Encouraging News on Placebos

In one of the most encouraging articles I’ve read for a long time[1], 97% of a sample of 783 UK family doctors reported in a study carried out by the Universities of Oxford and Southampton that they had given a placebo to at least one of their patients. Some said they do so on a regular basis. Half had told their patients that the remedies had helped other patients, without specifically telling them they were prescribing a placebo.

This is a huge step forward towards general recognition of the role of the mind in health, ill-health and healing, and acceptance of the potential of informational remedies. Apparently even the UK Royal College of General Practitioners now acknowledges that there is a place for placebos in medicine.

A co-author of the study, Dr Jeremy Howick, was quoted as saying, ‘This is not about doctors deceiving patients,’ (which is how Big Pharma has often characterised the use of placebos) but that ‘doctors clearly believe that placebos can help patients’.

Evenso, the BBC report still refers to ‘sham’ treatments’ and ‘unproven treatments’ as if the author, Michelle Roberts, is still not really convinced.  She writes that three quarters of doctors claimed to offer ‘unproven treatments’ such as complementary therapies on a daily or weekly basis, and even refers to ‘fake’ acupuncture (which has been used successfully for over five thousand years)  in such terms. She misses the point – in most cases it is not the medicine that brings about healing, but the patient’s own healing abilities restoring equilibrium and removing the resistance to full health.

Research shows that placebos are most effective a relieving subjective conditions such as pain, and their effect is based on cultivating the patient’s expectations of a cure. Hence the size, colour and packaging of placebos all play a role, as does the presentation and manner of the practitioner who prescribes them.

There are still those who consider the use of placebos as ‘fooling’ patients by giving them ‘useless’ pills and potions, even if they help bring about a cure. Some consider them dangerous because they deny the patient ‘effective’ treatment (by which they mean bio-chemical intervention), and others that they damage to doctor-patient relationship. Others claim that some ‘placebo’ treatments, such as prescribing vitamin supplements, are not inert, in that taking too much of some vitamins is harmful.

Then there are those who dismiss phenomena such as ‘spontaneous remission’ as pure chance and unworthy of investigation when in fact they could throw invaluable light on the healing process.

But in the longer term there is much more at stake here than whether placebos are unethical or ineffective, or whether this person or that person gets better and stays well. Our view of mind-body and informational medicine is related to our understanding of what human beings actually are and how we function. This is the greater prize.

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.10.2018

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[1] BBC website 21st March 2013, also widely reported on radio and TV.

Healing power is in the mind of the patient – the work of Dr P.P. Quimby

I’ve been to many healers in my time, and it seems to me that the techniques they employ say a great deal about the practitioner’s beliefs about what constitutes a human being. This – explicitly or implicitly – is what guides their healing methods. If you think a human body is simply a physical, mechanical thing, as many doctors used to do, you treat it accordingly. If you see it as intelligent, responsive, self-regulating, then your approach is entirely different.

Dr Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a real groundbreaker of healing, was in no doubt. He saw humans as mind, body and spirit, and showed that our healing power comes primarily from within. Nowadays, few people have heard of him and yet his influence is reflected in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and well known writers such as Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Bernie Segal, Byron Katie, and many others.

Quimby

Quimby was born on February 16, 1802. A clock-maker by trade, he lived most of his life in Belfast, Maine. New England. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education and no medical training, but he had a practical, enquiring mind and unparalleled determination.

As a young man, he contracted tuberculosis. Doctors couldn’t help, so he decided to help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding as the fresh air would do him good, but he was too weak to ride, so he borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby got down and walked with the horse. When they got to the top, it suddenly started trotting. As Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart he ran down the hill with the horse, which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to due to his illness.

Back home, he realised he was breathing freely. The pain had gone (it never returned) – he had experienced a spontaneous healing. In that moment he dedicated himself to understanding what brought this about. He reasoned that there must be something within that can make us well, of which we’re not normally aware.

First he studied the work of the hypnotist Anton Mesmer, who had quite a reputation in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He worked with a young man called Lucius who, under hypnosis, could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure. Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had.  So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism and instead focussed on curing disease through the mind, getting his patients to see causes for themselves.His approach was evidence-based and rigorously scientific. He trusted no opinions, only knowledge.

He studied the healing methods described in the New Testament. Quimby did not regard the gospel healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of truth as represented by Universal Law.

