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The Placebo Effect

  1. Apr 29, 2004 #1
    I think the placebo effect needs to be scientifically explained. That is we need to find out why, when, where, and how it works. Explain it from every angle.

    Perhaps when this is done, that knowledge can be used to harness the effect, and maybe one day perfected into a science of its own...
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2004 #2
    I don't have a scientific explanation for it but my answer is that the placebo effect is the externally aided form of what imagination can do, what I mean is that when a reputable source tells you that this pill will help you go to sleep then it has that errie effect even though it is a sugar pill, for awhile until the "placebo effect" is realized as a lie, and it wears off, but if you believe in yourself enough and use your imagination enough then all the pills in the world and fancy cars and expensive things can't compare because you can have the effect of things simply by believing in yourself not in what others tell you to believe will make you happy. Another thing is that what would happen if a person were practiced and used their internal "placebo effect" throughout their lifetime?
    This is only one angle, I'm having trouble explaining why I think this is how it works but that it makes good sense...the imagination is a lying machine, but even lies can be productive if used productively, the placebo effect is basically a well fabricated lie, yet the effects are there like magic although they wear off as the lie is revealed in time, the more elaborate and well crafted the lie the longer it may take the rational animal to catch up with the lie. The process of using the imagination to lie to oneself for practical purposes and play catch up would be a process of elation and let down, but addictive...buy why do people give up on imagination and themselves for believing in pills and what groups believe? How exactly is it possible that something that does not actually exist in reality can have a real and definite affect on a person, this is bizarre! It suggests that somewhere in the brain is the capacity to reach into areas of thinking that should be impossible such as heart rate or intestinal function, etc.. and manipulate them purely by thought, I can't think of any animal that can do this other than humans.
  4. May 25, 2004 #3
    "Another thing is that what would happen if a person were practiced and used their internal "placebo effect" throughout their lifetime?"

    There are people like this, they are called monks. Well not all of them, but a lot of them.

    Anywho imagine the possibility. Has anyone anywhere ever tried to scientifically explain the placebo effect? Study it under a microscope. Find out exactly what triggers it. There are many potential great benefits to this science, however it could turn out to be little more than nothing, but only a scientific analysis would tell for sure.

    So get busy scientists! :)
  5. May 25, 2004 #4


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    I think great professional atheletes do much of the same thing. But rather than using their will to sleep, or remove pain, they use it to exceed what others consider to be physical limitations. There are players who become better when they need to be. They can't turn it on at will, but when it is needed, they do it.

  6. Jun 2, 2004 #5
    I think you're right Njorl.

    If these things really do exist there must be physical evidence that we can observe, Once observed we can study it. Once Studied we can turn it into a science. Then science can make the knowledge useful, and perhaps profitable...
  7. Jun 2, 2004 #6


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    It *is* being studied! :)
    See here

    And check out the "Related Stories" links for more

    BTW placebos can also have negative effects- the Nocebo Effect ;)

    Happy thoughts

    P.S. It is also an ethically allowed treatment. It is being studied *and* used! :)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2004
  8. Jun 3, 2004 #7
    hehe, I gotta get me some of them placebos! they work on everything!
  9. Jun 4, 2004 #8


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    :rofl: never thought of it that way... Moonrat, I'd like to buy your idea...
  10. Jun 4, 2004 #9


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    The placebo effect of dopamine for Parkinsons patients is very interesting.

    Njorl, I went through a course years ago by Lou Tice of the Pacific Institute that taught how to exceed limits. I was put through it by my company. I am the most skeptical person in the world when it comes to seminars on "anything". I hate those kinds of things. I do not believe in that stuff and have killed off many programs that were being considered by my company (one of the world's largest). His seminar, however, was the most incredible I have ever had the pleasure of attending. His is the ONLY one I did not discredit. It explains how we (knowingly or unknowingly) set limits for ourselves and how to get past them. It was truly amazing, and it is what a lot of the athletes you mentioned use.

    I cannot do justice to what he teaches. If any of you are fortunate enough to be able to attend his "Investments in Excellence" seminar, do so, you will not regret it. It is the one thing that I can look back on that actually changed my life and is responsible for my success today personally and financially.
  11. Jun 4, 2004 #10


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    I believe it. I too am a congenital skeptic. But when I look at things like the four-minute-mile, I can see it. For years, runners got closer and closer to breaking the 4 minute barrier, but they couldn't do it. They just kept getting closer and closer by smaller steps. Then, after Roger Bannister managed to do it, all the best milers started doing it, by large margines.

    Two things really impressed me about this. First, that the artificial limit could be so strong, and second, that the runners could actually sense to tenths of a second their proximity to the 4:00 limit. If they were not able to subconciously sense the limit, it could not have held them back!
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