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Can you use the placebo effect to speak better italian?

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 20 Ottobre 2012

Have you ever heard of the placebo effect? And what about nocebo? What do you know about them? Can you make a quick mind map out of the word “placebo” and “nocebo” even if you haven’t ever heard of those words? Do it anyway, it’ll help you activate your brain and be ready to read further. Write down all the words and associations that come to your mind as quickly as you can.

 placebo-nocebo-mind-map.JPG

Several years ago I listened to a story about a cancer patient who was injected a cure which he believed was a panacea (a cure for all illnesses). He was very ill but after he started with the cure he felt well again and could go back to his normal life. The fact is that this cure was not giving the same results with all other patients it was tested on. Thus the newspapers started publishing about the failure of this cure. As soon as the patient read these news he started feeling worse again. So he went back to his doctor and the doctor told him that he would inject him with a double strenght dose of the medicine, but, being this not yet tested, he needed the patient to sign some papers, to free him of responsibility. Again he started to feel well, the illness wasn’t there anymore and he could go back to his normal life. What he didn’t know was that the doctor injected him with pure sterile water. The patient’s belief alone, independent of the value of the medication, produced his recovery. He was well for two months, then again appeared in the national press that that drug treatment was wortless. After the patient read those articles, he died within 2 days.

This is a story that really explains what both placebo and nocebo effects are. When the patient believed he was injected with a wonder drug, he healed (placebo), when he knew he was injected with a worthless drug, he worsened (nocebo). In my opinion the above story warns everyone about what we believe. I’ve already written about what I think about beliefs. Here I would like to suggest a way to utilize your beliefs and the placebo effect. And the best way to use them comes from the following story.

In a book by doctor Roy Martina, titled in Italian “La formula per la vita“, the author writes that placebo also work when the patient knows that he’s getting a placebo. He writes about his brother Arnold who was having a kindney transplant. Dr. Martina suggested him that when he looked at the intravenous drip he would be attached to after the surgery, he’d think that in that solution there were nutrients and vitamins and to be thankful to those vitamins. Anytime the nurse brought him pills, he had to say:”Thank you for bringing me my vitamins“. The doctor warned Arnold that the nurse would insist that those were real drugs and not vitamins: he told him not to believe her and to go on repeating himself and her that those were vitamins. Roy Martina’s brother also had to be thankful for the kidney and tell “it” that “it” was welcome in his body. Arnold followed his brother’s advice and healed faster than any other patient undergoing kindey transplant.

What has all this to do with learning a language? Do I have to write it clearly? What you believe about your ability to learn the language will affect it, thus why don’t you use positive affirmations with conviction so that you’ll create your new reality? What do you think about a  reality where you speak Italian like an Italian mothertongue? Whatever you answer, this is a belief…And what do you want to believe today?

By the way, until recently I thought that the story about the above cancer patient was  just a story that people tell to let you understand the power of your mind…Well…It wasn’t just a “story”, it is  a fact happened around 1950 to a patient of doctor Bruno Klopfer, a researcher involved in the testing of the drug  Krebiozen. You can find reference of this story on the book by Simonton O.C. and others, titled Getting Well Again (Bantam 1978, USA ISDN 0-553-28033-3).

Un Commento a “Can you use the placebo effect to speak better italian?”


  1. Change your mind-set to speak better Italian! | Speak Italian Magically! Scrive:

    […] P.S.: Do you remember that I have already written about beliefs and the placebo and nocebo effects? […]

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