The placebo, currently used as a part of medical treatments, is an inert medication prescribed more for mental relief than for actual effect on a disorder. The first documented clinical use of intentionally administered placebos was in 1785. The term placebo originally was used as a derogatory term for false physicians, but is now considered by some to be a vital part of understanding healing in medicine. The true physiological implications of placebos were not understood until the 1970s.

The administration of placebos can produce the placebo effect. This is the result of two factors: conditioning and expectancy. Conditioning is a person’s preconditioned physical and physiological responses to certain stimuli. Expectancy is the cognitive belief that a treatment will be effective.

Placebo cure rates range from 15-72%. Placebo effectiveness is grown by increasing treatment length and physician visits. The color of the pill matters as well. Blue is more effective for sleeping pills and red for pain pills.

The Placebo Mechanism Theory explains the placebo effect in animals, which is thought to be a result of human contact. Dogs with epilepsy who received placebo experienced a 79% decrease in seizure frequency, while 29% showed a reduction of 50% or greater.

Check out the infographic below presented by to learn more about the placebo effect.