In 6 Stories To Make You Believe In The Power Of The Mind To Heal You, I shared with you evidence that the mind’s thoughts, beliefs, and feelings can heal- or harm- the body. The response to this post was so enthusiastic that I felt inspired to share more stories with you. The more verifiable scientific evidence you collect for your skeptical mind, the more you will prove to yourself that the mind really can heal the body.
As described by Dr. Bernie Siegel in Love, Medicine & Miracles, a chemotherapy regimen called “EPOH” was being studied in a research protocol for efficacy. Most of the study centers were reporting consistent results- some benefit from the chemotherapy, but nothing earth-shattering. But one study center was getting dramatically better results, so the research team investigated. What were they doing differently?
Turns out the doctor in the center with better results had renamed the chemotherapy regimen. Instead of telling his patients they were getting OPEH, he rearranged the letters and dosed them with HOPE.
Fake Surgery Heals Knees
In an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Bruce Moseley, an orthopedic surgeon renowned for the knee surgeries he performed on people with debilitating knee pain, reported about a brilliant study he designed to prove that his signature knee surgery was more effective than others. The patients in one group of the study got Dr. Moseley’s famous surgery. The other group of patients underwent an elaborately crafted sham surgery, during which the patient was sedated, three incisions were made in the same location as those getting the real surgery, and the patient was shown a prerecorded tape of someone else’s surgery on the video monitor. Dr. Moseley even splashed water around to mimic the sound of the lavage procedure. Then he sewed the knee back up without actually doing anything.
As expected, one third of the patients getting the real surgery experienced resolution of their knee pain. But what really shocked the researchers was that those getting the sham surgery had the same result! In fact, at one point in the study, those getting the sham surgery were actually having less knee pain than those getting the real surgery, probably because they didn’t undergo the trauma of the surgery.
What did Dr. Moseley’s patients think about the study results? As one World War II veteran who benefited from Dr. Moseley’s placebo knee surgery said, “The surgery was two years ago and the knee has never bothered me since. It’s just like my other knee now.”