Homeopathy Book Reviews

You Are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza – Reviewed by V T Yekkirala

V.T.Yekkirala
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You Are the Placebo by Joe Dispenza is reviewed by V. T. Yekkirala

 Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Hay House, Inc.; 2 edition (September 8, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1401944590  / ISBN-13: 978-1401944599

The very mention of Placebo rings the wrong bells for us homeopaths for obvious reasons. But this book has nothing against homeopathy or homeopaths. On the other hand there is so much that is useful for us in our practice.

In one of his seminars, Dr Praful Vijayakar mentioned a case of Rheumotoid Arthritis, that got cured by placebo alone. Being an astute and unbiased observer, he found that the patient’s cure was exactly following Hering’s laws and so he refrained from giving any other medicine. He had the humility to admit that sometimes we don’t even know how that stimulus and curative reaction is initiated even before giving the simillimum.

We homeopaths do know that every therapeutic modality, be it allopathy or Ayurveda or even surgical methods, have some amount of inherent placebo response, although it may vary from patient to patient depending upon how suggestible the patient is, in believing a favorable outcome. This fact is explained with a number of cases in Dr Joe’s book. Since suggestion has no place in infants, unconscious patients and patients in coma, the innumerable number of cures brought about in homeopathy is abundant proof that Homeopathy is not placebo medicine.

In this book,” You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter” Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by just making them believe in using the body as a placebo, adopting a specific meditation practice as devised by him. Some of the patients attending his workshops could dispense with their wheelchairs and walking sticks and walk out as normal healthy individuals on the final day of the workshops.

He combines the latest research in neuroscience, biology, psychology, hypnosis, behavioral conditioning, and quantum physics to understand the workings of the placebo effect, and shows how these findings can be put to use to simulate the placebo effect to cure seemingly incurable cases.

The author of this book Dr. Joe, met with a serious accident in 1986 when he was run over by a car. He had broken six vertebrae and was advised to undergo extensive surgery to implant a Harrington rod. He refused to submit himself to the surgery. He chose the road less travelled because he had a firm faith in the innate self healing powers of the human body, if only they are harnessed properly. What followed is described in this book in detail. He recovered fully without surgery. This event laid a new path for his career.

He made extensive study of many cases of spontaneous remissions or recoveries and found a common ground linking all these cases. But he needed a scientific basis to understand and analyze the mechanisms responsible for self healing and spontaneous recoveries. So he enrolled for several courses at the university, relevant to his study. He laid down the theoretical background as well as the step by step method that one can use to cure chronic diseases. This book also explains the scientific basis involved in the underlying mechanisms that are essential for our understanding of how the placebo response can be initiated by his method of meditation as verified by a number of successful cures.

Dr Joe bases his method on a type of powerful meditation which he described in this book. This type of meditation is totally different from all other types in vogue today and this is where Dr Joe’s method differs. It involves building up a firm intention with elevated emotion during meditation, to overwrite the hard wired programs in the neural circuits and repeating the process every day during meditation. Neurons fired together are wired together and that Neuroplasticity of the brain is now widely accepted.

He says: ​if you mentally rehearse that unknown future with a clear intention and an elevated emotion, and do it repeatedly, then based on what you’ve learned, you should have real neuroplastic changes in your brain and epigenetic changes in your body. And if you keep moving into a new state of being each day by reminding your brain and conditioning your body to that same mind, then you should see the unexpected changes in structural and functional aspects within you. If you keep repeating the process in meditation, then in time, epigenetic changes should begin to alter your outer presentation—and you become your own placebo.

His method seems to be somewhat akin to the findings in cases of multiple personality disorder in which the same person assumes a different personality at different times and exhibits all physical and mental symptoms assigned to that personality. Thus he may exhibit severe allergic reactions for certain items one day and totally remain unaffected to the same stuff the very next day when he assumes a different personality. While in these cases the patient is a helpless victim to these personality changes overtaking him unawares, in Dr Joe’s method the persons willingly and voluntarily assume an altered state of consciousness, a healthy state of being, meditate on it daily on the favorable outcome and in course of time it becomes a reality or a dream come true.

But he cautions that this method can’t be a panacea in all subjects, because the suggestibility of individuals varies and the success depends upon the suggestibility. The sub-conscious mind can be accessed and reprogrammed only in such individuals as can easily accept, believe firmly and surrender to the suggestion whether made by self or another one.

The nearest rubric to suggestibility in our repertories is “Impressionable”. So individuals of phosphorous temperament and other remedies mentioned in this rubric are ideally suited for this method. One might question, where do we homeopaths come into this picture at all. This is what I’d like to explain here.

  1. In a busy practice we need time to work out the simillimum and sometimes we may even need to retake the case. So we can give placebo in such chronic cases and ask our patients to do regular meditation for the first one or two months on the lines indicated by Dr Joe in this book. Then we can reassess the case later on. What symptoms still remain then form the basis of our prescription. We may refrain from giving the simillimum as long as the patient reports improvement on just placebo alone.
  2. Dr Kent elsewhere said that he hates to treat cases where the will to live is lost as he found no response, even to the best selected remedies. In Kent’s time the people and their lives were not so complicated as they are now. They had fewer wants and the pace of life was more leisurely. Many of our patients present a totally distorted image of their personality and life situation. Meditation as per Dr Joe’s method helps our patients to regain the love of life whatever may be their perceived situation in their lives. This fact becomes clear from a number of case histories presented by Dr Joe in his books as well as his seminars. This method helps our patients to reorient their perceptions and pave the way for our remedies to work constitutionally instead of superficially. The combination of this method with our homeopathy will improve our success rate in chronic diseases.
  3. Even Hahnemann in Aphorism 252 stated: “ ….should we find, during the employment of the other medicines in chronic (psoric) diseases, that the best selected homoeopathic (antipsoric) medicine in the suitable (minutest) dose does not effect an improvement. This is a sure sign that the cause that keeps up the disease still persists, and that there is some circumstances in the mode of life of the patient or in the situation in which he is placed, that must be removed in order that a permanent cure may ensue.”

Thus he stressed the fact that the continuing irritations in the life situation of the patient hindering the curative response shall be removed for our remedies to work. Perhaps in his time it was possible, but if we attempt to do it we end up advising every alternate damsel in distress, to leave her husband and come out of an abusive relationship to allow our remedies to work, with disastrous consequences to our practice. So Dr Joe’s method will come to our advantage in such cases. To know how this happens, you may read the case of Candace in his book.

  1. Many of us homeopaths can also be benefited by this daily meditation to improve our powers of analytical mind, unbiased observation, and ability to penetrate the core and essence of remedies and patients.

I strongly recommend this book and I am sure you will find it as a precious addition to your library. Read it with an unbiased mind and get benefitted. Practice his method of meditation in your own lives and begin to feel the difference it makes personally as well as professionally.

About the author

V.T.Yekkirala

V.T.Yekkirala

Dr. V.T.Yekkirala was originally an electrical engineer by profession, and was inspired by his mentor Kulapathy Ekkirala Krishnamacharya (Master E.K) to take up studying classical homeopathy and became qualified to practice it in the year 1975. He currently practices in Hyderabad, India.

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