The Ultimate Cure To Everything?
Throughout the history of humanity, illness has been the leash around our necks, held by death itself. So we developed various methods to cure illnesses. From using barks of trees as aspirin to black magic and spells. But one of the most promising methods humans have come up with doesn’t even cure us the way you might think! They are referred to as Placeboes.
John Haygarth made the very first scientific demonstration of the Placebo Effect in 1799. He had decided to test out fake remedies on sale at the time. So, he sold metal rods claiming it cured diseases. Surprisingly, this went well for him. Not only did he come out profitable by selling cheap fakes, but 4 out of 5 patients reported that their pain improved. He later published his findings in his book ‘On the Imagination as a Cause and as a Cure of Disorders of the Body. However, during this time, placebo wasn’t a term yet. It entered the clinical dictionary a few decades later.
The word ‘placebo’ made its “debut” in medical vocabulary via Henry K. Beecher. Henry was an anesthesiologist in World War II. After running out of morphine, the idea of making salt-based solutions, instead, struck him. Yet again, this worked in his favor. He managed to calm the soldiers down. Funny how history keeps repeating itself, huh?
Now that we briefly covered the history of placeboes, the question remains, is it the ultimate cure to everything? Of course, there stay many things placeboes can’t cure. At the end of the day, like Kaptchuck says, “Placebos may make you feel better, but they will not cure you”. Still, placeboes reject chemical substances (medicine) and rely on our brains to trick us. Once we get a glimpse of the general picture, we can see just how much control our brains have on us. Placeboes just add fuel to the fire.
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