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The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body's Inner Pharmacy for Better Health Hardcover – May 16, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (May 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060194936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060194932
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,821,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Could a tiny sugar pill actually hold the secret to a miracle cure? In his well-researched new book, Dr. Howard Brody, a family practice physician and university professor, brings forward an intriguing, and provocative, premise about the healing effect of placebos, the much-maligned fake cure of popular lore. Brody asserts that while placebos themselves have no medical value, time and again real illnesses and pain have been diminished by their use.

According to Brody, the placebo phenomenon--which he pronounces mysterious and unknowable at its very heart--is when the convergence of healing signals, assigned meaning, and human expectations stimulates the body's inner healing power. The patient's positive mental and emotional reaction to a medical intervention releases what Brody terms the "inner pharmacy." In other words, even though the treatment is benign, the body's biochemical pathways are stimulated to induce healing in the same manner actual medicines do. "Could harboring hope, faith, or expectation be genuinely potent factors in the healing process?" Brody asks, "I believe they are. In fact, I see them as the heart and soul of the placebo response."

In this lucid, easy-to-follow book, Brody lays the foundation for his argument by reviewing the history of placebo use as well as the results of several major studies. He takes ample time up front to explore a variety of theories about why placebos work, who responds to them, and the role of the medical provider in the process. The later half of the book is devoted to guiding individuals who wish to release their own internal healing power. One of Brody's primary contentions is that patients are not inert objects in this process: they must take control of their own health before the healing response can be unleashed.

Is the public's rising confidence in the effectiveness of alternative medicine partially a result of the placebo effect? According to Brody, the more personal, caring treatment offered by alternative providers could be more effective in releasing the placebo response in patients who do not respond well to conventional medical approaches. His premise: the tenor of the healing message as well as the carrier of that message are key to stimulating--or shutting down--the inner pharmacy. A provider who does not believe in the patient's ability to heal can inadvertently cause the opposite reaction--the "nocebo effect." If a patient expects to get worse, they often do just that.

While Brody's holistic approach, as well as his advocacy of a strong patient-provider partnership, are not new ideas, this wise, compassionate book thoroughly explores yet another angle of the mind's fascinating ability to induce true healing. --Marianne Painter

Review

"...illuminating look at the placebo response and how it can be harnessed to promote physical and mental well-being." -- Publishers Weekly

"...illuminating look at the placebo response and how it can be harnessed to promote physical and mental well-being." -- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MarcAres on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Every young intern wanting to become a good and effective doctor or nurse should read this book. Although the theme of this book is about the latest research and the applications of the Placebo phenomenon in medical healing,any reader of this book will surely sense this reccuring message that the sincere carings, genuine efforts,and empathy communicated by the medical care-giver as a positive message to the patient can actually stimulates the bodies's inner healing power,reinforcing the patient's positive mental response and faith towards the medication/treatment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kücken on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Even though it is proven that the placebo effect has an enormously beneficial influence on healing it still does not have a good reputation. This is probably the case because it is often associated to unethical behavior when patients receive pharmacologically ineffective pills and still report an improvement of their symptoms.

The book by Harold and Daralyn Brody approaches the placebo effect by defining it in a more positive way as changes in the body due to symbolic meanings that are attributed to events and objects. These may be sugar pills, sham operations, doctoral visits or support groups. This way, as the authors put it, the inner pharmacy of the body is activated. This inner pharmacy takes care of producing substances that are necessary for healing.

The authors discuss the history and the research concerning the placebo effect in quite some depth. They offer explanation models for the placebo effect on the psychological level (expectation, conditioning, meaning) and the biochemical level (endorphines, stress hormones, psychoneuroimmunology). The authors admit that these models are currently not sufficient for a comprehensive understanding of the placebo effect. As a consequence of these findings the authors argue for a coexistence of main stream medicine and alternative medicine. They also encourage a greater awareness of the factors that trigger a placebo response in order to use these ethically and effective.

In the last part of the book it is discussed how one can use the own inner pharmacy of the body. Many, partly well-known methods are presented here (inner desire for healing, forgiveness to oneself and others, telling the own life story, acceptance of illness and death, maintaining good social relationships, control of own life).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mystic_songbird on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is loaded with information about the Placebo

response. This book proves in many ways that a placebo

response does take place in the human mind & body. It's good

info for physicians, patients, psychologists.

You will learn about how even a negative placebo response can

happen, psychoneuroimmunology, getting well by forgiveness, & much more. It's a fascinating subject.
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