Cohen, M. Mind-Body Medicine, Journal of Complementary Medicine, 2004, 3(6): 46-47
While the importance of a good ‘bedside manner’ has long been recognised, the development of a therapeutic relationship and subsequent clinical exchange has recently begun to attract scientific interest through studies on the ‘placebo effect’. In the past the placebo effect was considered a scientific distraction and the refuge of charlatans and the purveyors of snake oil. It is now recognised, however, that all therapies have a nonspecific therapeutic action in addition to any purported specific activity and that, in clinical practice, the placebo effect is continually being evoked regardless of the modality used. The power of the placebo effect is evidenced by its ability to produce positive therapeutic outcomes in virtually every medical condition, and researchers must go to enormous efforts to counter it with the double-blinding of clinical trials and the recruiting of large numbers of patients into clinical trials in order to detect ‘effect beyond placebo’.