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Placebo effect
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Placebo effect

Doctors have long noticed that people tend to get better whenever they take a treatment they believe might help them. Even treatment with placebo—a nonmedicinal substance such as a sugar pill—can make people feel better if they believe it is medicine.

Also, when people believe they are taking an effective treatment, they may be more conscientious about taking other steps that can help them, such as improving their diet and increasing exercise. This can produce benefits even if the treatment itself is ineffective.



Last reviewed October 2007 by EBSCO CAM Review Board

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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