"The physician's belief in the treatment and the patient's faith in the physician exert a mutually reinforcing effect; the result is a powerful remedy that is almost guaranteed to produce an improvement and sometimes a cure." -- Petr Skrabanek and James McCormick, Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, p. 13.
The placebo effect is the measurable, observable, or felt improvement in health or behavior not attributable to a medication or invasive treatment that has been administered.
So in other words, placebo effect doesn't mean your symptoms aren't getting better; it means that there is more to it than the acupuncture pin, doctor's pill, massage pressure used on a given day. Well of course! We all knew that when we were 7 and our mom kissed our skinned knee and made it all better. We still know it if we notice that advil + warm hug from your boo is a much better headache remedy than advil alone. The brain interprets the nerve impulses that register pain. The mind, which gives us the commentary on our pain, lives up there in the brain. And the mental, emotional, and spiritual "Heart" (e.g., my heart is not into this project or that guy broke my heart) is the mind in Chinese Medicine.
So when I put an acupuncture pin into the "back pain point" on your foot to help with your sciatica, you and your brain know that the heart-to-heart caring that occurs between us is an essential part of the real deal healing. And knowing you don't have to face your health issues alone, coupled with rectifying the qi in your Bladder meridian that allows your body's systems to heal your back, is a one-two punch combo assured to knock out any ailment, any time, any place (well, not really any ailment - we can't fix your broken arm...and not really any time - our hours are 1-7 Wednesdays/Thursdays and 10-2 Fridays/Saturdays...you get the drift...acupuncture is a powerful healing tool given you commit to consistent treatments). More on committing to consistent treatments in a blog post to come!