Lifestyle guru Deepak Chopra says: “The first step toward an alternative is to view pain as a mind-body experience that is highly subjective. As such it can often be approached through a phenomenon called “self-efficacy.” The brain contains many pain-relieving chemicals, and these can be triggered mentally, which is why taking a placebo leads to pain relief in a significant proportion of people. (The reverse is also true through the nocebo effect, where a harmless substance induces pain or fails to relieve it when the subject is told that this is the expected outcome.)”
His take on ‘America’s Pain-Pill Epidemic’ can be seen in full here.
Recent research, published in The Lancet, reveals that paracetomol, the ‘recommended first-line analgesic for acute low back pain’, is no more effective than placebo treatment. Put another way, a placebo is just as likely to generate relief as paracetomol. If you don’t want to read the Lancet report (it’s pretty dry!), there’s a brief article here.
From Herald Tribune Health
‘The effectiveness of placebos now makes it clear that our bodies do not distinguish between a chemical process and the thought of a chemical process.
Also surprising: As many as 80 percent of all doctors say they have prescribed placebos — which include saline (salt water) injections along with familiar “impure” placebos, such as prescribing an antibiotic for a viral illness.
Nicer patients respond best to placebos. In a multi-university study, people with traits like resiliency, straightforwardness and altruism experienced a greater reduction in pain after taking a placebo than did those with an “angry hostility personality trait.”’