Placebo treatments are a new and exciting option for the management of many long-term health conditions but, because they are so new, both patients and doctors are still learning how to use them to achieve the best results.
This list has been compiled using our experience at The Placebo Clinic. Most of the points are as relevant to real medication as they are to placebos.
1. Use your treatment regularly
Placebo medication seems to work best when it is taken regularly. It is not clear exactly why this is the case but it appears that there is something in the rituals an routines of taking a medication that reinforces the expectation that it will work.
2. Be mindful
Take your time when taking a medication. This allows the mind to reflect on the current state of the bodily symptoms being treated. Regularly reviewing symptoms can help you to identify any improvements and allows time for you to observe your symptoms objectively.
3. Keep a symptom diary
Keeping a diary of your symptoms helps to to track trends and identify any positive or negative factors which are affecting you. You should make a note at least twice a day your current symptoms, any changes, and any external factors such as food, exercise, work stress etc. All of our treatments come with a symptom diary enclosed.
4. Store your medication correctly
Our medication may not have any active ingredients but it can degrade if not stored correctly. Keep it at room temperature in a dry place and it will last at least until the expiry date on the pack.
5. Trust your doctor
Professor Ted Kaptchuk, from Harvard Medical School’s Program in Placebo Studies, believes that the doctor-patient relationship is key to the placebo effect. Our doctors are have years of experience in the treatment of long-term health conditions and understand this concept as much as anyone. If you trust their advice, your treatment is likely to be more effective.
6. Arrange a follow-up appointment
Regular contact with a known and trusted doctor is one factor involved in the placebo effect. We recommend that our patients are reviewed every 4-6 weeks to ensure that their treatment is effective and to reinforce the positive effects they have experienced.