Episode 31: Do you believe (in your body's ability to heal)?
Episode 31: Winning at Fibromyalgia podcast
Well hello my friends!
It has been a while! I have been MIA a little bit, for a good reason and I am back I met someone special, his name is Greg and he has swept me off my feet, that’s all I will say for now.
I am coming on today to introduce you to my new, simplified version 2.0.1 of my Winning at fibromyalgia method. It is very powerful and I am very proud of it.
For those who don’t know me, I am a board-certified rheumatologist and work almost full time at the Rheumatology office in Cape Cod. I am an expert fibromyalgia coach where I teach women with fibromyalgia tools to reduce their pain, and win at fibromyalgia.
The principle 4 steps are:
- Believe (in the power of your own body to heal, in the power of your mind and nervous system)
- Embrace (the concept of neuroplasticity)
- Let go (of the expectations to get results fast) and
- Do the work – mindfulness based exercises/techniques to bring peace and sense of safety to your nervous system that eventually reduces the pain
Rinse and repeat
I want to start with the power of Belief today.
I cannot stress how important belief is. I truly cannot.
Believing my women can achieve pain reduction is #1 item I work on with my patients and clients alike. I want to tell you why it is so important.
I want to tell you this because I found out the hard way. I LACKED belief myself – until I took the Whole health medicine institute course led by Dr. Rankin. Going through her program made me realize I lacked belief in my body’s ability to heal. I was able to uncover where it was coming from, and then changed it around. It did not happen overnight. But I did it. And I now am sharing it with you, my listeners and clients.
I want the same for you.
SO first of all – why do I even talk about Believing?
There is an undeniable body of research supporting the notion that our thoughts and perceptions affect our physiology. That our mindsets can MEASURABLY affect physical healing. In research studies it is called placebo effect – meaning, taking a sugar pill has positive, measurable physiologic and physical effects (improvement in depression, mood, or asthma). There is even such thing as placebo surgeries! – when doctors opened up a patient/made an incision but did not do ANY instrumentation on patients knees and people felt better!!!! Can you comprehend this?
Fascinating research from Yale – IDENTICAL milkshake given to TWO groups of people with TWO different labels – one that suggested more “indulgent” or calorific drink triggered REAL body responses suggestive of having consumed more calories!! But they have not! That’s all our brains/minds at work!
Neurobiological research has shown that the placebo effect, which stems in part from individual’s mindset and expectation to heal, triggers DISTINCT BRAIN AREAS associated with ANXIETY and PAIN that activate physiological effects that lead to healing outcomes. The placebo effect is mediated by the release of neurotransmitters, consistently impacts certain areas of brain and even mirrors the action of of pharmaceuticals on human physiology.
In clinical trials it is actually NOT uncommon for the placebo to BEAT the active drug, especially in the studies on anti-depressants! Do you know what this means?? This means that our minds can produce the effects of a medication as powerful as an antidepressant!
This means that the mind is capable of great feats in healing the body. This should not come as surprise given that the body is an infinitely intelligent organism. Humans have been healing themselves long before the invention of modern medicine techniques. Indigenous shamans have been facilitating healing for thousands of years. They gave patients hope, and through expectation, the mind initiated the changes in physiology for the body to heal.
The question is not whether there is placebo effect (power of belief in healing) but WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?? How can we consciously deliberately harness that affect??
We don’t seem to know how to produce it on demand in health and medicine. We spend enormous amount of money developing meds trying to OUTPERFORM the placebo affect. How silly!
Mindset about treatments SHAPE treatment outcomes (antihistamine prick and cream test)
Placebo effect is the power of belief, and is related to multiple psychosocial factors. One factor is expectation, which relates to a reduction in anxiety, or in expectation of reward.
The placebo effect provides insight into the complexity of consciousness and how little we really know about the mind and its ability to heal. The scientific evidence is accumulating and points towards the possibility that the mind has an unlimited healing ability.
You heard me right – UNLIMITED healing ability. ALL WITHOUT OUR, HUMAN precious mind.
This makes a complete sense but skeptics don’t like common sense until the science proves it.
Where do the mindsets come from??
The placebo effect is a mind-body phenomenon that starts in the brain, results in clinical improvement and is intimately related to the ritual of the therapeutic act. This ritual involves things such as people in the room, spoken words, syringes or other devices and even the color of the pill.
One of the most important factors that trigger expectations and believe is a verbal suggestion. Verbal suggestions are frequently given in clinical studies of the placebo effect, and these words as part of the therapeutic ritual have powerful effects on the body. This is an important concept to remember because YOUR OWN WORDS BASED ON YOUR INNATE BELIEFS ARE part of your own therapeutic ritual every single day of your life.
The placebo effect emphasizes the importance of belief in overall health and wellness. BE positive in what you say and be discerning about what you believe. YOUR MIND-BODY IS listening.
More useful questions- what is the best mindset to have, when diagnosed with fibromyalgia?
Answer” the one that empowers us. The one that enhances our belief in our body’s and mind’s ability to heal, to improve the pain. No matter what caused it.
The opposite is true also – injury to the body and negative thoughts can lead to stress, depression, anxiety and even to fear about getting injured again.
Standford University researchers found that what patients think and expect about treatments can influence health outcomes.
YOUR MINDSET CAN AFFECT YOUR RECOVERY.
Researcher Alia Crum, a psychologist at Standford describes her experience when she was 10 and broke her ankle while doing gymnastics but did not know it was broken first. She iced and taped it and competed the next day and qualified for nationals. Then she found out her ankle was broken. She basically MENTALLy overcame her injury.
Fibromyalgia CAUSES REAL pain but there is no injury. What a gift.
It is an invitation to us to utilize our brain, nervous system and mind healing potential to sway the course of the pain.
My entire coaching program is based on the premise that our brain has the power to alter the pain we feel in the body.
Once you start believing it can. And embrace the neuroplasticity as a real cause of pain, you have won.
Our brains usually need love or encouragement, sometimes both.
Our primitive brains are also wired to look for danger. Maybe in some of us the wiring is stronger than others.
What if our job was to provide reassurance to our primitive brains that we are safe, that we are strong, taking care of ourselves, attending to our needs and that things will be ok? And I am not talking about gaslighting and claiming everything will be fine if we are in real physical danger. I am talking providing our minds and nervous system reassurance and reassuring messages of safety when we are, in fact, physically ok, nobody is shooting at us or attacking us physically. Because short of physical danger, most of the time, we are ok.
The first step is to BELIEVE that we can get there – to the part where our nervous system is at peace, and we truly really believe we are ok. And that we can feel better. Things start changing then.
You can change your mindset.
The brain is NEUROPLASTIC – meaning neural networks can continue to grow, change and reorganize throughout the lifespan. By challenging yourself with new experiences and perspectives, you can FORM NEW NEURAL CONNECTIONS – OR MINDSETS – at ANY POINT in life.
I invite you to do the following exercise:
I am powerful.
I have the power (to change my neural connections).
I have the power to change my perception of pain.
I am strong, I am healthy, I am resilient.
I am learning to harness the power of my brain and nervous system
I believe in my body’s ability to heal and in my own ability to choose my own thoughts.