The previous post from Dr Chopra referenced a terrific article from the NY Times magazine. It speaks about the science of Placebo.
I'm struck by the fact that we once again need to name something (like all of Western Medicine, not necessarily aiding in its resolution), and by so doing, creating connotations that might not be appropriate. Why is the PLACEBO concept automatically a negative association? The evidence of it's power is largely unrefuted. Where I think the problem comes lies in its association with deception.
But the cool thing about PLACEBO is that deception IS NOT PART OF ITS POWER! Many studies have shown that even when you inform patients that what you're giving them has no intrinsic health value -- it still works (a percentage of the time)!
Why do we continue to dismiss the power of the therapeutic relationship?!? As someone who takes great care in working with and working for the health of my patients, it seems to me that this is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WHAT I DO! Medication, supplements, etc. certainly have real value when properly employed. But the negative side effects of an thoughtfully placed hand on an arm are hard to discern, and their positive effects are frequently beyond what one might reasonably expect.
I am a big believer in the PLACEBO concept -- no, I don't give out sugar pills (not without prior notice!!), but I do try to engage the patient's spirit in the effort of wellness. Reorient your psyche, and your physical being will follow. As Henry Ford said "whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right.” Why not be right - and better!?
Love to hear your thoughts.
Bruce L. Feldman, MD
Dr Bruce is an advocate for health. You need to be your own health advocate. His blog offers his opinions and insights on numerous topics he believes might be of interest. Hope you agree!