• Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)

Consciously Harnessing The Placebo Effect, It Is Not What You Think, It Is What You Expect


There are many influences on your conscious and unconscious mind. One of my favorite Japanese sayings is “There are many ways to the top of Mount Fuji.” So too are there many ways to improve your level of consciousness and with it your memory, your vitality and the quality of your experience.

Among the influencers of consciousness is reality, the physical sensations of experience, the red of a ripe apple, the sound of a school bell, the smell of hot pumpkin pie, the internal feeling of cold Rocky Mountain air at the top of a ski lift, the taste of fresh squeezed lemonade, the skin sensation and deeper feelings of a hot stone massage, or the texture of a custom-made silk shirt. If any of the physical substrate of sensation: the eyes, the nose, the taste buds, the ear, the skin, are damaged or deadened your experience of the rich texture of life is altered. What you sense forms a stream of information going into and impacting your conscious and subconscious mind.

In this blog series together we will explore how consciousness is affected by your sensations and how to improve your sense of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell as well as those intuitive gut sensations of the internal world. I will share how you can use breathing and meditations to fuel your consciousness with oxygen, strengthen the memories that serve you and imagine the future in the best possible way as you create the life you want.

We will also consider the effect of quantum physics on the field of consciousness and Albert Einstein’s statement, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Einstein also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” What is the effect of imagination on your consciousness of reality. When I think of imagination, for some reason the big purple dinosaurs, Barney on his Imagination Island appears in my mind. I know more about children’s shows than anyone without children should know because as I treat children with nervous system disorders like autism, cerebral palsy or seizure disorders, they watch TV shows or movies.

One of my favorite, children’s movie is Monster’s Inc. because what frightens the monsters most is not what you expect. It is very much a movie about what we (the children, adults and monsters of the world) tell ourselves about reality.

What we tell ourselves is a powerful effect on consciousness. What you expect and tell yourself about sensations or experiences literally changes what information you are able to taking in from your environment both external and internal. Have you ever said, “Stop or turn that off, I can’t listen to that right now.” There may be many reasons for saying something like that and in this blog series we will explore how we differentiate between irritating sensations and pleasurable sensations. I will share what I know about how our conscious and unconscious expectations influence our emotional states and why jokes are funny. It is because we go through the joke expecting things to be a certain way and they are not.

It turns out I have a photographic memory for jokes, even though someone pointed out that technically that would be called an audiographic memory. We don’t always understand the meaning of what we are looking at. One way to sleep better is to really see what is around us in our lives while we are awake. This can be a challenge, as this anecdote from Sherlock Holmes illustrates:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go camping. About three o’clock in the morning, Holmes nudges Watson and says, “Look up. What do you see?”

Watson replies very specifically, “Millions of points of light.”

“What does this mean?,” asks Holmes.

At this point, Watson launches into, “Well, if I look at it from an astronomical point of view, I know that each point of light is a star around which planets are revolving. If I look at it from an astrological point of view, I see that Cancer is rising. And further, I can tell from the arrangement of the constellations that we are in the Northern Hemisphere and it is about three o’clock in the morning.”

Holmes’s reply is quick and to the point: “You idiot, somebody stole our tent!”

Remember, Sherlock Holmes is the one who said, “Looking is not the same as seeing.” My job is to help people see.

When speaking, I often share with large groups and individual clients the importance of speaking to yourself and others as if every cell in your body is listening. Every cell in your body is listening as you answer the common question, “How are you?” as well as when you are talking about a transformation in your life or the kind of future you dream of.

The placebo effect is an intersection point of what you tell yourself about the future and the degree to which you believe what someone in power is telling you about the future or their view of a cause and effect in your life.

Your level consciousness of how you are connected or related can significantly influence how your physical body functions. Hearing someone with high blood pressure tell their story can help you balance out your own blood pressure, if you find them believable and relatable. Research shows that hearing a story can stabilize blood pressure as well as medication or supplements can. It is worth reading that sentence again …as well as medication or supplements. Perhaps stories are the new medicine.

I will also explore whether unrealistic and hope should even be allowed in the same sentence as well as the ways Parkinson’s disease, Schizophrenia and the Placebo effect are related. I believe that Parkinson’s (a brain based problem or neurodegenerative disorder) is at the opposite end of the same spectrum from schizophrenia (commonly thought of as a mind or psychology disorder). They are the same and opposite in many respects and symptoms of both can be healed.

In this blog series I look forward to considering continuums, interfaces and bridges between one conscious mind and another. You will learn how to (and what is) dowsing and how visualization can help you be more conscious by mining the depths of the subconscious and floating up some of the bits of information held there.

In a post on Our Fractal Consciousness, I will share one of my favorite subjects, fractals in the brain and in your body. There will be information on what fractals are and how you can easily use them to improve your mind, your memory and your vision.

The power and authority of the person you listen to also has a powerful effect on your mind and on your body. Here, as part of this series we will discuss the “white coat effect”, where just seeing a doctor’s white coat or mantle of authority can raise your blood pressure. We will also consider the nocebo effect or why you should avoid predicting bad things. I hope this will give you pause the next time you predict something bad for yourself or someone else. Your words are powerful. The children’s taunt, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is not true.

You probably realize already that your mind and body are connected. I will teach you disgust exercises and how that can improve brain function as well as steady your balance and help your muscles and joints function better. These exercises come from a concept of using the mind to heal the brain. You can be your own powerful authority. You are your own powerful authority, whether you are conscious of it or not. Consciously connecting the mind and the body not only has a powerful effect on what you sense, how you interpret those sensations and the memories you create but it also gives you skill in manifesting your life.

I look forward to (expect good things) your comments on this year long blog series and am open to writing about what you are most interested in. So let me know. Post comments below and tell your friends about this blog.

About the Author

Kimberly Burnham, PhD experiences personal and professional successes in her private practice, after ten years as the director of VisionIMT. She enjoys miracles and facilitates healing for clients with macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and other nervous system disorders. She is the author of Our Fractal Nature, a Journey of Self-Discovery and Connection (ISBN: 978-1-937207-01-4) and a chapter, Fractals: Seeing the Patterns in Our Existence in “Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now” ,an anthology of inspiration with Jack Canfield, Randy Davila, Marci Shimoff, Chris Attwood, Janet Attwood, Kimberly Burnham, Marcelle Charrois, Barnett Bain, Michelle Manning-Kogler and other thought leaders.

Become empowered by your fractal nature! Our Fractal Nature guides you through concepts and fun exercises to shape your personal healing potential to fit your needs. Tap into fractals to find new energy resources and expand self-awareness. Learn to recognize fractal patterns in your life, select the seed for each beginning, and surf life’s rhythms so you can choose to live in a friendly universe!

#TheNerveWhisperer #consciousness #placeboeffect #consciousliving

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