The placebo effect is a mysterious thing that has been long researched in medicine. When improvements are observed, despite the use of no active medical treatment (hence a placebo), the placebo effect occurs. Think of giving someone an empty capsule, but telling them that it’s medicine. The placebo tricks the brain in thinking it’s receiving treatment, and pain is relieved or recovery is sped up. So, technically, it’s a beneficial health outcome because the patient recovers without actually using medicine.
However, how exactly does the placebo effect trick your brain?
The perfect placebo has the same colour and shape as the original, but it contains no active ingredients. The effectiveness of a placebo is tied with how sophisticated the treatment is. Scientists have shown in studies that our brains might actually be releasing pain killing chemicals like endorphins to relieve pain, reduce stress, or even change our mood. These body changes, in turn, improve your condition. The science behind this is quite interesting, but my point here is that our minds are very powerful. If we change the way we think, it can affect us and how our body responds.
So, if you’re faced with a difficult situation, maybe we should be giving ourselves a mental placebo to trick our brains to not think of the situation so badly. Not sure if any of this makes sense, but it was a random discussion I had with my son today. He wanted to know if there are any benefits to placebos and if the concept could be applied to something outside of medicine.