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International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Abstract

The lack of an identified mechanism of action for the placebo response contributes to its perception as clinically unimportant in Western medicine and minimizes its value as a contributing factor to the effectiveness of both conventional and alternative medical treatments. The therapeutic ritual is one of the principle contributors to the placebo response. Two key elements predicting salutogenic outcomes in both the placebo response and therapeutic ritual are patient meaning making and the patient/healer relationship. A detailed examination of human biofield dynamics shows its role in storing, communicating, and regulating the flow of information associated with healing in Western and non-Western medical models. The human biofield is particularly responsive to psychospiritual inputs, which may provide a model explaining the mechanism of action for these otherwise anomalous healing responses. Transpersonal studies provide methodological tools suitable to addressing the multiple paradigms found to be effective within the placebo response and therapeutic rituals, leading to the possible development of a transpersonal medicine.

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