Personal Development Forum, Self Help Forum, Mind warrior forum

Author Topic: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!  (Read 2596 times)

Offline tobyjensen

The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« on: October 08, 2013, 11:32:38 AM »
This is one of the best and shortest videos I've ever seen on the placebo effect. Sums it up very nice.

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81320601/#JCHZpDr3OlI1Kmt2.03

I once heard a doctor from world renowned Hopkins Hospital speak about the placebo effect. He was also on staff at Harvard. He had at least half a page of post-nominal titles describing his achievements. He said one of the things a new drug has to do to be approved by the FDA is to beat the placebo effect. Then he also said,"With a 60% to 80% success rate why do we even have hospitals?"

Pretty funny and also very intelligent. How do you get the placebo effect to work for you? After all, why through away a 60% to 80% success rate?

(Hmmmm, don't know why the above link didn't bring the video straight over.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 11:38:42 AM by tobyjensen »
Toby Jensen
Master Life Coach

We only create exactly what we believe.

Offline TimCStar

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 11:35:32 AM »
Cool video, but I'm not surprised.  Not quite a placebo, but down that same path...  I used to carry a cold capsule in my pocket during certain times of the year.  When I felt symptoms it could treat, I'd put my hand in my pocket to feel the capsule.  It did an amazing job of warding off colds, etc.  And I KNEW it shouldn't.
www.whatsyourpath.com - Personal blog

Offline tobyjensen

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 02:20:20 PM »
Interesting. Love that example. It's because the feeling is more powerful than what your logical mind knows intellectually. This is why the placebo would work for you. You trusted in the feeling inside of you to take care of the cold. You could feel that feeling much stronger than the smaller feeling of what is logically supposed to work.

It's very similar to a lucky rabbits foot for an athlete. They can feel the trust in their ability. Where people get confused and things get weird is when someone starts thinking that the rabbit's foot has some power of its own to give to you. That's just plain silly. If used as a reminder to believe in yourself and your training then it is a lot healthier.

So, ya, you got it! Placebo effect, quite powerful. You don't have to take a pill to engage the placebo effect. It's all in your head. 

Toby Jensen
Master Life Coach

We only create exactly what we believe.

Offline Wizardofwisdom

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 04:43:13 PM »
I  believe every statistic quoted in that video. 

Pity they don't share the sources of the research - I've just written a chapter on the power of belief for my new book, "The Skeptic's Guide To The Law Of Attraction" and it would have been cool to have had some more references.

Placebos definitely work.  The pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe they're insignificant.  I wonder why ...  ???

P.S. I'll be looking for a handful of (serious) reviewers for my book when it's ready ... this might be just the forum to find some.  Let me know if interested.  (And it's not even half written yet, so it'll be a few weeks away!)
Learn to love yourself and the world will beat a path to your door.

Offline TimCStar

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2013, 04:50:13 PM »
Hit me up when it's ready!  I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to get feedback.
www.whatsyourpath.com - Personal blog

Offline Wizardofwisdom

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 02:45:33 AM »
Thank you, Tim.  I truly appreciate that.

Trevor.  ;D
Learn to love yourself and the world will beat a path to your door.

Offline tobyjensen

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2013, 12:47:14 PM »
Good on ya Wizard. To have finished a book is quite an achievement!

Seems like most of what it takes to produce a placebo effect is understood quite well by people: trust, faith, belief, etc. What is fascinating is when it fails for people. With such a high success rate why haven't we seen a more dramatic increase in success in society? I think it is that doubt that can come so quickly for people - it simply destroys most of the placebo effect instantly.

And the other question - What is happening outside the 60% to 80% rate? What is going on with the rest of the 20% to 40%? This seems to me to be the area of the work we have to do. Trusting a placebo to work takes a specific effort and focus. That seems to be the other 20% to 40% to me.

What do you think?
Toby Jensen
Master Life Coach

We only create exactly what we believe.

Offline Wizardofwisdom

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2013, 05:41:58 AM »
What is fascinating is when it fails for people.

Hi Toby,

Great comments.  I wish I had some slick answers; instead I have some more points to ponder.

I think all I can say about this one at the moment is that there is no "one size fits all" answer to any of these psychological/philosophical matters. 

The placebo effect has more to do with the doctor, I believe, than the pill.  The patient's relationship with the doctor, the amount of trust placed in him or her, the length and history of their relationship etc.etc., will all affect how much the patient trusts whatever is prescribed.  That may well account for some at least of the missing 20 - 40%.

Trusting a placebo to work takes a specific effort and focus.

I have to take issue with you here.

I think it takes the opposite - it is blind faith and effortless.  You plant the bulb and wait for the daffodil to appear in the spring.  There's no effort or focus involved.  Nature will take its course.  Similarly, you swallow the pill and simply wait for it to take effect.

