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Mind-Body Healing: MDs Using Placebos

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:51pm
I am a firm believer in the healing power of the mind-body connection. One of the classic examples of this power is the healing by using placebos, those seemingly inert substances that are typically ruled out of scientific studies. If you believe something will help you then there is at least some chance that it will. I've seen this first hand with patients healing from all sorts of things from nutrients that were later deemed ineffective by the literature to bracelets bought at a flea market. If someone believes in something it is not my place to stifle whatever hope they have.

Healing with placebos has been gaining new attention in the medical community. A recent study by Rachel Sherman in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined the use of placebos by medical doctors in the Chicago area. What she found was that a whopping (excuse my unscientific language) 45% of MDs had used placebos in their practices. Also 96% of the group believed that placebos have a therapeutic effect, and 40% said that placebos can have physiological benefits for certain health problems. Kind of surprising coming from the medical establishment!

All in all I am happy to see this study. Many of us alternative types have believed in placebos for a long time. Some of us have even been called placebo doctors.

If you're interested in placebos, check out The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing: New Concepts of Therapeutic Hypnosis by Ernest Lawrence Rossi--a classic.

My book "Unlocking the Healing Code" also talks about placebos in the mind-body healing section.


"Academic Physicians Use Placebos in Clinical Practice and Believe in the Mind-Body Connection."

Rachel Sherman and John Hickner.

Journal of General Internal Medicine, Volume 23, Number 1, January, 2008

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0332-z
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