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Placebo explained in brief

From “Mind over Medicine” by Lissa Rankin, MD.

The majority of positive responses to placebo treatments are related to a caring therapeutic relationship. If a patient were to take a placebo on his or her own without the involvement of a physician, it would not be sufficient, scientists are convinced. To be effective, it must be administered by someone in whom the patient has great trust. Ted Kaptchuk head of a Harvards – study program to investigate placebos in the therapeutic relationship (PiPS) said to it in a NPR – interview: “A sugar pill alone does nothing. What works is the therapeutic context. It’s the rituals of healing. The fact that a healing relationship is formed…But the placebo pill or the injection of a saline solution – those are wonderful tools to be able to look at something that normally happens in the background in isolation; to be able to detach it from medications and medical procedures and examine the act of caring treatment on its own. I think that’s what we’re measuring when we study the placebo effect.”

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