Let’s talk placebo effect. Google defines it like this:
“a beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.”
Notice the word “beneficial“, I’ll come back to that in a bit.
Many of you “green” personalities (those who need SCIENTIFIC research and/or PROOF when it comes to medical information) consider this phenomenon when you hear about the positive results a LOT OF PEOPLE are having with our essential oils. Many of you who consider this as the “reason” these oils are effective, also have not TRIED them.
“The power of positive thinking is not a new subject. The Talmud, the ancient compendium of rabbinical thought, states that: “Where there is hope, there is life.” And hope is positive expectation, by another name. The scientific study of the placebo effect is usually dated to the pioneering paper published in 1955 on “The Powerful Placebo” by the anesthesiologist Henry K. Beecher (1904-1976). Beecher concluded that, across the 26 studies he analyzed, an average of 32% of patients responded to placebo.” (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=31481)
Because I consider myself a rational thinking person, sane, and with a healthy mental state – I do question it myself. When I got to looking up what these things meant, I read some really interesting articles that describe what happens when someone is told how they are going to react to something before it’s given, then COINCIDENTALLY! That’s exactly how they react! When I first got my Young Living oils, I kind of accidentally tested this out because I, too, was a bit of a skeptic. I had several clients come in during my normal business day and asked each of them if I could apply an oil to them. I asked if they had any headaches or aches and pains – any stress, etc. I applied my oils to each client, not showing them the oils or telling them “what was to be expected” from each of them. Mind you, this is FAR from a scientific study, but it was enough (combined with my own experiences) to convince me it wasn’t “just my imagination”.
I started client 1’s service, and began chatting the way I always do. She engages me, and is usually wound up and we get to laughing and carrying on. I had started chatting while I was looking down at her hands and didn’t look up to make eye contact for a few minutes because I was focused on what I was doing. When I DID look up, she was literally slumped to the side and she was VERY drowsy. This isn’t something that normally happens with THIS client, during her service. I laughed and said, “Are you going to fall asleep on me?” to which she asked, “What DID YOU PUT ON ME???” I had used Stress Away on her. I APPLIED, I did not MASSAGE – I simply rolled it on her wrists, neck and ears and began my service. Placebo effect? How? I didn’t give ANY indication as to what would be an expected response to this oil.
Client #2: Valor. Applied to wrists, neck and ears, began service. This one became INCREDIBLY chatty and her mood went from stress (from her drive in from the city, in traffic) to happy and relaxed. Later that evening I got a text from her asking to order the oil. Her energy was renewed and she wasn’t exhausted when she went home that evening. Placebo effect? How? I never told her that her mood and energy level could be affected by the oil I was using.
Client #3: Valor, Panaway, Peppermint. Client came in complaining of a stiff neck and shoulder. I asked if I could try my oils, she agreed. In this instance, I did apply a bit of pressure to her shoulder when I applied the oils and worked them in to the area that she told me was sore. I never explained what each oil did, or how they were used – this client COULD probably tell that what I had used had Peppermint and Wintergreen in them since it’s hard to mask that fact. 🙂 Later, she called telling me the oils had done a better job of nailing her pain than her MEDICATIONS had. Placebo? Possibly. She knew what I was applying the oils for, and probably could have guessed that the peppermint and wintergreen was going to give her some relief from her pain. She called me the next day and ordered all three oils, and has since placed multiple orders, regularly. Placebo, or not – she’s getting relief without narcotics.
When you question whether these oils are “for real” or a placebo – ask yourself these questions:
- When applied to a child, how and why is their behavior modified (even to a pleasantly calm state) when they have no idea what you’re putting on them or why? Up for debate: perhaps the child just wanted your attention, or the act of rubbing their neck gently and applying something soothing to their ears calmed them down. I’m cool with that – but guess what? The bottom line is that IT WORKED.
- Is it placebo effect when I apply lavender to my cheekbones and I can suddenly breathe? or lavender applied to eczema suddenly stops itching?
- Is it placebo effect when pink eye has been diagnosed and lavender is applied to the cheekbones, only to find that pink eye is completely relieved in 2 days?
- Is it placebo effect when I rub against poison ivy and my skin becomes inflamed and itchy? Poison Ivy is a plant, just the like the plants that essential oils are derived from. A prime example of how the “oil” from the plant can absolutely cause an effect on our bodies. Do you think poison ivy is the ONLY PLANT on Earth that can have an effect on you?
- Is placebo effect running a billion dollar, 20 year company with hundreds of thousands of satisfied users who continue to use and reorder the product each month? A quick example: The group I am on in Facebook had 3800 members when I joined in August of 2013. Jan 27, 2014: 28,704 members. Are that many people PLACEBOED?
My final question: Do you believe in God? If you do, you should not have a hard time believing He created the plants that, combined with our minds (for those who DO believe in the power of the mind) and our immune systems to heal and cure us of a LOT of common illnesses. (I’m not talking CANCER, although I do believe a positive attitude helps, and for the record: I DO BELIEVE DOCTORS ARE NECESSARY, and I do NOT advocate for not immunizing children for communal diseases.)
Remember I said I’d come back to the word “beneficial”? My question is, no matter what is “causing” your relief, is BELIEVING that you feel better using something pure, unadulterated and natural, better ON ANY GIVEN DAY, than using man-made chemicals with often UNKNOWN and harmful ingredients, not to mention the SIDE EFFECTS? I know for ME it has been.
Side effects I no longer encounter:
- feeling my hair grow (thank you, Percocet, for the indescribable “tingle” that happens and the endless ITCHING that can sometimes be controlled with Benadryl, which will knock you completely out in most cases…)
- being AGGRAVATED because I can feel my hair grow (and the ITCHING, did I mention the ITCHING?)
- mood swings
- sleeplessness (Yes, Percocet and Skelaxin can have an EYE OPENING effect on you – as in, no sleep, for DAYS.)
- constipation (DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED)
- stomach pain (probably because the crap was burning a hole in my stomach)
- hair loss
- loss of focus and attention span – FROM LACK OF SLEEP
Maybe I’m just IMAGINING those side effects? No, actually, those are real and documented. NO PLACEBO EFFECT THERE, FRIENDS.
Bottom line, what do you have to lose? You probably have a friend RIGHT NOW, who could offer you a sample of something to treat one of your ailments.