Sugar pills as pain killers

The Placebo Effect is a common term that is thrown around these days. It stems from the medical community, wherein some interventions/treatments, a control group is given sugar pills but are told they are getting something else. Then, the people who shouldn’t be seeing benefits start to actually see them…because they expected that they would.

Your brain has convinced your body that it is receiving a “real” treatment. 

“The latest brain research shows that when the placebo effect occurs in pain patients, or in patients with depression, the changes in the brain are almost identical to those that occur when they get better with meds” (Doidge).

“One’s expectations play a critical role in the behaviour change process. Research has shown that giving people a sugar pill for extreme pain (and telling them it is morphine) can produce as much relief as a pain killer” (Gould, Weinberg).

Okay, that last paragraph is insane! Did you have any idea that your brain was THAT powerful? Have you ever stopped and thought about the incredible power you have at your disposal?

The researchers go onto talk about an experiment where “weightlifters were told that they had been given an anabolic steroid (but actually had been given a placebo), their performance increased, and then it DECREASED when they were told the true substance given” (Gould, Weinberg).

This makes me think of the little crazy thing’s athletes do to prepare for performances or events – superstition, you might call it. You know, the lucky pair of socks, the need to put the left leg in the pants first, tape your socks in a particular way. And other people look at that and say, “they are a little nutty”.

Who.the.ef.cares what other people say. If YOU feel like it is working for you, then YOU keep on doing it!

Because what did we learn from the above paragraph??

The fact that if we tell ourselves it’s helping, there is a good chance that it probably is.

Not to mention there probably is some merit in having a routine the day of an event, to take the thinking out of all the typical decisions you would make (you don’t have to think about what you’re going to eat, wear, or listen to, because those decisions have already been made. No brain power required). Routines are something that we use before or during an event. They can help focus our attention, eliminate distractions and enhance confidence.

Of course there are downfalls to this. BUT that is a story for another time.

See you on your mat!