Do you remember a time when you skinned your knee as a child, and went to your Mom or caregiver who “kissed it better”? In such situations, feeling better with no scientific explanation for why that might be can be attributed to your having experienced the “placebo effect.”
The word ‘placebo’ translates from the Latin to mean, ‘I shall please,’ from placere, ‘to please,’ and comes from a time in the Middle Ages when “placebo” referred to professional mourners-for-hire who sang at funeral masses, pretending to be the sorrowful bereaved.
The placebo effect was first recognized when anesthesiologist Henry Beecher reported successfully managing pain in injured soldiers after administering saline injections in place of morphine while working as a field physician for the Allies in World War II. Dr. Beecher watched a nurse give the saline injection to a patient complaining of excruciating pain prior to surgery…
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