Friday, February 1, 2013

"Seeing the Elephant"

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1 Corinthians 13:12 (The Message)

There is “an elephant in the room” on what we believe about healing!  We accept the scientific evidence model but realize that it only partially explains our experience.  

We do know that there is a relationship between our beliefs and healing and most of what we believe is dependent on what we “see”.  Certainly, our vision is often biased and susceptible to illusion and misunderstanding even for those of us with the finest tools.  

One phenomena that needs specific attention is the “placebo”.   This phenomena is the “raison d'être” and a critical component of randomized controlled trials.  It is felt to be responsible for about  20% of positive clinical outcomes and only partially explained as a psychosomatic response.  The other side of this placebo effect is that we can only explain 80% of positive outcomes.

What I have come to believe is that healing is real, common and only partially understood.  The problem is not the reality of healing, but our ability to see it and name it.  We need to continue to look for and slowly see the grandeur of the mystery of healing.   Thanks be to God for the promise of improving vision!



Photo: Original by Christel Brabon
Post: April 17, 2011,  The Mystery of Healing
Post: April 4, 2012, Recognizing Healing
Kaptchuk TJ.  The placebo effect in alternative medicine: can the performance of a healing ritual have clinical significance? Annals of Internal Medicine.  136(11):817-25, 2002 Jun 4.
McQuay HJ.  Moore RA. Placebo. Postgraduate Medical Journal.  81(953):155-60, 2005 Mar
Diederich NJ.  Goetz CG. The placebo treatments in neurosciences: New insights from clinical and neuroimaging studies. Neurology.  71(9):677-84, 2008 Aug 26.
Finniss DG.  Kaptchuk TJ.  Miller F.  Benedetti F.  Biological, clinical, and ethical advances of placebo effects. Lancet.  375(9715):686-95, 2010 Feb 20.
Pohlman S. Cibulka NJ Palmer JL. Lorenz RA. SmithBattle L. The placebo puzzle: examining the discordant space between biomedical science and illness/healing. Nursing Inquiry. 20(1):71-81, March 2013.

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