Sometimes known as non-specific effects or subject-expectancy effects, a so-called placebo effect occurs when a patient's symptoms are altered in some way (i.e., alleviated or exacerbated) by an otherwise inert treatment, due to the individual expecting or believing that it will work. Some people consider …show more content…
“The nature-taking-its-course theory”
Some believe that at least part of the placebo effect is due to an illness or injury taking its natural course. We often heal spontaneously if we do nothing at all to treat an illness or injury. Furthermore, many disorders, pains and illnesses, wax and wane. What is measured as the placebo effect could be, in many cases, the measurement of natural regression. In short, the placebo may be given credit that is due to nature.
However, spontaneous healing and spontaneous remission of disease cannot explain all the healing or improvement that takes place because of placebos. People who are given no treatment at all often do not do as well as those given placebos or real medicine and treatment.
“The process-of-treatment theory”
Another theory gaining popularity is that a process of treatment that involves showing attention, care, affection, etc., to the patient/subject, a process that is encouraging and hopeful, may itself trigger physical reactions in the body which promote healing. According to Dr. Walter A. Brown, a psychiatrist at Brown University,
“There is certainly data that suggest that just being in the healing situation