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Placebo effect

The Placebo Effect: Why it's powerful medicine

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 by: Nanditha Ram
Tags: placebo effect, positive thinking, well-being

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(NaturalNews) It's not what you think it is. It's what you think. The placebo is for real. It can give you the relief from pain and sickness that you are looking for just as much as that prescription drug can, only, without the side effects. The question that is being asked now by researchers and scientists is not if they work, but how they work. What they are saying is that placebos do work, but something else is at work, too, which gives the "fake" pill an impetus to cure even what is considered an organic disease, the progress of which can be observed and measured.

The placebo effect: What is it?

Let us backtrack a little here and look into the psychology of illness and wellness. It is now commonly accepted that happy people are healthier than their unhappy counterparts. Or put another way, your happiness and your health are intrinsically linked to such an extent that healthy people are also happier because of good health. That is, a happy state of mind has a corresponding physiological state as well wherein hormones and neurotransmitters of the central nervous system get kicked into action, thus resulting in an influx of the same into your blood stream. According to scientific evidence, happy and positive states of mind induce major physiological changes that induce good health, because the neurotransmitters that mirror them in the body have a stimulating effect. The reverse has to be true then, where negative thoughts and emotions weaken the body's immune system and can in and of themselves lead to illness. In short, this is the placebo effect: What you think affects how you feel at every level of your being. A placebo is nothing but a sugar pill which is given to the patient, who in turn takes it for medicine and expects relief.

A study conducted on ulcer patients revealed the following: The ones who were administered the placebo with the reassurance that it was a current and highly effective drug in the treatment of ulcers showed remarkable progress. Seventy percent of the group healed. Another group was given the placebo saying it was under trial and hence its efficacy could not be predicted. Only 25 percent of its members recovered.

Psychological phenomenon of placebos

Researchers have hard evidence to show that placebo treatments do work, that is, interventions with no active drug ingredients. This is because they can engender tangible physiological responses, from changes in heart rate and blood pressure to chemical activity in the brain, where depression, anxiety and fatigue are involved.

Indeed, the placebo is a phenomenon, a process and not merely a pill. True healing that comes from the placebo then points to the fact that a certain belief or thought process can profoundly influence the outcome. This is because placebos release neurotransmitters. If you believe it will work, it will work regardless, and this positive thinking approach, not the placebo-pill itself, is the active agent in the release of neurotransmitters. A suggestion, a thought, a placebo, they have the potential to significantly impact a person's health, and while it may not be that simple altogether, there is a great chance that your thoughts can influence and alter the course of your life and well-being.

Sources:

Chopra, Deepak. Creating Health.

http://emedicine.medscape.com

https://primarycare.hms.harvard.edu

About the author:
Nanditha Prasad Ram is a consumer and health journalist and a practicing holistic therapist.
Her blog is available at http://www.bindumandalayoga.blogspot.in

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