Brian Fulton Interview

Author of The Placebo Effect in Manual Therapy- Improving Clinical Outcomes in Your Practice

In September of 2016 I interviewed Brian Fulton, RMT about his new book all things Placebo.

About Brian

Brian Fulton is Registered Massage Therapist practicing in Ontario, Canada. He graduated from Alexandrian Institute’s Massage Therapy program with Honours in 1999 and then went on to gain post-graduate education in Ergonomic Evaluation, Myofascial Release, British Sports Therapy Soft Tissue Release.

From 2000 until its closing in 2010, he was the staff health columnist at the Dalhousie Peer Magazine. Recently Brian completed a seven-year project examining the placebo effect’s role in the manual therapy profession. His book, ‘The Placebo Effect in Manual Therapy- Improving Clinical Outcomes in Your Practice’, published by Handspring Publishing examines the role of psychosocial effects in the clinical environment. In his book, he deconstructs this complex phenomenon and provides concrete, straightforward, ethical ways for you to incorporate techniques into your practice to help get your patient’s mind in the game, thereby improving therapeutic outcomes.

In the last year Brian has had articles published in three different massage therapy publications- Canadian RMT, Massage Magazine and Massage Therapy Today. All of these articles were on different aspects of the placebo effect in manual therapy.

Below is the full audio from our talk.  To download the audio interview right click this link and choose ‘Save As’

Time tags

  • If you only have a few minutes skip to 43 min
  • What has your journey been in writing the book? 3 min
  • How has you practice changed after writing the book? 7 min
  • History of the placebo effect and how should we think about it as clinician? 10 min
  • Most placebo studies involve pills. How is the person as a placebo studied? (really interesting study Brain talks about here) 17 min
  • Explanations to patients, what to explain and how, empower clients. 21 min
  • Three keys studies to be aware of in context of the placebo. Great quotes here. 28 min
  • The Nocebo effect. 31 min
  • Communication. 35 min
  • The don’ts of listening 39 min
  • 3 key communication skills 42 min
  • Key Themes Brian learned studying placebo effect 45 min


Egbert, Lawrence D., et al. “Reduction of postoperative pain by encouragement and instruction of patients: a study of doctor-patient rapport.”New England Journal of Medicine 270.16 (1964): 825-827.

Bronfort, Gert, et al. “Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report.” Chiropractic & osteopathy 18.1 (2010): 1.

Bialosky, Joel E., et al. “Placebo response to manual therapy: something out of nothing?.” Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy 19.1 (2011): 11-19.

Testa, Marco, and Giacomo Rossettini. “Enhance placebo, avoid nocebo: How contextual factors affect physiotherapy outcomes.” Manual therapy(2016).

Authors to search: Kaptchuk, Benedetti, Moerman.


Brown, W. A. (2013)  The Placebo Effect in Clinical Practice, New York, New York, Oxford University Press

Brody, H. (2000) The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body’s Inner Pharmacy for Better Health. New York, New York. HarperCollins

Harrington, A., (2000)  The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press

Thompson W. Grant. (2005) The Placebo Effect and Health. Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books

Peters, D. (2001) Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine. London , UK, Churchill Livingstone

Moerman, D (2002). Meaning Medicine and the Placebo Effect. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press

Peters, D. (2001) Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine. London , UK, Churchill Livingstone


Ted Kaptchuk: Placebo Effects make Good Medicine Better

Placebo: Cracking the Code

The Placebo Effect – Mind-Body Interactions


Find Brian

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October 4, 2016

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