Most people are familiar with the placebo effect: a patient who is given a sugar pill that he thinks is medicine may well receive a therapeutic effect. Scientists believe that the combination of positive belief about a drug or treatment with the nurturing care of a healing professional provides the best possible treatment outcomes.

The “nocebo effect” is just the opposite: negative beliefs about a course of treatment can prevent its effectiveness. Simply by labeling a disease “chronic” (or worse, “incurable”), a doctor may be creating a belief in the mind that can be harmful to the body. The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and the involvement of a healer can provide a healing presence that greatly facilitates the process. Patients need doctors to be partners in healing, fostering positive beliefs about their ability to achieve lasting wellness.

Keep in mind that you know your body better than anyone, medical professionals included. It’s your body; you’re the one ultimately responsible for making decisions about your care. Your doctor’s role is to make treatment recommendations, educate you about your options, and enable the healing process. While doctors and other medical personnel bring specialized training and expertise to the process, the fact is that anyone with the ability to spend time listening and nurturing can provide a healing presence. Combining traditional medical care with holistic self-healing techniques can greatly improve your ability to achieve true wellness.Never underestimate the body’s capacity to spontaneously bounce back from disease.

Heredity is a strong factor in determining health or illness, but it is not the only factor. The science of epigenetics is offering promising glimpses into how the mind can exert control over which genes are “turned on