What if there was another way to cure an illness without the extensive use of medications that are so common in society today? Or, what if treating ailments did not require individuals to even visit a doctor?  In Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body, science journalist, Jo Marchant analyses Western and alternative medicine. Marchant explores Western medicine’s assumption that the body is a machine that is not connected to the mind and travels all around the world researching the other side of medicine- alternative medicine. Energy healers, homeopathic doctors, and past-life regression therapists are only a few alternative methods Marchant studied that believe the mind is an extremely powerful tool that can affect the body. Her discoveries of the significance of alternative medicine brought up a question- Can the mind really cure illnesses?

The first part of Marchant’s journey addresses placebo trials that researchers have been studying due to their pacifying effects on patients as well as reducing the amount of medication individuals take. However, the amazement of placebos is not completely due to the fact that they decrease the amount of pills that are taken, but the effect they have on patients’ minds. Individuals who take placebos, whether they are aware or not, are “tricking” their minds into believing they will be cured or anticipating relief. As a result, the brain releases natural painkillers that eases their symptoms.

Several studies have discovered the powerful effects placebos have on individuals- relief from IBS, headaches, osteoporotic spinal fractures, and even Parkinson’s disease. Placebo trials have brought up several important questions, what if they are the future? What if the mind really can/does control the entire body? These studies will be significant for understanding more about the human body than ever before.

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