Here's some information on the vagus nerve....

> From: Share Long <>
>To: "" <> 
>Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 8:48 AM
>Subject: Re: [FairfieldLife] Re: Study: Participating in MahaKumbh improves 
>physical and mental well-being
>The vagus nerve connection to placebo effect makes sense to me because I've 
>heard that it's connected to fight or flight, begins in solar plexus, ends in 
>bottom of pelvic floor.  Personally I've observed that when fear of death 
>arises, usually there's a tightness in my solar plexus.  I know of one 
>therapist who studied a technique that involved relaxing the pelvic floor and 
>I personally know of techniques that involve putting the attention on the 
>solar plexus area.  I'm glad that we're learning about the importance of this 
>But when you say that some are more susceptible than others, what does that 
>mean exactly?  That they experience more objectively observable benefits and 
>for longer periods of time?  That their vagal tone index improves most quickly 
>but then also returns to original state most quickly?  Definitely a rich angle 
>on the research.
>Some fMRI work could also be done.  See what parts of the brain are becoming 
>active and when, etc.
>What comes to mind is Tara Bennett Goleman explaining the brain neural 
>pathways like ruts in a dirt road.  The more one thinks the same thought, the 
>deeper that rut gets and the more likely one is to think that thought again.  
>Conversely, even ONE time thinking a different thought or taking a different 
>course of action allows new neural pathways to be activated.  Could be 
>especially helpful with addictions.
>Extending this metaphor, I'd say what Paul Wong's neutralizing process does is 
>fill up those ruts in the road so that all neural pathways are equally open to 
>being followed.
> From: turquoiseb <>
>Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 10:28 AM
>Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: Study: Participating in MahaKumbh improves 
>physical and mental well-being
>--- In, Share Long  wrote:
>> Yikes! Then maybe I didn't really understand what Xeno was 
>> saying. Xeno, what did you mean? My interpretation was that 
>> the placebo effect can enter an individual's system by many 
>> avenues, meaning of the individuality: ego, emotions, 
>> thoughts, physical imbalances, environmental factors, etc.
>And if he did so he is correct. The modern understand
>of that which triggers the placebo effect is that it
>could be pretty much *anything*. A person wearing a 
>white coat, a person handing you a pill to take, 
>whether the pill is inert or real, even the language
>used by a supposed physician or tester, and whether
>or not they have a friendly "beside manner" or not.
>Despite the way that authfriend is trying to mislead
>you here, *anything* that triggers a belief in the
>subject that their condition -- whether it be physical,
>mental, or spiritual -- will improve as a result of 
>what is offered (even if what is offered is a technique,
>such as TM), there is a high probability that for many
>people, it *will* improve. At the very least, temporarily.
>Science has not yet completely pinned down the mechanics
>of what makes one person more susceptible to the placebo
>effect than another person, but they are working on it
>furiously. At least one study published in the  journal 
>Psychological Health indicates that it may have something
>to do with the vagus nerve, and the condition of one's 
>vagal tone index. Another study published by PLoSOne shows
>that it may be genetic, and a result of the catechol-
>O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which regulates dopamine
>But you can be sure they're working on the issue, because
>at present the placebo effect is costing pharmaceutical
>companies billions of dollars per year. They can no longer
>get new drugs released, because they cannot prove that they
>have any more effect than an inert sugar pill -- a placebo. 
>Even drugs that have been on the market for years are now
>unable to replicate the original research that allowed them
>to be marketed, because these now-common and commonly-
>prescribed drugs can't perform any better than a placebo,
>So they're working furiously to try to understand the placebo
>effect, and to figure out who is more prone to it than others,
>so that they can use this information when finding subjects
>for drug and psychological trials. The idea is -- eliminate
>those with a high propensity to imagine good effects from a 
>non-drug (those sensitive or more prone to the placebo effect)
>and form both your drug groups and your placebo groups from
>a population that is *not* as sensitive to placebos, and drug
>testing might get back on track again. 
>But basically *anything* can be a placebo. Something you hear
>at a lecture, something you read, some "technique" someone
>tells you to do, or even some "pilgrimage" someone tells you
>to take. Those who are placebo-prone will get some benefit
>from it, whether there is any legitimate reason for the 
>benefit or not. 
>THAT is what I believe is happening with the Kumbh Mela. It
>is *classic* placebo, with centuries of PR touting the sup-
>posed benefits of going there and bathing in sewage at the
>"propitious" times of year. And I say this knowing that *I*
>get high and perceive benefits from going to places of
>power myself. Part of me would like to believe that the
>benefits I perceive from doing so has something to do with
>the nature of the place, but another part of me knows that
>it is more likely a placebo effect. Either way, I'll still
>keep going to those places, because I like the effect...
>placebo effect or otherwise. 
>> ________________________________
>>  From: authfriend 
>> To: 
>> Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 9:00 AM
>> Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: Study: Participating in MahaKumbh improves 
>> physical and mental well-being
>> --- In, Share Long  wrote:
>> >
>> > Xeno, I appreciate especially when you say below, "...the many 
>> > avenues by which it can enter..." I'd never thought of placebo
>> > in that way.
>> Nor should you. Xeno is using the term so broadly and
>> loosely that it gets diluted to the point of
>> meaninglessness.
>> Lourdes is a reasonable example; people go there with the
>> expectation of being cured of a specific ailment, which
>> either occurs or does not occur.
>> Kumbh Mela is not, at least as the effects of attendance
>> were described in the study that started this discussion.
>> > Research on activities with spiritual themes historically 
>> > have tended to be sloppy with regard to evaluating the 
>> > presence and strength of the placebo effect, and the many 
>> > avenues by which it can enter and confound results.

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