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The Placebo Goes Mainstream


Whereas once heavy opiates like OxyContin and Vicodin were reserved for extreme pain or cancer, they’re becoming more commonly prescribed for arthritis and other conditions. Every year this results in thousands of emergency room deaths. While efforts to regulate and clamp down on abuse are being made, it won’t make a dent in the demand unless we find a new treatment. Enter the placebo.


Whether it’s receiving fake acupuncture treatments to relieve the symptoms of menopause or ingesting sugar pills to run faster, it’s becoming evermore difficult to deny the power of the placebo. We’ve been saying this all along, but the phenomenon that was once dismissed as an illusion has been making inroads in the greater scientific community.


Writer Jo Marchant, author of the forthcoming book, Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body, wrote, “People who are ill often improve regardless of the treatment they receive. But neuroscientists are discovering that in some conditions, including pain, placebos create biological effects similar to those caused by drugs.” Put in other words, the function of the brain—to create thoughts, feelings, and emotions—really does shape the reality in which we live. This means each of us has within us the power to harness a new life and a new reality for ourselves through our thoughts.


Care to take a guess who’s not happy about the placebo or a new you? Drug companies—they’re having a hard time beating the placebo, in fact many companies are intentionally seeking out people who are less susceptible. Placebos might be ruining drug trials, but they are proving there’s a new approach to treating pain. If the end result of our thoughts is a biological function, imagine the possibilities of our brain offering an alternative to addictive painkillers?


You’ve probably heard me say it before, but there’s no better pharmacy than the human body. Consciousness activates our chemistry to improve our biology; after all, the body’s primary function is to create a state of homeostasis so that we can function optimally in our lives. Renewal is the norm, and degeneration and disease are the exception. Once we understand how our bodies renew themselves, we can start to harness these physiological processes through intention. It all starts with our thoughts or beliefs, which is what makes the placebo work. And if you’re familiar with this work, we all know that by changing our internal state, we can actually change our external reality.


Pain studies have shown the body can make its own morphine, Parkinson’s Disease studies have shown the brain can make dopamine, and asthma studies have shown our cells can make antihistamine. If the placebo represents a new possibility in the quantum field, what will it represent for you?


Joe Dispenza, first caught the public’s eye as one of the scientists featured in the award-winning film What the BLEEP Do We Know!? Since that movie’s release in 2004, his work has expanded, deepened, and spiraled in several key directions—all of which reflect his passion for exploring how people can use the latest findings from the fields of neuroscience and quantum physics to not only heal illness but also to enjoy a more fulfilled and happy life. Dr. Joe is driven by the conviction that each one of us has the potential for greatness and unlimited abilities.


As a teacher and lecturer, Dr. Joe has been invited to speak in more than 27 countries on six continents, educating thousands of people in his trademarked easy-to-understand, encouraging, compassionate style, detailing how they can re-wire their brains and re-condition their bodies to make lasting changes. In addition to offering a variety of online courses and tele-classes, he personally teaches three-day progressive workshops and five-day advanced workshops in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Joe is also a faculty member at the International Quantum University for Integrative Medicine in Honolulu; the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York; and Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He’s also an invited chair of the research committee at Life University in Atlanta, Georgia.


As a researcher, Dr. Joe explores the science behind spontaneous remissions and how people heal themselves of chronic conditions and even terminal diseases. He’s more recently begun partnering with other scientists to perform extensive research on the effects of meditation during his advanced workshops. He and his team do brain mapping with electroencephalograms (EEGs) and individual energy field testing with a gas discharge visualization (GDV) machine, as well as measure both heart coherence with HeartMath monitors and the energy present in the workshop environment before, during, and after events with a GDVSputnik sensor. Soon, he plans to include epigenetic testing in this research, as well.


As a corporate consultant, Dr. Joe gives on-site lectures and workshops for businesses and corporations interested in using neuroscientific principles to boost their employees’ creativity, innovation, productivity, and more. His corporate program also includes private coaching for upper management. He has personally trained a group of 40 corporate trainers who teach his model of transformation to companies around the world. He recently began certifying independent coaches in using his model of change with their own clients.


As an author, Dr. Joe has written Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (Health Communications, Inc., 2007), followed by Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One (Hay House, 2012), both of which detail the neuroscience of change and epigenetics. His latest book, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter (2014), which is an Amazon Bestseller and hit the NY Times Bestseller List within a week of its release, builds on his previous work.

Joe Dispenza