Homeopathy 2010; 99(02): 119-129
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2010.02.001
Original Paper
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2010

The placebo effect and homeopathy

Marcus Z. Teixeira
Cristina H.F.F. Guedes
Patrícia V. Barreto
Mílton A. Martins

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Received13 July 2009
revised15 January 2010

accepted04 February 2010

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)

Background: Like other forms of medicine, including Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), homeopathy elicits expectations in patients. The physician–patient relationship, personal and comprehensive treatment and lack of adverse effects are elements in creating positive expectations. Other elements may be associated with negative expectations.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review on placebo and nocebo effects in acupuncture and homeopathy using Medline.

Results: Findings on the psychophysiological and neuromediating mechanisms of the placebo–nocebo phenomenon are reviewed. Studies of these effects reveal how expectations and unconscious conditioning can be measured by imaging and EEG methods. They result in significant, non-specific therapeutic effects, which may confuse the evaluation of the specific therapeutic effects treatment, hampering selection of the simillimum.

Conclusions: Directions for future research on non-specific therapeutic effects of homeopathy to improve clinical practice and clinical research are discussed.