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You’re Healed If You Think You Are

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You’re Healed If You Think You Are

As research for my upcoming book The Prescription: 5 Spiritual Steps To Healing Yourself From Illness, Trauma, Or Loss, I have been digging deep into the medical literature, going back as far as the 1920’s into medical journals in order to find cold, hard science to prove what I have long believed – that we hold within us self-healing superpowers that are stronger than any chemotherapy and more effective than any surgery.

So it delights me that, more and more, such evidence is appearing in modern day media. This week, a CNN headline reported on a fascinating study from Harvard University which was also just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This study investigated 39 asthma patients and rotated them through four treatments – an albuterol inhaler (standard treatment for asthma), a placebo inhaler, sham acupuncture (the patients thought they were getting real acupuncture, but the needles were just placed willy nilly), and nothing. Every week, they got a different treatment, but the patients didn’t know some of the treatments were fake.

So what happened? Unsurprisingly, 50% felt better after getting the albuterol inhaler. But lo and behold – a similar percentage felt better after getting a placebo inhaler (45%) and sham acupuncture (46%). Even among those who received no treatment, 21% felt better.

Although those who received the albuterol inhaler had more dilated bronchi, symptom improvement between the albuterol group and the two placebo groups were not statistically different. Which brings up an interesting phenomenon.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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8:15AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012


6:19PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Thanks, Lissa, great article :)

10:20AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

As a young adult who's had a serious chronic medical condition for the past decade, I find this a little's pretty much insinuating that if you're sick, it's because you aren't wanting enough to get better. Trust me, life-altering illness is NOT a choice, and if it were at all possible to "think it away," I would.

10:06AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Thanks Lissa

9:53AM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Interesting,Thank you

4:15PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

very interesting, thanks

1:39AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Mind over matter?

1:38AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Sickness should be cured.

9:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

Interesting, my asthma went away when I started smoking. I don't think you really need to believe it will help, someone else has to tell you it will.

6:50PM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

I grew up believing that our bodys heal themselves. When I accidently scraped myself or got a cut, my Dad pointed out that the bleeding stopped on it's own, then the skin began to grow back together, and if I just kept the sore clean and protected it with a bandage for a few days, a scab formed, then fell off and there was brand new skin underneath it with no sign of a wound. That was all I needed to set me on that path, and I have since learned to trust my bodys own processes for bringing it's self back to good health. Watch the animals, he always said. They rest, drink water, eat little and stay as comfortable as possible.You will either die, or get better. So far, I'm happy to report, I've always gotten better.

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people are talking

Finally ! Way to go ! Congrats ! Hoping to see more in the future. they deserve it !

Even if its only thoughts a swear works wonders for me!


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