The Placebo Effect: Use it on Yourself

wonder technique

The Placebo Effect: Use it on Yourself

Let me say first that I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one online or offline so everything I share here is for your educational purposes only and a starting point for you to start your personal study of the power of the placebo effect.

That said,I have been fascinated by the power of the placebo effect since I first heard of it in my university study of Psychology in the 1980s.

Let us define the placebo.

A placebo is a substance or treatment that looks like, feels like, tastes like (if it is something you taste) something that it is not and is experienced like the regular substance or treatment but very clearly it is not the substance or treatment. In fact, it is actually inactive, a “look-alike” treatment or substance. It is important to note usually the person getting the placebo does not know they are receiving the placebo. In a clinical study the person giving the placebo to the subject may not even know they are giving the placebo to the subject.

The change in a person’s symptoms under treatment as a result of getting a placebo is called the placebo effect.

Sometimes the effect is not a positive effect and some people treated with a placebo have negative ‘side effects’. These unpleasant effects are called the Nocebo effect.

How does the placebo effect work?

Scientists have recorded brain activity in response to the use of a placebo. The scientific tests have shown that there is a placebo effect indicating the mind and body are connected.

Reasons why the placebo effect is happening:

Expectation effect

It is believed the placebo effect occurs because the patient believes in the substance, the treatment, or the person administrating the substance or treatment.

Conditioned effect

This is when you receive a placebo after first having gotten the real treatment. The body may potentially mimic the original benefits of the treatment due to a conditioned response.

Nocebo effect

The nocebo is a negative effect of a placebo potentially due to anticipation of increased pain.

Mind-body connection

The idea that the mind can affect the body has been around for a long time so there is reason to believe the placebo effect works.

Unrelated events

Unrelated yet simultaneous events may be linked to the placebo effect because of their timing. The person might think the placebo caused it when it did not. Such as a headache from dehydration that came on after the placebo was administered but the headache was not caused by the placebo.

How to use the placebo effect in your life (perhaps you are already doing it)

You can use the placebo effect on yourself in the following way:


Look for something you want to change in your life, for example, increase your mental calmness.


Find a technique that will help you make that change such as a class in mindfulness. You select this activity since you have heard it works for friends and you believe it will help you.


Sign up for the class in, yes, mindfullness, if that is what you want to do : )

The beginning of the effect:

You may start to feel the positive impact of the treatment (the mindfulness class) as you tell friends that you are going to take class because your mind is already starting to believe the positive impact of the experience. You are experiencing a type of placebo effect called the expectation effect. (defined above)

Note: if you want to make sure you are getting the placebo effect make sure it is something you want in your heart and not what someone else wants.

Want to learn more ways to change your life?

Considering coaching or attending a seminar contact me here for more details.

Enjoy a wonderful day,