7.03.2009

The Placebo Effect - The Triumph of Mind over Body

http://www.nexusmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=14
http://www.redicecreations.com/ul_img/6999placebo_big.jpg
A neglected phenomenon
One of the most commonly used terms in medical language is the word placebo. The placebo effect is used as a scale for evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs. But what exactly is the placebo effect and what are its consequences in the deterministic structure of Western medicine? The placebo effect has been frequently abused by health professionals to denote and stigmatise a fraud or fallacy. Alternative therapies have often been characterised as merely placebos. But the placebo effect is not a fraudulent, useless or malevolent phenomenon. It occurs independently of the intentions of charlatans or health professionals. It is a spontaneous, authentic and very factual phenomenon that refers to well-observed but uninterpreted and contingent therapies or health improvements that occur in the absence of an active chemical/pharmacological substance. Make-believe drugs—drugs that carry no active chemical substances—often act as the real drugs and provoke therapeutic effects when administered to patients.
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Effects of positive and negative thinking
The placebo effect has been often misunderstood as a solely psychological and highly subjective phenomenon. The patient, convinced of the therapy's effectiveness, ignores his symptoms or perceives them faintly without any substantial improvement of his health; that is, the patient feels better but is not healthier. But can the subjective psychological aspect of the placebo effect account for all of its therapeutic properties? The answer is definite: the placebo effect refers to an alternative curative mechanism that is inherent in the human entity, is motivated by therapeutic intention or belief in the therapeutic potential of a treatment, and implies biochemical responses and reactions to the stimulus of therapeutic intention or belief.
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