Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Many people have heard of placebos being used in medical research to test medicines. One set of subjects are given the actual medicine, and the other set are given this placebo, a sugar pill. However, many who take the sugar pill also report relief from their problems.
How can that happen?
Some believe that the secret is in the mindset. This pill or placebo gives hope. This pill or placebo is thought of as the real thing, the thing that will heal the problem.
Or is it?
Well, I’d like to share a few examples of alternative placebos:
1. A person carries a good luck charm in hopes of avoiding bad things. They leave the charm at home one day and something unwanted happens. They blame it on not having the charm.
2. Of late, I have read there are prayer groups popping up that aide in dieting. It seems prayer can lead to weight loss. And people say that being in this group and praying to God has indeed, helped them loose weight.
You may wonder how these placebos are. How do placebos work and how can a good luck charm be a placebo? I think these kinds of things (good luck charms, prayer, etc.) are certain kinds placebos because they allow us an opportunity to believe things will get better. They allow us to direct our energy in a more positive way that promotes healing, similar to the reason why a placebo in place of the real medication has proven to heal.
I will explore this in a story in next week’s post.
Listen to this story on NPR (August 3, 2007) about the placebo effect.
Copyright ©2007 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar
1 comments so far...
By cskishore on
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Re: The Placebo Effect
1. In case of medicines: I believe our body is capable of healing itself but will take longer based on the problem. We use medicines to speed up the process (which produces appropriate chemical reactions). The same reaction can be triggered through thoughts. Because of the faith, the process takes place and helps heal.
2. In case of good luck charms: Our ability to change our future by believing in it is something that we cannot understand. It just needs to be experienced. There will not be any logical explanation for this.