Rewiring the Brain: Placebo Effect & Healing

Back again to talk about rewiring the brain, paring psychological reframing with a neuroplasticity perspective. Today, we’ll get more specific as we look at the ways the role of placebo contributes to healing. And, how the influx of data into our minds creates stressful scenarios. But, as we learn to manage our energy, thoughts, and incoming data, it’s surprising how the picture of our life changes. You know, the future isn’t set in stone, so when we manage the way we think, this clears a path to healing. The 'noise' or stimulation around us and the multitude of voices that reside within us, all fight for our attention. These voices belong to our fears, old beliefs and patterns, past experiences, family, friends, and society itself. Even science has now proven, cellular memory belongs to our histories, our parents and grandparents! Somewhere deep among that mix is our own quiet voice filled to the brim with wisdom, yet constantly overshadowed by all that lies on top of it, inadvertently triggering more stress.

Stress nags at us, relentlessly, causing physical, chemical and emotional trauma to the body! It is to our advantage to find new life patterns, before the mind and body are set in self-fulfilling prophesies. When stress keeps those chemicals churning around, knocking us out of balance, this energy will eventually turn into anxiety, depression and sometimes physical problems. I want you to know that the future is open to you, so your inner dialogue and energy can create change, by activating the placebo effect or spontaneous remissions that stimulates healing. Some people do this naturally, while others need to do something intentional, to mentally and physically stimulate these inner resources.

There are many ways to activate this part of you; some people like meditation; others like living in beautiful states of bliss; some use biofeedback and still others find it difficult to get past the “thinking brain.” These dialogues can cause negativity to spin out of control. As I stated in the first video, we all have a healer active within us that we’ll call the placebo effect. Just think how often your own body—on the many occasions you bumped yourself or cut yourself has healed. For most of us, those bruises and cuts were miraculously healed automatically by our own little drugstore of antibodies tucked away in the brain. Simple, yet effective healing! But what happens when our needs are bigger? Same effect, just much higher expectations!

As I’ve said, we have an amazing cornucopia of drugs within our brain, a veritable drug store that is co-creative expressions of Source! We can tap into this drugstore to reestablish a normal rhythm and flow of the body, regulating temperature, healing organs, blood and just about everything that ails us. Now, the placebo effect can transform the inner biology, but don’t forget what the placebo is…it’s you!

In the past, doctors used the term placebo as a “placeholder” within a treatment process, but today it’s seen as the patient’s own powerful healing connection, a remarkable healer within each of us that heals spontaneously. The key is the person’s expectation to heal.

Researchers have found that placebo treatments—interventions with no active drug ingredients—can stimulate real physiological responses, from changes in heart rate and blood pressure to chemical activity in the brain. Even involving pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and symptoms of Parkinson’s. The idea that the mind can affect the body has been around for thousands of years and it’s well-proven. Many ancient cultures depended on mind-body connections to treat illness. Shamans or a medicine person’s with healing powers, may have worked partly through the patient’s strong belief that the shaman’s treatments would restore health. Now I want to share a famous case study on the placebo I heard from science writer, Michael Talbot, over 25 years ago. In this interview, he talked about a patient with an amazing spiral effect from his experiences with a placebo and I was forever changed by this. So this is the story:

Dr. West was treating Mr. Wright, who had an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma. All treatments had failed, and time was running out. Mr. Wright’s neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and groin were filled with tumors the size of oranges, his spleen and liver were enlarged. Dr. West didn’t expect him to last a week. But Mr. Wright read about a promising new drug called Krebiozen. He begged his doctor to treat him with the new drug. Unfortunately, it was only offered in clinical trials to people who were believed to have at least three months left to live. Mr. Wright was too sick to qualify. But Mr. Wright didn’t give up…and this is the key! “Knowing the drug existed and believing the drug would be his miracle cure,” he begged his doctor until he injected him with Krebiozen…that was on a Friday. The following Monday, Mr. Wright was walking around. His “tumor masses had melted like snowballs on a hot stove” and were half their original size. Ten days after the first dose of Krebiozen, Mr. Wright left the hospital, apparently cancer free.

