In medical terminology, a placebo is defined as any type of medicine containing no active ingredients, no active medicines, and should, by its very nature, have no therapeutic effect. It's a sugar pill. However, scientific studies have shown repeatedly that some people respond to placebos and get better anyway. In fact, in many cases a placebo is just as effective or more effective than the original treatment minus the side effects. So if it's just a sugar pill, but it has the power to make people feel better, what's going on? Are the people merely gullible hypochondriacs who weren't sick in the first place?
Here's how I view a placebo: whether it's a pill, a crystal, an affirmation, a visualization, or something else altogether, a placebo is an intention. When someone takes a sugar pill believing it is medicine, they are doing so with the intention to heal whatever it is that is ailing them. And so, that sugar pill becomes an intention that links body, mind, and spirit and can set the healing process in motion.
If, along with the intention to heal, the person taking the pill also has a belief the placebo will genuinely bring about healing, then it shifts their thinking about whatever illness they are treating with the pill. That's because in taking that placebo, their thinking shifts from, "I am a sick person," to "I am a person doing what I need to get well." This simple shift in belief is enough to create small physical, spiritual, and emotional changes because a thought or belief that is more positive (even just slightly more) than the previous thought or belief still brings about a slight rise in vibration, and that slight rise in vibration can bring about another slightly more positive thought or belief. In this way, someone who truly believes in a placebo can experience incremental change in their experience of a physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual condition and instead of spiraling downward, they can begin to inch their way upward.
Does that mean there's nothing to energy healing other than the placebo effect? Of course not. With energy healing, the vibration of the energy healing modality entrains with the vibration of the person seeking healing (the healing partner), and the healing partner adapts to a new, higher vibration. This process is even more powerful when combined with a sincere intention and belief the energy healing will serve the healing partner's highest and greatest good. So while the placebo effect may be part of any shifts or relief the healing partner experiences, it isn't the whole story. The energy healing combined with intention and belief provides a quicker, more powerful path to wellness of the body, mind, and spirit than either would alone.
The other thing I need to mention in any discussion of healing is this: for most people, healing doesn't necessarily mean what they think it does. Many believe healing is an absence of symptoms; however, symptoms are your body's fire alarm. By the time symptoms come along, there has been an energetic imbalance of some type for a long time, and removing the symptom merely turns off the fire alarm, even if there's still a fire burning.
Likewise, healing isn't always what we want it to be, and when we have a specific idea of what healing will look like for us, we may limit the power of the universe to work on our behalf.
Healing means achieving a state of energetic balance in body, mind, and spirit that serves the highest and greatest good. Sometimes, illness is what serves the highest and greatest good for that person in that moment. In these cases, energy healing removes energetic blockages and allows for the fullest expression of what serves the highest good. Sometimes this means physical, emotional, or mental wellness, and sometimes it means allowing the full expression of whatever circumstances currently exist to help someone come to terms with some aspect of their life and achieve more peace, understanding, and compassion.
Energy healing can and often does have an aspect of the placebo effect to it. However, the placebo effect isn't necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it can be a way of unconsciously shifting thoughts and intentions to help you find new, higher vibration beliefs that ultimately support healing.