Every so often someone comes into the clinic and says 'Surely all this is only placebo? I am very very sceptical!'. Their inference being one supposes that Bowen or any other holistic complementary health work is somehow very different from ‘proper’, ‘real’, ‘effective’ ‘science’ and that any results ‘in the unlikely event of them getting any’ will be ‘all in the mind’.

What these sceptics perhaps do not realize is that much if not most drug and surgical intervention is also proven to be placebo, and where is the problem with that?

Surely what matters most is that the recipient experiences significant relief from their symptoms?

More and more frequently scientific testing and randomized controlled trials show up that the intervention is in fact in the mind rather than the body. There have been spinal surgery trials showing this e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099043/, knee surgery trials in similar vein https://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/09/magazine/the-placebo-prescription.html and the story goes on with for example https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/20/when-surgery-is-just-a-stitch-up-placebo-effect

Whole books are being written about it e.g. science writer Jo Marchant’s book entitled ‘Cure’ https://jomarchant.com/cure which reviews swathes of scientific research.

Indeed there is evidence that openly advising a patient that the pills they are being given contain zero active ingredient makes them even more effective as in ‘irritable bowel syndrome patients randomized to receive open-label placebo pills and told that such pills often relieve symptoms through a “mind-body self-healing process” experienced more relief than no-treatment controls’ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358402/)

In the New Scientist April 2018 an article entitled: ‘https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731720-700-how-medicine-got-too-good-for-its-own-good/ ’ indicates that ‘if we look closely enough everybody is sick’, however many can and do heal themselves from a wide range of complaints without the need for medical intervention.

Why not try it yourself by making use of the advice given in books written by medics and scientists who are fully aware that there is much about the body which is not to be explained as yet by science? For example https://www.amazon.co.uk/Placebo-Response-Release-Pharmacy-Better/dp/006093297X by Dr Howard Brody, or the work of Dr Lissa Rankin MD who has a vast reputation in this field, here talking to a conference of medics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWQfe__fNbs

As Dr Lissa Rankin emphasises in her various books, articles and presentations on Youtube , it is the stress response which is key in so many illnesses. Control your stress response and you will often find that you experience a significant improvement in your health as described in the brilliant book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Zebras-Dont-Ulcers-Revised/dp/0805073698/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525875036&sr=1-1&keywords=zebras+ulcers

The Advertising Standards Association is clear regarding many, if not most, holistic health/complementary health practices that ‘Practitioners should not refer to medical conditions for which supervision should be sought but may make claims about relieving everyday anxiety and stress, helping relaxation, aiding sleep, promoting a sense of well-being and the like.’

Medical Disclaimer: none of the information given in this blog should be considered a substitute for traditional medical advice or treatment. Any medical condition should be assessed and diagnosed by a suitably qualified medical practitioner’