Ironically he was vehemently anti-religion. He believed that the Church had irresponsibly abandoned any interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. He studied the New Testament because he wanted to understand and correct the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was a punishment for some unpardonable sin.

His healing methods were highly unusual. He sat with his patients until he had a mental impression of the problem and its cause. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body. Then he silently challenged the cause in his own mind, addressing his comments to the spirit within which, he argued, could never be sick. Sometimes barely a word was spoken as Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

‘The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.

‘This I do partly mentally and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impressions and establish the truth, and the truth is the cure. . . . A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.’

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure as follows (I paraphrase slightly):

‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Quimby knew that one mind can influence another, and believed that most disease is due to false reasoning. To remove disease permanently, it is necessary to know the error in thinking which caused it. ‘The explanation,’ he said, ‘is the cure’.  Half a century before Freud, he explained that many of the harmful beliefs are located in the unconscious mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with.

Quimby healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses, most of whom had not responded to conventional treatment. In the end, it was his very success that killed him. He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866, having seen over 10,000 patients in his last seven years.

PPQ

Quimby left behind detailed journals, and some of his clients devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his methods. Rev Warren Felt Evans wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted most of his working life to the task.

Nowadays we have scientific proof that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health. Placebos illustrate the effectiveness of suggestion as a powerful healer and CBT and NLP have proved their worth in many situations. Perhaps it is also time for Quimby to receive his due credit. If his ideas and methods were investigated anew, who knows how many people could benefit?

© Feeling Good All The Time, 8.10.2018

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An empty shell

Today’s doctors study anatomy in great detail, aided by constant improvements in microscope technology, electronic scanning and, in recent decades, computers. But what exactly are they studying?

If you want to see what a human body looks like with its mental and emotional energies taken away, look out for Professor Gunther von Hagens’ travelling Bodyworlds Exhibition. Here you will find real human bodies displayed in all their glory (or stripped of their dignity, depending on your point of view).

The Professor is a controversial figure. In the 1970s he developed a technique called ‘plastination’, which removes the moisture from human and animal bodies and enables him to preserve them more or less indefinitely.

I found the Bodyworlds Exhibition a powerful educational experience. Waiting to greet me were over two hundred exhibits. Some were simply displays of body parts, including both male and female brains sliced like ham, a smoker’s black lungs opened up and compared with a non-smoker’s, and the tubes inside a scrotum drawn out to their full length, about a metre or so.

Others displayed complete cadavers with their skin removed, their bones, muscles and internal organs arranged in a variety of poses, each designed to demonstrate different anatomical features. A variety of athletic poses illustrated the use of muscle systems; there were plastinates riding a plastinated horse, playing basketball, kneeling before a cross and so on.

Juan Valverde

One stood proud, holding his skin in one hand like a blanket and unashamedly revealing his internal organs, mimicking a similar pose on an anatomical plate dated 1559 by Juan Valverde de Amusco in which a man holds a knife in one hand and his own skin in the other.

Another opened his arms like a pope to reveal all the organs of his stomach and chest cavity and another the torso of a pregnant woman sliced vertically in half to show the womb and foetus in situ.

It is easy to see why von Hagens is accused of publicity seeking. Indeed, press reports in 2009 that he was planning a sex show featuring plastinates attracted hundreds of complaints. Politicians and churchmen lined up to label it revolting and unacceptable, and a short video about the exhibit was banned in several countries.

But despite the protests, the Professor insists that his work is educational. Visitors see the structure and inner workings of the human body and the long-term impact of diseases and are brought face to face with the effects of poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.

I certainly learned a lot, and my occasional discomfort never turned into offence. But as I left the exhibition, one thought kept recurring. I had not been looking at whole human beings at all: whatever had kept them alive and made them human – their very humanness – was no longer there. 

Without our non-physical attributes – what some philosophers call the ghost in the maching – we are nothing but an empty shell.

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.7.2018

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365 Spirituality book

How To Books, 2007

Mind-Body Healing the Quimby Way

All illness has a psycho-somatic component. Often it’s hard to tell where the boundary lies between the mind and body. One great pioneering healer knew no bounds; his name was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.

