Archives For placebo

robert collier

This idea can be used to lose weight, I’ll tell you why later in this post.

You have probably heard that sugar pills (placebos) can heal people if the person taking the pill thinks it is real medicine. A study showed that people who thought they received knee surgery did just as well as people who really did get knee surgery. Incisions were made in the knees of both groups, although some patients did not receive anything more than two small cuts on their knees. The other group had full surgery to correct joint problems. Two years later both groups reported the same improvements in their knees.

Chris Berdik, who is a science journalist wrote a book called Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations. In it he discusses how powerful the mind is to bring about positive change in a person’s life.

One amazing study he writes about was done by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer. Hotel maids were studied. Some were told that the daily work they did such as vacuuming, changing beds and general cleaning is good exercise. A control group of maids was not told this. After four weeks, the groups who had been told about the exercise lost more weight, had lower blood pressure, reduced waist to hip measurement and improved body mass compared to those who had not been told.

Another study involved people throwing balls at a target. After throwing the balls they answered two questionnaires. After completing the questions, one group was told that their answers indicated that they would perform well under pressure. All of the participants were videotaped and offered prizes for improving their throwing accuracy. It was found that 90% of the people who were told that they would do well reached their accuracy goal. Of the people who were not told they would do well, only 27% improved their throwing skills.

So what does this mean? Can we lose weight by thinking about the benefit of the physical exercise we get every day? Apparently some people can. And many studies have shown that when people are told they are doing a good job, it helps them perform even better.

The moral of the true stories is that you can strengthen people with praise. The more you strengthen them, the more they will strengthen you. But the opposite is almost always true, the more you say hurtful words to others, the more they will weaken you in return.