We need to learn how to harness placebo.It’s our inner healer at work.
In the lab, Takeo couldn’t stand it anymore. The itching was driving him crazy. He watched his right arm turn red and wondered why he’d decided to take part in this experiment. He knew he was allergic to poison ivy (Rhus radicans). So what was the point of re-exposing himself? An hour later, Takeo refused to believe what Yujiro Ikemi, founder of the Institute of Psychosomatic Medicine at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, was telling him: The Rhus radicans extract hadn’t been applied to his right arm (which, nevertheless, had continued to swell) but his left, which was showing no symptoms.
What made his right arm swell so much wasn’t poison ivy at all, but a harmless leaf. Takeo, like half the participants of this experiment, was reacting to the idea of the allergy, not the physical reality.
So what is the placebo effect? Everything we don’t know about the capacity of the brain to heal the body. Therein, undoubtedly, lies the secret of the shamans and other healers. Their rituals, chants and restorative acts address the most archaic parts of the brain, those that regulate our organism and can participate in its healing. (emphasis mine)
Personally I don’t believe most of western medicine is any more “advanced” than the shaman’s medicine. Our minds are what do a lot of real healing. Then and now. Unfortunately much of modern medicine is toxic. It’s often best to stay away.