Recent Blog Articles
Jump-start a healthier New Year with four holiday eating tips
Sibling rivalry is normal — but is it helpful or harmful?
Prostate cancer: How long should hormonal therapy last?
Overeating? Mindfulness exercises may help
Genes protective during the Black Death may now be increasing autoimmune disorders
Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?
Have you done your crossword puzzle today?
Concerned about your child’s development?
Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is...
What’s the right way to brush your teeth?
Mind & Mood
How the placebo effect may help you
There is growing evidence that the placebo effect is at work in most successful medical therapies.
Image: © BakiBG/Thinkstock
When you were a child, your mother or grandmother might have used a home remedy that made you feel better, especially when it was delivered with a soothing hand on the forehead or a kiss on the cheek. Perhaps she assured you that a cup of warm milk would help you fall asleep, and you found that it did.
Unbeknownst to you — or her — she was probably harnessing the placebo effect, loosely defined as a favorable response to a medical intervention that doesn't have a direct physiological effect. Although you may have learned later in life that there isn't much scientific evidence to support the practice, you may still sleep better after a cup of warm milk at bedtime.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!