The Power of Intention


There was a study done by William Bengston and David Krinsley that was published in 2000. They reported on the effect of “laying on of hands” with a positive intention on transplanted breast cancer in mice.

The study found that the act of laying on of hands and setting an intention resulted in the mice living their normal life spans. Even re-injecting the cancer cells into mice in remission did not take.

Bengston and Krinsley suggested a stimulated immune response was at work.

And, of course, they called for further research.

What this information tells me is that intention is key.

As doctors, we know that when a patient says, “Anesthesia always make me sick,” it will. No matter how much we try to prevent it.

When a patient says, “I always bruise so easily,” they do. No matter how delicately we proceed with surgery.

But what I love most about this study, and what I feel is so important to know is this: Regardless of the patient’s intention, it’s OUR intentions that matter.

(I mean, I believe we can all agree that the mice in that study were not setting their intentions one way or the other.)

Several months ago, I was speaking with an anxious patient in the pre-op area, trying to find a way to reassure her. I gently touched her hand and said, “I’m setting my intention for this to go very well, and for you to have a great result with easy healing.”

Her eyes welled up with tears and she whispered a soft, “Thank you.”

Everything did go well, and later she told me that it meant so much to her that she shared the story of our brief conversation that morning with several of her friends.

I was surprised to find that I, too, was put at ease by the simple act of setting my intention. It helped me center myself before the surgery and to take a mental “time out,”–which, for me, is even more significant than the required operating room time out, where we verify the patient’s name, age, allergies, and procedure.

Since that day, I make a point to share my intention with all of my patients. This simple act makes us both feel relaxed and at ease, and we all know that goes a long way.

Shake your head if you must, but I encourage you to give it a try. (The results of the study showed that even the non-believers in the study had positive outcomes –crazy, huh?)

I encourage you to set your intention for the outcomes you want.

You can start small if you need to.

Maybe you will intend that the coffee will be hot in the hospital cafeteria.

Or that your baby will sleep through the night.

Or maybe you’ll send out an intention that your staff will get the paperwork right that day.

What do you have to lose?

Try it, and as the song goes, “Have a little faith.”

I’m setting my intention for you, too.

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  1. Pingback: Why Burned OutDoctors Need Faith | End Physician Burnout Love Medicine Again

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