Whitney Houston - When You Believe (From The Prince Of Egypt) ft. Mariah Carey
If You Believe It -- Or Not
"Do they work?" a friend asked me. She's been taking one
product, thought it wasn't working, then stopped, but her hot flashes came on
like a blast furnace rather than the uncomfortable hot breeze like they had
been. Now she's thinking of going back on.
My unscientific thought about most of these products, which
haven't been proven to work, is that it's the placebo effect. But a very
interesting article by health journalist Shirley Wang in the Wall Street
Journal finds that there's more to the placebo effect than we thought – even if
you're a non-believer.
Several recent studies show that the mind can truly
influence the body, leading to improvements in health and even changing the
Take the case of a study that tracked hotel-room attendants
who were told they were getting a good workout at their jobs. After 4 weeks,
their body fat, weight, and blood pressure all decreased. But their
counterparts doing the same exact job who weren't told they were getting fit on
the job showed no such changes. Neither group modified their diet or exercise.
A 2007 study of acupuncture for hot flashes found that both
those who received real and "sham" acupuncture (the needles were not placed
along meridians) reported a 60% reduction in hot flashes, though 7 weeks post
treatment more women receiving the real deal reported a decrease in symptoms.
Finally, in another study, even those patients who
didn't believe in the placebo effect reported relief from irritable bowel
syndrome discomfort knowing they were taking a placebo. Increased expectations
and an openness to change may be the reason why.
So do those drug store remedies work? If you
believe or even if you don't, the answer could be yes.
Video: When You Believe with Maren Morris - Pentatonix (From Pentatonix: A Not So Silent Night)
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Stephen W. Porges, PhD