I mention this in relation to Acupuncture, however this concept has implications across all disciplines of medicine. Like it or not, the non specific effects of treatment, sometimes referred to as the placebo effects are real and account for a fairly large proportion of the overall effectiveness of a given treatment, up to 70% so I have heard some experts report.
In the era of evidence based medicine (EBM), I am concerned a fundamental element of medical care is being diluted in an effort to prove efficacy and work in an EBM manner.
Studies seem to show that given the same treatment, fully interactive and empathic verbal communication only makes a small difference in terms of outcome versus limited verbal interactions.
What makes greater difference to the outcome is ‘something else’, something we may as yet not be able to fully quantify, something primitive, limbic driven maybe? a subconscious assessment of practitioner by the patient which may then influence expectancy of a therapeutic benefit.