The Placebo Effect

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The placebo effect (so-called “mind over matter”) is well documented. A person who strongly believes that a particular treatment will make them feel better often does feel better, even if an inactive placebo is used.

The placebo effect has many therapeutic implications. Researchers are actively exploring the complexes relationships between the mind and the body in illness and healing. The strength of placebo effect is one of the fundamental reasons western doctors insist on specifically measurable results and carefully controlled trials when evaluating a new therapy.

There is a saying in western medicine that states, “The degree of enthusiasm for a treatment is inversely proportional to the degree to which it has been studied.”

In other words, once new treatments have been studied in a controlled, scientific way, many initially exciting new approaches prove to be ineffective or no better than safer, less expensive therapies.

In these clinical trials, neither the participants nor their doctors know who is taking placebo and who is taking active drug. This is done to eliminate even unintentional bias on the part of the participants or the healthcare providers.