5 Fascinating Books on the Placebo Effect

Can the Placebo Effect Really Work on You?

It plays a role in all our lives.  It can work for you or against you, depending on your awareness.  It's completely fascinating.

The placebo effect is the idea that your brain can convince your body that a pseudo treatment is actually real and as a result, stimulate healing.

Here are some books we've read and loved (#3 and #5 are our favorites) and some we haven't read, but are rated highly.  The compilation (including brief summaries from Amazon) provides some interesting variety to choose from:

(1)  Placebo Effects: Understanding the Mechanisms in Health and Disease (2nd Edition) by Fabrizio Benedetti (2014)

This one's a textbook, for those scholarly types who like to see the scientific studies.

"Recent progress in biomedical research has allowed a better clarification of the placebo effect. We know that this is an active psychobiological phenomenon which takes place in the patient's brain and that is capable of influencing both the course of a disease and the response to a therapy."

(2)  The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body's Inner Pharmacy for Better Health by Howard Brody and Daralyn Brody (2000)

"Could a tiny sugar pill actually hold the secret to a miracle cure? In his well-researched new book, Dr. Howard Brody, a family practice physician and university professor, brings forward an intriguing, and provocative, premise about the healing effect of placebos, the much-maligned fake cure of popular lore. Brody asserts that while placebos themselves have no medical value, time and again real illnesses and pain have been diminished by their use."

(3)  You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza (2014)

Dr. Dispenza gained widespread attention after his appearance in the movie, What the BLEEP do We Know!? (2004) and offers a guided healing meditation near the end of this book.

"Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery? The truth is that it happens more often than you might expect. In You Are the Placebo, Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, Dr. Joe tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness."

(4)  Placebo: Mind Over Matter in Modern Medicine by Dylan Evans (2004)

"A lucid and stimulating explanation of how the body's natural healing mechanisms work - and how they can be triggered in non-chemical ways via the "placebo effect". Can we really cure ourselves of disease by the power of thought alone? Faith healers and alternative therapists are convinced that we can, but what does science say?

Contrary to public perception, orthodox medical opinion is remarkably confident about the healing powers of the mind. For the past 50 years, doctors have been taught that placebos such as sugar pills and water injections can relieve virtually any kind of medical condition. Yet placebos only work if you believe they work, so the medical confidence in the power of the placebo effect has provided scientific legitimacy to popular claims about the healing powers of the mind."

(5)  Suggestible You by Erik Vance (2016)

Amazon reviewers liked this one -- and a colleague here is half way through the Audible version:

"This riveting narrative explores the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology to reveal the groundbreaking science of our suggestible minds. Could the secrets to personal health lie within our own brains? Journalist Erik Vance explores the surprising ways our expectations and beliefs influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events."

If the placebo can work, you know your mind can be a powerful healing tool as part of your overall strategy against illness.

Speak to your insurance agent in San Diego to see which alternative treatments are covered on your personal insurance plan.