But this holdover from a medieval medical practice could help relieve stress among believers and have a “therapeutic” placebo effect, researchers suggest.
The ‘secret’ has been used for several centuries in Switzerland, especially in the French-speaking part, to preserve blood during and after the procedure. It consists of a healing “formula” or prayer intended to mobilize superior forces to aid the patient’s recovery.
The “formula”, which can be applied locally or remotely by an organized “Secret Maker”, is a widely practiced and well-known complementary medicine in Switzerland, so much so that it is used in hospitals. However, its clinical efficacy has never been formally evaluated.
To address this knowledge gap, researchers compared bleeding outcomes in 200 people admitted to a single tertiary care center for planned invasive coronary procedures.
These were diagnostic coronary angiography (X-rays of the heart’s vessels) and/or percutaneous coronary intervention (opening blocked arteries to restore blood flow) between January and July 2022.
Half of the patients were randomly assigned to standard care, and half were randomly assigned to standard care and a randomly selected Concealed Creator-administered “Mystery.”
The average age of the patients was 68, and about three out of four were men. The majority of the entire sample (76%) believed that ‘Mystery’ would prevent bleeding, with believers more or less evenly distributed between the two groups.
Risk factors for postoperative complications were similar between the two groups, as were criteria for minor and major bleeding.
Bleeding severity was determined according to the Bleeding Academic Research Consortium (BARC) criteria, ranging from 1 (minor) to 5 (major).
“Mystery” can stop bleeding
After the procedure, bleeding occurred in 55 (27.5%) patients. Rates were similar in both groups: 16% in The Secret group and 14% in the standard care group (BARC 1); and 12% versus 13% (BARC 2). No patient had major bleeding (BARC 3 and above).
The researchers acknowledge that their study was relatively small and was conducted in one hospital. Despite the separation of randomized groups, radial artery access for angiography was used more often for patients in the standard care group. This can reduce the risk of serious vascular complications and major bleeding.
According to the researchers, it was not surprising that cannabis had no positive or negative effect on bleeding outcomes, but a significant proportion of patients required cannabis nonetheless.
“This apparent discrepancy between measured effects on bleeding and patient requirements addresses an aspect not addressed in this study, but understandable, such as stress management and well-being,” they said.
“Stress reduction in the patient using ‘Secret Creator’ after burns has been suggested. Thus, ‘Secret’ may enable some neuropsychological conditioning and act as a placebo like other beliefs or biofeedback techniques.” offer.
The “mystery” is a remnant of the Middle Ages, when medicine was practiced by monks or sorcerers, based on one of the miracles reported in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), such as “Jesus heals a bleeding woman.” .
Despite medical and scientific advances, “The recent craze for “alternative” medicines and healers, or the techno-optimism against global warming that has been especially intense on social media since the start of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, is evidence of persistent magical thinking among humans. the general public,” they add.