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For those of you having trouble seeing this point.
I decide to study the effect of deep-tissue massage against conventional care. I decide I want a control group, and so I dedicate light massage as my "sham" massage.
My results: both real and "sham" massage are twice as effective as usual care although the mechanism is unknown.
What is more likely?
1) Since they have the same effect, deep-tissue and light massage are just placebo.
2) Both deep-tissue and light massage both activate mechanisms in the body that relieve back pain.
Note that just because my study designated light massage as "sham" does not mean that it does not have effects beyond placebo. It's just what we decided to use and designate as "sham."
Think about this! Just because light and deep massage both work, they're both placebo?!?!
Just because acupuncture with needle penetration and point stimulation with toothpicks both work, they're both placebo?
That's simply not sound reasoning.
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