Placebos (can) work even when you don’t use them [new study]

The mysterious workings of the Placebo Effect have taken a new twist. A research team from Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and The University of Toledo, US, have found, by experiment, that a placebo cream (that’s to say a faux medical cream with absolutely no active ingredients) can be quite effective even when it’s not used.

“We hypothesized that forming an association with a placebo analgesic, such as by acquiring the ownership, may elevate belief in one’s ability to cope with pain, thus resulting in greater pain reduction. Specifically, if individuals receive a placebo analgesic cream, they may experience less pain in a subsequent pain-perception test–even when they have not used the cream–compared to those who do not receive the cream.“

See: Merely Possessing a Placebo Analgesic Reduced Pain Intensity: Preliminary Findings from a Randomized Design in Current Psychology, February 2019, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 194–203