The Placebo Effect

At Womad a week ago, I went to the Village of Wellness and had a chakra balancing session. This involved sitting backwards on a tilted chair, face pressed into a cushioned-hole, clutching a big crystal in each hand, while a lady had me visualise the various chakric colours as I took deep breaths. She then decided which of my chakras needed more work and I breathed that colour into the relevant spot for longer than the others. She also sprayed colours into the air and waved their energy around. Afterward, she said I needed more colour in my life, as a general rule, and that I needed to be more childlike. Both are valid points, hence the fantastically accomplished drawing you see above.

This session occurred beside a lily pond in beautiful Pukekura Park, with the meditative stomp of the Master Drummers of Burundi in the background. Indeed, I felt better when I left the place and I don’t care if the effects were real or imaginary. The Placebo Effect, in case you don’t know, posits that a treatment often works simply because a person believes, or expects, it will make them better. This is why in medical trials, when half the patients are given the actual drug and the other half are given a dummy, the results will sometimes come up even.

Other mind/body/spirit treatments I have tried include : massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, iridology, flower essenses, homeopathy, ayurvedic stuff like Shirodhara, minerals and dietary supplements, tarot readings, and counselling. Who knows whether any of this stuff truly helps or whether it’s just the placebo effect? Again, I don’t care. I just like it.

One Comment

Pujari Dickson

yes the placebo effect is one of the mysteries of life. just as affirmations can change thought patterns i suggest these “alternative natural therapies” work the same way – subtle but real. we now know that what we believe has impact on our whole being and believing in the healing effects of these modalities works the same way. Loved the drawing!


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