Have You Ever Applied the Placebo Effect to Yourself?

if_you_believe_it_willI have seasonal hay fever allergies that are rarely an issue thanks to a generic, over-the-counter allergy pill I take every morning. But yesterday, there was something in the air that was really aggravating my sinuses.

I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. I couldn’t take another allergy pill. Splashing water on my face only helped for a few minutes. Meditating just made me sleepy.

Then I remembered that I have an electronic air filter/fan. The actual filter in it is woefully outdated, resulting in a device that is effectively a fan.

What if, I thought, what if I just tell myself it’s still a real air filter? If I really believe there’s no difference between it and a functional air filter, perhaps my allergies will improve.

Basically, I tried to apply the placebo effect to myself. This probably has little to no effect, even psychological, as I can’t not know that the air filter doesn’t work. But I hoped that there was just enough room for possibility in my mind: The slim chance that the air filter actually does still work.

Regardless, it actually worked. It wasn’t a 100% perfect solution, as my allergies didn’t go away, but I kind of forgot they were there. The worst part about them–the constant aggravation–greatly decreased.

Have you ever done this? Is this even a thing? Does the placebo effect have any effect if you’re fully aware that it’s a placebo?