Placebos are Strange, but Effective [Video]

This three-minute YouTube video talks about the power of placebos, especially pills containing no active ingredients that are given to patients as if they are real.

Placebos Work

Placebos work surprisingly well! They use the power of expectation — the same thing that hypnotists call the power of suggestion. Our minds and bodies tend to make our expectations come true; our minds and bodies tend to treat our expectations as commands to obeyed. So if we’re given a pill and told that it’s a powerful painkiller, then our minds and bodies tend to treat this as a command: “Dial down that pain or make it go away entirely,” just as if we’d taken a real painkiller.

And it works for anything, not just pain, and not just with pills.

Hypnosis is Like a Placebo, Without the Placebo

Placebos usually use physical objects (tablets, capsules, injections, creams, etc.), while hypnosis relies more on words, words said after the client is in a state of hypnosis, where the words have a stronger and longer-lasting effect.

You can also mix and match. Clearly, giving the patient a solid description about the good effects of a perfectly real medication allows the patient to benefit from the physiological effect of the medicine and the placebo effect of the expectations.

In hypnosis, I’ve suggested to clients who are taking real pain medications that their medications work better than before, with fewer side effects, and to get more relief from less medication.

Are Placebos Real?

Placebos, like hypnosis, can cause measurable internal change. For example, they can increase endorphin levels and antibody levels in ways that show up in blood tests. So it can cause objectively measured changes, not just changes in perception.

While not entirely subjective, placebos only affect you. Wind and rain and rocks and transmissions are not subject to the placebo effect. To affect the world around you, you have to take some kind of physical action. On the other hand, the people around you and likely pets are likely subject to second-hand placebos, where your increased confidence rubs off on them, too.



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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. Robert's publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of reprinted classics, including Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses, which covers treating PTSD in veterans. Robert and his wife Karen sell free-range chicken and eggs at the Corvallis farmers' markets. Robert's hypnotherapy office is in downtown Corvallis.

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