For a placebo to produce the best effect it needs to be integrated into an experience that has meaning, creates expectations and reaches the subconscious mind and body. More about that in the chapter “How Placebos Work”. In modern medicine meaning usually based on a mechanistic explanation of how a treatment works. It is important for us to understand how placebos work to give ourselves permission to respond to the placebo-experience. It is furthermore helpful to measure the individual treatment response.

Understanding how placebos work creates openness for trying placebos. Measuring results helps visualize the placebo effect and enables better decision making.

One of modern medicine’s claims is that it should be evidence-based. That’s why I propose to integrate the placebo treatment into a personal outcomes measurement. If a person responds well to placebo then the measurement will show that and reinforce the placebo response. If the measurement indicates that there is no placebo treatment effect, it still benefits the patient, as it suggests that other treatment option should be pursued.

Hypothesis to be tested: Measuring and visualizing the placebo treatment effect reinforces and increases it over time.

An Integrated Placebo is part of a broader solution. It is embedded in a meaningful experience and it is supported by a personal outcomes tracking system that measures results that matter to the patient. Unfortunately such systems that track Patient Reported Outcomes are rarely used today at all.

n=1 Tracking


Integration useful? Integration


Active Drug +
3rd Gen Placebo + +

However, since using open placebos is a new field, I propose we get it right from the start. To help establish this approach I created 3rd Generation placebos that are supported by a tracking system. For those who don’t want to use mobile apps to track how they are doing over time, I still want to encourage you to maintain a symptom diary, even in paper form. This raises your awareness of how symptoms come and go and what might affect your health.