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Pain and the placebo effect
  1. P H Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology
  1. Academic Psychiatry Unit, UMDS, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH

    Summary

    Many forms of placebo have been used in trials for pain relief. The most effective responses have been to injections and sophisticated looking equipment, but the response rate varies very widely depending on the circumstances and patient expectations. Also, the doctor's beliefs and expectations are of surprising importance, showing through even a double blind procedure. Every treatment, whether active or placebo, has a psychological effect on its recipient and this effect is strongly conditioned by the behaviour of the therapist.

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