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The Aging Placebo

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis




Placebo comes from the Latin word meaning, “I shall please.”  In medical terms, it is a substance with no active therapeutic effect.  A placebo is given to a person to deceive them into thinking that it is an active treatment. In drug testing, a placebo can be made to resemble an active medication so that it functions as a control; this is to prevent the recipient from knowing whether a treatment is active or inactive. This psychological phenomenon, in which the recipient perceives an improvement in condition due to personal expectations rather than the treatment itself, is known as the placebo effect. The placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain’s role in physical health.

 

There is research going on now to understand the connection between successful aging and mental attitude. The phrase, “You’re only as old as you think you are,” holds deep implications. There are entire cultures where individuals regularly live to be 100 years old, and among those people, there is a universal expectation that humans live a long and active life.  Research is finding more commonality between the mental attitudes of these cultures than their diet, climate, or environment. What if your future was more reliant on your mental attitude than all the other factors, including genetics?  Americans are so dependent on the medical community to cure our ailments; we do not consider our personal power to promote vitality. We actually believe that age brings illness and incapacity! There is a great deal of power in mentally preparing to age vigorously.  Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, says, “Your body reacts to your intention and complies.” This is not an attempt to be simplistic, but it is a pill to put in your daily pillbox. 

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