Is Prayer No More Than a Placebo?

Woman thinking.

Debates abound on the power of the placebo. There’s one man who has made it his mission to try and settle that debate, or at least shed significant light on it. Described as wanting to “broaden the definition of healing” (The New Yorker), Ted Kaptchuk is considered the leading researcher on placebos as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Harvard-wide program in Placebo Studies. Kaptchuk’s research points to a question often left unanswered in medical Continue Reading

Put a “Be” before Healthy

So often the emphasis is on the "doing" not the "being" when it comes to caring for one's health. People do all sorts of things, from taking daily medications to undergoing treatments and procedures to find out if they are healthy or not. Yet despite all these efforts, health can still be illusive. All this emphasis on the doing is adding up to a high-cost health care system in the U.S. According to a recent New York Times article, "When it comes to medical care, many patients and doctors Continue Reading

Placebos and Moving Beyond The Human Mind

The following guest blog is written by my friend Steve Graham. Much of his career as an editor has been centered on spiritual reporting. He writes from his home in Natick, MA. Recent studies into the placebo effect--in which patients notice improved mental or physical conditions despite the "non-specific" nature of the treatment they receive--have multiplied dramatically. While today's medical community may frown on using placebos as a treatment option, they are frequently used in medical Continue Reading

3 Things for Your Health Today

For today's news and culture update, here are 3 ways to get you thinking more about your health: 1. Take a vacation! Getting away, unplugging...it can all add up to better concentration, less stress, and other  health implications. But what does this really mean? Since we can't take vacations all the time, I found myself appreciating the daily moments I take to be alone with God in prayer--unplugged and listening. Those moments and hours can feel just as good or better than a vacation. Continue Reading

Placebo’s power–even when you know it

Tuesday's News & Culture update: A recent placebo study that took place in Boston might just make you sit up and say, "What?!" It did for me. Typically patients aren't aware when they're given a placebo, yet in this instance, a woman was totally knowledgeable of the fake pills she was given to treat a longstanding ailment. She'd tried a lot of remedies, so when she got better through this acknowledged placebo treatment, she wanted more! Continue Reading

Let’s be real

 I'm calling today's News & Culture update "Let's be real" to reflect changes taking place in the health and medicine arena--from doctors using social media to show that they are real people, to the admission that the placebo effect needs further study, and the idea that the good habits we form help us to stay in touch with our authentic self. Continue Reading