The Mozart Effect may not work, but the power of art to heal emotional wounds is well known, but could contemplating a beautiful painting have the same effect on physical pain? If so, this is the BEST KIND of placebo!

Italian researcher Marina de Tommaso asked 12 men and women to pick the paintings they considered the ugliest and the most beautiful, then to think about them while their hand was zapped by a laser (an effect like snapping a rubber band at your hand). They experienced less pain while contemplating the beautiful art.

New Scientist quotes de Tommaso as saying, “Hospitals have been designed to be functional, but we think that their aesthetic aspects should be taken into account too.”

Six months ago, we informed you that a drug taken by millions of people worldwide is actually only a placebo. Placebos aren’t just fake drugs?they were obviously the main way that ancient shamans healed people. For modern man, they represent a way to avoid one of the major problems with medication?side effects.

In the August 23-29 edition of New Scientist, Michael Brooks talks about his own experiences with the placebo effect. He sat in a reclining chair with an electrode strapped to his arm, and was told that a red or green light would appear before he received a shock, depending on the severity of the shock he was about to receive. The series of shocks ended with a group of mild ones?or so Brooks thought. But it turned out the last shots he received were severe ones, but he FELT them as mild because they were preceded by a green light.

Brooks says, “I had felt the?jolts as a series of gentle taps on the arm because I had been conditioned to anticipate low pain whenever it saw a green light?an example of the placebo effect.”

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