Monday, 24 December 2012

The placebo effect

The placebo effect
23 December 2012

The placebo effect is a medically and scientifically documented occurrence.  It is a process whereby the mere act of medicating of giving the someone the belief of a cure, indeed acts like a cure.  Somehow even if the medication they are receiving are ineffective little pink or white sugar pills, that contain no active ingredient, it still seems to cure the ailment.  So powerful is the human mind.  It believes what it is told to believe.  All hail the phenomenal powers of suggestion.

In the same manner, you can convince yourself that you are happy, fat, thin, beautiful, clever, talented, etc.  You truly are what you believe you are.  Hence the importance of speaking positively to our children and over them.  Encouraging them to believe what we want them to believe.  How?  By the simple act of belief.  Sounds crazy, hey?  Yet it works.

I practice the placebo effect daily in my life.  In many aspects of it.  I WILL be happy goddammit!  Therefore I am.  I am joyful and positive and see good all around me.

When my kids come to me with any ailment, albeit a sore foot, a headache or a tummy ache, my standard response is “Have you tried making a pooh yet?”.  And for some or other peculiar reason, this does really tend to fix most problems.  Why?  Because I have conditioned them to believe it will.  I will only investigate further and medicate them properly once we’ve gone down this road.  And quite bizarrely a number two tends to help and indeed cure most headaches, tummy aches and even the odd sore limb.

The next step on the road to curing ailments is pretty much a fool proof winner.  And this one is the big smoking gun…….a bandage.  No, don’t laugh.  I’m absolutely serious here.  When Doctor Helene’s in the house, she whips out a bandage on occasion.  Kids put so much faith and belief into little strips of white gauze, you would never believe it.  And should the need for the placebo effect to work be particularly strong, then for extra effect, I occasionally administer an even bigger smoking gun.  Let’s call it the smoking cannon.  Are you ready for it?  Okay, so should the situation be dire and you want an instant and very quick fix, this is what you do.  It’s sort of a dual system.  A bandage accompanied by a ……. sling.  Now, we’re talking.

Because a sling is at the very top of a child’s medical food chain.  It commands equal portions of respect and sympathy.  And let’s not underestimate it’s magical properties for making other children jealous.  If only they suffered a similar condition necessitating the all-powerful-all-healing BANDAGE-WITH-SLING.  How “fortunate” they are.  It tops a silly little plaster by a million fold.

My standard cure for a tummy bug, is a special little bed I make for my kids in front of the TV, which instantly elevates them to patient level.  They believe that they are now under my expert nursing skills.  The immediate purchase of lightly salted chips/crisps (the yellow packet if you please) and flat Coke (normally forbidden, especially in the week) follows.  Naturally they gobble this down, and normally feel marvellously better after their first dose.  Predictably they have a little relapse when their siblings are watching them.  Obviously requiring an extra and indeed very special dosage of crisps and Coke in front of said siblings.  They crave this special treatment and it makes them feel cared for and loved, I believe.  Which they absolutely are.

Both Nurse Helene and Doctor Helene are experts at caring for their patients.  And she firmly believes in telling her patients that whatever she is giving them for their ailment will indeed cure all.  And amazingly it usually does.  The fact that the tablet they occasionally receive is harmless dental fluoride or homeopathic little cure-all white tablets is beside the point.  They believe and therefore they get better.  And that is all that really matters.

1 comment:

  1. You make me laugh! Always so very true, and so perceptive!
    And your positive attitude is absolutely incredible!