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Teddy Bear Nurse
Roots into cracked soil
The placebo effect is used to describe an improvement in health - when something that has no active therapeutic effect (e.g. a sugar pill resembling a drug) - still produces an effect due to the recipient's expectations/belief/faith. It is not the same as spontaneous remission or fluctuation of symptoms throughout a disease.
In research/science/medicine, the placebo effect has a negative connotation. It is regarded as something fake or empty and is the explanation for all sorts of pseudo-science working. It is associated with snake oil, with quackery and other fraudulent or delusional health scams. The NHS warns us that using these may mean that we then miss out on more effective treatments.
In this way, CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) is dismissed as merely placebo effect.
However, you cannot separate a person's beliefs from a health treatment.
Instead of denigrating the placebo effect, why not utilise it?
Consider these quotes:-
The lesson is surely NOT that the placebo is something that is to be mocked or ignored.
The simple answer is that this powerful effect needs to be harnessed.
The truth is that the 'fake' placebo effect is often more real than the treatment or drug.
We are harnessing the power of love.
Health systems need to invest in this care and love far more than in technology, chatbots or drugs. They need to become patient-centred.
We need to spearhead the power of the therapeutic relationship. The ability to create positivity in others is perhaps the most valuable attribute of any doctor, nurse, healer, counsellor, leader. It is more useful than intelligence or knowledge. It is something which does not require years of specialised training. It is an instinctive human trait that is totally undervalued in our society. People need to be employed on their ability to elicit a placebo effect!
It is the power of love.
The movie Patch Adams has this on this crucial need for a compassionate relationship between healer and patient:
Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we are going to fight a disease, let us fight one of the most terrible diseases of all - indifference. Now, I've sat in your schools and heard people lecture on transference and professional distance. Transference is inevitable, sir. Every human being has an impact on another. Why don't we want that in a patient-doctor relationship? That's why I've listened to your teachings and I believe they're wrong. A doctor's mission should be not to just prevent death but also to improve the quality of life. That's why you treat a disease - you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you - you win - no matter what the outcome. (Patch Adams, 1h38m21s)
Placebo Effect in Society
Society needs to champion the placebo effect, because otherwise, as Bruce Lipton implies, the placebo is concussed and the nocebo thrives. The nocebo effect is similar to the placebo effect, but is a change for the worse. The nocebo effect in society is when we feel powerless, especially in the face of the onslaught of daily negative news.
So, we need the good news.
We need to create a powerful Culture of Love.
The same phenomenon is in action with spiritual or religious matters, whether in relation to equipment or to gurus. Consider:
Culture of Love
Placebo Effect & CAM
Placebo Effect Quotes