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What You Believe Dramatically Affects Your Health

In a study from Japan, a harmless leaf was rubbed on the forearms of a group of teenage boys who were known to be allergic to an Asian version of poison ivy. The boys were told it was poison ivy. They all broke out in a rash that looked exactly like the rash caused by real poison ivy. In part two of the study, performed weeks later, actual poison ivy was rubbed on their forearms. This time, the boys were told it was a harmless leaf. None of them developed the rash.

This case study is an example of the power of the mind to override bodily insults. It is also an example of the power of the mind to make us sick when we haven’t even been exposed to a pathogen or toxin. Voodoo masters and faith healers are experts in knowing how to capitalize on the power of the mind. If you don’t have deep faith in the power of Voodoo or faith healing, you will be completely unaffected by such practices.

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What You Believe Dramatically Affects Your Health

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

See his extensive website:

In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2016). What You Believe Dramatically Affects Your Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Mar 2016
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