Placebos Can Work Even When You Know You’re Taking a Dummy Pill – Dr. Mercola
A placebo is an inert substance that has no effect on your body. In medical research, placebos are used as controls against which the effects of drugs are measured
The placebo effect taps into your body’s own virtual pharmacy. Drugs work because your body has chemical receptors for the drugs, but you also have natural brain chemicals that act on those same receptors, effectively mimicking the results of drugs
Body chemicals are released in response to or in accordance with your mental or emotional expectations or beliefs
Placebos can work even when the patient is fully aware they’re getting a dummy pill. In one study, nearly 60 percent of patients openly told they were given a placebo pill reported relief from irritable bowel syndrome, compared to just 35 percent of those who received no treatment
The placebo effect accounts for more than half of the therapeutic value of the migraine drug Maxalt, and subjects reported pain relief even when they were informed that they were receiving a placebo, when compared to no treatment at all
As noted by The Washington Post and published studies,5,6 researchers have also discovered a “hierarchy of effectiveness,” with certain types of placebos appearing to have stronger effects than others. For example, injections or creams have stronger placebo effects than pills, and sham injections and sham acupuncture (which also uses needles) being more effective than placebo pills.
Price also matters,7 with expensive pills or treatments garnering better results than inexpensive ones. Lastly, telling the patient that the treatment will relieve their symptoms produces a greater placebo effect than saying it “might” help.