I was on holiday when I read a book in the hotel ‘library’, which certainly got me (the cynic) thinking that alternative medicine may indeed be beneficial.
That book is “Doctor You – Revealing the science of self-healing” by Oxford academic Doctor Jeremy Howick.
The author’s starting point is that many medical trials have shown that placebos can be as effective as some drugs. Amazingly, there’s even been a trial showing that ‘Placebo surgery’ on knees and spine can be as effective as real surgery. (They give anaesthetic and make a cut and tap the bone, but don’t actually operate!)
So, as the body seems capable in some circumstances of healing itself, he explores how we can get into this state, that is to get a placebo effect, without actually having the placebo.
Some interesting observations by Doctor Howick, based on his researches:
· The attitude of your doctor makes a difference to your recovery.
· Mindfulness/Relaxation/Yoga are similar: long slow breathing causes other parts of the body to relax.
· Positive thoughts are helpful to recovery, so get rid of negative thoughts as these are unhelpful.
· Give yourself positive rewards for your achievements
· Brain changes can happen within months.
For me, it reinforces all those messages about healing being partly in the mind, and being helped by positive thinking, yoga, meditation, and so on. Many books state that this state of mind is important to recovery, so it’s good to find an authoritative source, based on real evidence.
Award-winning Oxford University researcher Dr. Jeremy Howick draws on the latest peer-reviewed medical studies to arm readers with scientific evidence that will empower them to make sensible choices about what drugs to take, and when (and when not) to simply let the body do its thing.
The miracles of modern medicine–and our over-reliance on prescription drugs and surgical procedures–have obscured the evolutionary ability of the body to heal itself, as Dr. Jeremy Howick explains in this groundbreaking book.
Wealthy countries have become highly dependent on medical intervention: On average, one-fifth of all Americans, half of the elderly British, and two-thirds of older Canadians take at least five prescription drugs per day, their lives a nonstop ritual of pill popping and managing side effects. One in ten people takes antidepressants, and millions of boys who can’t sit still in school are prescribed methamphetamines.
In Doctor You, Howick explains that the abundance of modern drugs and technologies has blinded us to the fact that the human body produces its own drugs that can treat pain, is capable of curing itself of many physical ailments as well as a surgeon, and can even combat most mild depression as well as any psychologist. Recent clinical trials clearly show that states of mind affect our health: relaxation, positive thinking, and comfortable social environments all provide measurable health benefits–sometimes as effectively as blockbuster drugs.
With a methodical and approachable analysis of modern medicine’s overuse of pharmaceutical intervention and the scientific evidence for your body’s innate power to heal itself, Doctor You will change the way you think about your health, your body, and your approach to medicine.