For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed in the power of the mind. Mind over matter, visualization, belief leading to reality–I bought into them all. But I’m also a trial attorney, and as I say in The Elegant Warrior, in order to win your case you’ve got to have evidence. So I’ve always sought evidence of the power of the mind. I recently read a study that provided just that.  Want evidence that your mind works wonders? Read on.

In Japan, investigators took 13 people who were extremely allergic to poison ivy. On one arm they rubbed a harmless leaf but told the patients it was poison ivy. All 13 of the patients broke out in a rash. On the other arm they touched the patients with poison ivy, but told them it was harmless. Only two patients broke out in a rash. 

These patients’ beliefs changed their bodies. Now that’s power. 

This study shows a few things. First, I believe it shows the value of trust. The patients trusted the authority of their doctors (not for long!) and therefore trusted that the leaf would or would not cause a rash. That trust led their mind in a certain direction. When I train people to become better advocates, we work on credibility because credibility and trust change us and our relationships.

Second, it shows the power of the mind. What you believe becomes your reality. The evidence is clear, in this study and in hosts of other studies on the placebo effect. The word placebo comes from the Latin “I shall please” I am pleased that our minds have such power. How will you use the power of your mind to change your life? Let us know in the comments!


2 thoughts on “The Power of the Mind

  1. I asked a friend who is an MD, if Dr.s should try prescribing placebos to patients, because they work so well… Of course he answered that it would be deceitful and would go against the hyopcratic oath.

    Here, Shankar Vedantam tells of a study at the Placebo (center?) at Beth Israel. The researcher wondered if a revealed placebo could work on a patient. No one had ever asked that. The results gave strong signs that yes, a revealed placebo can work 100% on a person under certain conditions. The conditions are that the patient fully trusts the Dr.’s skill, and has a feeling of that the doctor genuinely cares and gives attention to the patient’s discomfort.

    I am happy to see that it shows that a relationship of trust in other people is also important in the mind changing process.

    Here is the podcast:

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