Miracle Cures! What Keeps Us Hoping?

Hope. Miracle.


It seems to me that we use those words a lot when we are talking about health. Let’s start with hope. Hope for what? Well, for a lot of things. Hope for a good day. Hope for understanding. Hope for effective health care.


And maybe, in the front of your mind, or somewhere in the back of your mind… hope for new directions in treatment. Hope can motivate you to stay super informed about your condition, to research the latest and greatest treatments and technologies.


Hope can also cause you to take a moment to take a quick look, or a long look, when you run across words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and, most seductive of all, “miracle.”


I see advertisements for miracle cures all over the Internet. But also some articles written by what I assume to be responsible journalists.


Should we hope for miracles?


I have to admit that I often pause when I run across medical miracles in any form, especially if related to a condition that one of my clients is living with. First of all, I’m hoping along with them for better days ahead in the treatment of their condition. And I’m naturally curious about what’s being touted as a miracle. You might be curious, too. In fact, clients often share information with me about new treatments, some of them outside of traditional medical practice.


Or, you may be one of those folks who automatically blocks out ads or articles that appear to be touting anything approaching a miracle. You may have been down this road one to many times.


But even if you’ve repeatedly read about miracle cures that weren’t so miraculous, I think there’s a side of us that can’t help but wonder, “what if there is a miracle out there, something way outside of the traditional medical approaches that just might provide an answer that was right under our noses all this time? What if it’s around the corner?”


And then hope kicks in. Sure, you’re skeptical. You remember how annoyed you were the last time you got caught up in reading about a supposed miracle cure. But you read on. Just in case.


Let’s face it, sometimes all that compliance gets old. Maintaining your treatment compliance isn’t an easy job. Maybe you’re right on the money every day, or maybe you’re slipping up here or there, or a lot. Compliance is no party, or at least not the party you wanted to be invited to. So who wouldn’t want to hear about a way for all those compliance responsibilities to miraculously disappear?


Hoping for a miracle is part of our culture. How often does the word “miracle” slip into your conversations? It’s a word we use a lot, in relation to all kinds of things. For many of us, miracles are a big part of the religious teachings we grew up with. We’ve been taught to believe in miracles, even witnessed a few. So it’s no surprise that offers of miracles might catch your eye.


Be aware of the downside of chasing after a miracle. Chances are, you aren’t actually taking the time to pursue any of the miracle cures you see advertised, once you have read the fine print and given it some thought. But offers of miracle cures can lead to what mental health professionals call “magical thinking”: hoping for something that isn’t real. That’s a road that can lead to taking chances with your health as well as setting yourself up for disappointment.


Miracles or not, don’t give up on hope.   Medical breakthroughs happen. Some even miraculous. So let yourself take a second look at the latest ad for a miracle cure. Why not? But be an expert on your condition. Balance hope with research and realistic thinking. Stay optimistic about the future. That’s what motivates you to keep going when the going is rough.


Did anybody say miracle? You’re doing what you need to do to take the best possible care of yourself. Day after day. You’re the miracle!