Placebo from the perspective of TCM

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Placebo effect in TCM is very important. As most of us experienced; when we set our mind onto the “right” track, we can achieve and super-achieve. That “right” part however seems to be the critical focus point, human success often lies within the mind adjusting to the physical actions we engage in. We can self-stimulate, more or less, an initiative thought that even translate into a biological response; releasing endorphins or react in other bodily ways. Undoubtedly, our mind can activate many physical responses.

We say “concentrate” and “focus” to express when pointing out the intention to align the mental capacity with a mental exercise – which we assume to be foremost the brain – is it a physical or psychological request? It is a little bit like asking the brain to concentrate, to make the brain relax while introducing a mental exercise. Your brain has to do two things to convince you it does nothing…

In TCM the word placebo is not likely discussed. It is foremost used in modernity when Western medicine is compared with traditional methods to show that either approach is better or to suggest that somehow neither works when the patient is mentally unwilling to corporate. I find such research especially odd in the face that TCM is foremost a preventative approach and claims no success in healing, curing or “fixing” a problem. TCM can support your wellbeing, balance disharmony and its foremost purpose is to keep you healthy and possibly prepared for disharmonies; i.e. accidents, aging, consequential dilemmas and mental strength. But TCM is no placebo. This wisdom is tested on millions of people with no toxic side effects.

Unlike western medicine – constantly trying to isolate the one dominant factor, element or culprit of any illness or discomfort. Even isolating singular essence of natural products as if “extraordinary” could make sense by itself. TCM tends to treat any disharmony from what each of us perceives to be “normal” by the origin of ones inequality. A very wise practitioner would point out that there is no visual problem but an unnecessary mental imbalance might cause a physical disorder and henceforth he treats the foremost the “mind”, the physical brain, the spleen – e.c.t. Within we have a quick claim to “non-scientific” manifestations…

TCM practitioners in their earliest documentations were aware of the synesthesia effects of foods, and herbs. They treated “unhappy people, living in the dark” by sending them outside. Think of your mom walking into your room, opening the curtains and encouraging you to get up:” Sweetie, a beautiful day awaits you!”

Also placebo might be in today’s world a “trickery” and misleading method of treating someone in need for physical or physiological attention, in TCM the use of positive encouragement and the combining of yoga, massage, acupuncture and the encouragement to cook yourself a brew of healthy herbs is a well understood combinational method of assistance. TCM treats each individual with different suggestions, unlike Western medicine that often describes the same pill for all.

In the last few hundreds of years, we as human societies have become very involved with our own visual image. As a result, physiological illnesses have risen. Without a mirror in every room, people in past times had lesser self-opinionated issues and in average cared lesser about miniscule details of their appearance. With modernity and fashion trends, encouraged through instant media influences, new levels of stress and urges to be “beautiful” have catapulted physiological and pathological illness in today’s world. We flock to be pretty and stay “young”.

TCM has no remedy to cure insanity nor can it help with vanity. Simply start with being less impressed about details. Embrace that all life is limited. Love yourself. You could call this advice placebo – but it does work!


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