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Abstract

The placebo effect is the power of belief positively manifested for the benefit of the patient. There are two ways that the placebo effect has been seen historically: a standard to clinically test the true efficacy of an active drug and as a sham given by people in a variety of medical positions from doctors to con artists. The use of the placebo effect as a treatment in and of itself has been greeted with distain by scientific researchers and the public because the beneficial reaction the body is creating is due to “belief” instead of “treatment.” However, the placebo effect is real, actual biochemical processes take place in the brain to promote healing in the body that may not otherwise occur. There is a new light being shed on the placebo effect through understanding and research of the components of the placebo effect which may validate it as an honest tool for healing with uses beyond a clinical trial comparison standard. One of the main components that create the placebo effect is ritual- such as the sureness of the curer, what attire the curer is wearing, and the process of consulting with a curer. I review the current scholarly literature in English primarily published in the United States of the ties between the placebo effect and specific rituals in place in Western biomedicine to determine the approximate strength these rituals have on the placebo effect in the United States. Upon completion this review will show which rituals are currently the most important to emphasize in a medicinal setting, such as in a clinic or a doctor’s office. This paper calls for the conscientious, honest, and compassionate use of ritual to evoke the benefits of the placebo effect.

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Apr 11th, 4:40 PM Apr 11th, 5:00 PM

Placebo Effects, Ritual Causes

The placebo effect is the power of belief positively manifested for the benefit of the patient. There are two ways that the placebo effect has been seen historically: a standard to clinically test the true efficacy of an active drug and as a sham given by people in a variety of medical positions from doctors to con artists. The use of the placebo effect as a treatment in and of itself has been greeted with distain by scientific researchers and the public because the beneficial reaction the body is creating is due to “belief” instead of “treatment.” However, the placebo effect is real, actual biochemical processes take place in the brain to promote healing in the body that may not otherwise occur. There is a new light being shed on the placebo effect through understanding and research of the components of the placebo effect which may validate it as an honest tool for healing with uses beyond a clinical trial comparison standard. One of the main components that create the placebo effect is ritual- such as the sureness of the curer, what attire the curer is wearing, and the process of consulting with a curer. I review the current scholarly literature in English primarily published in the United States of the ties between the placebo effect and specific rituals in place in Western biomedicine to determine the approximate strength these rituals have on the placebo effect in the United States. Upon completion this review will show which rituals are currently the most important to emphasize in a medicinal setting, such as in a clinic or a doctor’s office. This paper calls for the conscientious, honest, and compassionate use of ritual to evoke the benefits of the placebo effect.