Harnessing the power of the placebo effect and renaming it "remembered wellness"

Annu Rev Med. 1996;47:193-9. doi: 10.1146/annurev.med.47.1.193.


The placebo effect yields beneficial clinical results in 60-90% of diseases that include angina pectoris, bronchial asthma, herpes simplex, and duodenal ulcer. Three components bring forth the placebo effect: (a) positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the patient; (b) positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the physician or health care professional; and (c) a good relationship between the two parties. Because of the heavily negative connotations of the very words "placebo effect, " the term should be replaced by "remembered wellness." Remembered wellness has been one of medicine's most potent assets and it should not be belittled or ridiculed. Unlike most other treatments, it is safe and inexpensive and has withstood the test of time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall*
  • Placebo Effect*