Health & Medicine

Think and Grow Thin – literally!!

Does mind rule over the body or the other way around? Can you change your body just by thinking differently? Well, there is this thing called a placebo affect. In tests, a person – with some ailment – is given just a sugar pill but told it is the real medicine. And miraculously, the person gets cured! Why? Because the mind believes that the body is taking the right medicine.

But does it work if you were just told something with nothing “put” (not even a sugar pill) in you? Well, it seems to have worked. IN an interesting experiement, a Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer, told some hotel maids – who were working hard physically throught their regular day jobs yet not losing any weight .. that they WERE actually exercising and so there was no reason for them to be fat! The maids used to carry the belief that their work did not give them time enough to “exercise” – and that was the reason for their extra weights. All the while they were hauling vacuum cleaners up and down stairs, cleaning up rooms… and doing other strenuous work.. without the physical results!

So, two groups were formed. One went about their work as usual. And second, was given a little bit of “reality check”. Guess what? After a month, the maids in the second group had had a change in their physical attributes – Decrease in systolic blood pressure, weight, and waist-to-hip ratio — and a 10 percent drop in blood pressure. Bizarre!!

Some critics say things may have changed for them outside the work environment or they may be eating healthy.. whatever. Their schedules and work sequence had not changed and the time for them had not changed either.

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Some say that placebo effect occurs in subjective situations – for example, a placebo can help when someone is feeling pain – so that the pain is lessened. But it cannot cure cancer for example! Wrong! Howard Brody of UTMD (Univ of Texas Medical Branch) says that at least one study smashes that myth:

Brody notes one study where researchers gave asthmatic patients a drug that actually makes asthma worse. When they gave the drug to the patients, they told them that it relieves asthma.

“A significant number of those patients said that my asthma got better when you gave me the drug,” Brody says, “and they measured better when you measured the lung findings.

Now.. now.. you cannot possibly gorge on steaks and shakes and just tell your mind that you are doing exercise equivalent of running 10 miles and so become thin.. but there is a case that using the mind in becoming thin and losing weight may be an option. How much does suggestive remedy help is upto different people. I believe that mind can make one do whatever one wishes. Whatever!

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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