Tag Archives: Health & Fitness

Energy drinks? Yep – it’s the Placebo Effect!

‘Cognitive enhancers’? Oh, do us a favour. Highly hyped and highly price energy drinks like Red Bull are all about the sugar and the caffeine, that’s all. Lots of sugar and caffeine. So why pay the premium, the enormous mark-up? It’s marketing, probably one of the shiniest examples of the placebo effect in marketing. Some science on this over here.

Is ‘the Sugar High’ Just a Parenting Myth?

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According to The Science of Us  (and leaving aside the well known issues related to our excessive consumption of the stuff) the concept of ‘the sugar high’ is something of a parenting urban legend; plenty of research has shown that feeding kids sugar doesn’t make them hyper. What it does do, though, is prime their parents to look for signs of misbehavior.

In part, pediatric researcher Mark Wolraich told Geggel, the misconception stems from the fact that sugar often marks a special occasion: When kids are stuffing themselves with birthday cake or Halloween candy, they’re already in a situation where they’re going to be naturally amped up. But “[parents’] ideas are reinforced by seeing it in those circumstances,” Wolraich said. “The placebo effect can be very powerful.”

Emotions, epigenetics, placebos

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A fascinating article on the many levels at which we might work to heal ourselves unconsciously. A quote from Dr Bruce Litpon, author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles

“The placebo effect should be the subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors an efficient, energy-based, side effect-free tool to treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about science of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in clinical settings.”

The full article is here: The place of negative and positive emotions in our health.

Placebos in sport

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There’s so much attention right now given to Olympic atheletes’ use of ‘placebo’ rituals and objects, from favourite items of underwear to ancient Chinese ‘cupping’ techniques and herbal supplements.

“Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison wears the lucky socks that were a gift from her grandmother. Hockey player Alex Danson spins her stick 15 times before each game. Tennis player Rafael Nadal takes alternating sips from two water bottles at every break between games.”

Quartz looks in some depth into the phenomenon.

It’s unpacked further here.

“In sports, it’s a little different in that in the vast majority of cases relying on the placebo effect probably won’t hurt, and in many cases might actually help because of the power of belief. Aside from some potential BO, is it really a problem that an athlete regularly wears the same t-shirt under his uniform to help with on-field success? In fact, savvy coaches regularly use various placebo approaches when trying to help their team with belief — and often these tactics work.”

Oh no, you’re not going after oysters!!

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I’m afraid, so, folks. It seems the valiant, fleshy oyster’s reputation as an aphrodisiac may be be down to … you guessed it … the placebo effect.

My co-worker Zara literally told me every time she has an oyster, she feels a tingling sensation in her nipples. My mind was blown. What in the world?! Am I asexual? Why doesn’t that happen to me??!

I decide to consult with Dr. Nicole Prause, principal investigator at the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, to find out what’s actually going on in our brains every time we eat oysters.

Read more in Oysters Only Make You Horny If You Believe They Will, According To An Expert

THIS COLUMN IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH, AS LONG AS YOU THINK IT IS.

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So you want to run faster — but you’re not ready for steroids?

No problem: just swallow a pill made of sugar and water that you think is a steroid — and you’ll run faster, because you believe you can.

A recent Scottish study found runners told they were getting performance-enhancing pills felt stronger and ran faster than normally — even though the pills were fake.

It’s just the latest example of the Placebo Effect, one of the most powerful effects known to humans, along with the Greenhouse Effect, the Brexit Effect and the Trump Defect.

Placebos are fake drugs you think are real — and a third of the time, they’re more effective than most drugs in the pharmacy at reducing everything from headaches, pain, nausea, coughs and colds to anxiety caused by fear that the pills your doctor gave you are actually placebos.

Read the full article here.

The Placebo Effect: Can You Be Tricked Into Exercising More?

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It’s true; in workouts and exercise we all get random adrenaline rushes that allow us to give max effort, even when the tank is empty. But what about taking pre-workout supplements, which promise to give you that extra boost? Do they really work, or is it more just the mental idea associated with it? And how much power does your mind actually have? A recent study shows just how much of physical fitness is mental. Read more about placebo ‘encouragement’ in exercise here.