Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine: Theory, Practice, and Research

By David Peters | Go to book overview

Preface

Complementary practitioners promote the idea that their methods somehow 'switch on' self-organising processes. One of complementary and alternative medicine's most intriguing implications for mainstream health care is that doctors should re-integrate this aspect of the healing task; that we must not only confront established pathology but also learn how better to catalyse the process of healing. As practitioners we prefer to think we are effective: why else would we be practitioners? But therein lie several potential problems: firstly, because we might be less effective than we like to think; and secondly, that therefore it will be difficult to reflect honestly on our effectiveness. In the search to become more effective some practitioners aim for ever more technical expertise, but to what extent is our therapeutic effectiveness determined by our humanity and presence rather than technical knowledge and our skill as a therapist? How much of a treatment's effect is due the patients own response and resilience? Would it be demeaning if we as practitioners had to accept that a great deal of recovery depends on responses we trigger and, that as practitioners we have to persuade, rather than force recovery?

In everyday speech, a placebo is a fake treatment, something given to please the patient. How strange then that placebo effects should be so strong; so consistent that experimental studies must be intricately designed to avoid them, so great is their influence on treatment outcomes. Modern clinical trials aim to bracket off all human variables and bias by using randomisation and blinding, for only when they achieve this, can small differences in outcome between experimental group and control group be attributed to the treatment alone. Yet the fact that around 60% of control groups tend to improve forces us to ask what the personal and inter‐ personal factors that so profoundly affect outcomes might be; and how we should make better use of them. There are important issues here: why are 'fake' treatments so effective and so hard to distinguish from 'real' ones; what ought we to make of the insidious implication that personal and inter-personal elements are not part of proper practice? Since they include resilience, natural remission and the effect of a good practitioner-client relationship — all desirable aspects of good medicine — these 'human factors'

-xi-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine: Theory, Practice, and Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 235

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.