You are reading Physiotherapy and empathy, what’s the connection?


Physiotherapy and empathy, what’s the connection?

March 29, 2019

Between the patient and the doctor, empathy is a very important component, and not only in terms of psychological well-being. A recent study published by two physiotherapists in Sydney entitled “The Therapist-Patient Relationship in Physical Rehabilitation” has shown how the confidence and good relationship between physiotherapist and patient are key to influencing a successful treatment and improving the results of a rehabilitation process. We talked about these results with Marco Parente, physiotherapist of the Humanitas Physiotherapy Service


Humanitas supports the empathetic relationship between the doctor and the patient

The therapeutic importance of an empathetic relationship between the doctor and the patient is not only proven empirically by common sense, but is also supported by increasingly strong scientific data. This is well known by Humanitas physiotherapists, who in taking care of the patients and during the entire rehabilitation process are very attentive to this aspect: “We all know well how the patient’s trust in those who treat him helps the therapeutic path – explained Parente -: what not everyone knows, however, is that this “therapeutic trust” induces precise biological changes that are sometimes similar to those triggered in the therapeutic pathways”. Recent research has shown that the meeting and the reassuring presence of the physiotherapist reduce fear and anxiety in the patient, thanks to a better production of endorphins.


The endorphins and patient groups

At Humanitas, among the daily activities carried out by physiotherapists there are also educational groups in which the patients who have been candidates for orthopedic surgery are involved. The purpose? To explain to them the various phases of the hospitalization, involving them in the treatment process.

“Studies carried out on the placebo effect, which we all erroneously know as the name for something that does not work, or rather that only works because we are convinced that it works, also go in this direction,” continued Parente. “In fact now we know that even trusting the treatment that is administered contributes to modify physiological variables synergistic to the mechanisms implicated in the processes of care and, as the researchers of Sidney say, this condition attributes to the relationship physiotherapist-patient part of the results of the rehabilitation intervention”.

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