The True Cause of Placebo Effects

By Tracy Kolenchuck

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Placebo effects are real, by definition. Placebo effects are improvements in the condition of a patient ranging from very weak effects that make the patient feel better, to cures. What is their cause? Is it the mind of the patient? No.

Placebo effects are caused by spirits. Not evil spirits, good spirits. Only some spirits cause placebo effects. Which spirits? Spirits of intention. Only intentionally good spirits.


Placebo effects are caused by caring, by the spirits of caring. When mom kisses a knee, the pain diminishes and fades. Placebo effect. Caring effect. When a nurse administers a medicine, the patient feels better – some of that feeling comes from the medicine, some from the care. When a doctor tells the patient “we’ve got it,” the patient gains confidence and they feel better. When the patient believes God or Jesus, or Allah, or mother nature will help them, their spirits lift. Placebo effects are caused by a caring community, by a positive community spirit – a powerful force, even in very small amounts. But modern medicine, in its scientific vestments, refuses to study spirits.

That’s not all. Placebo effects can come from our internal communities. When our personal spirits rise, we gain confidence and strength. When they fall, we might lose spirit, get worse, even die.

In medical theory, placebo effects act alone. Chains of effects caused by placebo effects are largely ignored. Placebo effects, caring effects, are often the first cause in a long and complex chain of causes. Placebo effects cause mind effects. Mind effect cause action and change. When the child’s knee is scratched or bruised, it needs attention, but it also needs exercise to heal. The mom’s kiss gives the child confidence to move beyond the pain. Once the child recovers their composure – sometimes before, mom cleans the wound, possibly applying an antiseptic. These community actions promote safe healing. Then the child takes over, gaining the confidence to examine the wound, to learn how to take over cleaning and monitoring the wound. Their spirits rise, the spirit effects rise.

The same can happen to any illness, any signs and symptoms, any caring treatment. Caring causes placebo effects. Placebo effects improve the sense of being cared for, improving personal spirits, promoting further actions to improve health, which causes further improvements. Placebo effects are an essential part of health, healing, and cures, when we recognize them for what they are.

Caring Effects

Many medical practitioners, administrators, and theorists speak of “care and cure” as two main aspects of medicine. Typically stated that care consists of the work done by a nurse, and cure that done by a doctor.

Care and cure is a poorly defined concept, because cure is undefined medically for most diseases. For the most part, care and cure consists of treatments by a nurse (labelled care), and treatments by a doctor (labelled cure), with little attention to actual cures. The concept was expanded by Lydia Hall, to the Three C’s: Care, Cure, and Core, although this expansion is often ignored. Core, added by Hall, partially addresses the patient view, the patient’s spirits of caring, but is still a limited medical view. Hall’s model, CARE is the sole function of nurses, ignores all cases where medical attention is not required. Most times, the patient heals themselves. When we look at care and cure of all illnesses, not just those treated by medical professionals, we can see a bigger picture.

Placebo effects are caring effects. Medical doctors and systems need to take credit for their techniques and medicines for billing purposes. They intentionally, see the work of nurses – caring – as less important, and the consequences of community and personal caring as placebo effects. When we don’t study the benefits of caring, we don’t understand.

Most illnesses are easily cured, generally without medical attention. Medical treatment requires a diagnosis of a disease, and most diseases are considered incurable. The distinction between care and cure is political, based on the doctor’s status vs the nurse’s role, having little to do with any medical or scientific definition of cure. The labelling of caring effects as placebo effects is a failure to care, resulting in failures to recognize cures, even when they occur.

Placebo effect is in the dictionary, illogically defined, but not placebo cure. A placebo effect is defined as a positive effect produced by a treatment that cannot cause the effect. The literature about placebo effects is full of confusion about the distinction between placebos (clearly defined) and placebo effects (nonsensically defined). In simplest terms:

  • Placebos are treatments that cannot cause placebo effects. If a placebo causes a positive effect, it’s a real effect, caused by something real.
  • Placebo Effects are improvements, not things. They can be named a consequence of any treatment including placebo treatments, by a doctor.

Placebo Cures

Placebos like most medical treatments, rarely cure. Placebo effects are rarely cures – because if a placebo effect is cured, it is easily dismissed, as all cures are dismissed. Sometimes when cures occur, especially if the patient has taken an alternative treatment, conventional medical practitioners claim it’s only a placebo effect – perhaps because few approved treatments cure.  Therefore, conventional medicine fails to recognize any cures that come non-approved treatments. But this is no surprise – most cures are not recognized. There is little interest in recognizing the effectiveness of alternative treatments, which might force acknowledgment that non-conventional treatments can provide benefits and cures. Placebo effect is a ready excuse, always at hand, seldom questioned, rarely investigated. If investigation finds the cause, it’s no longer a placebo effect. But by then, nobody cares.

Placebo effects are a negative judgement about a positive effect, commonly blamed for minor improvements in signs and symptoms when no approved treatment was used. Placebo effects are scientific nonsense; medical chauvinism based on a belief that only approved medicines can improve a patient’s condition. The observed effects are real, by definition. The cause is simply speculation.

We can only claim placebo effect when we don’t understand cause. Every effect has a cause and a chain of causes. Placebo effects have no causal chains. When we understand the cause, we see a real effect.  However, today – when we judge placebo effect, investigation stops. Real positive effects, with a real causes but nobody cares.

The attribution of benefits and cures we do not understand to the mind or the beliefs of the patient is generally unsubstantiated nonsense, denial of cause, combined with a failure to study the curative powers of the mind, spirits, and communities of the patient.

It’s not hard to understand why conventional medicine often resorts to, even embraces, placebo effect explanations. Conventional medicine has little ability, and less incentive to recognize, much less to address causes in the mind, the spirits, or the communities of a patient, even when they cure.

to your health, to healthy spirits, tracy
Author: A Theory of Cure

This post is based on the material and concepts in the newly published book: The Science of Cure, available in print, Kindle, and Google Book format.

Recommended articles by Tracy Kolenchuk:

Originally published at and reproduced here with permission.

About the author:

Tracy Kolenchuk Understanding Medicines From Deadly Drugs to Healthy Foods

Canadian born Tracy Kolenchuk is the author of A New Theory of Cure and several other books.

Tracy is not a doctor. He is the founder of and where he works to change the way the world defines and looks at health, healthiness, healthicine, disease, and cure.

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