The Power And Magic Of Belief

By December 30, 2009 Uncategorized

Have you heard of the “Medical Student Syndrome”? I’m not even sure if that is how it is called but I know there it’s true because I and most of my classmates have experienced it.

Students who are studying to become doctor sometimes experience the symptoms that they read up on their textbooks. “You get what you read”….the power of the mind.

There was a point when I experienced the symptoms of having stones in my gallbladder. I felt some discomfort at the area of my right lower ribs which was radiating to my right shoulder. This condition creeped on and off to a point that I really got scared. I was scared of having to go under the knife. I thought of my classes, my exams, the impending internship…….I did not want to be delayed.

I finally decided to undergo an ultrasound because I was convinced that I had gallstones. Finally, the result of the ultrasound showed that my gallbladder is empty of any size of stone at all. It was only then that the discomfort went away completely.

The Placebo Effect

We’ve all heard of “Mind Over Matter” and “Positive thinking”. When studying new drugs or other forms of treatment, an intervention which is a sham or a tablet that does not contain any active ingredient is assigned to some patients to compare the effect of the active treatment. The purpose of this is to determine the “Placebo Effect”. Some patients have manifested improvement or side-effects when they believe that they are receiving treatment even when in reality they are not.

The Scientific Method

The scientific method is generally very suspicious when there is no hard evidence to prove its truthfulness. I adhere strictly to this method because I believe that this is one of the ways to minimize harmful effects on patients. However, I also believe very strongly in the power of belief and its ability to bring meaningful improvements upon patients.

Belief is very difficult to prove to bring cure to patients in a scientific manner. However, despite absence of overwhelming scientific data, I choose to believe it.

My Beliefs About BELIEF

I believe that we are destined to enjoy health in our lives.

I believe that our bodies have the capability to heal.

I believe that our minds can heal our bodies and OUR MINDS CAN ALSO MAKE US SICK.

I believe in the “Power of Belief” but I think we have mostly misconstrued what it really means. I do not yet know what it really is but I think I have some ideas what it is not.

True “belief” is nowhere near the kind of mind over matter and positive thinking that we know of. It stays beyond the realm of the superficial and lip service. It moves beyond the realm of make-believe faith. Neither should denial be falsely hidden under this title and labelled as strong belief. Belief is also not a means to deliver false hope.

True “Belief” is profound. It is present in the purest of heart and purest of thoughts. Hate, anger, anxiety, fear, sorrow, bitterness cannot coexist with belief. It is when we have purged ourselves of our ego, our need for control, our need for certainty can we be truly in a state of belief.

Denky Dela Rosa

About Denky Dela Rosa

I am a Doctor of Medicine. My specialty is Internal Medicine (Doctor for adults) with subspecialty in Medical Oncology (Cancer). I am also a Certified Holistic Health Coach graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York City


  • UE student says:

    Hello 😀

    Good Day Ma’am, In regards to Patient-Doctor relationship. I just want to know your opinion about this. What if a 63yo, M, patient was diagnosed of Lung Cancer (terminal stage).He is already bed ridden and often times he complains recurrent episodes of pain even though was already under pain medication (opioid based). Will you give him a placebo medication in order to prevent the unwanted effects of opioid based pain relievers? If ever he was given a placebo medication, will you tell him the truth that u gave him a placebo medication? thank you 😀

    • doctordenky says:

      I don’t think we should give placebo to this patient. Patients with cancer often experience legitimate pain and should be managed appropriately. My guess is that the amount of pain medication being given is still inadequate for his level of pain which is why he is still complaining. Not because we give pain medicine means that all of the pain will go away immediately. We have to make sure that we are giving the right medicine for the right kind of pain and at the right dose. We need to determine what is causing the patient’s pain and address it properly. There is no reason for this patient to suffer in so much pain even if he is already terminal. Please do something for this patient.

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