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The uncanny power of thought

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The uncanny power of thought

What if we were able to cure even the most serious illness using only the power of our thoughts?

Dieser Beitrag ist auch verfügbar auf: Deutsch

Imagine if we could manipulate our genes. Or what if our dreams could tell us more about our illnesses than any doctor? What has long been considered esoteric nonsense can now be scientifically proven. And thus, one of the greatest paradigm shifts in the history of medicine is about to begin.

The force of the impact was devastating – as was the doctors’ prognosis: after Morris Goodman made an emergency landing in his single-engine Cessna 172, the plane rolled over several times. Rescuers pull his body from the mangled wreckage. At the time, the 35-year-old could only blink. Two vertebrae in his neck were shattered, dozens of bones were broken, and organs were shredded. Doctors say Goodman will never be able to walk again, let alone talk, eat or drink on his own. He’ll be a care patient for life – if he doesn’t succumb to his injuries in the next few days.

What the doctors don’t know is that the moment Goodman is admitted to the hospital, his mind is already operating at full speed. “Even though I couldn’t move a muscle, I felt extreme willpower in every fiber of my body. I was convinced I was going to get better,” Goodman recalls. And indeed, just five months after the accident, the American left the clinic. In good health and standing on his own two feet. Today, he travels the world giving lectures – and explaining how to harness the incredible power of thought.

Bridging the gap between mysticism and psychology

Was Morris Goodman just incredibly lucky? Or are thoughts more powerful than we thought? And if so, how can we use them to improve our health? Dr. Lissa Rankin, an American physician and author of the best-selling book “Mind over Medicine”, has addressed these very questions. She has reviewed thousands of studies, interviewed countless patients, and analyzed their healing processes.

“In everyday clinical practice, us doctors often encounter things that simply cannot be explained scientifically. We know that unexplained spontaneous healings occasionally occur. And deep down, most doctors are convinced that a bridge between the mystical and the physiological plays a role in the healing process. But nobody says it out loud,” she believes.

The fact is, however, that although there has been little targeted research, there are now more than 1,000 scientifically documented cases of supposedly incurable diseases spontaneously disappearing. And almost all of them had one thing in common: the patients reported extreme willpower and positive thoughts, which they used as a weapon against their illness.

But what exactly is happening in the body during these mysterious self-healing processes? For many doctors, cases like Morris Goodman’s are not miracles, but the result of a complex system of regeneration through the power of our thoughts.

As Jerome Groopman, a physician at Harvard University, explains: “Thoughts and emotions are often considered secondary in medicine. But actually, they are nothing more than a combination of chemicals and electrical charges in the brain that develop and change”. In other words, our thoughts are in no way some metaphysical specter that somehow phases in and out our brain cells.

They are an integral part of our bodies, measurable and verifiable. For example, if muscles are not moved for an extended period of time, as was the case with Morris Goodman after the accident, they degenerate. To prevent this, researchers at Ohio University have developed a technique that regenerates muscles using only the power of thought. No motor activity is required. And all we need to perform it is our imagination.

Can our thoughts cure cancer?

All we have to do is imagine moving a muscle of our choice (e.g. through exercise) for 15 minutes a day for twelve weeks. This stimulates the regions of the brain responsible for movement – and the muscle they are connected to is restored. Another example of the power of thought is the spontaneous healing of tumor patients. Cancerous tumors contain nerve fibers and are therefore connected to the brain and central nervous system.

Researchers therefore believe that the psyche can influence the development of tumors – and even our immune system. Every sensation we experience releases neurotransmitters in the brain – the body’s own painkillers. Every thought activates nerve impulses that can reach deep inside the tumor.

Studies show that patients who firmly believe in their recovery produce significantly more immune cells. However, this uncanny power of thought can best be observed in the context of placebo studies, i.e. in comparison with drug-free therapies. For example, almost half of asthmatics can achieve an improvement in their symptoms with a drug-free inhaler, and around 40 percent of headache patients respond positively to a placebo.

A knee surgery study by the American surgeon Dr. Bruce Moseley even shows that even a fake surgery can be just as effective as a real one. The surgeon developed a special surgical method for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee joint.

The patients of one group were operated on according to Dr. Moseley’s famous procedure. The subjects in the other group underwent a complex simulated procedure. The knee problems were corrected as expected in a third of the test subjects who actually underwent surgery, but the result was just as good in the patients who only underwent fake surgery.

When our survival mechanism kicks in

But how can we explain how thoughts, feelings, and expectations can cause physiological changes? As Harvard professor Dr. Walter Cannon first described, the body has a stress response (often called the fight-or-flight response): a survival mechanism that kicks in when our brain perceives a threat.

When this hormonal cascade is triggered by a thought or feeling such as fear, the body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. If the levels of these stress hormones are elevated for an extended period of time, it can manifest itself in physical symptoms and make the body susceptible to illness.

But our bodies also have a relaxation response. When this is triggered, the level of stress hormones in the blood drops and health-promoting relaxation hormones are released. “Only in this relaxed state can the body repair itself. So anything that reduces stress and triggers a relaxation response allows it to heal itself,” says Lissa Rankin.

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