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THE PLACEBO EFFECT

Michael Plishka

 

I still wonder why some people insist on calling us physicians.

 

Physician comes from the Greek word, physis. It’s a loaded word meaning “nature,” and it’s where we get words like “physics,” and “physical.” I’ve never thought of myself as having much in common with the physicists – they are in their own little worlds – sometimes quite literally nowadays.

 

Iatros means “healer” in Greek-that’s more like it. I like being thought of as a healer, an iatrosian as opposed to a physicist. I think that for a while there in the early 21st century most of those in my field took the title of physician too seriously as in: “I know and can thus control the laws of nature in this ridiculously complex system called – ‘the human’.”

 

I can see how they could’ve thought that. People would come through their doors feeling miserable, receive treatment, go home and voila! They got better…

 

…but that was hardly physics at work.

 

True physics requires knowledge of the underlying systems and phenomena. I’m not blaming them-they did an admirable job considering the knowledge they had at the time. But, in the end, it was hit or miss, sometimes treatments worked, sometimes they didn’t – and the patient just suffered.

 

Ahh.. the patient…from the Latin, patiens -which derives from pati– which means, “one who endures.” The title was apropos. How people must have endured suffering then.

 

Until Masterton.

 

The man was a genius in every sense of the word and deserving of the title, physician, yet he went beyond physics. There was an ancient saying, (more…)

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