We don't need to put any effort in for gravity to keep us from floating away.  It's our interference with natural events that is the source of most of our difficulties.  Remember, there are no problems in nature!  Human beings are the only species who struggle and label things "good" or "bad" or "wrong" or "right" ... or "problem."

It's in the letting go and allowing ourselves to be that all comes right.

Food for more thoughts?
Learn to love yourself and the world will beat a path to your door.

Offline watman

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2013, 09:06:05 AM »
I'm sure it was Tony Robbins who quoted an example from the 60's where a research team did the following. They split there subject group in four and then gave half the group amphetamines and the other barbiturates. They told everyone what they were taking, however the twist was half of the group taking amphetamines were actually given barbiturates and vice versa. The results were interesting to say the least. Everyone who thought they were on amphetamines felt full of energy, regardless of whether they were taking them or getting barbiturates. The barbiturates group all reported feeling tired and listless.
Buy and Sell Self Help Related Products & Services on SelfHelpGigs.com Click Here

Offline kyawikyo

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2013, 06:40:52 PM »
Okay, since it is a deception medicine, it is cool to think about it...Thank you

Offline tobyjensen

Re: The placebo effect - hard to beat a 60% to 80% success rate!
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 12:40:17 PM »
Wizardofwisdom, what more are you bringing out about the placebo effect in your book? Always interested in learning more.

It seems that the other 20% to 40% would involve science to getting cured or blindly having done something that works to achieve cure. It could also be that the placebo effect can rise quite higher than 80% at times as well completely out to the bottom at 0%. The placebo effect success rate can move – higher or lower. And here’s a link to my ongoing discussion on the placebo effect at http://www.personal-development.com/community/threads/affirmations.1317/#post-9500 It gives quite a bit of detail and discussion into exactly what the placebo effect is about, how it works, and why it doesn’t. It also talks about the effectiveness of placebos is increasing over time. That certainly has some interesting implications. But of even more value than that is how to tap into this high rate of success to user much more frequently.

Prozac was quoted as one of the medicines that wouldn’t be approved by the FDA today because it can’t beat the placebo effect anymore. I attribute this to people becoming healthier and more educated in our society. They know they can trust themselves to overcome and be successful more and more. Society is increasing in success.

kyawikyo – yes, I think that’s one of the fascinating aspects of the placebo effect – literal mind of matter stuff. What we are learning about the mind/body connection is fascinating.


Wizardofwisdom:
“no "one size fits all" answer to any of these psychological/philosophical matters.”

Well, ‘kinda’ there is. At a general level we can start with feelings working similarly for the vast majority of people. Anger is universal throughout the world regardless of location, language, or culture. How can there be a universal emotion without a universal “one size fits all” answer to start with? 
        See DISC Personality Profiling along with the MBTI just to start with many places of how to understand people - let alone all the people teaching just general male/female dynamics. Does this answer every single question about every single person at every single level? No, of course not. What it does do is give an incredibly thorough start to a one size fits all answer. Then it begins to be about just understanding any uniqueness. Once that is made then this understanding automatically leads to connection which builds trust and, voila!, we can start depending on the placebo effect again.  A “one size fits all” approach again. Or another way to put it, when the placebo effect doesn’t work go back to the diversion from the process. Work out what happened there with a fitting problem resolution model to come back to the process. Or even simpler – when it doesn’t work find what happened and resolve it.
        I like to say there is one path that is simply wide enough to walk it just about however you want. And you obviously don’t even have to walk the path. The world provides plenty of places that don’t go anywhere. People go there all the time and don’t go anywhere. But if you want to get more success (again however you define it with your combinations of more love and/or more money) you have to take the path to get there.

We all have a basic way to learn golf or to learn to ride a bike – starts with one size fits all approach.
   Then there are several variations (schools of methodology) to learning golf but there is not unlimited variations. In golf, nothing matters but the club head being lined up at the moment of impact. Every lesson, stance, grip, and angle of swing is designed to only achieve this one thing in golf – that the club head is lined up squarely to hit the ball. I’ve seen hockey players grip the golf club like a hockey stick – one hand separated by the other hand by several inches. And they can hit the golf ball incredibly well. Bobby Jones had a loop top swing – considered defunct and impractical by anybody teaching golf today. So there are many variations that don’t matter in life or the placebo effect. Or you can walk the path however you want as long as you are headed toward success.
   So why should personal development or psychology be any different?
   Any one single way would include a starting point with variations (just not unlimited variations).
   It can be highly specialized the more experience you get. Or in the one path way we say it become more personal, more refined, or more detailed.
The reason people want a special innovative unique individuality is simply because of the validation or sense of living, or freedom – and things along these lines. All that is wanted in being a unique and delicate snow flake is found by living in the present moment, connecting with other people, and/or achieving success. Success being overly simplified in the definition of plenty of money and/or love. Fulfillment is found by letting the feeling in while being in the present moment. Then good friends or an incredible house to live in can add to these feelings comfort, confidence, and belonging.

