The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing Essay

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The art and science of medicine is a continuously growing field of knowledge. In spite of the vast developments that have transpired through the ages in the history of healing, scientists have barely uncovered everything there is to know about how the healthy body functions and how it reacts to disease. We cannot assume that what we know now is sufficient to solve our common problems in health or that in some cases, there is no remedy for yet, unsolved puzzles of incurable disease. The natural process of healing is something that occurs in all creatures, and it involves various mechanisms that repair, restore, and preserve the organism as well as ensure that the species survives and in many cases, propagates. These processes that promote…show more content…
Today, pharmaceutical drugs are at the core of our healing rituals. Most physicians rely on scientific research to understand the pathophysiology of disease and to prescribe necessary treatments. Many of these evidence-based research use randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) as the gold standard to test the efficacy of new treatments and clinical interventions. These clinical trials compare the effects of active treatment on a group of participants with that of a placebo group, whereby, neither the doctors nor the patients know what treatment is actually administered to a participant (‘double blinding’). The superior effect of a drug is often believed to be manifested as the treatment effect, while the unspecific effects of placebo are the additive effects. The problem, however, with this model is that the placebo effect may occur in both treatment arms and the patients' expectation for improvement with the chance of receiving active treatment may affect the outcome of treatments. This is exemplified by some studies, which use placebos that mirror the side effects of drug treatment, thereby increasing the response in this group compared to those of an inert placebo that does not cause side effects. The point we are driving at is that all drugs have some placebo effect. This has been
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