Placebos are miraculously powerful. During World War I a nurse was out of morphine and gave injured soldiers salt water. Miraculously their pain was relieved. Keep in mind these men had real pain. They were injured in a war, but yet the pain went away.
Placebos have been found to work better the more involved the treatment. A machine works better than just a pill. A long discussion with a doctor before being given a placebo has been found to work better than just the placebo by itself.
Placebos cause the brain to release chemicals in the brain that lead to healing and reducing pain. They can even change our moods, relieve pain, reduce stress. Placebos work best when higher order brain functions are in play.
Placebos have limits. They can't shrink tumors. At least it's not been proven they can in a study. They can't cure infections or regrow limbs.
The placebo effect has been growing with all of the marketing that has been done for drugs these days. It appears as though our epectations for drugs is much higher so when placebos are used instead of the real drug, they work much better.
And a really weird fact, in one study patients were told they were being given a placebo, and yet, they still felt better which may be because doctors told the patients that placebos often have healing effects.
Expectation is the key ingredient. If a patient expects to feel worse before taking a pill they often do.
Bigger pills have more placebo effect just as more pills work better. In one study a group of women were found to actually be addicted to a placebo.
There's even a such a thing as placebo surgery. A fake knee surgery was shown to heal a man who had knee problems for years and even years later he was pain free.
Now the question is knowing all this how do we use the placebo effect to our advantage? How do we use the placebo effect on ourselves? Certainly, positive thinking must be beneficial. The trick is telling yourself that vitamins you are taking, the foods you are eating, or the exercises you are doing, are in fact, making yourself better or healthier.