We often think of placebos as duds and sugar pills.
But we do know that placebos are effective. In studies, placebo anti-depressants were found to be as effective as the drug itself. When patients were injected with a saline solution, but were told they were receiving a pain-killer, pain levels dropped. Even a placebo surgery, where patients had their knees cut open and sewed back in, was found to be as effective as knee surgery itself.
In all these cases, the bodies of the patients were healing themselves at least as well as the drug or the medical intervention.
We have grown to think of placebos as fake substances that aren’t the real deal. However, what if we reframed placebos as the gap in understanding of the wonderful healing powers of our own bodies?