Beverly Rubik an Enquiring Mind Healing the Placebo Effect

Scientists (enquiring minds) must continually be motivated by the “mother” of all questions: What facets of nature remain undiscovered because what we consider (think) to be theoretical certainties prevent the posing of new challenging questions?

Beverly Rubik IE26 1999

“Healing the Placebo Effect” gbgoble2013

Our conception of the placebo effect needs healing, no one presently understands it.  Energy healing may also be misunderstood. On the one hand, actual healing caused by the placebo effect is dismissed; something to be accounted for or avoided in research studies. On the other hand, energy healings’ positive therapeutic results have been dismissed as the result of known psychological mechanisms.

Are the placebo effect and energy healing a con job?

Wiki quote

Energy medicine, energy therapy, or energy healing, a branch of complementary and alternative medicine, holds the belief that a healer can channel healing energy into the person seeking help by different methods: hands-on, hands-off, and distant (or absent) where the patient and healer are in different locations. There are various schools of energy healing. It is known as bio-field energy healing, spiritual healing, contact healing, distant healing, therapeutic touch, Reiki or Qigong. Spiritual healing is largely non-denominational: practitioners do not see traditional religious faith as a prerequisite for effecting a cure. Faith healing, by contrast, takes place within a religious context.

Early reviews of the scientific literature on energy healing were equivocal and recommended further research, but more recent reviews have concluded that there is no evidence supporting clinical efficacy. The theoretical basis of healing has been criticised, research and reviews supportive of energy medicine have been criticised for containing methodological flaws and selection bias and…

…”positive therapeutic results have been dismissed as”

(op.ed. – “…yet positive therapeutic results may effectively”)

…”the result of known psychological mechanisms.”

(op.ed. –  “… be caused by unknown physiological (mind/body) mechanisms.”)

Edzard Ernst, lately Professor of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Exeter, has warned that… “healing continues to be promoted despite the absence of biological plausibility or convincing clinical evidence … that these methods work therapeutically and plenty to demonstrate that they do not.” Some claims of those purveying “energy medicine” devices are known to be fraudulent and their marketing practices have drawn law-enforcement action in the U.S.

-end wiki quote

The real ‘con job’ is promoting that we cannot choose…


  • Being conned (or conning oneself) into a state of unhappiness and an existence of life void of respect and trust. i.e. despair (disease)



  • Knowing that you can “con” yourself (and hopefully others) into a state of happiness and an existence of life full of, appreciation, inspiration, and most of all, respect and trust. i.e. hope. (wellness)


Continually be motivated by the “mother” of all questions…
Perhaps we should meditate on understanding and utilizing the placebo effect?


US National Intitutes of Health – National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

“Maybe It’s All Placebo?” by Director – Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) showed a positive outcome for tai chi in the management of the troubling symptoms of fibromyalgia—a condition with which many patients struggle and for which conventional medicine has little to offer. That is why this study is so provocative—can a CAM modality really affect this condition?

In the meantime, we are also interested in understanding and exploring the many components of the placebo effect: what role does expectation play? How important is the patient-provider interaction in health? What is the mind-body connection and how can it be harnessed to promote health and well being?

As a physician and a researcher, I find these issues intriguing and am excited for us to further explore these important research questions.


Posted to US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health

“Against the Placebo Effect: A Personal Point of View” Mar 5 2013

William E Stirton Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Michigan-Dearborn


The author reviews 10 of his favorite studies which are said to be about the “placebo effect,” but which, instead, show the significance of meaning in a medical context. “Placebos,” he argues, are inert substances which can’t do anything. Yet it’s clear that after the administration of such drugs, things do happen.

The one (and maybe only) clear thing here is that whatever happens is not due to the placebo (that is what “inert” means). But placebos can be of various colors and forms which can convey compelling meaning to patients. They often represent medical treatment in compelling ways; they can be metonymic representations of the entire medical experience.

(a metonym is a representation where a part of something comes to represent it all, as in “counting noses,” where the nose represents the whole person, or a “White House statement” where the White House represents the Executive Branch of the US Government; here, the pill represents the whole medical experience)

More precisely, they can be metonymic simulacra (a simulacrum is a sort of artificial object, like a statue rather than a man, or a placebo rather than an aspirin). Such objects are well known for their powerful abilities to contain and convey meaning; for example, a European cathedral ordinarily is constructed of thousands of metonymic simulacra, from the rose window to the altar.

In this context, a placebo can repeatedly remind the patient of the medical encounter, its shadings and comforts. Placebos can convey the physicians innermost feelings about medication and treatment; and the clinician can by her simple presence enhance the effectiveness of a medical procedure (and a clinician is hardly a placebo, hardly inert).

Inert placebos can help us see the human dimensions of medical treatment; but calling these things “placebo effects” dramatically distorts our understanding of such treatments, by focusing on the inert, and avoiding the meaningful. Think “meaning response,” not “placebo effect.” Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Energy Medicine and the Unifying Concept of Information”  Beverly Rubik



Alternative medicine remains alternative because it poses serious challenges to the mainstream biomedical paradigm of mechanical reductionism and because it requires a new framework. This paper explores some of the hypotheses and challenges of energy medicine including healer interventions, electromagnetic therapies, and homeopathy. Together with new findings from the bioelectromagnetic field, they spell out the rudiments of a new paradigm for biology and medicine based on information.


Information embraces the complex network of relations in the matter and energy transactions of living systems. It offers a unified view of energy medicine modalities as well as a fresh perspective for biology and medicine and new questions for further research.


 >addendum 3/31/13


Friends sent this Gorilla Reunion video after reading the article, and then called to converse.

  • I was impressed with their reasoning and added this to the article as an experiment for us all.
  • They said viewing the video can be healing. That one experiences the high level of communication (information exchange) that is taking place. (the whole family is quickly comfortable with this human)
  • That it helps to heal despair and fear, by deeply affecting the brain through an element which is believed to be partly responsible for the placebo effect and energy healing…
  • …the functioning of mirror neurons in the brain.
  • I was asked to watch the video with an observant, absorbing, and open mind: multiple times, for a couple of days, and watch for changes in my level of well-being.
  • This is a subjective experiment, of course, and is valuable as such in its’ own right.  Checking it out…


Research Mirror Neurons at National Institutes of Health