SBS Australian TV Channel played a very interesting documentary on the use of placebo’s in medical treatment. It has been well research that a placebo can be just as powerful and successful regarding outcomes as the actually medication.
The program reports on a range of studies from surgeons performing fake operations to successfully alleviate back pain, how fake oxygen can increase performance output at high altitude to how even a sugar pill can assist with Parkinson Disease symptoms.
Research has shown that capsules are more successful than tablets, injections are more power full than oral medication and that red pills are most successful for pain management and blue for anxiety.
Brain imaging has shown that there is actual physiological changes in the brain in response to placebo’s. Originally this phenomena has often been associated with power of the mind and the psychological belief that the medication would help. However using placebo in clinical practice runs into difficulty as health care providers can not lie to their clients about the treatment that is being provided. So how do we get the benefits of a placebo with all the added bonus of no side effects and associated risks if we have to tell clients the truth that it is a placebo.
Well what is most fascinating about the latest research that there has now been research studies where the participants have been told up front that they are taking a placebo / sugar pill and they still have positive changes and responses!
This is really exciting progress and hopefully one day soon there will be the possibility of offering clients the option of trialling a placebo prior to the actual medical treatment to see if there is a positive response.
Here is the link to the documentary