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750,000 souls united in downtown Seattle and many, many more elsewhere; all sharing the same powerful elation of victory and accomplishment.

For a handful or two of hours the City of Seattle held its breath. Nothing else mattered, everything else could wait. All that counted at that moment was joy and celebration. The 12th Man brought a bustling metropolis to a standstill. The 12th Man Effect.

That game on February 3rd 2014 was incredible. An utter, unquestionable victory. The Denver Broncos with their famous leader, Payton Manning looked bewitched, stunned, half asleep, somewhere else. A lot has been said about team work vs. stars, selfless commitment vs. cocky confidence, defense vs. offence, etc., etc.

Little, however, has been said about the 12th Man Effect. Yes, what we -the fans- did, how our passion and deep desires projected into that New Jersey field on those 3 hours of February 3rd helped win the championship in such overwhelming and unquestionable way.

If we had a way of measuring the quality and quantity of the focused intention, the energy from the 12th Man projected into that field, we would be astounded; and if we could compare it to what was coming out of Denver, well… we would be pleasantly surprised.

Seattle Skyline before Superbowl XLVIII

Interestingly, this 12th Man Effect has been actually described as a technology; particularly in relation to medicine and healing. Yes, a technology, and one that is at every person’s finger tips. It is possible that some may get tempted at this point to dismiss this and label it as wild speculation, but they would be wrong. Science has been measuring for a while now what we are here calling the 12th Man Effect. The effects of focused intention are tangible and have been measured in scientific experiments of many sorts.

Although this technology has been in development for millennia in mystic, religious and spiritual circles, for a comprehensive modern reintroduction to the subject an excellent resource is Lynne McTaggart (http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/ ) an American journalist with several very well researched and informed bestseller books on the subject and with ties to the Institute for Noetic Sciences (http://noetic.org/ another excellent resource regarding “untapped” human potential).

Another very illustrative study on this subject of the “12th Man Effect” was published in the social sciences literature regarding an experiment conducted in Washington DC with transcendental meditation by a large group of experienced practitioners focused on affecting the incidence of violent crimes in the city by projecting a sense of calmness and wellbeing in their focused intention. The result was a 23.6% drop in the rate of violent crimes at the pick of their effort (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1006978911496). The effects were measured and found significant throughout the duration of the study, in other words, once the practitioners brought the meditation efforts to an end things went back to “normal” in relation to violence around the city.

In the same lines, this subject of the 12th Man Effect has been studied in the medical field, in the form of intercessory prayer which can be understood as a form of focused intention. The first such study was published in 1988 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3393937). Since this ground breaking publication many other trials have been conducted with mixed results. In 2009 the Cochrane Review Board (an independent, very prestigious and mostly unbiased medical review panel that addresses controversial subjects in medicine) published their conclusion based on the available studies to that date stating that no effect could be demonstrated from the trials thus far conducted, and furthermore discouraging future trials on the matter (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19370557).

As a professional with almost 30 years of experience in the field of medicine, it is my opinion that -in general terms- medicine standards of care seem to run a couple of paradigm shifts behind other fields of science such as physics and biology. As a good example of such observation, conventional medicine is still stuck -in its theoretic frame and consequently in the actions derived from said frame- in Cartesian duality (understandings from the 17th century), in conceiving mind/consciousness and body/biological machine as two separate and very distinct and unconnected entities that do not interact with each other. The new paradigms relating to the understanding of reality being brought forward by disciplines such as physics, in particular relating to quantum mechanics are producing evidence to contradict such dual construct.

On this subject, the field of holistic medicine is way ahead of the game in the understanding of human reality and its impact on health and disease. It is also important to understand in this part of the discussion that Cartesian duality as a theoretical framework supports much better a model of disease management, dependency and disempowerment of the patient that is very, very lucrative. In my opinion these observations together with the fact that this technology is still very much in its infancy in western civilization explain much better the equivocal or even disappointing results observed in the medical studies conducted thus far. Consequently, moving forward into the development of this technology as a mean for health and healing is a wide open path ahead of us with nothing blocking its way except for maybe our own shortsightedness and other self-imposed limitations.

Be this as it may, while we argue how to move forward in furthering our understanding and practice of this technology with such tremendous potential, let’s take this short visit full circle as a mean to start exploring, learning and practicing this technology:

Go Mariners to the World Series! The 12th Man (or whatever number corresponds in a ball park) is there with you!

Gaston Cornu-Labat, MD is the only holistic physician in Washington State who practices the Tahoma Clinic’s unique style of natural, holistic medicine, as well as general surgery when necessary. Dr. Cornu-Labat’s practice integrates nutritional medicine, natural medicine and body work with novel pain neutralization techniques, together with his knowledge of diverse spiritual and energy healing practices and counseling.
Dr. Cornu-Labat’s holistic medical and surgical practice is based at the Tahoma Clinic in Redmond, Washington and he can be reached at (425) 497-4558.