This document is a presentation of the book "You are the placebo", written by Dr.
and published on April 29, 2014 in English by Hay House Editions.
The experiences, studies and testimonials
reported in the book in abundance,
as well as the proposed meditation technique,
are not included in this presentation
Dr. Joe Dispenza's book "You are the placebo" raise the bar
one step higher than its predecessors. Dr. Joe Dispenza addresses topics
such as visualization, meditation, the law of attraction, applications
of quantum physics in personal evolution; and he does it through the lens
of neuroscience. He tells us about the plasticity of the brain, our ability
to create or remove neuronal connections, our ability to activate or deactivate
our genes, and the important interaction between our cells, our body and
our thoughts and emotions, and - the most important aspect: the interest
in better managing these thoughts and emotions, in order to transform
both our mind and our health. His book is full of examples, studies, experiences
that illustrate his theories. In this book he brings the idea that we
can reach health through our will and the ability to direct our thoughts
and emotions by changing our beliefs, and use that as we use a placebo.
We often pay no heed to the fact that our body has its own healing abilities.
Yet this is a fact, we can, for example, observe it when an injury stops
bleeding on its own, then proceeding to a whole healing process that usually
leaves little mark and does most of the time not require much external
intervention. And that applies for most diseases. What the saying sums
up well when we say that a flu takes 2 weeks to heal while without care
it takes 15 days to recover.
Our body is capable of producing on its own a whole pharmacopoeia. But
most often our state of mind, our conditioning, our negative thoughts,
our erroneous beliefs, prevent these capacities to be stimulated in the
sense of the full health.
Everything starts from the idea that our life is led by our automatisms
of thinking acquired in the past and written in the body. By always carrying
on the same thoughts, we always make the same choices that lead to the
same behaviors, which will make us go through the same experiences, which
in turn will make us feel the same emotions, which will simply raise the
same thoughts, and lead us to always live the same thing in a loop, and
make us stay biologically the same.
Thus, whatever our desires for the future, we are able to conceive of
their realization only according to the models of our past. And that often
makes them fail.
We can experience that every day. Because we live, feel, evaluate our
daily life in a similar way from one day to another. We experience it
by our addictions. We verify it by always confirming our beliefs, to the
point of being incredulous when our entourage does not verify the same
beliefs as us.
Our experiences are alike, our choices are alike, our past, present and
future experience is very similar to itself.
Our automatisms are all the more indelible because our mind and our biology
are interdependent. According to Joe Dispenza, thoughts are the language
of the mind (the mental) and emotions are the language of the body. A
simple thought (consequence of past events) can generate an emotion, via
the production of peptides transmitted in the body. This produces an emotion
which, in return, is perceived, consciously or not, at the level of the
mind, which will be led to emit a thought that is the consequence of it,
which will in turn generate the emotion. This is how we always reproduce
the same thoughts and emotions. We have preferential neurological circuits
that we tend to wire very regularly. By always being immersed in the same
kind of emotions and thoughts, we always remain in the same states of
In this way, our mind is no longer really in control, it is our body which
conditions most of the time our thoughts, according to past events which
have imprinted their mode of operation that we continue to repeat. And
all this is written in most cells of our body that are regularly engaged
in this thoughts-emotions circuit.
By dint of reinforcing the same neuronal connections, we limit the functioning
of our brain to the point of not being able to leave these mechanisms.
In a way it's our identity. The less we exercise the plasticity of our
brain, the more we move towards a form of narrow-mindedness. Both literally
It is therefore necessary to learn to be able to get out of these limits.
Otherwise, some functions will deteriorate, mental faculties will stiffen
and eventually decrease, and our health will weaken. This loss of vitality
and flexibility will lead to disease and aging. To give an idea of the
phenomenon, here are some figures quoted in the book:
According to the University of California at LA, "we have about
60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day, of which 90% are exactly the same as
the day before."
In addition, unconscious thoughts account for about 95% of our mind.
Regarding the functioning of the brain. We have billions of neurons that
can each have up to more than 100,000 connections. This is astounding.
Our potential is immense.
According to Joe Dispenza, the implementation of our programs is already
set up at 95% around the age of 35 years. 5% of our thoughts remain then
conscious. And if our will then wants to think positive, almost nothing
can be done against unconscious negative operating automatisms written
in the body for 35 years, and they will always have the upper hand.
The only way out of the rut is to become conscious of our thoughts and
change them, in other words, to evolve and change our personality, to
transform our brain and our biology, our physiology and our genes. A whole
program that Joe Dispenza don't hesitate to propose to us.
