Anybody who has studied with me privately or heard me teach knows I’m fascinated by the brain. By how it works, and how to train it. So it makes sense that I would eventually find the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.
Dr. Dispenza’s name popped up in my YouTube feed a few months ago as my family was in the midst of some intense challenges. And I was instantly intrigued. For one thing, I’ve long been a fan of his colleague Gregg Braden‘s work at the crossroads of science and spirituality, and of his colleague Bruce Lipton’s important contributions to the new science of epigenetics.
Then I saw the title of Dr. Dispenza’s second book, You Are the Placebo. And boom! Lightning-strike. I had to get down into it and find out exactly what he’s up to.
Because I’ve always wondered why we humans have been so casual about the placebo effect. For example, check out this definition on merriam-webster.com:
1a. A usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder
1b. An inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (such as a drug)
2. Something tending to soothe
Really? A big piece of info is missing there. Because during drug trials in pharmaceutical research, a placebo always affects a statistically significant percentage of participants like an actual drug would. Again, and really think about this: the placebo has the effect on some folks that they expect the drug to have.
Whoa. Tell me that isn’t fascinating!
And what does it mean? And how can we humans harness whatever that’s about? Cut to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.
But first, let’s go back to merriam-webster.com:
Improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used
That’s more on point, right? Now what does Dr. Dispenza have to say on the subject?
The following is a fantastic intro to his use of the placebo effect from an interview with Brian Rose of London Real. It will take seven minutes of your time. Then meet me back here. For real. :)
The best part: why this matters to you and me
If you heard that interview, the thinkers among you already get it, at least conceptually. For folks who function more on instinct or feeling, consider this: the fact that the placebo effect happens to some humans means we can learn to use it.
The placebo effect occurs because we—our hearts and minds and beliefs—are that powerful. Though maybe not naturally. Maybe not without steady work and real changes to beliefs and habits. To patterns and resulting cycles in our lives.
In fact, I regard Dr. Dispenza’s work so highly because he has mastered the how of this effect. How to apply it in our own lives.
How, indeed: his story
And yes, as is often the case with important innovators, Dr. Dispenza broke through to exciting new ground in terms of his own beliefs—and resulting possibilities—through a personal crisis. Because in 1986, as a young chiropractor living and working in L.A., he was hit by an SUV while biking in a triathlon in Palm Springs.
He wound up face down in traction with six crushed vertebrae. Several surgeons said he needed steel rods inserted down the length of his spine to ever, possibly, walk again. You can hear his story in his own words here.
But the bottom line is that he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Over the course of three months, since he had nothing to do but lie there anyway, he worked on his own shattered back. And long story short, he healed and resumed his life.
Ready for what may feel even more “woowoo” to you?
And here’s where the story may really test the boundaries of your beliefs: Dr. Dispenza worked on his back through meditation, visualization, and what I’ll call prayer. I’m not sure he would use that word.
Because one thing “Dr. Joe” says repeatedly is that science is the new spirituality. Quantum physics brought everything together over the past fifty years or more in ways that are just now trickling down to us regular folks.
So he steers clear of language that may alienate people for varying reasons. And his team of researchers and neuroscientists constantly document the startling results his advanced seminar participants are getting all over the world.
Now, before you say, whoa, too weird, I’m out, remember the placebo effect. In my own words:
Dr. Dispenza’s groundbreaking work with the placebo effect shows that, using belief in a possibility, focused attention, and elevated emotion, we can achieve an energetic dynamic that creates the results we want.
For three decades, Dr. Joe Dispenza has been learning how to apply what he learned in his own extreme life circumstance to the lives of others. These days he and his team are working and taking data all over the globe. Which means, in this age of instant information, all that goodness is available to us.
To be continued…
And I’ll be back soon with Part 2. It’ll be practical info on using Dr. Dispenza’s techniques to meet your own beautiful goals.
After all, why not, right? As you live your dream. For real.