The Miracle of Self-Initiated Healing
adapted from The Healer Within
by Roger Jahnke, OMD
In the amazing universe of Mind-Body Practice and Energy-Based Healing methodologies, there is one very profound bit of information that turns on our sense of the possibilities:
The human – spirit-mind-body – is naturally enabled to heal and even flourish in a state of enhanced wellbeing and vitality. The most powerful healing elixirs (medicines) ever developed are produced naturally in the human system – for FREE! We are empowered by nature and the architect of the universe to awaken and even master the capacity to cultivate healing energies and healing chemistries within us.
For some reason, we keep the fact that this is possible a secret from ourselves. The amount of money wasted treating preventable disease is tragically immense – as much as $2 trillion annually in the US.
It is actually quite easy to activate (turn on), and for those who very attentive, it is possible to actually perceive the action of healing resources within, to feel the “healer within,” to sense healing energy (Qi). Learning Qigong, Tai Chi and other Mind-Body may be the most important thing that anyone can do. These practices make us all the more likely to experience healings and health recoveries that are not well understood by either science or conventional medicine. In the near future we will either bring science to bear on how non-normal healing works or we may simply stop caring about how and just enjoy the gifts of healing that are available, when we cultivate self-healing mind-body practices.
The Message of Placebos, Remissions and Miracles
The placebo is the doctor that resides within. -Norman Cousins
The placebo effect, spontaneous remissions and miracles provide rich food for thought regarding the “healer within” and the marvelous self-healing energies and resources that we may draw upon, cultivate and perhaps even create. In each of these areas, healing occurs where no medical intervention has been utilized or where medical intervention has failed. By exploring the research on placebo, remission and miracles, we gain two bits of wisdom.
First, it verifies that dynamic healing potential is produced spontaneously within the individual. Second, it confirms that we can supercharge our self-healing practice by cultivating certain attitudes and emotions, states of mind or philosophical views.
The Placebo Phenomena
In 1985, I was honored to be invited to give a lecture to the Annual Medical Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona on my thoughts about the medicine within. My research for that presentation led to the literature on the placebo, which I believe is one of the strongest bodies of knowledge confirming our natural self-healing capacity. The concept of the placebo has been through several dramatic phases, just in recent history. In Latin, placebo literally means “to please.”
In the 1800s and early 1900s, “placebo” described substances that appeared to be medicines, but had no clinical action. Physicians would frequently administer a placebo, usually a sugar pill, when the patient’s healing process was progressing positively and nature needed a little more time to resolve the disorder. In more recent times, the use of placebo remedies has fallen from favor.
The word was then used to describe a process in clinical research, the “placebo effect.” In research, the response of two groups is compared. One receives the medicine or surgical procedure that is being studied. The second, called the control group, receives an inert substance that appears to be the medicine or a surgical procedure but actually has no clinical effect. If the group that receives the actual medicine or procedure has results that are significantly better than the control, then it is assumed that it is clinically effective.
A significant percentage of those who do not receive the actual drug or procedure typically experience improvement as well. This is called the placebo effect. Patients who responded positively to inert substances or positive suggestion were termed “placebo reactors.” During this time in the history of health care, self-healing was seen as impossible and the placebo effect was nuisance to scientists.
In a unique review of data from older studies on innovative treatments for asthma, ulcer and herpes simplex, researchers from Scripp’s Clinic and Research Foundation discovered that 40% of patients reported “excellent” results, 30% reported “good” results and only 30% reported “poor” results, in other words a 70% effective rate (combined excellent and good). This is generally considered to be solid confirmation that a medicine is useful. Interestingly, however, these therapies were later found to be useless. This means that 70% of the patients had exhibited the power of the placebo. Their “excellent” and “good” healing results were completely due to the medicine within.
Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles and Peace, Love and Healing, was asked to comment on the placebo during his term as president of the American Holistic Medical Association. “The placebo effect,” he said, “can change the body chemistry and change the internal hormones. It shows that mind and body is a single unit. If you read a chemotherapy protocol with all of its side effects to a patient and then inject him with saline (no medicine, just a weak salt solution), the patient’s hair falls out!!”