If we succeed in reversing this tendency by taking back the control,
on a conscious level, by intentionally creating thoughts and emotions,
by succeeding to interfere with the subconscious part of our mind, then
we hold the key to healing.
To achieve this, it is necessary to put ourselves in a state of meditation,
by lowering the frequency of our brain waves.
Any change of behavior, of thought, therefore requires repetition to
be reinforced and maintained over time. Beyond chemistry, new connections
are physiologically written in the structure of our brain. We can therefore
say that our mind is capable of transforming matter.
Joe Dispenza explains the neurochemical and biological aspects in more
detail and in a very understandable way in his book, without requiring
the reader to be an expert in these areas.
Joe Dispenza's challenge is to succeed to create new connections, transform
our brain, and make the placebo effect work. It requires, through choice,
with a determined will and intention, to develop our ability to visualize
our goals in the most real possible way, accompanying them with emotion,
the most intense possible, and to train for that. It is hence the intention,
the emotion and the thought which, combined, form the experience. So,
through visualization, this consists, already in the present, of doing
the experience of the future, and to write the impact of this experience
in our cells.
The success of the technique is only possible if we manage to make the
visualization more real at the level of the feeling than our current reality
at the level of the lived experience.
Our brain will not make the difference between what is imagined and reality.
When the inner reality visualized will be lived more intensely than the
outside experience of the past, some neurological circuits will be deactivated
while others will be wired, and at the same time, the activation of certain
genes will be modified. However, by repeatedly stimulating certain neuronal
connections we can double their number, and conversely, when we no longer
use them, they begin to disappear in the space of three weeks. These changes
in neurological configuration will lead, over time, to a physical transformation
of our brain.
By projecting ourselves in imagination into the future by thought but
also by emotion, our brain is placed in a new environment situation and
it is this that will operate the activation or deactivation of genes,
resulting in the biological transformations which are necessary to recover
For, contrary to what was previously believed, our genetic heritage is
not set in stone. Basically it is the environment that stimulates or not
the activation of a gene, but our ability to visualize allows this too.
Indeed, the expression of a gene can fluctuate over time and is dependent
of our thoughts, emotions, interactions with our environment (relationships,
experiences, food, pollution, etc.).
Therefore, the meaning we give to what we live determines the functioning
of all our biology.
We could compare the body to a computer. The hardware, the operating
system, and a series of preloaded programs would be, symbolically, what
is determined at birth. These softwares would make it possible to exploit
the machine (the body) according to millions of different versions; but
it would also be possible to develop the softwares, to add new ones, to
modify some of them, to delete others, etc. and this all life-long.
Therefore, by changing our thoughts and feelings, we change our neural
configuration, our personality, our choices, our habits and this impacts
our biology, the activation or not of certain genes; we literally create
our state of health.
When really living new experiences, when learning new things, we strengthen
the transformation of our brain and expand our cerebral possibilities.
The placebo effect
Placebo is a 100% inactive pseudo-medication that is administered to
a patient, claiming that it's active, and it's likely to generate an improvement
in the patient's condition.
The placebo effect is observed when the patient's health improves significantly
when a medication has been substituted by a placebo.
The effect of the placebo is related at the same time to the fact that
the patient has faith in the treatment given to him, to the knowledge
he has about the possible benefits of this treatment, to his past experiences
in relation to this treatment, as well as to the expectations he has about
this treatment. The way in which the caregivers intervene has then a great
influence on the placebo effect.
The two major elements that can slow down the placebo effect are, on the
one hand, the negative thoughts, and on the other, the stress. And they
are related. In reality these two factors are simply brakes on good health.
However, it turns out that an average of 70% of our thoughts would be
Stress, on the other hand, is at the base, a biological functioning that
makes it possible to survive in situations of danger and urgency. But
when activated continuously, it is a source of maladjustment and is one
of the main causes of the deterioration of health. Dispenza illustrates
the life under permanent stress, in survival mode, just like the management
of a country that would invest 98% of its budget in defense and would
keep 2% for education, health, infrastructure, etc.
In situation of stress, the self-healing functions are stopped, and in
the long run the immune system weakens.
All the negative movies that we are making are small hammer hits on the
nail of the disease that we sink ourselves into our body, because they
put the body in situation, and it is always a situation of stress. And
this trend is addictive. Once installed, it is extremely difficult to
get rid of it.
And when we always dwell on the same thoughts about problems, or when
we continually foresee the possibility of future problems, we maintain
and support this stressful situation just by our thinking, and we are
preparing to lower our level of health, because ultimately we activate
genes that allow disease.
