You are the placebo

You Are the Placebo

Wouldn’t it be great if we had tremendous power over our life’s reality? A power akin to taking a highly effective pill for feeling better, healthier, younger? It turns out we do have that power. I want to share with you a book that shows us how to do it and why it works.

The book is entitled “You are the placebo” by Dr. Joe Dispenza. This book is life-changing. I’m summarizing it here for you as quickly as I can.

The Discovery: You Don’t Need an EXTERNAL Placebo to Feel Better

The book starts off with the story of the author himself who thought himself back to being healthy after a horrific accident.

From there he makes the case that

  1. There is a real and measurable placebo effect associated with pills, injections, and other treatments. That is why clinical trials have to conduct double-blind placebo-controlled studies when testing the effect of medical drugs.
  2. The existence of the placebo effect means we have an internal mechanism that allows the placebo effect to work
  3. By now, we know a fair amount about how this mechanism works.
  4. There is research that shows the placebo effect can even work when people KNOW that they are taking a a placebo – that is amazing!
  5. The idea that we are “doomed” by the genes we are born with is old news. Latest research shows that “approximately 90 percent of genes are engaged in corporation with signals from the environment.” That means: Nurture (our environment and thoughts) influences a lot how nature (our genes) is expressed. Wow!
  6. And finally it comes to this: You can be your own placebo. You don’t need an external placebo (e.g., a pill) to feel better, healthier, younger, etc.
  7. In fact, we always are our own placebo – but maybe the effect we are creating is not the one we want. We might inadvertendly use the internal placebo mechanism to make us sick, old and unhappy.

What the Book Offers

Part 1 of the book gives a lot of information about how the placebo effect works in the brain and in the body. The author talks about how THOUGHTS change the brain and the body. Thoughts! You might have heard the expression “Thoughts become things!” Well, yes!

It is amazing that our thoughts can even influence which of our genes get expressed (i.e., become active). Pause for a moment to think about how amazing that is!

The purpose of understanding the information in part 1 is two-fold:

  1. Give us confidence that our thoughts do in fact create our reality. We don’t need an external placebo to feel better. We can create that effect within ourselves.
  2. Quench our curiosity about how this works. The mechanism involves chemical changes in our brain, and body. We can even signal our genes to be turned on or off.

A Quick Story

There are plenty of stories, data, and explanations in this book. For example, chapter 4 talks about a study during which eight men in their 70s and 80s pretended to be 22 years younger than they actually were. They also surrounded themselves with photos and other items from their lives 22 years ago. Within five days, they become physically younger – it was measurable! (Eight men are not a huge group but it is impressive nonetheless.)

You Could Go Straight to Chapter 11

Luckily, you don’t have to have a science degree or even a passion to work your way through the first ten chapters. You also don’t have to study the brain scan data the book offers. If you trust that this at least MIGHT work, feel free to skip to part 2, “Transformation”.

In these last two chapters, you will find concrete directions for how to be your own placebo. You will discover how to change beliefs that are no longer helpful to you. These beliefs create thoughts that in turn create a reality you’d rather change.

Does It Work? Yes!

Now, that is very cool. Does it work? Yes! How do I know? I tried it. I told others about it who were quite sick – they saw improvements, too!

I’m Curious

How open are you to tapping into the power of being your own placebo? I invite you to give it a try.


  1. Diana Patton on at

    Stephie: Thanks for pointing me to this specific post. It is on my to-do list this week to think about ME and get started on the book (even if I go straight to Chapter 11).

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Diana, that makes me so happy!

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