Placebo analgesia, reductions in pain after administration of an inert treatment, is a well documented phenomenon. We report, to our knowledge, the first demonstration that placebo analgesia can be experienced when a sham analgesic is applied onto a rubber hand. The effect was obtained by exploiting the rubber hand illusion, in which ownership is felt over a rubber arm that is unattached to the body. Under conditions of synchronous as well as asynchronous visuotactile stimulation, a thermal pain stimulus was delivered on the real arm of 20 participants and seemingly also on the rubber arm, before and after applying a sham analgesic and a control cream only to the rubber arm. During synchronous visuotactile stimulation, pain was experienced on the rubber arm, and the application of the sham analgesic to the rubber arm significantly decreased the severity of reported pain. This shows that experience of the body can modulate expectations and the induction of placebo analgesia. Perspective This article presents an experiment suggesting that a placebo treatment applied to a rubber hand during the rubber hand illusion can produce placebo analgesia. This finding indicates that embodiment may influence the placebo effect, a previously unexamined factor in the treatment process with potential applications to treatment administration.

Placebo Analgesia From a Rubber Hand / Coleshill, Matthew J.; George, David N.; Mazzoni, Giuliana. - In: THE JOURNAL OF PAIN. - ISSN 1526-5900. - 18:9(2017), pp. 1067-1077. [10.1016/j.jpain.2017.04.004]

Placebo Analgesia From a Rubber Hand

Mazzoni, Giuliana
Conceptualization
2017

Abstract

Placebo analgesia, reductions in pain after administration of an inert treatment, is a well documented phenomenon. We report, to our knowledge, the first demonstration that placebo analgesia can be experienced when a sham analgesic is applied onto a rubber hand. The effect was obtained by exploiting the rubber hand illusion, in which ownership is felt over a rubber arm that is unattached to the body. Under conditions of synchronous as well as asynchronous visuotactile stimulation, a thermal pain stimulus was delivered on the real arm of 20 participants and seemingly also on the rubber arm, before and after applying a sham analgesic and a control cream only to the rubber arm. During synchronous visuotactile stimulation, pain was experienced on the rubber arm, and the application of the sham analgesic to the rubber arm significantly decreased the severity of reported pain. This shows that experience of the body can modulate expectations and the induction of placebo analgesia. Perspective This article presents an experiment suggesting that a placebo treatment applied to a rubber hand during the rubber hand illusion can produce placebo analgesia. This finding indicates that embodiment may influence the placebo effect, a previously unexamined factor in the treatment process with potential applications to treatment administration.
File allegati a questo prodotto
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1185671
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 2
  • Scopus 7
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 6
social impact