Sunday, February 24, 2013

A commitment & Placebos

I am sitting here in my bathrobe at 6 PM, heating pad on my back and a fresh box of Kleenex at my side. I have a head cold and am still recovering from a small back injury. What does it have to do with Kung Fu? Not a thing, other than I decided to meet my commitment to blog weekly, and Sunday is my blog day.
 However, in a related theme, I have been looking at the Placebo effect and its relationship to our health. The main thing I discovered in my reading is that “things that can be measured” have the lowest placebo effect by %, and those “things that can only be felt” like pain, had the highest success rate with Placebos. Hey, wait, there is a Kung Fu tie in here, as Chi is something that is felt, not measured.
Conventional western medicine wants to discount anything that they do not have a machine to measure it with, as set forth in the unwritten rules of the religion of Progress. What is this religion of Progress? It is the belief that things are getting better and better, in a lineal fashion, and the proof is in the machines and inventions that we are continuously improving, which are in turn intended to improve life as we know it. In other regions that do not have this bias, many other things are possible. People that believe that we have a life force or Chi, will also be inclined to believe in energy medicine, Reiki, and maybe, on the opposite end, Voodoo.  These beliefs can cause their brains to reinterpret pain signals as not as severe, lift depression and other effects.
So is the real definition of the “placebo effect” more properly stated as “we don’t have a machine that can measure that”, and the self interested person will look at their body as more than “just a machine” and entertain the possibility that there is more to this than a western world view will admit?
Disclaimer, my wife has been training in energy medicine, and practicing on me. I am still working on sensing my Chi, and am a regular reader of the Archdruid Report, and have his introductory book on Druidism, but have not put in the work required to become a Druid. I also regularly see a Chiropractor and Massage therapist, and try Acupuncture when it seems appropriate. At the same time, I am seeing a lung specialist and am on western type drugs for my breathing condition.
Dennis Donohue

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