Before a new drug can be released to the public it must go through rigorous testing. Part of that testing involves a clinical trial in which half the patients involved receive the actual drug and the other half receive a sugar pill (placebo).
Amazingly many of the patients who receive the placebo still see a positive impact on their health. Obviously it’s not the sugar in the “fake medication” that is causing the positive change (otherwise we’d be treating cancer patients with candy by now), so what, you may ask, is the mechanism of action in placebo? the answer is Hope.
In my new book The New Cancer Paradigm I look into the science of Hope and Helplessness, but for now let’s focus on the basics. Contrary to popular belief hope is not a state of denial and blind optimism, hope is a state of mind that promotes action. Studies show that people who cultivate home and feel hopeful about their recovery are more likely to take care of themselves: exercise, eat well, and follow doctor’s orders.
These actions alone could greatly help improve the quality of life for those with cancer and chronic illnesses. This state of mind called hope, stimulates the brain and helps strengthen the body and more importantly the immune system. A patient who is actively taking part in the treatment of their illness whose immune function has been awakened is in a much better position to have the healing process take place.
The Issue of False Hopelessness
Many traditional medical practitioners believe that non medical therapies such as hypnotherapy, offer patients a false sense of hope. It is important for the sake of discussion to make clear that false hope exist only alongside with a false or unrealistic guarantee of recovery from illness.
In reality patients are given the same expectations when they receive a holistic treatment as they are when they receive traditional medication. There is always room for hope but there are no guarantees.
The real threat for a patient’s well being lays not only when a patient receives false hope, but also when they receive false hopelessness. Patients are told that there is nothing more that can be done for them and therefore sent home to get their affairs in order.
Hopelessness is the point at which the patient gives up, and once a patient stops taking action the results are unfortunately inevitable.
Facing your illness, do you feel hopeful? If so, does hope strengthen you or weaken you?