Most people are not familiar or recognize the placebo or nocebo effects. In fact the nocebo effect is hardly heard of until recently, where there has been some significant studies being done on how these responses affect our health. Both the placebo and nocebo effects provide another way of physically validating the power of your beliefs, perspectives and faith as they show you what you truly think and feel about the events, conditions and circumstances that are going on in your life. The word Placebo is derived from Latin and means “I shall please”. Nocebo is also derived from Latin and means “I will harm”. Both of these effects are extremely powerful because the mind uses these beliefs when undergoing placebo replacement medications or procedures. Through research it is clearly indicated that the power of your thoughts and perceptions determines the physical outcome weather it is restoring (placebo) or detrimental (nocebo) in nature to maintain your biological health. This means that the body has the ability to heal itself. Your beliefs (placebo, nocebo) relay a message to your physical body to heal accordingly.
Researchers believe that placebo responses are related to conscious beliefs and thoughts. For example, if patients were given a placebo drug or therapeutic procedure, the patient would improve because they have a positive expectation that they will get better. On the other hand with the nocebo effect the patients would have unpleasant side effects due to their negative expectations and would not improve. New evidence indicates that patients may improve or worsen depending upon subliminal information that they are receiving from their environment which they are not consciously aware of that is happening. Your environment also has a major role in the outcome of these effects. Healthcare Practitioners and pharmaceutical companies alike need to take into consideration and deal with the beliefs and perspectives that the patient has about the effectiveness of any drugs or treatments being given. These effects should not be overlooked as they significantly influence the patient’s expectations and may have an effect upon the outcome of the treatment that is being given.
It has been recently discovered that Placebo and Nocebo effects can be activated outside of the conscious mind. This explains why so many patients may show improvement even when given treatment without active ingredients. It has also been found that both placebo and nocebo effects depend upon brain functions which is different from cognitive consciousness. It was believed that the placebo effect was linked to conscious thought; however, more recent studies have shown that human beings expect either threat or reward quickly and they automatically respond without any need to form the idea in their head consciously. This also means that the behavioral and emotional responses are guided by stimuli outside of our consciousness. According to researchers, certain structures within the brain particularly the amygdala can quickly process stimuli even before it gets to conscious awareness and it can have non-conscious effects on both human behaviors and cognition.
Finally, we need to do more research so that we can further explore and identify how the placebo and nocebo phenomenon affects our society, along with the negative and positive aspects of psychological suggestibility and how it plays a role in the human psyche. If more research is done, we can expand our knowledge and fully understand more about how both the (positive) placebo and the (negative) nocebo effects relate in different diseases. How these effects act in our health, our environment and our lives. This can shed some light on the effects of beliefs within the human mind. We can also understand the mechanisms of how the brain functions work and the impact it has on the mind, brain and body connections. We can then take advantage of this information and learn how to apply it not only to diseases; we can also apply and use it to heal so many other aspects of ourselves.