Medical Matters: How empathy and engagement enhance the placebo effect

“In a broad sense, placebo effects are improvements in patients’ symptoms that are attributable to their participation in the therapeutic encounter, with its rituals, symbols, and interactions,” they write.

In other words, as well as through sham medication, a placebo effect may occur through a process whereby the “doctor is drug”, in which empathy, an emotional engagement with the physician and the laying on of hands all play a part in ameliorating a person’s symptoms.

Muiris Houston