Quimby

He was born on February 16, 1802. He was a clock-maker in Belfast, Maine, where he lived most of his life. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education, and no medical training or qualifications. But he had a practical, enquiring mind.

As a young man, he became desperately ill with tuberculosis. His lungs were wasting away and doctors couldn’t help. He decided to try and help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding – the fresh air would do him good. But he was too weak to ride a horse, so be borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby walked up the hill with the horse. When they got to the top, the horse suddenly started trotting. Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart and ran down the hill with the horse – which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to.

When he got home, he realised he was breathing freely and the pain had gone. It never returned. He dedicated the rest of his life to understanding what brought this spontaneous healing about. He reasoned there must be something within us, that we’re not normally aware of, that can make us well.

He learned of the work of Anton Mesmer, the hypnotist, who had gained a reputation for remarkable healings in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He met a young man called Lucius who was an excellent hypnotic subject. Under hypnosis, Lucius could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure.

Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had. So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism. Instead, he focussed on curing disease through the mind (mental healing). His emphasis was on getting his patients to see causes for themselves. He wanted to help the patient see life in an entirely different way. About this time, his own clairvoyant faculties began to develop.

He dedicated himself to discovering the truth behind the New Testament healings. In the gospels, Jesus was said to heal first the mind, then the body. He removed the cause of the disease and the physical effect ceased. Quimby did not regard Jesus’ healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of Universal Law.

Many thought him a charlatan, but those he helped saw him as a pioneer, a mystic. He healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses. He also carried out distance healing. Most of his cases had not responded to conventional treatment. Some thought he was most successful among the credulous, but there’s no doubt he brought about many marvellous cures.

He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866. It is said he saw over 10,000 patients in his last seven years. Later writers attributed his success to four main factors:

1.       He had a deep sympathy for human suffering.

2.       He was an authentic and original thinker. It took a great deal of courage to do what he did and teach what he taught in 19th Century New England.

3.       His approach was rigorously scientific. He demanded proof and did not trust opinions, only knowledge.

4.       He understood the harm that organised religion of his day had done to people and the need to reverse this thinking. He believed that the Church had abdicated its interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. His interest in the New Testament was mainly to understand the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was normal or that they were ill because G_d was punishing them for some unpardonable sin.

Quimby’s Healing Method

Quimby believed that the healing power is present in the mind of the patient. He sat down with his patients and put himself in rapport with them. He addressed his comments to the ‘spirit within’. He held that the spirit within is at one with G_d and never sick.

He used his intuition to discover the real source of the problem. He visualised the person’s spirit form standing beside the body. The spirit form imparted to him the cause of the problem. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

“The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness….

A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.”

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure like this (I paraphrase):  ‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Sometimes barely a word was spoken – Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient. Quimby’s highly developed intuition and powers of concentration were vital in his success. Today he would be called a medical intuitive, because he could ‘sense’ what the problem was and sometimes apply a remedy by telepathy.

He knew – predating Freud by half a century – that many of the patient’s unhelpful beliefs were located in the Unconscious Mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with. The Unconscious is directly responsive to thought and embodies our fears, beliefs, hopes, errors, and joys. Thought, emotion and belief all impact on health, and these can be changed. Quimby found that the most harmful belief – which he encountered a great deal – was that G_d was punishing the person for their sins by making them ill.

Writings

Quimby left behind detailed journals which explained his philosophy and methods. In addition, some of his clients published their own books and devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his discoveries. The main one was Rev Warren Felt Evans. He wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869). His ideas also found their way into the writings of Mrs Mary Baker Eddy, whose most famous work, ‘Science and Health’, was published in 1875. (more on her later)

Quimby didn’t publish his writings. After his death, his son George held on to his manuscripts but refused to publish them until after Mrs Eddy’s death. Only in 1920 were edited excerpts published (by Horatio Dresser, son of Julius Dresser, a patient), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted much of his life to this task.

Every New Thought thinker and writer has been influenced by Quimby, and so have many of the great psychologists and philosophers including the Louise Hay, Milton Erickson, Caroline Myss, Bandler and Grinder (NLP), Ernest Holmes, the Cognitive-Behavioural therapists and many others. Most acknowledge their debt.

Piano keys

Quimby was far ahead of his time. One of his most famous sayings is, ‘Take a piano. The same keys that produce discord will produce harmony.’ What did he mean? Simply that the same laws  of thought and belief that can produce discord and misery can also produce harmony and happiness.

At last people are waking up to the incredible contribution he made. Science is still catching up, and one day – hopefully before too long – it will.

©David Lawrence Preston, 2015

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The greatest mind-body healer?

The greatest mind-body healer of recent times was a diminutive and rather brusque character
who lived in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century. His name was Phineas
Parkhurst Quimby. He deserves to be much better known.

QuimbyHaving cured himself of tuberculosis, considered impossible in those days, he developed a healing method that focused on changing the destructive beliefs of his patient. These dysfunctional beliefs, he asserted, were the root cause of all health problems.

He wrote, ‘If you have been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come into contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.’

Quimby’s methods were highly unconventional. Usually he imagined a courtroom
scene in which he (an attorney) pleaded with a judge (the patient’s subconscious) to release
the thought patterns that created the illness. Sometimes he challenged the patient’s beliefs aloud, but as his skills developed, would challenge them without a word being voiced, as he silently ‘intuited’ the cause of the problem and ‘projected’ healing thoughts into the mind of the patient. This he could do in their presence or at a distance. He brought about many cures without even meeting the patient!

Quimby fervently believed – in opposition to the medical and clerical ‘wisdom’ of his day that health is the birthright and natural state of every human being. The life force or ‘Intelligence’ which sustains us was like a TV station broadcasting health and well-being for all, but could be blocked by erroneous beliefs which prevent us from enjoying long and happy lives.

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of him. Few have, even though his achievements were well documented. He helped over ten thousand people  and left behind a voluminous body of writings. He influenced almost every mind-body healer who came after, whether they were aware of him or not. The best accounts, though, came from those whom he had cured. Several testified to his prowess and wrote detailed accounts of his methods and results, including one, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her own healing movement and claimed his discoveries as her own.

PPQ

Quimby practised an early form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  His methods were also a forerunner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, on whom much of NLP is based, knew all about him). Many best-selling authors have made a fortune writing about the mind-body connection – they would be nowhere without him.

Awareness, intention, attention, thought, imagination and belief – correctly applied – are the keys to mind-body healing. I sum this up as the I-T-I-A Formula; Intention, Thinking, Imagination and Action. When all four are applied, as Quimby knew, the results can be astounding.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 29.3.2017

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For further information on the I-T-I-A Formula, see also

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2015/03/the-i-t-i-a-formula/

For further information on the place of mind-body techniques in healing, see:

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

 

365 Spirituality book

How to Books, 2007

Healing the body with the mind

Following the success of Barbara Mohr’s ‘Cosmic Ordering’[1] and Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’[2] in 2006, the ancient spiritual Law known as the Law of Attraction has come to the fore. It is enshrined in Buddhism, Taoism and the Vedic and Hebrew scriptures. In the Hebrew Scriptures King Solomon went so far as to say, ‘For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,’[3] a message constantly reiterated in the New Testament.

At first glance these modern interpretations appear to suggest that you can enjoy perfect health, acquire massive riches and perform miracles just by asking the ‘universe’ for what you want and believing without question that it’s already yours – despite any appearances to the contrary. Don’t concern yourself with the ‘how’ – let the universe take care of the details. When the time is right, you will receive exactly what you asked for.

In the context of healing, this recipe has appeared to work for some people, but, of course, nothing is ever that simple. Sure, the same universe that makes a person unwell also has the means to cure them, as long as they are willing to do something for themselves. When the right causes are laid, the right effects surely follow.

The problem is, we are never in control of all the causes. You can eat all the right foods, exercise, regularly detox, control your thoughts by denying illness and affirming health, constantly assure yourself that you are fit and well, young and healthy, and still contract a seriously illness.

Research has revealed correlations between certain ways of thinking and believing and the restoration of good health after illness. For example, the Institute of Noetic Sciences identified the factors that characterise ‘spontaneous remissions’. Among them were taking full personal responsibility, facing up to the crisis, looking for meaning in the illness, choosing a new, more fulfilling way of life, learning to express their emotions, close family relationships, setting one’s own goals and reappraising old beliefs that are no longer helpful or appropriate to their situation. Emphasis was also placed on relieving stress and seeking a renewed spiritual awareness through a spiritual practice such as prayer or meditation.

These are correlations; nothing is certain. These physical and mental disciplines massively increase your chances of good health, but they can never guarantee it. Because life’s not like that!

©Feelinggoodallthetime 28.3.2017

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How to Books, 2007

[1] Barbara Mohr, The Cosmic Ordering Service, Mobius, 2006, ISBN 978-0340933329

[2] Rhonda Byrne, The Secret,  Simon and Schuster, 2006, ISBN 978-0340933329

[3] Proverbs 23: 7 KJV

Healing and the Imagination

The imagination can be a potent force in healing.

It’s no exaggeration that patients who cannot imagine themselves well are unlikely to be or stay so, and an increasing number of doctors and complementary practitioners agree. For example, in pain control clinics patients are taught to imagine the sore area going cool and numb, and visualise a dial or slide control representing the degree of pain and turn it down. It works because pain is a subjective experience highly susceptible to mental processes.

Try this: sit down comfortably, take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on your dominant hand. Imagine it getting warmer. What’s happening? Now imagine it getting cooler. Any difference? Experiments using sophisticated measuring equipment have registered significant changes in skin temperature when people use their imagination in this way.

Leading physicians such as Dr Carl Simonton, Dr Bernie Segal and Dr Dean Ornish have written and lectured widely about their experiences using the imagination to assist the healing process. Dr Simonton teaches his patients to visualise tumours shrinking and the cancer disappearing. Dr Ornish uses creative imagery, nutrition, exercise and group therapy to clear coronary heart blockages. Dr Segal uses a range of techniques to galvanise the healing power of the mind, including visualisation. In each case, the results are well documented. This author, too, has used it (with hypnosis) to relieve a range of conditions including eczema, frozen shoulder, muscular aches and pains, blushing, allergies, eczema, headaches, obesity, bed wetting and a variety of fears and phobias.

Using the imagination, especially the creative visual imagination, works because of two quirks of the unconscious mind (where the body’s automatic regulation systems are located). The first is, the unconscious processes pictures and feelings better than words and ideas. Tell your heart to speed up and nothing happens.  Imagine yourself waking down a dark alley with the sound of footsteps getting louder behind you and suddenly a heavy hand on your shoulder…..

The other is even quirkier: the unconscious can’t distinguish between fact and fantasy, ‘real’ and imagined. That’s why people wake in a sweat after a bad dream and cry at the cinema. So if you create a mental image of yourself healthy and healed, your unconscious works to make it a reality.

Creative imagery has proved its worth in healing time and time again. Katy came to see me after suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for many years. It made her days miserable and kept her awake at night. IBS is a stress-related condition exacerbated by poor diet.

I took her through a couple of guided visualisations and encouraged her to practise at home. She relaxed deeply and imagined she was examining her bowel from the inside. In her imagination she created a vivid mental picture of the problem area. It looked rough, angry, red and sore. She then imagined herself smearing the affected area with healing oils and balms, sensing the discomfort melting away, seeing the angry red change to a healthy pink. Finally, she turned on a make-believe tap in the bloodstream which provided extra nutrients and oxygen, to encourage healthy bacteria to flow in.

Within two weeks the IBS had almost disappeared. After a month, it was completely clear.

Try it yourself, but first a word of warning: no amount of creative imagery alone will cure you unless you change bad habits and take necessary action in other areas (e.g. diet, exercise, rest etc.) too.

 

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.3.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Illness, Health and Self-Awareness

Scientific research increasingly shows that negative thoughts and emotions can make us ill and positive thoughts and emotions help to keep us well. Happy, contented, emotionally well-adjusted and optimistic people have more energy and get ill less often. They also live longer. How, then, can we use these insights to heal our bodies and stay healed?

The starting point is self-awareness. Every great teacher, from Lao Tsu, the Buddha, Socrates, King Solomon to modern day gurus like Dr Deepak Chopra and Osho have agreed.

Most illnesses arise from miscommunication between the body and unconscious mind, telling us that some issues in our lives need to be addressed. Often, when we address an issue, the problem clears up without further intervention.

Correctly handled, illness can be the trigger for personal development and the gateway to spiritual growth. Along with the pain and suffering comes the opportunity to change. Many health problems are primarily due to poor self-management.

If you think this is an exaggeration, here’s an example. Mick was a wealthy businessman, forty-three years old. He was diagnosed as suffering from gout, a disease in which an excess of uric acid in the blood causes excruciatingly painful swelling in the joints. On some days, he could only walk using crutches.

For several years he relied on medication but had no idea what was causing. Then one day a health practitioner told him the main cause of gout was opulent living – especially a poor diet. Mick was certainly guilty of that. His alcohol consumption was well over the recommended limit, and he loved high fat, sweetened, refined foods, especially generous helpings of meat, blue cheeses and desserts.

The practitioner gave him a diet sheet which prohibited (among other things) red meat, dairy foods and alcohol, and advised an increase in salads, fresh fruit and vegetables. ‘Sod this,’ he said. ‘I’m not a flamin’ rabbit! If I follow this I’ll starve.’ So he carried on as before. Needless to say, the condition did not improve.

In time the agony got worse and he came round to following the practitioner’s advice. He made a full recovery.

Mick’s was a very obvious wake-up call. Usually, though, the problem is not so apparent. The sufferer may have adopted a lifestyle that harms them physically, mentally, emotional and/or spiritually without being aware. But if they ask themselves, ‘What could I learn from this? What needs to be addressed? What is it telling me about my lifestyle, my way of thinking, my hopes and fears, beliefs, values and personal relationships?’ the answers may be revealing. Then changes can be made.

Self-awareness includes:

  • Intention: Do you want to be well? To be healed? If this sounds like a silly question, be aware that some people would rather stay ill! Why? Because illness can itself be the solution to other problems. It can provide justification for failure, avoiding responsibility and inability to cope. It attracts sympathy and attention. Practitioners can quickly spot such people because they know that if the patient does not want to be healed, their healing efforts will be in vain.
  • Habitual thinking patterns can block the healing process. Every thought you entertain affects every cell of your body and can weaken the healing process.
  • Beliefs are powerful thought-forms that deliver a direct command to the nervous system. Author Norman Cousins (who cured himself of a terminal illness after doctors had given up on him) wrote: ‘Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is.’ Beliefs do not have to be conscious; they continue to influence you even when you’re not thinking about them and affect us whether they are true or false.
  • Recurrent emotions that need to be addressed.
  • Faith: another word for total belief. People with faith in a positive outcome are often the best fighters.

Self-awareness and mindfulness are the starting points for all progress, from confidence building and self-esteem to physical wellness.

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.3.2017

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How to Books, 2007

Quimby: The Silent Healer

Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was born on February 16, 1802. He was one of seven children brought up in a modest family background. When he was still a toddler, the family moved to Belfast, Maine, where he spent most of his life.

As a boy, he became interested in the sciences, but had no formal tuition in any of them. He became a skilled clockmaker and inventor with several patents to his name. One of his clocks, on a church tower in Belfast, is 170 years old and still keeps perfect time. He married in 1827 and had four children.

Julius Dresser, a patient who knew him well, described him as ‘a small man weighing less than 9 stone (57 Kg), well proportioned, with dark eyes, a piercing gaze and a somewhat nervous disposition. ‘

In his early thirties he became desperately ill with tuberculosis. He became so frail he had to give up his clock-making business. He later wrote, ‘Thirty years ago I was very sick, and was considered fast wasting away…. I was told that my liver was affected and my kidneys diseased, and that my lungs were nearly consumed. I believed all this, from the fact that I had all the symptoms, and could not resist the opinion of the physician….  Losing all hope, I gave up to die.’

Before long, Quimby became disillusioned with doctors. In those days, general medical practice killed as many people as it cured. If they couldn’t help him, he reasoned, he would have to help himself. A friend suggested he should take up horse-riding as the fresh air would do his ailing lungs some good. But he was too weak to mount a horse, so he borrowed a horse and cart and wiled away the hours exploring the dirt tracks of Southern Maine.

One day the horse stopped at the bottom of a hill and refused to pull the cart any further. He climbed down and walked the horse up the hill. When they reached the summit, he got back on the cart and drove the horse down the hill. When he arrived home, he realised he was breathing freely and the pain had gone. Although not cured, he felt so much better he was able to resume his business.

But Quimby wasn’t going to let matters rest there. If the doctor’s diagnosis was correct, he shouldn’t have been able to do what he had just done, so what brought this about? In trying to understanding what had occurred, he reasoned there must be something inside us that can make us well.

By the mid 1830s, he had heard of the work of Anton Mesmer, a Viennese doctor with a reputation for remarkable healings in Europe. He claimed that he could correct imbalances using magnets. The cure was supposed to be due to a mysterious fluid which entered the patient’s body via the magnet, thus healing the condition.

In 1838, Quimby attended a demonstration of ‘mesmerism’ given by a Dr Charles Poyenne. He was fascinated by what he saw and heard. Quimby was not the type to easily accept others’ opinions, so he looked into the subject and soon he was an expert hypnotist. He met a young man named Lucius Burkmar who was not only an excellent hypnotic subject, but also had extraordinary clairvoyant powers. Under hypnosis Lucius could apparently ‘examine’ a patient, describe their disease and suggest a remedy.

The two men conducted public demonstrations, which brought them to the attention of the church. Local religious leaders denounced his work as the work of the devil. In response Quimby accused the Church of undermining the Christian faith.

The medical fraternity were no kinder. Most condemned him as a charlatan, although some local doctors sought his help with patients who were not responding to treatment. He was often called upon to anesthetize patients for surgery, since the only anaesthetic available in those days was a large shot of alcohol.

On one occasion, he was called upon to hypnotise an army officer whose arm was to be amputated, having been crushed in an accident. The operation went well, but afterwards the officer reported that he still felt pain in the arm. Quimby wondered how this could be. The officer had not yet accepted that he had lost the arm, but when, with Quimby’s help, he did, the pain ceased.

As his experiments with Lucius progressed, Quimby found he could transfer his thoughts to Lucius. When he visualised something, the hypnotised Lucius did too. On one occasion, he got Lucius to hand him his hat by silent command. On another, he projected an image of a bear to Lucius, who recoiled in fear.

One day he asked Lucius in trance to diagnose his condition, since he was not yet one hundred percent cured. Lucius placed his hands on Quimby’s lower back and declared that a piece of one his kidneys was hanging by a thread.  Lucius offered to make it grow back together. He replaced his hands on that area and the pain immediately ceased. Quimby never again experienced pain there. It made him think: surely the cure couldn’t have been anything Lucius had done? ‘The absurdity of the remedy made me doubt that the kidneys were diseased,’ he wrote. Had he been deceived into believing that he was ill? Were Lucius’s remedies really placebos?

He concluded that he was ill because he had believed the doctors’ explanation. He began to doubt whether Lucius had ever diagnosed a genuine illness. If he merely tuned in to the patient’s beliefs about their condition, he was nothing more than a mind reader. He was dealing with opinions rather than truth, and Quimby had no time for opinions. So, incredibly, he dispensed with Lucius and gave up hypnotism. It was, he later said, ‘the humbug of the age’.

Instead he set himself the challenge of finding a mentally-based healing method that anyone could use on themselves and others. His son George wrote: ‘To reduce his discovery to a science which could be taught for the benefit of suffering humanity was the all-absorbing idea of his life.’

After finishing with Lucius, Quimby’s own clairvoyant abilities started to develop. He became convinced that we all have powers of extra sensory perception, but only if we believe we have. He also realised that one mind could influence another not only in the hypnotic state, but also in the normal waking state. Furthermore, he became convinced that disease was inextricably linked to the beliefs of the person and that changes in the mind of the patient would affect their physical condition.

But how could he bring this about? Having abandoned hypnotism, the only power to influence his patients that he had at his disposal was the power of reason. So he reasoned with them, trying to get them to see the causes of their illnesses for themselves and get rid of their error thinking. He used no mystical words or rituals, just logic, clear explanations and true-to-life examples.

As time passed, he became fed up with trying to get through to his patients verbally, so he tried doing it nonverbally. He would sit with them in silence and get an impression of their condition. Then he conjured up a mental image of a courtroom and addressed the judge. ‘This person has been accused of having a disease by that doctor, and he’s innocent,’ he would say. Then he argued the case in his imagination. ‘If I get the verdict,’ he wrote, ‘the criminal is set at liberty.’ Sometimes barely a word was spoken – Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient, and they were cured.

In 1859, after years of helping people with a wide range of health problems, he set up an office in Portland, about 80 miles from Belfast. He practised there for the last seven years of his life. Among the conditions he cured was cancer, back pain, tuberculosis, neuralgia, tumours, diphtheria and lameness. If no cure was affected, no fee was charged.  Often he was the last resort. ‘People call for me and the undertaker at the same time,’ he wrote. ‘Whoever gets there first gets the case.’

Quimby sought no publicity. Julius Dresser wrote. ‘He was one of the most unassuming of men that ever lived….. To this was united a benevolent and unselfish nature and a love of truth, with a remarkable keen perception.’

The medical and religious fraternities accused him of being successful only among the credulous, simply because they were desperate or couldn’t get any worse. Consequently he reserved his greatest scorn for priests and doctors. He blamed them for most of the pain and sickness in the world because they planted fear-thoughts in the minds of their constituents. Echoing Yeshua, he pointed out that only the sick needed a doctor; the well could not possibly understand.

In his later years, he enjoyed loyal and affectionate support among the sick and the suffering, but they were a small minority compared with those ranged against him. In the end, it was his very success that killed him. He died at home in Belfast on January 16th 1866 of over-work and self-neglect, a few weeks short of his sixty-fourth birthday. In his last seven years, he had seen over ten thousand patients.

PPQ

Quimby had known nothing of quantum physics, radionics or germ theory, and yet, uncannily, had tapped into it all. He knew that he had discovered the secret of healing and – more than this – our understanding of what it means to be a human being – as we shal see. It took more than a century before science began to catch up, but to the medical fraternity and most of the public he and his methods were, and still are, humbug.

©David Lawrence Preston, 29.3.2017

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Can Positive Emotions Keep You Well?

There’s no doubt that negative emotions can create and sustain illness. It’s been known intuitively and written about for thousands of years and increasingly recognised medically and scientifically over the last century. For example, Dr Sigmund Freud wrote: ‘Often repressed emotions will manifest either as behavioural problems or physical problems’. Although widely derided at the time and since, the evidence is now overwhelming.

Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton[1] and others have shown that every cell in the body has intelligence and responds to our ‘instructions’ (thoughts, mental images, attitudes and beliefs). As cells reproduce, they respond to the patterns we give them. This way, over time every emotion is locked into our physical makeup. New cells reflect the predominant emotions currently experiences, thus negative emotions – especially anger and fear – can create illness.

Can positive emotions keep you well?

The question arises, if ‘negative’ thoughts and emotions can make you ill, can ‘positive’ thoughts and emotions make – and keep – you well? Can positive emotions improve your chances of good mental and physical health? The answer is a qualified ‘yes’.

Dr Norman Cousins became an internationally known speaker and author after restoring himself to health using ‘laughter therapy’ – watching funny movies to help him maintain a sunny disposition. Others (but not everyone) who tried it had similar results.

Research by the Institute of Noetic Sciences shows that taking personal responsibility, learning to express our emotions constructively and reappraising old beliefs that are unhelpful or inappropriate certainly helps. Seeking spiritual awareness through a practice such as prayer, mindfulness or meditation also help.

Happy, enthusiastic, optimistic, go-ahead people do have more energy and get ill less often. In addition, many studies have concluded that people who are well adjusted emotionally and socially are healthier and live longer.

For example:

  • A research team at the University of Michigan studied 2,700 people for fourteen years, and found that regular social contact significantly increased life expectancy, particularly among men. The death rate among people who did not have close relationships was 250% higher during the study period.
  • A random sample of 7,000 adults in California revealed that adults with strong family bonds, good social relationships and a happy, outgoing attitude had half the mortality rate of those without such ties, irrespective of their smoking, drinking, exercise and eating habits.
  • In another experiment, records were kept of a hundred factory workers in the UK. Those reporting a supportive home, work and social life stayed healthier than who were dissatisfied with their domestic and working lives. The incidence of arthritis in the least contented group was ten times higher than in the most contented.

How, then, can we use these insights to heal out bodies and stay healed? By cultivating:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Positive intentions.
  • Positive thoughts and beliefs.
  • Health imagination.
  • Constructive actions.

This is the I-T-I-A Formula©. These four letters hold the key to health, happiness and prosperity, provided they are consistently applied. I’ve written widely on them elsewhere. Take a look!

[1] Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, Hay House, 2008, ISBN 978-1401923112

 

©David L Preston, 24.3.2017

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