The power of placebos is about as clear cut as research findings come. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for drug companies is finding drugs that are more effective than placebo. Many popular drugs are only marginally more effective.
A friend of mine is an acupuncturist. He’s a really smart and down to earth guy, and is open to talking about how “real” acupuncture is, despite the years of study. He says that placebo is a great solution, and if all he’s doing is providing results because of the placebo effect, he’s doing a good job. I agree.
I’ve taken medicine exactly once in my adult life. It was fifteen years ago and I had strep throat. I believe that for most things, the power of the mind is a very effective cure. And even if it’s slightly less effective than real medicine, at least there are no side effects.
I’m not super-radical about this, though. If I broke my arm, I would go to the doctor and get it fixed. There’s a right tool for every job, and my belief is that minor things like colds, fevers, headaches, and the like don’t need medicine. You may have a different ideas that work for you, and I’m not trying to convince you to do mine. Just offering one perspective.
All that said, here’s what I do when I start to feel a little under the weather:
1. Immediately start drinking lots of water and tea. I don’t know if this is actually part of the solution, or if it’s just a placebo, but I find that it works.
2. I sleep as much as I can. I’ll sleep in, take naps if I have the time, and go to bed early. I want my body to have the best opportunity to heal itself.
3. I try to ignore the symptoms as much as possible. If my nose is runny, I try to not think about my nose. It’s sort of like meditation. Invariably, my nose will run less. It’s like when you go to sleep and your nose stops running.
4. I think about how quickly I always recover from everything, and how sicknesses don’t really affect me very much.
5. I tighten up my diet, if necessary. I’m very strict when I’m home, but not so strict when I’m traveling. However, if I feel anything less than 100%, I immediately start eating only healthy things, even if I’m traveling.
Maybe I really do have a super immune system, and that’s why this works for me. Maybe it works because I have a normal immune system but imagine that it’s particularly good. Maybe I have the same symptoms and sickness as anyone else, but it feels like I don’t because I don’t let it affect me. Or maybe water and sleep are the essential ingredients for any cure, and I’m one of the few that go out of their way to get them.
Whatever it is, I pretty much never get sick. I rarely even get headaches or minor things like that. When you feel sick, and the illness is something non-serious, maybe give this a try. You might find that it works so well that you don’t need to take medicine, either.
Photo is some good tea