The nocebo can also have the effect of taking an inert harmless substance that ends up causing a harmful effect, simply because someone believes or expects it will harm him/her. The power of suggestion and our beliefs are very strong and can actually alter and control physiology by simply changing a thought. Therefore, results of the placebo or nocebo are actually a mind plus body effect. “Changing thoughts can actually create a brand-new reality.”1 “Considering that the latest scientific research in psychology estimates that about 70% of our thoughts are negative and redundant, the number of unconsciously created nocebo-like illnesses might be much higher than we realize.”2
Joe Dispenza in his book “You Are the Placebo” writes: In other words, in exactly the same environment, those with a positive mind-set tend to create positive situations, while those with a negative mind-set tend to create negative situations. This is the miracle of our own free-willed, individual, biological engineering.”3 These are the reasons that in BirthWorks certification programs, we focus a great deal on identifying beliefs related to birth and work to change those not perceived to be helpful.
At a recent BirthWorks Childbirth Education Workshop, Krista shared the following story of her birth, one full of the nocebo effect, but also of her power as a woman to rise above it. This, itself, takes much courage and determination to make the best out of any situation. But just imagine after reading it how different her experience would have been had she received the respect she deserved during her labor.
- Dispenza, Joe, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, published and distributed in the United Kingdom by Hay House Hay House Inc., 2014. p.31.