Living in the stress mode, that is to say, in a continuous mode of survival,
concentrates the thoughts on the body, on the material things and on time,
and this cuts for us the access to intuition, to serenity, to creativity,
to the opening of the heart, of the feeling of being linked to the whole,
and thus to live something else.
One of the most important stresses within the context of health, is that
related to the diagnosis. Indeed, the value of medical diagnoses, and
the discourse that accompanies them, can be of vital importance in the
healing process. Dispenza reports a series of cases of people who had
been informed of an impossibility to cure their illness and who died,
while the autopsy later revealed that the diagnosis that had been told
to them was wrong.
The reverse situation is also valid: it is possible to heal from diseases
just by changing our beliefs about our health.
It is therefore necessary to disregard the medical diagnosis conclusions
when the prognosis is quite negative, because this is precisely making
a nocebo effect (the nocebo effect being the opposite effect to that of
In this context, the idea of placebo consists in believing in our capacity
to heal: and thus in creating the conditions for intentionally learning
to believe it; rather than believing in factors outside of us: medication,
medical diagnoses, treatments of all kinds, and even external placebo.
It is thus a question of encouraging our own suggestibility to the thoughts
and emotions that we ourselves will decide to invest. This means, in some
way, to decide to believe in our healing, rather than to persist in maintaining
automatic thoughts related to the symptoms or ill-being that have accompanied
us for a long time.
Joe Dispenza proposes, through meditation and visualization, to achieve
this; meditation having the power exactly opposite to stress and to negative
thoughts. And this is the method proposed by Joe Dispenza to make visualization
Changing beliefs through emotion via suggestibility
By becoming attentive to our thoughts, and by passing them again in the
frame of consciousness, we make possible the change of our beliefs. Because
these are not always true, or if they have been, they are not necessarily
still true, because our context has changed.
However, in order to imprint new beliefs through visualization, it is
necessary to accompany them with stronger emotions than those that have
imprinted our old beliefs. Joe Dispenza illustrates this aspect by the
effect of a strong wave on the beach, which will push back seashells and
other marine debris, and erase and replace all the marks printed in the
sand by previous waves. The same is true for modifying the imprints in
our brain and body, and liberating us from the past.
Emotion is therefore the best way to access our subconscious that he
compares to the operating system of the computer.
When we feel an habitual emotion, it will be accompanied by thoughts,
habitual too. These thoughts, we accept them, believe them, and adopt
them as true. We are therefore very suggestible to what we already know.
To become suggestible to a new type of thinking, it is then necessary
to feel new emotions that will correspond to it. It is in this way that
we can achieve change.
According to Dispenza, suggestibility is correlated with the ability
to access unconscious thoughts
To favor our suggestibility, we can give ourselves the means to believe
in this visualization so that it can work. And the very fact of giving
the explanation of the efficiency of the process, with certain details
at the level of cellular biology, is already likely to greatly favor this
Suggestibility is, in a way, the facilitation of installing a belief;
not to be confused with credulity or naivety. The idea consists in making
ourselves suggestible to the content of new beliefs we choose to adopt.
Joe Dispenza says this: In order to achieve the placebo effect, we must
first "accept and then believe in the suggestion of a better health,
and then let go in front of what is happening without further analysis."
It is therefore necessary "to align ourselves with a possible future
reality - by changing our mind and brain during the process. When we believe
in the result, when we emotionally integrate the idea of a better health,
as a result, the body, as unconscious mind, is living this future reality
in the present moment. "
It is therefore necessary to install confidence in what will happen, and
maintain this state of mind over time. Apart from the intentional initiation
of the process, the transformation then takes place outside the field
The level of suggestibility differs from one individual to another. The
placebo effect is easier to reach for people with greater suggestibility,
but the interest from what Joe Dispenza is proposing lies in the fact
that it is possible to intentionally increase our suggestibility.
Suggestibility involves three elements: acceptance, belief, and then letting
go. And the ability to live the process by integrating the emotion is
the mean to get there. Because it is the way to access the autonomic nervous
system that will create the chemical conditions of change.
And gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions in order to reach suggestibility.
By being grateful in the present moment for future events, the body understands
it as if the event had already happened, and aligns itself with it.
Conversely, suggestibility is inversely proportional to analytic abilities.
But stress drives us to use our analytical abilities by trying to imagine
all possible eventualities of the development of a situation - and most
often the worst ones - in order to be ready to deal with it. And that
keeps us under stress.
When we use our analytical abilities to ruminate, we simply damage our
health. It is not a question of incriminating these abilities, but of
learning to use them only when they are appropriate, and certainly not
when they are accompanied or stimulated by negative emotions and by stress.
