The placebo effect and compassionate care

Last week I watched ‘The Power of the Placebo’ (Horizon, BBC 2). The placebo effect is known to be real, but researchers wanted to find out how it worked. They were able to scan a volunteer’s brain and see the changes involved when certain chemicals are released and proved that the effect is not just psychological ie due to wishful thinking – but due to chemical changes, physiological events – the brain having an effect on the body.

The programme showed several types of research going on in this field. What I found of particular interest was the study which showed that patients who were treated with no emotional interaction, no physical touch did less well than those who were treated with holistic, compassionate care – when the care-giver spent time with them, listened to them, acknowledged what they were saying etc. Showing compassionate care to be cost effective! This proven mind/body connection should have the power to change today’s healthcare and make compassionate care mainstream.


About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
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