Placebo, take a bow!


To begin with a look at the definition of the noun Placebo:
– a medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect
– a substance that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs
– a measure designed merely to humour or placate someone. A placebo is a prompt for our subconscious to do the hard work of healing our body, increasing our satisfaction or maximizing our performance
I am enamored by the last one as it ultimately serves us better.
Several years ago, on my first ever overseas trip, I carried back a pain balm for my grandmother who often suffered from severe ankle pains. It took exactly 90 odd seconds between my giving her the balm, her applying it and her claiming instant relief. The Doctor’s prognosis of her excess weight and varicose veins be damned.
In a make believe world, placebo does the hard part of well..making us believe. It’s manifestation of a slightly different lineage, with some tangibles thrown in.
Status roles are defined by the culture we live and function in. ‘People like us do things like this‘. Wine collectors, sneaker aficionados, pimple creams, energy drinks or herbal remedies all surf the placebo wave. As it creates maximum impact amongst the purveyors targeted.
We offer sub optimal credit to the stories in our lives and we seem to have persuaded ourselves that our brains don’t matter much. But, increasingly, we have increasing evidence to the contrary.
Stories are the salve, the balm, the therapy and our brains, powerful as they may be, might or might not be under our conscious control.
If you find a better domicile for our stories to reside(other than inside our heads), let me know. We can recalibrate the GPS. Till such time, let us live with our placebos.
If you want some inspiration on how placebos work, take a look at this link
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