The placebo effect is not all bad; it may be beneficial. If one truly believes something will positively affect an outcome, then the belief may have a positive effect on the outcome. A person who believes they have been healed may actually feel better. However, most times, belief, no matter how strong, has no direct affect on an outcome. It is merely the rationalizations of the believer at work. For instance, let us consider prayer. If people pray for something to occur and it occurs, then they think it must be God answering their prayers. If the thing prayed for does not occur, they do not say that their prayers were not answered; instead, they say they must not have prayed enough, they must have not deserved an answer, or that their faith is being “tested” by God. For believers, if what is prayed for occurs, it must be an answer to the prayers. If it does not occur, then they have many rationalizations to account for it not occurring.
The same process occurs when martial art “masters” use their “powers.” When the “powers” appear to work on believers, believers think the “powers” are real. When the “powers” do not work on non-believers, believers say it because the people are not believers (duh), the people were not in accord with nature, the people have other resisting “powers,” or that the people used some special resisting technique, such as the “crossing of the toes” technique that George Dillman says prevented his “chi powers” from affecting non-students during filming of a demonstration of his techniques.