The Placebo Effect

By definition, a placebo is an inert substance or a medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or medical condition that is generally meant to test the effectiveness of drugs and medical treatments.

It is often prescribed to patients all over the world; most cases being without the recipients knowledge of said treatment being a placebo.

This is in many of its forms a fake(inactive) treatment whose main purpose is to be indistinguishable from the real medical one. Though it has been documented in various experiments to work regardless of the patient’s knowledge of said treatment being a Placebo.

Examples of some vehicles(forms) of the Placebo effect:

  • Sugar pills (not the band!)
  • Fake surgeries
  • Perkins Patent tractors
  • Etc. (fake alcohol,fake acupuncture,….)

What is the Placebo effect?

The placebo effect is a certain phenomena where the patient experiences reduction of symptoms (patients appear to perceive a reduction and or improvement) and sometimes even considered and scientifically documented as physical improvements. This effect is related or the result of the patient expecting certain effectiveness of a treatment.

With the Placebo Effect, this change ranges from being the patient’s perception of an improvement
Examples being:

  • Perception of less pain
  • Perception of lessened symptoms
  • etc

Or a physiological response that could be observed through tests and certain brain scans.

The strength of the placebo effect seems to come from the patient’s belief in its effectiveness.
Examples of things that can act as placebos:

  • Medical practitioners could be considered a placebo
  • Pharmacological devices
    • Pills
    • Injections
    • Creams
    • Sprays
    • Inhalants
    • Bandages
    • Adhesive bandages (band aids)
    • Etc.
  • Medical Procedures
    • Ultrasounds
    • Surgeries (Sham surgeries included)
    • Electrodes (fake implanted electrodes included)
    • Acupuncture (Sham acupuncture included)
    • Etc.


History of the Placebo effect

Changes  through out history of the definition of placebo:

1300– Was the first documented use of the term placebo. At that time it was used to refer to hired mourners at funerals that would initiate their wailings with “Placebo Domino in regione vivorum” which would translate to “I shall please the lord in the land of the living”.

1785– This was when the definition of the placebo was described as “a commonplace method or medicine”, in the New Medical Dictionary.