One hundred years ago, the placebo mobilized the healer within openly. Then, using the placebo to activate the medicine within became the sign of quackery. Next, the placebo became an aspect of medical science that plagued researchers, a nuisance that complicated data. Now, finally, the placebo is gaining attention as proof that the healer within is authentic.
The placebo is helping to redefine medicine in terms that declare the inherent power of natural, internal self-healing resources. Does it work to use mind-body based energy medicine practices, such as Qigong and Tai Chi, to activate the placebo? Absolutely yes! However, it shifts the power from experts to oneself. Many doubt that they could know themselves well enough to actualize the placebo phenomena without an expert. Mind-body practice purposefully cultivates the necessary sense of personal empowerment that can mobilize the healer within plus the placebo effect.
The mechanisms of vis medicatrix naturae – the healing power of nature – are so effective that most diseases are self terminating.-Rene Dubos – Bacteriologist, philosopher
Spontaneous remission is the phrase typically used in the medical literature to describe cases where the disease is cured or resolved, but it is not understood how. In future decades the mechanism for spontaneous remission will be explored and understood. For now it is not so important how it happens, it is just enlightening that it happens.
When doctors acknowledge that a cure has occurred and then acknowledge that they don’t know how, it becomes evident that internal healing resources were spontaneously activated to cause the cure. The Institute of Noetic Sciences, in the 1980s, decided to explore the remission concept as a possible strategy to confirm the human capacity for self-healing.
Brendan O’Regan, then the vice president of research, began a systematic exploration of the medical literature for references to remission. To everyone’s amazement he found an immense number of references: three thousand articles from over 860 medical journals in twenty languages.
Some of the articles discussed hundreds of cases, so the over all number of cases actually reported in the medical literature turned out to be in the many thousands. “We have many cases of remission (1/5 of all cases),” O’Regan reported, “with no medical intervention at all. These are the purest ones, the ones that give us the strongest evidence that there is an extraordinary self-repair system lying dormant within us.” This historic analysis on the “remission” literature from the Institute of Noetic Science is a powerful confirmation the healer within.
As a part of their research the Noetic Sciences team actually tracked down a few of the people who were still living. Their insight is powerful teaching for our work with the self-healing methods. One of the cancer cases in the remission literature felt it was critical to, “keep my state of mind intact, no matter what.”
In another case, when one man was asked to what he attributed the remission of his cancer, he stated, “I really think it is our life, the way we experience our life.” This person’s story reveals the value of daily meditation, spousal support, massage, acupuncture, yoga, vegetarian diet and colon cleansing.
These stories are usually called testimonials. As with the placebo effect, remission testimonials have not until recently been in favor. Testimonials were historically seen as subjective and unverifiable. However, these are the stories of people documented in the scientific literature to have experienced the spontaneous remission of a dangerous disorder.
Can this information be an influential tool to create enthusiasm about self-healing methodologies? The stories of people in remission prove, perhaps even as powerfully as science, that self-healing is an undeniable and fully accessible promise. The findings on remission demonstrate that a natural healing power is available. Qigong, Tai Chi and other self-maximizing self -practices are the most profound way to activate the medicine within.
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though there are no miracles. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein – physicist, mathematician, philosopher.
The capacity to produce a healing resource, an elixir within, is a kind of miracle. To some a miracle is a natural occurrence that we do not yet have the knowledge to understand. George Santayana a modern philosopher noted, “Miracles are fortunate accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood.” Certainly, the ability to fly would have required a miracle in previous eras of history, now air travel is a common occurrence that is readily understood.
In the early 21st century, the miracle of self-healing is almost as clearly understood as well. There is a second view of miracles that point to the supernatural and the divine. Miraculous outcomes credited to God’s love and angelic presences are very common throughout history. In a fascinating study of miracles Carolyn Miller, PhD has looked into hundreds of unexplainable situations. In her book, Creating Miracles: Understanding the Experience of Divine Intervention, she concludes that miracles are frequently supernatural events.
