Monday, February 16, 2015

Placebo Effect And Medical Care

The LA Times recently reported an interesting study that had been done.  In this study, the placebo effect was evaluated, but this time it was looked at from a different perspective.  Rather than just observing the effect of placebos on treatment, they looked at how the cost of the treatment given impacted the results.  The study was conducted at the University of Cincinnati. 

The patients were given treatments with one placebo costing more than another.  In fact, the patients were told that one dummy pill cost $1500 a dose and the other cost $100 a dose.  Most studies of this nature are done with evaluating placebo pills against actual medications and drugs.

Both placebo pills improved results but when the $1500 pill was given, there was a 9% greater improvement than the $100 per dose placebo.  You can read about the study more at the article in the LA Times, Expensive Placebos work better than cheap ones, study finds.

I remember a long time ago when I was a kid and my grandfather ended up staying with us because he had been in a car accident.  The doctors gave him pain pills for the pain, but he ran out of them on a Saturday night.  In those days, you didn't have 24 hour pharmacies.  Because he was a royal pain in the backside and his complaining about being in pain, my mom had to get creative.  She borrowed some of our Halloween candy (the little sweet tarts) and got him to believe that these were high powered, high strength pain pills.  It worked!  His pain went away from eating a piece of candy he believed was a pain pill.

Everyone believes in the placebo pill.  After all, a suggestion from a doctor or healer can often do more healing than any medical procedure ever will.  As long as the medical provider is trusted and respected and the patient believes in what is said, the suggestions are extremely powerful.

How many times do you go to a doctor and they don't prescribe some type of pill, medication, or test.  Most of the time, these things give you the suggestion subconsciously that they are treating you, when in fact they may be just boiling water.

Back in the days when I worked on farms, I had producers strongly believing that something was wrong with their animals.  A thousand tests revealed nothing was wrong, but yet in their mind, they just knew something was wrong.  No matter what you said or did, you could not convince them otherwise.  So, we would end up doing things that had little value, but we had to convince the producer that what we were doing was helping.  In our minds, we were boiling water.

The power of suggestion at the right time holds enormous power in the human mind.  We're all highly influenced by advertising and we are persuaded to hold an image of a particular brand or pill or company or individual.  All you have to do is look at politics, or at any of the products we buy.  There is a perception or belief that permeates every part of the human consciousness.

Just knowing that the placebo effect happens is not enough.  The power of suggestion and the world of paradigms we live in are much stronger and influence us to a greater degree.  We need to actively inform ourselves of what it is we do to our body and why we do it?  We need to open our eyes to the paradigms we live by and were taught from birth.  We need to increase our awareness to what it means to live in our body, not just inhabit the cells.

As much as we allow the placebo effect to rule our life and our medical care decisions, we can also use this power of suggestion to change our biology and physiology.  It has often been stated that it is mind over matter and while this is true, I believe it is more mind over biology.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2/1/15 by Don Shetterly

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