Once again, I am not against God or religion and believe in miracles, to a certain extent, but the placebo effect is a well accepted phenomenon and this could easily help explain how close connections to churches and communities strengthen health and reduce the risk of illnesses, as well as the belief in whatever it is you are doing from meds themselves to Yoga or meditation. In other words, the mind itself can do wonderful things on some occasions while actually giving the credit to whatever it was that you had the "faith" that it would heal you.
Except there are numerous studies out there detailing the adverse effects of isolation on organisms. From animal to human populations, there are biological processes that occur when an organism is closed off from its ecosystem. This is pretty well documented in prison populations, and especially those who spend time in solitary confinement. This also happens to be one of the best forms of torture, as some of the documented physiological effects end up being worse than physical torture. If I had a choice, I'd probably prefer physical torture.
You also bring up meditation, which is interesting because there are well controlled studies from Harvard showing stronger gray matter regions in those who meditate vs those who don't. Subsequently, there is strengthening of the connections between the prefrontal cortex (the "focus" region) and the rest of the brain.
I think it's time to stop using the placebo effect as the answer to every issue that medicine doesn't "solve", and start inspecting other processes more carefully.
Post Edited (StealthGuardian) : 12/8/2013 10:48:38 AM (GMT-7)