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The power of the placebo effect - Harvard Health

How placebos work

... is still not quite understood. It is a way for your brain to tell the body what it needs to feel better

It involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit. 

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The power of the placebo effect - Harvard Health

The power of the placebo effect - Harvard Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect

health.harvard.edu

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Key Ideas

The placebo effect

Is the idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing. And it is more than positive thinking.

Placebos may make you feel better, but they will not cure you. 

They are most effective for conditions like pain management, stress-related insomnia, and cancer treatment side effects like fatigue and nausea.

From failure to success

For years, a placebo effect was considered a sign of failure. A placebo is used in clinical trials to test the effectiveness of treatments and is most often used in drug studies.

More recently, experts have concluded that reacting to a placebo is not proof that a certain treatment doesn't work, but rather that another, non-pharmacological mechanism may be present.

How placebos work

... is still not quite understood. It is a way for your brain to tell the body what it needs to feel better

It involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit. 

Placebo and treatment

Placebos are not all about releasing brainpower. You also need the ritual of treatment. 

You have to go to a clinic at certain times and be examined by medical professionals in white coats. You receive pills and undergo procedures. All this can have a profound impact on how the body perceives symptoms because you feel you are getting attention and care.

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