Beliefs, Rationalizations, and the Effectiveness of Treatment

by Armand Crolli

Did you ever have a therapy or modality have to be constantly repeated because the results didn’t hold for long periods of time?  Did you ever wonder why that was, when it was clearly working for others?beliefPart of the reason for this is derived from belief.  A belief, as we define it here, is anything that defines the ego or is part of the primal programming we all share.  Our beliefs are made from an amalgamation of our culture, social status, religious, epigenetics, family values, and primal concerns.    

This is a pretty vague idea.  It is easiest to find it in our everyday speech:

  • “It’s the right thing to do.”
  • “I can’t – “
  • “I am suppose to do -“
  • “I’m afraid to -“
  • “I fear that it won’t work.”
  • “Those kinds of people always do that.”
  • “Why can’t he/she see that about themselves?”

These are all examples of belief patterns that we can hold.  When you have doubt about whether a modality will work or not, that is a limiting belief.  But what actually happens in treatment?  Let’s use an infomercial as an example.

After hearing the sales pitch, you believe in the item; you then convince yourself through some rationalization that you need the product and that the price they are asking is worth your belief in the item.  You then purchase the product, which is followed by an emotional sense of pleasure via a dopamine reward reaction.  

So what has actually happened?

The sales pitch harkened to our beliefs.  Our mental mind then kicked in to rationalize and justify why we should pay attention to this pitch; it found the stated case to line up and support our belief system.  The mental mind is very interested in the status quo and avoiding unresolved conflicts with our beliefs.  An emotional pattern was then the down-stream occurrence from the intellectualizations and rationalizations.  It is guaranteed that an emotional response will occur in proportion to the strength of the belief system.  And this emotional response evokes a physical response, the release of dopamine, in the body.

What is interesting is that we don’t even need to know what these core beliefs are; the ego will actually deflect attempts in uncovering these, even to the point of pain. One doesn’t need to tear down all the elements that make us who we are; but we need to expand our strict definitions if we want to accept new ideas.  

What are the implications for treatment?  If you are trying a new modality, such as acupuncture or bioenergetic testing, you need to be able to accept the new ideas being presented and the new ways of looking at your body.  If you are not able to believe in the core premise that the body operates as a whole, the treatments will not work for you.  If you are not able to buy into the belief that the energetics of the body matter, these modalities will fail to make for you the life altering changes that someone who does believe will experience.  

This kind of emotional blocking does not just happen with a treatment modality; it can happen in any area of our life.  What areas of your life are being held back by limiting beliefs?  Can you liberate them to create the life you want?

Four Letter Word

Fear. It has dominated most parts of my life. There have been many things I have done that I did not want to but was afraid to say no; there have been many things I have not done because I was afraid of doing them. In both directions, my life has been ruled by fear.

This applies to my wellness, too. I have done and not done things simply due to fear. ‘I need to have this test done because of scary stories about people who did not; I need to not eat that food because it will clog my arteries.’ Fear, fear, fear.Fear

Sometimes tests do need to be run; sometimes food really does clog my arteries. However, these decisions need to be based on something other than fear. When I act out of fear all I get is more fear; suddenly I am in a spiral that cannot be checked. Suddenly my health is no longer there because it has disappeared in a giant puff of fear.

Fear is such an ingrained response for me, I don’t even see it coming. I often think that I am operating on other principles; it is easy for me to fool myself. It is easy because our culture is bred on fear. We learn that fear is the natural response and what we should be feeling. “You are not afraid? What is wrong with you?”

Fear stops so much momentum in my life. It stops my very breath; when I am afraid I am not breathing. Life is based on breath and when I am holding my breath my life goes on hold: all motion stops. The funny thing is, motion helps me combat fear. When I am proactively taking steps on an issue there is always less fear than when I am cowering in a corner. Even if the steps are small, they are motion. 

Acupuncture works well with my fear. Each week that I come there is motion: the energetic motion created by the insertion of the needles and the physical motion of me showing up for an appointment. There is also the motion of me committing to a course of treatment and seeing it through.

The treatment itself works with my fear. Each time needles are inserted I learn another lesson about my body’s physical responses. I learn that responses I thought were negative and fearful are not necessarily. I learn how my body interacts in the world, a language I am very disconnected from.

Acupuncture asks me to be present in the moment and open to what is going on, another antidote for the fear nibbling at the sides of my brain. Any time I am severely caught in a fear reaction I am usually not present.  When I am caught in this reaction I am not engaging in life.  I am closing my door to all experiences, not just the scary ones.  

Acupuncture helps me to loosen the grip on the negativity that eats my brain. Fear and negativity are buddies. Acupuncture slowly replaces that negativity with positive truth; this is not the same as a sugar coated reality. Acupuncture does not allow me to circumnavigate my situation but it shows me how positivity exists even in hard places.

Acupuncture teaches me to be grateful for what is, the greatest remedy to fear. It teaches me to appreciate the journey; it allows me to move past that four letter word.


Great Taste – and So Much More!

One of the best things you can do for your body is to feed it real, wholesome, nutritious foods. If you can find locally grown organic products, even better. The benefits of going organic include less pesticide contamination, higher nutrient content, no genetic modifications, no irradiation, more humane treatment of animals and respect for the land, and better taste. Of all these health benefits, the only subjective one is taste.

So let’s say you are looking over some produce and you are deciding whether to go organic or stick with the conventional version. If your primary concern is the health of you and your family, then it’s a no-brainer; go with the organic. If, however, your decision is based solely on taste, it’s a toss up, as some report a distinct advantage to organic while others claim no taste difference between organic and conventional.

Here’s the point. If you are making your purchasing decisions based entirely on taste, you are risking missing out on all the other healthy benefits of choosing organic.

Local organic food

When it comes to acupuncture and the health of your body, pain relief is like the organic taste test.

While most people are prompted to pursue acupuncture care as the result of pain or other symptoms, those who limit it to simple pain relief are cheating themselves of so much more.

The real impact of acupuncture lies in its ability to help the body heal and regulate itself. We know that energy flows in the meridian system, and that imbalances and blockages of energy in the meridian system lead to various symptoms and signs.

Whether imbalances are felt or not, the end result is the same: loss of the normal flow of the body’s energy and compromised health.

Roughly 15-20% of the time these imbalances result in pain. Most of the time, however, they cause no symptoms and go undetected. So if the majority of people who are out of balance with blocked energy flow base their decision to choose acupuncture solely on the way they feel, then they will most likely delay care, and their health will continue to decline. Organic is not just about taste, and acupuncture certainly isn’t only about pain relief.

While feeling great is desirable, the full scope of acupuncture’s benefits can only be realized beyond the initial relief phase of care. Once you are feeling better, be sure to utilize acupuncture for ongoing health and wellness. Pain relief, like great taste, is just the tip of the iceberg!