Magic "pacifiers" - when does a placebo help?

Magic "pacifiers" - when does a placebo help?
Magic "pacifiers" - when does a placebo help?

The right emotional attitude helps to get sick less often and recover faster. Scientists have figured out what this mechanism is and how it can be controlled.

Magic "pacifiers" - when does a placebo help?

“One night my husband suddenly had a toothache,” says Anastasia from Novosibirsk at a family forum. - We are in the country, there are no pharmacies nearby, and I had drops with probiotics with me, which my son was prescribed. I dripped them to my husband already from despair, it was a pity to watch him suffer, she said that they were dental. And the pain is gone. In the morning, the husband again asked for "tooth" drops - gave. And it helped again! Until now, by the way, she has not confessed to him that she deceived him then.”

“I so regularly “treat” a child when I don’t understand if something really hurts him or if he invented it for himself,” adds Ekaterina from Moscow. - I give, as a rule, something harmless - like calcium or ascorbic acid, and you see, in five minutes everything has already passed …"

These days, placebos are widely used in new drug trials. Typically, one group of study participants gets the real drug, while the other gets a dummy that looks exactly like the drug but doesn't affect the course of the disease. This approach allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of new funds and decide whether to release them to the market.

Over time, scientists increasingly drew attention to an amazing fact: in many cases, pacifiers were no less effective in treating the disease than real pills. In some cases, the placebo effect was even greater than the drug effect. Here are the data that have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in recent years.

Placebo pills were just as effective as analgesics in treating back pain.

In the fight against the symptoms of depression, a placebo gives the same result as treatment with antidepressants.

Almost 60% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome who took part in the 2010 study reported an improvement after taking a placebo. The results did not change even when the volunteers were directly told that the drug they were receiving was a dummy.

It turns out that a harmless placebo pill triggers a whole series of reactions in the body that can really lead, if not to complete recovery, then to a significant improvement in well-being.

The most important thing that scientists have been able to prove in recent years is a clear relationship between belief in treatment and its result. And you don't have to take part in new drug trials to experience the magical power of a placebo. Use these tips to strengthen the connection between psychology and physiology, and teach your body to get sick less often and recover faster.


First of all, it is important how attentive the doctor treats you. Of course, for those who work in the public he alth system, the time to see each patient is kept to a minimum. But still pay attention to such signs. Does the doctor ask questions about how you feel? Does he listen carefully to answers? Is he being polite and tactful? Staying confident? Are you optimistic? Keep in mind that even in the compulsory medical insurance system, you now have the opportunity to choose a doctor and clinics, so try to find someone with whom you feel comfortable. This will trigger the placebo effect.


Choose someone who has already been able to help your relatives or friends and about whom they say with burning eyes that this is a “doctor from God” and a real magician. If you have examples of the successful work of a doctor, it will be easier for you to believe him. By the way, doctors themselves on professional Internet forums advise patients to look for "their" doctor and call the relationship between the doctor and the patient the "cornerstone" of treatment.


Pay attention to detail. How politely were you spoken to at the front desk? Is it convenient to get to the clinic from home? Are there enough chairs in the hallway where you wait for your appointment? Even smells or cleanliness of the room are important. The fact is that from all these little things your opinion about the clinic and about the doctors is formed. And if all the staff (not just the GP) are friendly, and the room is clean and quite comfortable, your mood will be better.


There are situations in which an expensive imported drug can be easily replaced with an analogue of Russian origin. But in some cases this is undesirable, for example, a more budgetary medicine causes allergies or side effects. If possible, choose those drugs that the doctor considers the best and most reliable. According to research, we are more likely to trust medicines of large well-known brands. And when you believe in the effectiveness of the drug, it really works.


Even if your GP isn't the nicest person to talk to and you have to wait in a long line every time you get an appointment, don't let yourself get discouraged! After all, there are circumstances that we cannot change, but our mood is not one of them. How a person reacts to a particular situation is his own choice. Every time you have to see a doctor or take medicine, choose faith in the effectiveness of treatment, speedy recovery and optimism.


Capsules seem to us more effective than tablets, and injections - even more effective than capsules. It seems that the more serious the intervention, the stronger the belief in recovery. Medicines that need to be taken several times a day work best. Apparently, the brain thinks: if you drink the medicine 4 times a day after meals, then the effect will be stronger than from one pill. Some colors of pills seem to be especially effective for patients: white for painkillers, green for sedatives, blue for sleeping pills, yellow for antidepressants.

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