Unfortunately, two months later he read that Krebiozen didn’t seem to be effective. Mr. Wright, who trusted what he read in the literature, fell into a deep depression, and his cancer came back. Now his Doctor wanted to help save his patient, so he decided tell him the initial supplies of the drug had deteriorated during shipping, but the new batch of Krebiozen was pure. He then injected Mr. Wright with nothing but distilled water. Again, the tumors melted away, the fluid in his chest disappeared, and Mr. Wright was feeling great again for another two months. That is, until the American Medical Association announced that a nationwide study of Krebiozen proved that the drug was utterly worthless. This time, Mr. Wright lost all faith in his treatment. His cancer came right back, and he died two days later. One of many stories of the placebo effect in action. So, if you hadn’t figured it out by now, Krebiozen was not the healer of Mr. Wright, it was his own brain’s ability to create a cocktail of healing hormones and dispense it quickly and effectively for Mr. Wright. There are thousands of documented cases just around the placebo effect alone. However, when we begin to include the near-death-experiences, some say the figure is more 25 thousand to a million “Spiritual Self” healings.

Once we start to understand that we can control this part of our mind, it seems to our benefit to cultivate our inner resources. And let me stress again, we are the resources, the placebo making our own internal pharmacy of chemicals. We have all the resources within us to change everything within or around us. And, while hormones of stress can create disease through our own thoughts making us sick, they can also make us well. Cell biologists Bruce Lipton and Robert Lanza; Neuroscientist, Joe Dispenza; Epigeneticists, and many others say that you don’t even have to unwrap genes that harbor diseases, not even if your family has had a disease! You can regulate your internal states to heal everything within you. From a neurological or psychological standpoint, you only need to think differently to rewire your brain, turning off survival centers that keep you stuck. These messages are based on old data that keeps us trapped, but when we embrace our power and connect with gratitude to bring our electrical thoughts in alignment with our magnetic emotions, we collaborate and create networks to what we want to see happen. This is the placebo effect in action, and occurs when chemicals are released that create connections between mind and body and the right magnetic conditions to attract desired effects. Learning to manage the mind takes determination and can be more difficult when overwhelmed by stressed.

Through hypnotherapy, you can take your brain off its looping default system of old programing, the kind that sends the same useless messages around in circles. Self-Hypnosis can be either positive or negative, so if you are going to use this process, get clear about what you want to see happen in your mind and body, as well as your inner and outer environments. By focusing, putting attention on those things that are important and relevant to your wellbeing, you take the first step. Now, is it time to let go of my HMO or PPO or stop seeing a physician? Not at all! I have solid, integrative relationship with my physician, while, I always expect to be well. I do get a checkup and blood work once a year, and stay informed about my body. There are many physicians these days that work outside of traditional Western Medicine that honor using medicine as a way of assessing your physiology, while allowing you space to make your own treatment plans.

Working with your personal control booth as we discussed in Part I, is an act of strengthening your belief systems. Through hypnotic entrainment, you can let go of what is no longer in your highest and best interest and focus on what matters today. By getting new evidence for health and self-healing; and letting go of outdated beliefs, you change and grow, as learning activates and fires your brain. The best way to get a balanced and healthy system is to think differently to uncover blocks to new beliefs, while creating new belief system that empowers your highest self to take action. Incidentally, how many times have you tried and nothing happened? Does self-sabotage come to shake your tree of faith? Does the trickster archetype haunt everything you’re working for? In Part III of Rewiring the Brain, we’ll take a look at our bioenergy fields around us, how feelings and thoughts can influence our lives. Whether you use a traditional meditation style or deep hypnosis, you are on the way to a new way of life, just shift your thinking to shape your world: the mind, body and spirit.


Shirley Ryan, PhD, CCHt is a practicing hypnotherapist and spiritual mentor. See more at

Notes & References

  1. Hotz, Robert Lee, reporter Wall Street Journal, How the Brain Wiring Forms Thought and Emotions,

  2. Dispenza, Joe, DC, is the best-selling author of Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.

  3. Rankin, Lissa, M.D., Mind Over Medicine,

  4. Klopfer, Bruno, M.D., Journal of Projective Techniques in 1957

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