I’ve seen a lot of people wearing power bracelets these days, and think: “Does it work?”

Apparently, no, no, and no.

As an individual involved in the health sciences field, I would have to say that making money from the uninformed is akin to stealing candy from a helpless baby: it’s dishonorable, tasteless, and downright heartless. While I respect the beliefs of my clients regarding superstitious beliefs- and we in the Philippines have many- I feel disgusted at those who capitalize upon the ignorance of the people.

The placebo effect is a phenomenon whereby a patient’s symptoms can be alleviated by an otherwise ineffective treatment. Typically, a “sugar pill”, a supposed drug that has a suggested potent effect, but otherwise made of common, harmless ingredients, is given to an ill person with reassurance that the medicine is the perfect cure for the disease. The person becomes well with belief that the medicine is in fact what it was told to be.

Galen, the Roman physician of antiquity, pointed out: “He cures most successfully in whom the people have the most confidence.”

Emotions are powerful drugs in itself. In our practice at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, for example, there were two babies- both who had the same sickness- that were being nursed 24/7 with the same supportive and therapeutic interventions. The first baby came from a rich family, additionally, this baby had a better prognosis (better chance for recovery) than the second baby, who came from a poor family. The difference between the two came to the parents; the first child was rarely visited, while the second one was showered with affection by the parents.

Surprisingly, the child with the better prognosis’ condition deteriorated and ended in the child’s passing, while the second child was discharged with a clean bill of health. It is in this situation that one can see the effect that such emotions have on a human being in the earliest stage of life: It can give life, or it can take it away.

Belief as a component of the emotional human is a potent cure for disease not fully understood by science. Which brings us to the argument of bogus products that promote cure and wellness: they don’t. You, the person, the human being who believes, makes the cure. I don’t know how, but I guess miracles do happen. I’ve seen it time and time again in the field, and I’ll undoubtedly see more of it in my future practice.

Always remember that there is a lie in believing in what others say, but there is never a lie in believing in oneself. That would be be-ving, but I digress.

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