Miller was able to condense from numerous real cases, a formula for eligibility for a miracle. She calls it miracle mindedness. “Inner peace leads to miracles, the decision to shift into a loving, peaceful, accepting mental state is a necessary precondition for miracles, miracles do not produce faith, faith produces miracles.” In the Book of Luke, in the Christian Bible, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, just believe and she will be healed.” The formula asks that we be at peace. This, in some way, creates the possibility for a miracle.
In our quest to understand self-healing and the empowering resources that we spontaneously produce within, it is not so necessary to know how miracles work. It is enough to know that they actually occur. The shrine of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in France marks the place where an apparition of the Holy Virgin appeared in 1858. Since then 6000 claims of miraculous healing have occurred.
It is easy enough for miraculous claims to be made, how do you prove a miracle? In 1947 an official commission was formed to qualify whether actual miracles were occurring. The 25 member International Medical Commission is comprised of medical professionals from a broad array of medical specialties from nine countries. They follow a strict 18 point protocol. A correct diagnosis must have been made, the disease must be serious, no sign of psychosomatic influence can be present, spontaneous remission must not be a possibility, medical treatment must have failed completely, the cure must be fully confirmed and the time since the cure must be significant.
With this rigorous set of guidelines in place 64 “certified miracles” have been documented. The 25 physician members of the International Medical Commission have agreed that there is no way that these cases could have achieved a cure without some supernatural influence that is contrary to the observations and expectations of medical knowledge. The cures include the disappearance of tumors, blindness, paralysis and even the regrowth of bone in a case where the hip joint had deteriorated so severely that the leg and pelvis had become separated.
Miraculous healings may be natural events that we cannot yet understand. Or miracles may be direct interventions by supernatural forces, angels or God. In either case the healing occurs by mysterious mobilization of natural resources within the person.
What a gift we have in the energy based mind-body practices of Qigong/Tai Chi (Qi) and Yoga (Prana). And the most thrilling this is that becoming “prone” to miracles is very accessible with mind-body practice that activates the physiology at the same time as cultivating right mindedness in the psychology.
An Extraordinary Turning Point
We are spot on — at an extraordinary turning point in human development. Science has begun to honestly explore mysterious concepts that only recently were considered unscientific – in addition to placebo, remission and miracles there is emerging science on the energy body, turning back the cellular clock, the illusion of time, etc.
Shining the light of science on the placebo, spontaneous remission and miracles has demonstrated that the mysterious can be verified even if it is not understood. It is exciting to know that the placebo is taking on a more positive definition, that one-fifth of the cases in 8,000 medical articles on remission are “pure” and that a 25 member international team using an 18 point criterion has found 64 “certified miracles” at Lourdes.
Placebo, remission and miracle are areas of radical breakthrough. They change the rules. They confirm the presence of the healer within. They suggest that our practice of self-healing methods can mobilize the internal capacity for self-repair and health recovery. And — they point to the value of the body, mind and spirit interaction.
Mind-Body Practice — Qigong, Tai Chi and other forms of practice, which mobilize the healer within — are very accessible and practical ways to accelerate the likelihood of healing, disease prevention, the renewal of vitality and the reversal of aging.
A Historic Opportunity
Consider consciously taking part in your own remission. Make miracles for yourself, because you are allowed to. Decide to turn on the power of the placebo.
Why not become a teacher of Qigong and Tai Chi? Be a part of the revolution in health care and medicine where people of all walks of life learn to turn on the healer within. Spread the word! A new era of health, wellbeing and life potential is emerging. We are the ones who will bring this about.
About the Author Dr. Roger Jahnke
[Roger Jahnke, OMD, has practiced clinical acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for more than 25 years. He has traveled and studied extensively throughout Asia, visiting hospitals, universities, temples, and sacred mountain retreats to deepen his understanding of the healing traditions of Qigong, Tai Chi, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and natural feng shui. Author of two of the best-selling books on qigong, The Healer Within and The Healing Promise of Qi, as well as the acclaimed DVD, Qigong-Chi Kung: Awakening and Mastering the Medicine Within, Roger is the cofounder of the National Qigong Association, and director of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (IIQTC).]
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