Tricking your mind into thinking your body’s getting real medicine does make you feel better, a convincing new study reports. Migraine patients were given (often-mislabeled) pills marked “placebo,” “Maxalt” (a migraine drug), or “Maxalt or placebo.” The surprise: Patients reported double the pain relief when they took a dummy pill they thought was real than when they took a real drug they thought was fake. “In many conditions, a significant component of healing is due to the inner resources of self-healing,” says researcher Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School. Word to the wise: It doesn’t work with birth control.
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