The Hawthorne Effect
Just how much can our minds affect our bodies?
Consider the Hawthorne Effect. It works like this. Let’s say you wake up with a pain in your neck. It persists, so you seek treatment from your doctor who prescribes a medication to bring down any inflammation and to help with the pain. The Hawthorne Effect states that you will make other related decisions which will reduce your symptoms, or at least, they will reduce your perception of the symptoms.
For example, because your neck is hurting, you might change the pillows you sleep with. Or, when you come home from work, you use a heating pad for a few hours in the evening. Or, throughout the course of the day, you adjust your posture to a more neck-friendly stance.
When the pain you felt in your neck goes away, was it due to the medication your doctor prescribed? Or, because of the other choices you made to make your neck more comfortable? Or, both?
Most of the time, when we have a problem for which we seek medical help, we automatically take adjustments in other parts of our lives. When our problem is remedied, we are more likely to assume it was due to the medication, rather than to the changes we’ve made, almost unconsciously.
All of us are susceptible to the various placebo effects, be they sugar pills or our own thoughts and actions. The more we pay attention to the effects our thoughts have on our well-being, the better able we become to direct our thoughts towards the health we want to experience.
Posted on October 12, 2011, in Heart Disease, Uncategorized and tagged Hawthorne Effect, holistic health, Mind body connection, mind body medicine, placebo effect, placebos. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.