“The placebo effect has more to do with the doctor, I believe, than the pill.” Ya, I think you nailed that one. After all who told you that a bigger shinier pill is more effective than a small, dull colored one? A person in a position of authority over you – like a doctor. Things (pills, shots, drops, etc) are much less powerful since it is the human interaction that produces more feeling than just getting a pill. But a pill can also work quite well just on its own because of a previous interaction. And we are taught that getting a shot of something (that penetrates the body directly while a pill has to be digested) is often used to deliver a more powerful treatment in a more direct way to the blood stream so then shots of sugar water work better as a placebo than pills generally do. It’s not the shot over the pill – it’s what we’ve been taught to believe about it.

This is a core part of the placebo effect itself: trust, faith, hope, reliable, believe, etc. These are just words though. It is the feeling of trusting that provides the power. Feelings rule over logic. Beliefs are more powerful the more they are tied to a powerful feeling. False beliefs that are tied to powerful emotion have an incredible power in our lives. And it doesn’t matter if the feeling is positive or negative, what matters is how strong the emotion is that is tied to the belief. That’s what wins every time.



Does the placebo effect take effort? In the comparison with “planting the bulb and wait for the daffodil to appear in the spring” then the effort required is the actual planting of the bulb, how deep will it be, has the soil been prepared, how closely planted to other bulbs, when is too soon in the fall and when is too late to plant it, do you keep digging it up to check on its progress <a real common problem>, does it come up at first snow melt or later in the spring, was it simply a dead bulb, was it planted upside down. But once you learn all this then it is quite easy. But make no mistake, there is a lot to learn. Compare the flow as described in the psychology of optimal experience. This is the state of being in “the zone” particularly in sports. So many books and teachings have been done it. Is it simple? Sure, once you mastered the ego. And look around to how much teaching and training is being done on that! Holy crap, it’s everywhere, people all over the world and throughout history working to master the ego and teach others to do it. Such a simple thing? Yes, and quite another to achieve it. E=mc² is a very simple formula. But most people don’t realize it’s not even the complete formula. There is more to it than just E=mc². Plus Einstein had to come up with a completely new symbol for light (that’s the c in the equation) to be able to achieve this. Then it had to be proved. So I would say what most of the great minds say about wonderful truths found in life. The placebo effect is simple to understand and almost infinitely complex to implement. Wonderful truths are often quite understandable but mastery in using them in life can be often found to be incredibly complex.

Trust takes effort. Look at all the people that are in trouble in relationships because they don’t know how to trust their partners. Although some don’t deserve to be trusted there are plenty of people that can be trusted but their partner has a problem trusting. Of course once you get it going it can run on it’s own, so to speak but there is always a level of effort that must be maintained. Once that is set then things take less effort. It can take a considerable amount of effort to change direction but once done then autopilot takes much less effort to maintain but it still takes some effort.

“there are no problems in nature!” From the point of view of the deer about to be run down by the wolves, or the seal who has to keep grinding out the frozen hole out and wears his teeth down to nothing and can’t fish, or penguins that losing a suckling to the harsh Antarctic winter? Sure, if we devalue life to mean nothing then animals dying horrible deaths in nature is not a problem. It is not hard to see the frustration and struggle in these animals as nature presents problems these animals need to solve. I’ve heard that as well by Eckhart Tolle about the present moment, “There are no problems in the present moment.” Only the fact is that there is more to life than just the present moment. Without going into how he talks about responsibly planning for the future or learning from our past or how he describes being able to give a high quality “no” to somebody - I just want to offer a different variable with problems and the present moment. And I quote many of the great masters of the world on this one. Rather than have problems which can be difficult - see these same problems as opportunities instead. There are no problems – only opportunities. This shift in perspective provides us with motivation to do something positive about it for the rewards to come after (success) instead of problems presenting a negative hurdle to have to overcome first before resolving the problem. It’s just semantics. What will give you the desire to do something about it? To keep growing? Problems as a negative blocks or opportunities to receive success? It’s just semantics.

To say there are no problems can sometimes seem needlessly cruel, simple minded, or delusional. It is like saying there is no pain in the universe. Yes, we are striving to overcome pain and eventually we will but that doesn’t eliminate pain from the universe. Transcend and include as I learned it from Ken Wilber in A Brief History of Everything. It means that pain is supposed to remind us to return to joy. Without pain there can be no joy – Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Everything must have an equal and opposite reaction. It is often quoted in personal development and religion. Another way to put this is to transcend the competitive plain (let’s use football as an example of the competitive plain) enjoying the game is an example of transcending the viciousness of competition into the realm of being creative in a higher plain. Transcend and include – because if you don’t include “football” then you are kicking out the ladder you used to get higher from anybody else being able to transcend as well. That’s just mean.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 12:44:07 PM by tobyjensen »
Toby Jensen
Master Life Coach

We only create exactly what we believe.