The Placebo Effect – Proving the Body’s Innate Ability to Heal

It really is funny the ways in which the universe works. Last week in my pharmacology class we had a discussion about the placebo effect. Many drugs have recognized placebo effects. One major example are anti-depressants. I am not saying they do not work – they do cause many chemical changes to the brain and body. However, my professor was talking about how they have been shown to have a very high placebo effect as well.

What is the placebo effect? According to the Merck Manual online:

The term placebo (Latin for “I will please”) initially referred to an inactive, harmless substance given to patients to make them feel better by the power of suggestion. More recently, sham interventions (eg, mock electrical stimulation or simulated surgical procedures in clinical trials) have also been considered placebos. The term is sometimes used for an active drug that is given solely for its placebo effect on a disorder in which the drug is inactive (eg, an antibiotic for patients with viral illness).

The placebo effect tends to get a bad-rap in the medical community. My professor argues that the placebo effect is in essence, proving many of the principles of Naturopathic Medicine….. the body does, truly, have the innate ability to heal itself. Looking at the placebo effect we realize that this innate healing ability is intimately linked to the mind and our BELIEFS. I had been thinking alot about these concepts this week and I came across this AMAZING ted talk by MD Lissa Rankin. I encourage you to watch it and feel empowered in your own health!

As always thoughts and comments are welcomed and encouraged. I hope you find this concept as fascinating and empowering as I did.


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