Our analytical abilities will push us to develop our ego, to over-evaluate
the dangers, to suffer, to seek to always have the control. They will
stimulate stress, prevent letting go, and get us trapped into negative
The placebo effect works only when we totally leave this state of mind
and let the unconscious take over.
To leave our too analytical mind, and to put ourselves in a state of
suggestibility, it is possible to pass by the change of frequency of the
brain waves from Beta to Alpha, until Theta, which allows us to let go
and this can be reached, among others, via meditation or hypnosis. The
more we slow down brain waves, the more we become suggestible.
If, when we are in survival mode, it is the outside world that seems to
us the most real; conversely, when we invest our inner world through meditation,
it is the latter that we will learn to conceive as the most real. This
is where we make it possible to make changes in our functioning mode.
We are more creative and more suggestible.
The outside world is not going to change, but it is our perception of
this world that will be modified and this allows us to change the way
we react to it, and then to observe changes happening.
However, once the change is achieved, or is in the process of being,
there is a risk of regression related to our environment. Indeed, the
addictive aspect of our beliefs can have the effect that if we find ourselves
in the material or affective conditions that prevailed before the change,
the old automatisms could reappear and resume their activities. There
is therefore a need to work on the repetition of new beliefs in order
to print them more deeply and thus reinforce them and reduce the risk
of going backwards.
In addition, leaving the narrowness of our brain functions is uncomfortable
because we are embarking on the unknown. It takes time, and our mind is
going to want to resist doing that. Dispenza compares it to the moment
when we put our foot in cold water before bathing. This makes us want
to return to the comfort of the dry heat, to the comfort of our automatic
and unconscious mental functioning. He speaks of "crossing the river
If we look at all this from the angle of the system of understanding
the world influenced by quantum physics, then we realize that by transforming
our inner state, we are transforming our external reality.
First of all, the field in which all the elements of the universe are
immersed, from the largest to the smallest is filled with energy and information.
The size of the atom particles is infinitesimal in proportion to the size
of the field that separates them.
Then, quantum physics has shown that in experience the observer himself
determines the result of what is observed. In this sense, the way in which
the events of reality will manifest is not determined but just potential.
It is the attention, the observation, the interpretation attributed to
it that will determine the manner in which these events manifest. We can
understand at a quantum level how our mind (according to our beliefs,
automatisms, conditioning, neural highways, biological state), can determine
the way in which reality will manifest itself.
The perpetual repetition of our habits leads us, from looping interactions
with external reality, to shape our inner world, and thereby to print
the glasses with which we look at the outside world. Our mental habits
will freeze our look, preventing from shifting the point of view, making
it impossible, both to change our inner world, and to conceive differently
the external reality; and this maintains it as it is.
Conversely, when we become able to imagine in visualization a possible
future reality and accompany it with the emotions associated with it,
we are already creating this reality. And the repetition of the exercise
increases the chances of this realization.
If our attention shifts from our past thoughts to new thoughts, if it
moves from what we do not want, to what we desire, if it stays away from
the problems we encounter, and turns towards solutions that we wish, we
become capable of modifying our reality in the sense of our desires.
The energy frequency of a healthy body is higher than that of a sick
body. The more we are in an attitude of survival, the lower are our energies.
And conversely, the more we are in consciousness, in positive thinking,
the more we develop our creativity, our compassion, our intuition; and
higher will be our energies, and the better will be our health.
The more we raise the energy, the less we are in matter and the more
the material coherence reveals itself. The more we get linked with the
energy field, the more we influence matter to organize and the less we
are subject to the law of entropy which corresponds to low energy functionings.
(note: the law of entropy concerns the natural tendency of everything
Matter is created from a decrease in energy. When we raise our consciousness
and our energy, we make ourselves capable of transcending matter and can
therefore, by thought, influence matter.
According to Joe Dispenza: "Since the quantum field is an invisible
field of information, since it is the frequency beyond space and time
from which all material things come, and is made of consciousness and
energy; then, everything that is physical in the universe, is unified
within this field and connected to it. And since all material things are
composed of atoms, which are connected beyond time and space, then you
and I, like everything that make up the universe, are connected by this
field of intelligence - personal and universal, both inside us and all
around us - giving life, information, energy and consciousness of everything."
Meditation enables to better connect to the field, to become conscious
of its reality, its presence, and therefore opens all the possibles.
Written by Claire De Brabander
translated : November 2018
This text has been written originally in French and has been translated
by the author (who is French speaking). The translation quality is therefore
not guaranteed. Don't hesitate to report any error. See more details