The placebo effect : Why fake medicines work, sometimes

Photo credit: SnaPsi Сталкер via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND
The "health and wellness" market is flooded with medicines, treatments and supplements of dubious value. Many "alternative", "naturopathic" or "holistic" treatments have been debunked or, at least, have very little evidence of effectiveness. Despite this, there are people who will swear to you that they work. There is a good reason for that, it's called the placebo effect.

As Joe Hanson of "It's Ok to Be Smart" explains, many people experience benefits from sugar pills, simply because they believe that the pills will be effective. There is also some evidence that fake treatmens frequently work for immaginary ailments.

(You may also want to watch the video "Do vitamin supplements really work?")

It should not be assumed though that "alternative" medicines are just as good, you're basically relying on the power of positive thinking to cure disease, and in some cases fake medicines may actually cause harm and are not regulated as closely as pharmaceuticals or even foods.


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