The Power of Placebo

The Power of Placebo was a national programme of events to accompany our performance, Placebo.

The ‘placebo response’ describes an effect which occurs when a person is given a ‘fake’ or ‘inactive’ treatment but experiences an improvement in health regardless.

Scientific research has shown that the colour or size of pills can impact on their effectiveness, that sham surgery can create lasting pain relief, and that the ‘performance’ of the doctor can impact on medical outcomes. Some placebo treatments have now been shown to create measurable physiological change in the brain and the immune system.

What are the ramifications of this research for the way we think about and practice healthcare? Is modern medicine making the most of the power of placebo?

These events brought together scientists, artists, architects, ethicists, writers and anthropologists, to explore how our attitudes, beliefs, relationships, rituals and environments can affect our health for better or for worse.

Explore the full programme of events below, or view the printed programme here: