I recently wrote about Befriending your placebo as part of a pain management program. As we know the placebo effect is a response to sham or fake treatment, and is effective in roughly 1/3 of patients in scientific studies. It's a powerful tool, and one I have used actively while pursuing my own healing. I want to write a little more about what exactly you can do to activate your placebo. My definition of the placebo effect is "my body's own healing mechanism, over which I have no voluntary control"
I believe that activating the placebo effect has a close connection with trust.
If a doctor I really trust tells me that...lets say... carrots will cure my shingles, and she can give me a good rational explanation for why this is the case, I will try it whole heartedly. Then I have a 30% chance of activating my placebo and getting great relief.
So in order to activate my placebo, I can use the element of trust. I can work actively to build my own healing team with people I respect and trust, and not waste my time on the ones I feel I can't work with.
Secondly, I can increase my chances of activating the placebo effect by retraining my brain. I work hard to practice positive thinking, eliminate doubt, focus on my goal of a healthy, pain-free life and consistently choose to believe that healing is possible. I practice selective hearing and accept that I may have to take a few detours in order to maintain my dream and not lose hope even when times are rough.
This may not be a miracle cure for chronic pain, but it may be as close as I'm ever going to get:)