I found this link in my Twitter feed today about research into the placebo effect and its correlation with certain genes. Very interesting!
But I have been teaching my students to harness the power of the placebo effect for years now. I believe the placebo effect is simply the power of the mind to heal the body. Of course, this doesn't just happen by magic: there are genetic factors and neurotransmitters and hormonal responses and reactions involved that are well worth studying. However, why wait for the research to tell us that the mind-body techniques we are already doing will work? We know they work! That's why we do them.
The placebo effect was originally examined as a response by people who had received sugar pills instead of real medication. Those people who had a condition, but who were given pills that were (unbeknownst to them) just sugar, somehow saw improvements in their condition, just like the other people who were receiving real medication.
Is this due to the healing power of sugar?
No, of course not. It's due to the healing power of the mind. When we believe we are going to get better, and when we believe that any tiny improvement is part of a larger trend of improvement, and not just a random moment of feeling better, we actually start getting better.
It's the power of positive thoughts and beliefs about your mind, body, and health.
By meditating, and by focusing our mind on our bodies, we can choose to our healing not as temporary or fleeting, but as the beginning of a great process of healing.
So use that brain and tap into your placebo effect. When the research finally comes out, you can learn about just what it was that your mind and body were doing that made you feel so much better.