Placebo effects and the healing response

This project is examining how placebo effects can impact health.

Extensive evidence shows that our emotions, expectations and beliefs affect our physical health.

The severity of physical symptoms, the immune system and the speed of physical healing can be affected – positively and negatively – by our minds.

These phenomena, often called placebo effects, have been re-characterised as the ‘healing response’ by Professor Paul Dieppe.

This project explores the healing response.

Through in-depth interviews, written accounts and visual ethnography we are listening to perspectives from self-designated healers, people who seek healing, and healthcare professionals with an interest in healing.

We are also exploring how natural environments can contribute to healing and our interdisciplinary team includes researchers working in medicine, performance studies and photography.

This project will develop theories about healing within a realist research framework. We hope to uncover non-specific benefits of healing relationships, whether in medical interactions or in complementary settings.

The Institute of Integrative Health funds this project.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock