“Cure” by Jo Marchant explores the healing power of the mind

Mar 14, 2016 | | Say something

Cure book cover. Yes Acupuncture , a homeopathic remedy or other method of alternative medicine has helped with a medical condition that could be interested in a book by award-winning science writer Jo Marchant called “Cure :. a journey of science of the mind over the body”

If you believe that alternative medicine is bunk, you should read this book as well.

Marchant, offering a revealing look at the role of the mind in medicine, was trained as a scientist . She has a Ph.D. in genetics and medical microbiology Medical College St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and she also has a title scientific communications. Skeptical look back to a series of issues from placebos and virtual reality treatments for biofeedback, the root causes of longevity and fatigue. She says goodbye to all documented effects of alternative treatments, scientists are not seeing the whole picture. And that’s not just bad science, medicine is less effective

Marchant writes in his introduction: “The healing power of the mind – or lack of it – has become a key battleground in.. the biggest struggle against irrational thinking the problem is that the skeptics try to debunk wild claims of passing on logic, evidence, and the scientific method, most are isolated those trying to convert to deny what seems patently obvious to many people – your mind influences health ;. that alternative medicines often do the job. – contributing to the lack of confidence, if not a deliberate challenge of science If scientists say that such remedies are useless, that just shows how much scientists do not know. what if we take a different approach? to recognize the role of the mind in health, we can rescue him from the clutches of pseudoscience? “

traditional pills mixed with alternative medicine Some people think of placebos as a mental, rare trick, but the pseudo-drugs often can be effective, especially in combination with other treatments. (Photo: fotoknips / Shutterstock)

placebo effect

Marchant begins with a chapter on placebos and why they are so effective – often more effective that drugs are tested. Marchant explains that our concept of placebo is the first problem.

“There has been this idea of ​​placebos as negative, suspicious,” Marchant said in an interview. “They’re being he deceived by them, or they are something that complicates clinical trials, or that people would have gotten better anyway. But there is more at stake. Placebos work through measurable biological pathways. It is an effect biological, not a vague illusion. “

there is not a single placebo effect, there are many, says Marchant. “With the placebo analgesic effect, is the release of endorphins in the brain, opiates such as morphine and heroin bind to the same receptors as endorphins placebo response is to work through the same biochemical pathway that an analgesic work through, right.? is the same, except generated by the brain, “she says.

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dopamine and prostaglandins are other drugs made by the brain that can also pop in form pills, although Marchant is clear that placebos obviously have limitations. Placebos are not going to be effective for health problems in your brain can not make your own medicine. However, there is no evidence that immune responses can be intensified or relaxed. This is necessary in the case of someone who received an organ donation and is in immune-suppressants, for example.

In many of the examples of Marchant, showing how studies have shown that a placebo in combination as-a-pill drug may mean that less of the drug is needed, it is important to reduce the side effects sometimes problematic for many drugs. It can also mean a better quality of life for those who take drugs and is less expensive. The best part? Placebos can work even when people they know are taking placebos

placebos also work for other reasons -. Especially if we consider the signs around you. “There are good evolutionary reasons we experience pain, nausea and fatigue,” says Marchant. “These things are signs of aconseguimos warning to seek help, rest, stop eating bad food, and psychological signs of our perception of a situation of power on how we feel, too.”

Think about this If people around you are pulling up, it does not make you nauseous too? After all, you may have eaten what they have, and it is probably safer if potentially bad food are not kept in the stomach. You may know, intellectually, that the same food is not eaten, however, if tide anyway. Our bodies are very in tune with our mind, and those signs of pain or exhaustion intensified if we are stressed. That response of fight or flight makes us more aware of even small changes in our bodies -. And we can keep safe

how virtual reality can be effective

SnowWorld virtual reality An image of SnowWorld, the virtual reality game that can help relieve the pain that burns patients experience. (Photo: Hunter Hoffman / University of Washington)

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Marchant also check out the virtual reality and the exciting work being done with patients who use virtual reality technology to combat pain chronic and severe. It can be effective, to distract people during painful procedures when they are already at the top of analgesics. As described in the book, significant reductions in pain from burns victims who were completely immersed in a beautiful world VR ice (see above) were found, while they were receiving treatments necessary. It works because the brain can only focus on so many things at once, and the pain response is damped when patients can explore a virtual world.

Virtual reality has its limitations. At this time, this type of treatment is “… most useful for pain or procedures as may be in the VR session for that period of acute time,” says Marchant. For chronic pain, it is obvious that you can not be in virtual reality all the time, but there is still something to learn. “What this research tells us about is the power of distraction and if we are involved in other activities, which helps to reduce pain,” says Marchant.

Everything in your head?

For anyone who has exhausted themselves after a long day of hiking, or swimming a marathon epic chapter Marchant on fatigue is enlightening – and a little embarrassed. For a long time it was assumed that the physical exhaustion occurs when the body out of “oxygen or fuel, or damaged by the accumulation of toxic byproducts such as lactic acid,” Marchant writes runs.

but looking at the sets of physical data, including muscle use in long distance cycling and the use of oxygen in the corridors not support that premise. In fact, our feelings of fatigue odds are more mental than physical. “Obviously, there is a physical limit to what the body can achieve. But instead of responding directly to tired muscles [Timothy David] Noakes and [Alan] St. Clair Gibson proposed that the brain acts before this limit, making feeling tired and that forces us to stop exercising long before any signs of damage occur peripherals. in other words, fatigue is not a physical event but a feeling or emotion invented by the brain to prevent catastrophic damage. “

The margin of error means you can not overstep away very easily. It makes sense in an evolutionary context, but it also means that when you feel exhausted after a long day on the slopes, that’s mostly mental, not physical.

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The power of pain control

Marchant also seen in biofeedback , which presents several studies have proven the effectiveness of regulation of heart rate: There is convincing evidence that patients can lower blood pressure, and “tests have also found benefits for pain, anxiety and depression,” using a simple program to regulate the heartbeat, she writes. Part of the reason is that exercises specific breathing – some of which may be familiar to those who have practiced meditation – induce what is called a “relaxation response”, the opposite of fight or flight. She gets in the physiology of how it works, focusing on the vagus nerve, which provides information from the body to the brain and vice versa. It is a great technique reminder of how these systems work in tandem.

There are a number of other chapters in the book of Marchant (the causes of longevity among some communities) was fascinating, but the feeling I have in reading was one of empowerment. Whether you are looking to use the placebo effect to an amplifier of the effectiveness of the medication you are taking, using distraction or relaxation to reduce symptoms of pain or other discomfort, or question if you can push your body a little harder the recurring theme in the “cure” is about each person working within themselves to address their particular problems. – along with a medical professional course

I was told Marchant each of the areas She looks involves people who are more involved in their own health care and get to know better their bodies.

“Esduda on treating patients as individuals. We have moved away that with randomized controlled trials. and that has been a major breakthrough and has led to great advances in medicine and be able to tell if the drugs work, “she said.” while we have been ruled out other elements of care and all in addition to the biochemical effects of a drug. All those other things, is out, so they have no way to measure / value of those other things. I hope that this research brings balance back so we can have a shape based on the evidence to include human elements in conventional care. “

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

This article was originally published on mnn, Read the original article here

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