How a Simple Touch Can Do Wonders for a Patient's Recovery

Updated on January 30, 2020
Natasha Tungare profile image

A physiotherapist recovers their patients by mobilization, support, making them independent. And yes, here touch plays a vital role!

Being a physiotherapist, I find that a lot of patients mainly feel good when I apply a modality (machine) to them for pain relief. But they feel even better when I simply mobilize them with my own hands. They feel assured about their recovery merely by a touch. Yes, touch is this important to us.

A simple handshake is a great way to greet a patient and make them feel welcomed.
A simple handshake is a great way to greet a patient and make them feel welcomed.

5 Benefits of Physical Contact From Health Professionals

For all those in medical field, our touch speaks a lot when it comes to patients. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists—we all have the power to heal patients more deeply through our touch. I would like to narrate five really important benefits that automatically get inculcated in a patient merely with a touch:

1. A Great Sense of Welcome

When a patient enters your clinic or whenever you encounter a patient for the first time, something as simple as a handshake or a hand on the shoulder to greet the patient can make them feel welcomed and comfortable. They feel that they are important to their doctor and that they can approach their doctor with anything.

As a medical professional, it is important that your first impression in a patient’s mind should be polite and respectable. A warm touch indicates that you are welcoming them and consider them your priority.

A touch speaks a thousand words.

2. A Sense of Encouragement

When the patient comes to you for follow up, or in a hospital ward visit when you come across the patient you have been seeing usually, patting their back or a hand-shake again complimenting them for their progress makes the patient feel good about themselves. They feel confident that they will be recovered very soon. Your touch and your words play an important role here.
“Awesome, your recovery is way better than before.” “You are doing wonderful.”

A gentle hand on the shoulder can give patients a closer connection to you that extends beyond the usual doctor-patient relationship. They begin to feel that you truly care for their well-being.
A gentle hand on the shoulder can give patients a closer connection to you that extends beyond the usual doctor-patient relationship. They begin to feel that you truly care for their well-being.

3. Forming a More Personable Relationship

In a doctor-patient relationship, it's important that patients find their doctor approachable. The should feel comfortable enough to share what's going on in their lives. A touch can help form a more personal and intimate connection with the patients. They feel that their doctor is approachable—that their doctor is like a close friend or family member trying to help them. Informal here does not mean unprofessional. It means the doctor is willing to be closer to their patient, to really care for them, rather than simply providing a service.

4. Feeling Reassured

We may never fully understand what the patient is facing and how they feel about their ailments. But we should do everything we can to make sure they feel confident in their recovery. This happens when you place a hand on their back or shoulder and reassure them about their speedy recovery with your kind words. In fact, that confidence and hope can make them heal even faster.

5. Feeling of Support and Genuine Care

The patient feels that the doctor is trying to help them, not just because it is their profession but because they genuinely care. Establishing that informal connection, they feel you are more than just a healthcare professional providing a service. You are empathetic towards them. The moment patients feel that you are caring and supportive, they come to trust you and your decisions, and that trust alone can be a significant boost to their recovery.

Simply laying your hand on their shoulder can give patients a sense of reassurance and make them feel at ease.
Simply laying your hand on their shoulder can give patients a sense of reassurance and make them feel at ease.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating these tips in your clinical practice will actually help you see the magic of how wonderfully it works. The patient and their family are already going through a lot. All they need is you to be supportive. They believe that “God cannot be present everywhere to cure everyone’s health and so he created doctors." It is our duty to ensure this belief is truth. Your touch can actually impart these above-mentioned qualities in a patient’s heart. Your relationship with the patient and your patient's recovery journey will benefit greatly. A healing touch can really do wonders.

(In all the above images, the faces of the doctor and their client are hidden as they wanted to keep their identity confidential. Images are taken and used in article with due permission.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Natasha Tungare

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      • Natasha Tungare profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha Tungare 

        3 weeks ago from India

        Thank you so much @Devika Primic maam and @Ekktha di. Extremely sorry for delayed response. Your words are so encouraging. I am happy you all liked the article.

      • Ekktha Raawal profile image

        Ekktha Raawal 

        3 weeks ago from Indore, India

        Amazing read! Thanks for educating us on the magical power of touch therapy. A simple touch can be a great morale booster for anyone be it patient or family or even at the workplace.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Interesting for when someone is feeling sad or needs to talk about their messed up lives. A touch from a supportive person will make them feel happy and less negative.

      • Natasha Tungare profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha Tungare 

        2 months ago from India

        Thank you so much @Shubhra @Abitha di. Your feedback means a lot to me. Yes @Avyukhth you mother said the most true thing. A touch itself can heal you!

      • Avyukth profile image

        Avyukth Krishna 

        2 months ago from Bangalore

        My mother has always told me that some doctors have that special touch. You might have been suffering from an ailment for quite some time , but the moment they touch you , you feel cured . I'm really glad that I finally understood the science behind it. Thank you for this article !

      • shubhra sanag profile image

        Shubhra sanag 

        3 months ago from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

        This is really how thinking affects your environment and work. So insightful and knowledgable content is there in your every article.

      • Abitha Deepak profile image

        Abitha 

        5 months ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu

        Natasha,

        True that. It can be reassuring to the patient when the doctor is friendly, approachable, and has a comforting touch.

      • Natasha Tungare profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha Tungare 

        5 months ago from India

        Thank you so much everyone for your feedback!! Healing touch just works like a miracle! I loved the way you all could find it relatable

      • Surya Sashank Rasinkar profile image

        Surya Sashank Rasinkar 

        5 months ago

        Imbibing hope is important . got to know that through this article again.very nicely written

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        I really do not know how this works, it just does.

      • Prantika Samanta profile image

        Prantika Samanta 

        5 months ago from Kolkata, India

        A wonderful article that talks about healing, which is an important topic. Human touch is essential to heal else AI would have replaced it long ago. A touch conveys assurance and friendly gestures give us a sense of belongingness. But intention of the touch has to be right or it may signal wrong things that would have a negative impact. Rightly said trust is important between a health care professional and a patient. It helps in fast healing. Thank you for sharing a great article, which helps the people who are going through a lot. Opening up is always not easy, the difficulty level increases if there is no trust.

      • hmkrishna profile image

        Halemane Muralikrishna 

        5 months ago from South India

        Hi Ms Natasha, Very good positive thinking approaches help people to achieve success, even though they are a bit average. Likewise, a good doctor by touch and by building confidence cures the illness quickly. This is where self-medication brings negativity and lack of healing. Build a positive environment through your articles. Best wishes.

      • Suchismita pradhan profile image

        Suchismita Pradhan 

        5 months ago from India

        I can totally relate your words,its true...a touch speaks a thousand words and even can heal your soul.

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