Placebo effect

The snot-plague is lingering, watching, just outside my peripheral vision. While Grey seems pretty ok (apparently he was fine yesterday – I overreacted. It’s hard to gauge when your kid throws up at the drop of a hat), Adam is not. No, he has a very sore throat. With white spots. And a fever. Alex, I’ll take “Strep Throat” for $200, please. He sees the doctor today.

But Thane is snotty and coughing. Grey is snotty and coughing. I… well, my throat just started hurting. Hmmmmm….

Now this is important. If you think taking Vitamin C, or Cold-eez, or Airborne is effective for helping prevent or diminish a cold, STOP READING NOW. Just stop.

Have you stopped? Good.

Anyway, the plague afflicting my house got me thinking about an article I read recently. Right here:
Placebos are Getting More Effective. Go read it. I’ll wait.

It’s a great discussion on how the positive effects of placebos are getting bigger — really significant!

I really, really wish that I could have a placebo right about now. Just one problem, of course. I’m too skeptical/over-educated to get one. I’m pretty sure that those cold prevention items: Airborne, Vitamin C, Cold-eez (although maybe NOT zicam) are placebos. Which is to say that if they’re your thing and you trust ’em, they’re actually very effective against the cold. Quite possibly, they’re the most effective thing we HAVE against that wily virus. And I can’t take them, because I really don’t believe they’re effective except as a placebo. Which, I’m pretty sure, means that the placebo effect will be at best muted and at worst non-existent.

Wouldn’t it be great – and true! – if they actually sold a pill that was a well-marketed, universal placebo? One that was shown to reduce colds and flu by XXX%. FDA approved. Look it up on the internet and check out the active ingredients. Basically, a big ol’ benevolent scam so that people like me could take a placebo and not know it was a placebo. That got me to wondering how I would know that exists if it already does. And that got me thinking about the cold remedies that have been all the rage lately. What are they if not well-marketed placebos? Right. Well done, self. Way to talk yourself out of a whole therapy option.

Well, I totally plan on using the placebo effect for the gullible young people in my control. They’re actually not bothered by much, but if a sick day ensues I’m sure a few of these here pills (Pez) will fix it right up. Trouble sleeping? Here’s a nice glass of milk that has been scientifically proven to assist in sleep! And thanks to big pharma, I won’t be telling my sons lies. I’ll be telling them truths made so by their own minds.

I’m also planning on doing a complete cease and desist on expressing skepticism about anyone’s little wacky remedies. You think that what you’re doing makes you feel better and makes you healthier? You’re right. It does. Glad you’ve found something that works so well for you!

What wondrous things our bodies are!

(Hmmmm I wonder if the semi-magical aura I’ve applied to coffee counts. Darn it! Stop thinking about it! Ooooooohmmmmm…. coffffeeeee……. oooooooohhhhmmmmm)

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

2 thoughts on “Placebo effect”

  1. Haven’t we yet discovered the amazing power of our minds? We can do amazing things just by convincing ourselves we can do it. My brother once relayed that the best thing you can do for yourself when you are sick is meditate on your little antibodies being a military force wiping out the viruses. Of course, he was in the army. But he does get over colds fast, so something is working here!


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