Health Briefs Placebo Effect

Published on March 31st, 2024 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


The Placebo Effect of Believing in Our Health

Our mind, body and spirit work together for our highest good. The wisdom within guides wants us to be in homeostasis, balance and harmony, but we don’t always listen. The placebo and nocebo effects are prime examples of the power and the reality of the mind-body connection. The placebo effect is the result of a belief that a treatment will solve the health problem or heal a disease or chronic condition even when the recipient doesn’t receive the real treatment, drug or vaccine.  The belief determines the outcome.

In well-designed clinical trials, the number of participants must be significantly high to determine a statistically significant difference between the results of the test drug and the control group which receives the placebo.

A clinical trial research team testing potential viral vaccines years ago witnessed the consistency of the placebo effect. The placebo effect is usually 30 to 35 percent of the control, non-drug or non-treatment group receiving a beneficial outcome. But if 35 percent of the clinical trial recipients were positively affected by the sugar pill or sham treatment, that percentage might be increased without drugs or vaccines simply by understanding how the placebo effect really works.

The nocebo effect works the opposite way. It is the result of a clinical trial recipient that doesn’t believe the drug will have a positive effect on their illness or symptoms, and therefore doesn’t benefit. The placebo and nocebo effects are simultaneously affecting any clinical trial or any treatment process. The clinical trial organizers cannot control the thoughts and beliefs of the clinical trial recipients. Of course, the placebo and nocebo effects also apply to efficacious drugs, treatments and vaccines that are accepted means of treating or preventing disease conditions.

Encouraging people to change their beliefs about drug treatment wouldn’t likely be consistent either. We can have a placebo effect in all aspects of our life, not just our health. Whatever we believe, we can achieve. Start by setting expectations that things will work positively. If they don’t, trust that there is something even better in store.

Contact Ann Deatly at 201-925-1046 or Anne.Deatly@gmail.com.

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