oils are best to use for memory, mood, anxiety, and stress.
(5) Spontaneous remission studies and commentaries:
- A study on the mechanisms of spontaneous remission in medicine:
Abstract: Many diseases heal spontaneously. The common cold, for example, remedies itself within a few days in people with an uncompromised immune system. If a disease with a poor prognosis heals in the absence of a targeted therapeutic, many even call it a miracle cure. Such is the case with the spontaneous regression (SR) of malignant neoplasms, a rare but well-documented phenomenon that finds its first mention in the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BCE. Given the challenges associated with current cancer treatment modalities such as rapidly evolving drug resistance mechanisms, dose-limiting side effects, and a failure to completely eliminate cancer cells, knowledge of how a tumour heals itself would be immensely helpful in developing more effective therapeutic modalities. Although the intricate mechanisms of SR have yet to be fully elucidated, it has been shown that infection-mediated immune system activation, biopsy procedures, and disruptions of the tumour microenvironment play pivotal roles in the self-healing of many tumours. Bacterial and viral infections are especially well-documented in instances of SR. Insights from these findings are paving the way for novel therapeutic strategies. Inspired by bacteria-mediated SR, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been used as an approved treatment option for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Similarly, Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), the first engineered oncolytic herpes simplex virus (HSV), has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of some forms of advanced melanoma. Here we describe the current understanding of SR, explore its therapeutic significance, and offer perspectives on its future.
Citation: Radha G, Lopus M. The spontaneous remission of cancer: Current insights and therapeutic significance. Transl Oncol. 2021;14(9):101166. doi:10.1016/j.tranon.2021.101166
- Jeffrey Rediger, author of CURED, Medical Director of McLean SE, serves at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, and teaches at Harvard Medical School. He writes about spontaneous remission from a doctor’s perspective:
Spontaneous remission isn’t as rare as we thought — we just aren’t talking about it. Nor, I believe, is it random. And the hope it offers is anything but “false.”
I began studying spontaneous remission almost two decades ago at the urging of a friend who told me she was seeing real recoveries at a spiritual healing center. I brushed it off, assuming that any supposed “miracle” healing could be explained in any number of ways — misdiagnosis, wishful thinking, a disease that was going to resolve anyway. But more reports flowed my way, cases with hard evidence of diagnosis and recovery that I could not dismiss. Like the story of Mirae Bunnell.
Mirae’s doctors have a nickname for her: “The Miracle.” In 2014, she was diagnosed with advanced metastatic melanoma, which presented as a large tumor in her neck that threatened to cut off her breathing and blood flow. Her doctors worked to shrink the tumor to make her more comfortable but broke the news to her that she would not survive.
Seven months later, the tumor was gone. All that remained was a wispy, inky swirl — a shadow left behind by the tumor that had almost ended Mirae’s life. What happened? Her doctors had no idea. “There must have been a lot of people praying for you,” was all they could offer.
Mirae says that the care she received was exceptional. Her only misgiving was that her doctors didn’t seem more interested in why her remarkable recovery might have occurred. And indeed, if we continue to think of these cases as random accidents of biology, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture. But after studying over a hundred individual cases across the spectrum of illness — cancer, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, even depression — what I found was a distinct pattern of transdiagnostic factors.
“It was foremost a struggle of the mind and the spirit,” Mirae said about her own astonishing recovery. “The body followed.”
Survivors of incurable diseases made radical changes to their lives. They changed the way they ate, focusing on high-nutrient diets free of sugar and processed foods. They leaned into daily habits and exercise routines that made them feel good. They ditched careers or relationships that were limiting or toxic. They addressed their stress response, ending the damaging cycle of chronic fight-or-flight that keeps our bodies awash in corrosive stress hormones. When faced with a terminal diagnosis — an “end date” — they asked themselves the question: what do I want to do with the time I have left? And then they did it. Finally, they examined their own deep-seated beliefs about who they were — a process I can only describe as “healing your identity.”
What does that mean — to heal your identity?
Citation: What It Means When Cancer Just Disappears: It’s not as rare — or random — as people might think. February 20, 2020. https://elemental.medium.com/theres-nothing-mysterious-about-spontaneous-remission-ca183d9083c7
- Glen Sabin, who is currently in remission for cancer, discusses spontaneous remission from a patient’s perspective:
While certainly true that the human mind and body possess an innate healing capacity, the phenomenon can only be fully unleashed by activating specific powerful triggers. True healing is a complex biological process, not magic.
Spontaneous Remission is a Myth—Radical Remissions are Real
In her excellent book Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, my friend and colleague Kelly A. Turner, PhD tells about remarkable cancer survivors who, along their personal journeys with disease, became incredibly curious about untold and often undocumented individual cases and unique approaches to addressing illness.
Dr. Turner wrote her doctoral thesis following a ten-month worldwide expedition interviewing various types of practitioners and healers, as well as those cancer patients themselves who had overcome very tall survival odds. (note: my story is also cited in the book)
Not long ago I had the privilege to share a podium with Dr. Turner and heard her passionately speak about this; how different people approach diagnoses of life-limiting disease as well as the core characteristics, qualities, methodologies and (wellness) processes these remarkable survivors share in common.
Following are the 9 Factors featured in Radical Remission:
- Changing diet
- Taking control of health
- Following intuition
- Using herbs and supplements
- Releasing suppressed emotions
- Increasing positive emotions
- Embracing social support
- Deepening spiritual connection
- Having strong reasons for living
Citation: Glen Sabin. Spontaneous Remission is a Myth. https://glennsabin.com/(website). https://glennsabin.com/spontaneous-remission-is-a-myth/
Sometimes, you must be just uncomfortable enough with the status quo and seeing that another way is possible to start seeking a different approach.
I hope by the end of this series you have become more confident that true transformation and well-being is possible.
No, we are not destined to age, deteriorate, and become decrepit.
We have within us an innate healing potential that we can unlock anytime, starting with a thought! Our mindset has so much power, and it has been validated by these beautiful stories of spontaneous remissions and those that live in the Blue Zones.
If you are interested in diving into this concept more and working in the context of a group that supports you, I am leading a course in “Mindset as Medicine.” Learn more about this here. Soon, I will be sending out all the amazing details!
Please comment below.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures, vaccination, and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.