« The Historic Plants Behind a Few of the Bach Flower Essences
Hawthorn Essence: Shapeshift Your Life! »

Placebos without Deception Study

Posted by admin on May 20, 2011

By Deborah Bier, PhD, Co-Editor of Vibration Magazine and maker of the Whole Energy Essences

Recently, I came across this article abstract about the effectiveness of non-concealed placebo treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It got me to wondering: we know that flower essence maker intention is important, as it influences the action of the essence because thoughts, ideas, and beliefs can be recorded in the mother essence’s carrier (usually water).  Do these results 16327521.thbbelow suggest that possibly researcher intention attached to the placebo might  have played a role? That the process of giving the subjects the sugar pills conveyed some intention to provide help?

It seems to me there is a bias in this study design, one that assumes that the researchers cannot effect the outcome.  But of course they can and do. To eliminate the possibility of researcher intention impacting the outcome, it would be interesting to see a double-blind study done, one where all subjects are given placebos, but the researchers do not know which subjects have been given pills marked openly as placebos and which have not been.

What do you think? Please let us know in comments below.

Placebos without Deception:

A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ted J. Kaptchuk, et al, December, 2010, PLoS ONE 5(12): e15591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015591


From the Abstract:

Placebo treatment can significantly influence subjective symptoms. However, it is widely believed that response to placebo requires concealment or deception. [The authors] tested whether open-label placebo (non-deceptive and non-concealed administration) is superior to a no-treatment control with matched patient-provider interactions in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)….


Two-group, randomized, controlled three week trial… conducted at a single academic center, involving 80 primarily female (70%) patients… Patients were randomized to either open-label placebo pills presented as “placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes” or no-treatment controls with the same quality of interaction with providers….


Placebos administered without deception may be an effective treatment for IBS. Further research is warranted in IBS, and perhaps other conditions, to elucidate whether physicians can benefit patients using placebos consistent with informed consent.


The entire reason I knew that flower essences work was due to my own idea that it could be a placebo effect – it is not. In the late 1990’s when I was trying it out, my pendulum chose the right essence (Holly) at the time my son was demonstrating some seriously out-of-character behavior in his youth. I heard to give these a try but decided to NOT tell him they were being administered to him. I also thought because energies are subtle that it could take a long time for results, like months. I had MAJOR breakthrough in 3 days time, and I KNOW in my heart it was not a placebo effect here, since I never told him what happened until after we reached the place to correct behavior. I have sworn by flower essences ever since: for myself, my family and friends, and even my clients!

May 24th, 2011 | 12:08 am
Donal mc Daniel:

I totally agree because flower essences do not seem to work if you select a wrong remedy. Also anyone who has seen rescue cream work on a burn or an injury would be in no doubt!

May 24th, 2011 | 8:22 pm