In the last post we saw the powerful affects of priming individuals as a means to reduce the experience of pain. This confirms our conviction that mindfulness is an essential component in the effective treatment of pain and trauma.

The flip side of the matter can be equally as true, though. This realization of the results of our mindful intention and intervention has its corollary in that negative thoughts produce negative results. “The perception of different ambiguous stimuli can be influenced by negative suggestions in such a way that negative expectations can adversely influence the intensity of itch or pain experienced” concluded researchers studying the effects of nocebo and placebo. (Laarhoven, et al., 2011, p.1493)

“Despite the widespread prevalence of regional musculoskeletal pain conditions, little has been published on their effective pharmacological management,” according to Milton Cohen, of the Department of Rheumatology, in New South Wales. “Inadequate understanding of pathogenesis, difficulties with nosology, and the variable response of these conditions to a variety of treatment modalities have been factors confounding the assessment of therapeutic agents.” (Sheather-Reid, R.B. et. al. 1998, pp244-252)

These concerns for the psychological affects surrounding the variable success of a variety of treatments leads us straight to one of the most fascinating and vexing problems in the world of health care treatment. This is the matter of the placebo effect. Understanding it will be important for fleshing out our discussion of the mind-body dimension of effective treatment. We turn to that in the next post. I look forward to seeing you then.