Jazz music makes me feel smarter, livelier. Placebo effect? Quite possible.
An appreciation for jazz didn’t come until after college. I’d had this horrid notion that all jazz sounded like what I heard as a child; big brass horns. A blaring ensemble keeping four-something time while I waited patiently in line, holding a plastic plate on the verge of collapse. Cheap yellow ice cream converging with suspect cherry pie. Sweet heavens, a Midwest ice cream social, old school style.
Thankfully, my first post-college gig was at a B&N bookstore in the music department. My boss was (is) a jazz freak (he married a jazz singer, enough said). Music education passed, I can now discern many schools of jazz.
The brilliance of jazz during the avant movement, it made music alive. Coltrane, Mingus, Davis, et al, they all riffed, off each other. They knew the rules, then tossed ‘em to make a new sound.
Interestingly, my yoga instructor introduced our New Year’s practice with a feed on this jazz concept. She digs music (she’s also a high school band director). Music is a part of her yoga practice. I concur 100 percent. I’m not a purist. I’m a dancer at heart. Music MOVES me.
During our New Years practice, we were encouraged to create on our mat. Listen. Feel. Move. Sadly, it didn’t last very long. I fear that too many in the room didn’t perhaps believe that they knew enough of the “yoga rules” to dance, to take the lead.
Do we ever know all the rule, though? Isn’t it nice to just take the knowledge one has and roll with it? Ignorance is bliss to some extent, but so is believing in what you Do know.
I’d say the placebo effect isn’t ignorance, per say, but something akin. We are told something, and then we put faith in that knowledge. Our positivity (in many cases) seems to propel us forward.
A recent New Yorker article discusses the placebo effect. Ted Kaptchuk, is heading this study at Harvard Medical School. His research is amazing on many levels; mainly, Kaptchuk isn’t a doctor, nor PhD. Ironically, he practiced Eastern medicine for twenty years before throwing in the towel, believing healing had more to do with the healer.
Kaptchuk will tell you that there are scientific measures to prove that the placebo effect is indeed working. Brilliant studies on counter measures, showing a biological response to the hinderance of a placebo after it is working, proved how the mind/body response can work.
A timely read after hitting an uproar on Facebook’s, Big Think post yesterday regarding Steve Jobs. Big Think posit it’s “scientific” article to the masses, declaring that Jobs may still be alive if he hadn’t pursued alternative medicine first. His vegan diet came into question, calling it detrimental to healing.
Many comments later, the take away was that Big Think had it wrong. Must say I agree; that the placebo effect could even help support Jobs’ approach to treatment.
Jobs felt that he could beat cancer via diet and alternative medicine. This belief helped to pave the course for treatment. If he’d chosen surgery first, against his own judgement, and he didn’t believe in it, who is to say is he’d been successful, especially long term.
A whole foods, vegan diet, that Jobs held in high regard, was more healing than harmful, for him. His body would have certainly been taxed after sudden consumption of animal protein after being without for years. Combine that with a negative connotation, especially if forced to eat something that one was ethically/morally apposed, and certain failure seems plausible, if only on a psychological level.
Placebos work because, like avant jazz, they are an ‘alive’ practice. Our minds are amazing vessels. The scientific community finds brain injuries so perplexing because the brain is not textbook definable.
Humans are different from animals because of our complex reasoning; our ability to understand the placebo in the first place. In scientific thought and the digital age, as patient, we are oft treated more as animal, than human.
Understanding the rules, having the knowledge, certainly affords us a better life than the earliest of ancestors. We, however, must embrace that rules are meant to be bent, broken, and updated, so that new music can be made, heard, and understood.
If we work together, yoke, our energy, just imagine the effect that may have on healing, on living, and all that jazz. ~