Today, we take a further stroll down the lane of the placebo effect.
𝗢𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻-𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁.
The placebo effect can be defined as a person having a beneficial effect arising from the belief that a food, supplement or medicine will work.
This is an incredibly powerful phenomenon in the world of sports performance.
One issue with using a placebo to get a desired outcome is that there’s always a degree of deception!
You have the belief that something will work even though the substances taken will directly have zero physiological benefit. I.e. it is inert.
Therefore the placebo effect is derived from the power of belief.
But here’s the kicker, research has shown that you can still get a performance benefit from a placebo even though you know it’s a placebo and it’ll do sweet f’all for performance.
I.e. the Open-Placebo
For example, a recent study by Saunders et al (2019) had two white-labcoat wearing medical professional inform 28 trained female cyclists that they were going to take two red and white placebo tablets before a 1km cycling time trial…
After the 1km test, approx. 50% of the cyclists showed an improvement in performance, where the remainder either stayed the same or performed worse.
When they questioned the cyclists after, one cyclist who showed improvements thought:
‘𝘋𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘦, 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘧𝘸𝘢𝘺, 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯, 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 “𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭”
Where one who performed worse thought:
‘𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤 𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘣𝘰, 𝘱𝘴𝘺𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵.’
Two absolute bits of GOLD here:
1) If you think and believe that something will benefit you, it will – i.e. placebo effect.
2) If you think and believe that something will not benefit you or be detrimental, then it will – i.e. nocebo effect.
Knowing this, whatever approach you decide to take, make sure you believe in it.
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