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February 15, 2024

Hope: The Nocebo Placebo

Motivational speaker in South Africa, Jacques de Villiers writes about the placebo effect and the nosebo effect.

Jacques – writing quest: Article 27/365

We’ve all heard of the Placebo effect, when someone feels better after receiving a treatment that isn’t supposed to work.

The opposite of that is the Nocebo effect. It happens when someone expects a negative response or anticipates negative effects from an experience.

Some people dismiss these as quackery. I believe them to be true. When I see the world through rose-tinted glasses, as my ally, my world becomes rosy. When I see the world as my enemy, then it turns against me. 

In 1974, Dr. Clifton Meador treated a patient named Sam Londe who had oesophageal cancer. At the time it was considered 100% fatal. Even though he was treated for it, everyone ‘knew’ that it would recur. He died a few weeks after his diagnosis.

After his autopsy, very little cancer was found in his body, certainly not enough to kill him. There were a few spots in his liver and one in his lung, but no trace of the oesophageal cancer that was believed to have killed him. 

His doctor believed he was going to die as did he. So, he died – with cancer, not from cancer. 

This is one of thousands of examples of the Placebo/Nocebo effect.

It is evident that a doctor’s (our) own bias on a situation can have a negative or positive effect. Her thoughts and words can either instil hope or hopelessness.

Once again it is clear that thoughts, words and deeds have tremendous power. We all have a duty to ourselves and others to speak and behave appropriately and with hope. Once apathy (*50) kicks in poverty, despair and hopelessness follow.

It stands to reason that when hope is abandoned, so is the reason to live, and death must follow soon after.

Let’s not die just yet. There’s still work for you and I to do. That we’re still alive is testament to that. When hope is alive, and we see a future pregnant with promise, then this journey becomes a worthwhile experience. I’m putting on my rose-tinted glasses. Care to join me? 

*David R. Hawkins’s Map of Consciousness

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