Health History Lifestyle Mindset science

What is A Placebo and How Does it Work?

What is placebo and how does it work
Credit: Screenshot

A placebo is a substance that has no absolute medicinal ingredients. However, its use is quite popular in the medicinal field. They are found in the form of inert tablets, inert injections, or sham surgeries. In short, they are just a mere substance disguised in the form of medicine.

What is placebo and how does it work
Credit: Javier Zarracina/Vox

They have miraculously proved to work throughout the time. It’s quite intriguing that such drugs or treatments which are fake and have zero medicinal values can produce beneficial results and make someone feel better. We call such effect “placebo effect”. Placebos bring measurable physiological changes like a change in blood pressure, heart rate. Moreover, they even release endorphins which is a pain-reducing chemical in the human body. Hence, patients feel their symptoms have improved. 


In 1996, a scientist conducted an experiment where 56 volunteers gathered to test a new pain killer called “Trivaricane”. He put the pain killer on one index finger leaving the other empty. The doctor squeezed both index fingers with a clamp. Eventually, the volunteers reported that the treated finger felt less pain than the empty one. Surprisingly, Trivaricane actually wasn’t a pain killer but just a brown lotion with a scent like medicine.

 The placebo effect has traveled way back from the 1700s. They used placebos in shortage of real drugs. Additionally, during the 1990s placebo was considered one of the tools by researchers to test the new treatment. To evaluate how effective a new drug is, half of the people are treated with the real drug while the other half has a placebo. If a new drug shows a significant change compared to a placebo. It proves its’ effectiveness. 

Placebo and COVID vaccine

What is placebo and how does it work
Credit: Screenshot

Recently rumors on Covid 19 vaccines being a placebo have been quite popular. Oxford-Astra Zeneca and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines went through several clinical trials to prove their safety, potency, and reliability. According to the report of 40,000 people, Pfizer BioNTech is 95% effective while Oxford-Astra Zeneca is 70.4% effective. Eventually, the rumor was called off after series of tests and research.

Placebo proves how our minds and thoughts have control over our own bodies. Besides the medicinal field how about we humans apply the placebo effect to our day-to-day life? Whatever we are or we think is in our mind. Thinking positively and being optimistic is key to a happier and healthier life. We can be the best version of ourselves if we are wise enough to apply the placebo effect within us. If we thrive and put our minds into anything we can definitely attain that.