One of the most fascinating aspects of my job is being able to evaluate clinical trials for different drugs: figuring out how trials are designed and what the data actually means. One of the tenets of evidence-based medicine is that trials should be “double-blinded, placebo controlled.” What this means in plain English is that patients are divided up into two groups, one group is given the drug and the other is given a “placebo” or fake pill. Double blinded simply means neither group knows which it is getting. Sounds straightforward and logical, right?

The ignored part of this equation is what this type of study design is actually trying to control. Scientists have long known that when you tell a person they are getting a medicine (even if it is a sugar pill), and the person actually believes to their core that they are getting treated, a lot of times that person will actually get better!! This to me, as a physician, is incredible. Why does this happen? And what are the implications?

It is hard to deny that there is some sort of mind over matter effect going on here. And it is a well-known phenomenon, which is why all trials have to control for it. Quantum medicine believes that what you think about your health and your body (both consciously and subconsciously) matters. It matters a lot. Your vibrational energy level, which to a large part is driven by the energy of your thoughts, dictates the degree to which your body can activate its own healing and defense mechanisms to ward off and cure disease.

If it is hard for you to believe that your thoughts have influence over your body, look at examples from your own experience. Have you ever felt afraid about something and then felt your heart beat faster? Have you ever been anxious and felt a knot in your stomach? Have you ever gotten into an argument or had a prolonged unpleasant interaction with someone and then developed a headache afterward? It is hard to deny that emotions have an effect over your body. That’s why they call it a stress ulcer. It’s why strong emotions are known to trigger asthma attacks in some people. It’s why when you are doing a job you don’t like all day long, you come home to tense neck and back muscles.

Dis-ease is your body’s way of telling you that your thoughts and energy vibration are out of whack. Emotional, psychological, or physical stress shows up as symptoms. Every time. The good news is that it works the other way around too. Your body would much rather respond to a positive focus than cope with your usual negative orientation (I am sick. I hurt. My body has let me down and the doctor told me there something wrong with my stomach / heart / muscles / whatever) . If you give your mind a subconscious suggestion (which is exactly what a placebo accomplishes), and your mind actually believes it, then your vibrational energy patterns begin to recalibrate to that new belief system, and begin to realign the cells of your body to the orientation of wellness, which is their natural orientation. It is really quite extraordinary.

Each individual has varying results to a drug or a placebo not only because of physiological (or constitutional) differences, but because of differing thought patterns. If, for instance, you have a belief that the medicine is helping somewhat, but you are also strongly focused on your symptoms, the pain you are experiencing, or see yourself as fundamentally not well, then the degree to which the medicine “works” will be mixed.

Your thoughts are like vectors in physics. If you have a vector going right pulling at 20 mph, and you have another vector pulling left in the exact opposite direction at 10 mph, then guess what? You will end up going right at only 10 mph. But, if you do not have any negative thoughts or attention in the opposite direction, the speed and degree of your positive thoughts go unopposed, and your wellness vector gains momentum.

So whether you believe in taking medications for chronic diseases or not (either belief system is valid- so don’t feel guilty either way!), do yourself and your body a favor and start cleaning up your thoughts. Start focusing your thoughts and visualize what it would feel like to be healthy. It’s not so much about fighting against dis-ease (remember, what you resist, persists), as it is looking in the direction of ease. Reorient your belief about yourself as fundamentally well and in balance. Incorporate meditation and exercise as a daily part of your routine, to give chronic stress and negativity (which act as toxins to your cells) an outlet. And then let go, with a strong conscious belief that your mind and body will take care of the rest.