Video on the placebo effect: Its the thought that counts

It’s the thought that counts: are our thoughts powerful?

The placebo effect is just starting to become more recognised in mainstream medicine .

Dr David Hamilton, our resident mind-body expert, shares his research in his book ‘Its the Thought that counts’ for this HayHouse Video. Dr Hamilton used to work in the pharmaceutical industry and got into the mind-body field after realising the powerful effects of a placebo and the mind’s ability to influence the body.


Here’s more from David, taken from his article, ‘The Amazing Power of the Placebo effect

“Nearly everyone has experienced a placebo effect!

The fact that you take a medicine tells me that on some level you must believe in it or expect it to work, or you believe in the doctor who prescribed it, or even in the improvement you’ve heard about in other people.

This belief, or expectation, activates the placebo effect. Of course, the drug works too but your mind can enhance it….. or suppress it.

The same placebo can do opposite things, for instance, depending on what the person believes it is for. If patients are given a placebo and told it will relax their muscles then it will, but the same placebo can cause muscular tension if the person believes that’s what it does. Similarly, believing that it is a stimulant will increase heart rate and blood pressure, but thinking that it is a depressant gives it the opposite effect – reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

Some people who are given alcohol placebos, thinking they are drinking real alcoholic beverages, even get drunk.

And placebos can enhance athletic performance. In a 2007 study, non-professional athletes had been given morphine during a pre-competition training phase. On the day of a competition the morphine was secretly swapped for a placebo but the athletes still experienced an increase in pain endurance and physical performance that would be expected from taking morphine.

I wonder if they would have been banned from competition if they’d been caught taking performance enhancing placebos (PEP). As an ex-athletics coach myself, all athletes really need is a PEP talk! :-)

In another study, 40 asthmatics were given an inhaler containing a placebo that was just water vapour, but they were told that it contained allergens that would restrict their airways. Nineteen of them went on to suffer considerable constriction of their airways. Twelve of them actually experienced a full-blown asthma attack. When they were given a different inhaler and told it would relieve their symptoms, it did, even though it was also a placebo. One person in the study developed symptoms of hay fever too after being told that the inhaler also contained pollen….” Read More 


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