“ScienceDaily (July 10, 2009) — Some cold medicines will shave a day off your suffering from the common cold, but they often produce unpleasant side effects.
A new study shows, for the first time, that the doctor’s empathy may be an even better way to speed recovery.
People recover from the common cold faster if they believe their doctor shows greater compassion toward their illness, according to a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health study, published in the July issue of Family Medicine.
The study, conducted in primary care clinics in southern Wisconsin, involved 350 participants who had one of three types of encounters with doctors: no interaction at all, a standard encounter with discussion of medical history and present illness, or an advanced interaction where the doctor asked more questions and seemed to show more concern for the patient.
Patients then rated doctors on a questionnaire which asked if the doctor made them feel at ease, allowed them to tell their story, listened to what they had to say, understood their concerns, acted positive, explained things clearly, helped them take control, and helped them create a plan of action.
The 84 patients who gave their doctors perfect scores on the survey were able to get rid of their cold a full day sooner than patients who gave their doctors lower scores, according to the study findings.
By measuring immune cells in secretions from nasal washes, researchers also found that patients who gave doctors perfect survey scores had built up immunity to their cold within 48 hours after their first visit.
“This shows if you perceive your doctor as empathetic, that might influence your immune system and help you recover faster from the common cold,” said David Rakel, MD, director of integrative medicine and lead author of the study. “Out of everything that’s been studied – zinc, vitamin C, anti-viral medications – nothing has worked better at fighting a cold than being kind to people.”
“The key here is that the patient has to perceive the doctor as empathetic,” he added. “Someone may be perceived as empathetic by one person but not the other. The individual needs to find the clinician with whom they believe they can form an ongoing therapeutic relationship. This also stresses the importance of relationship primary care, where each individual develops a collaboration and relationship with a clinician they trust over time.”
<END OF ARTICLE DIRECT QUOTE>
This article describes what a great deal of the ‘placebo effect’ is about- in medical school we were taught that the placebo effect does occur and there was little elaboration on what that is about except that it was noted that the effect was stronger when there was a greater therapeutic alliance between the doctor and patient. What I have found in my clinical practice- and what I have taught in seminars, classes and books- is consistent with the above findings. It is no surprise to me that a person who feels compassion and love from others (and- even more powerfully at times- love and compassion for one’s own self) often will begin to show accelerated and even miraculous healing capability.
Feel the love! Shift Your Life and your physical circumstances will often shift as well!
Loads of Compassion & Light to you all!
Tracy Latz, M.D.