Role of Belief in Healing: Placebo Effect, Nocebo Effect, and The Mind-Body Interaction
Pp. 172-198 (27)
This chapter explores the role of belief in healing, beginning with a brief
review of western medicine’s changing foundations - initially religious and later
scientific. The chapter relates to disease in general and is inclusive of ovarian cancer.
Disease in ancient times was attributed to Divine cause; religious leaders served as
physicians and belief played a prominent role in healing. Groundbreaking nineteenthand
twentieth-century scientific discoveries, which offered physical explanations for
disease and fostered the development of companion therapies, diminished appreciation
of the importance of belief in the healing process. Beginning around the mid- twentieth
century and continuing to this day, scientific studies have investigated treatment
outcomes in relation to the beliefs of patients and healers. The power of the placebo
and nocebo are discussed, and studies and comments by both conventional and
‘alternative’ modern-day healers illustrate a renewed appreciation of the importance of
belief in the healing process.
Belief, Church, Chakra, Faith, Fleming, Galen, Hippocrates, Intuitive,
Koch, Mind-body, Medieval, Miracle, Nocebo, New Testament, Osler, Old
Testament, Old Testament, Osler, Placebo, Pope, Priest, Pasteur, Qur’an, Rabbi.
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA.