(Foreword: This is our continuation to our reply to Greta the Great's query on crystals and other alternative healing methods today)
DEAR Greta, the Great,
We're almost at the final stretch now. We were talking about the placebo effect last time. This placebo effect works much better when patients get into health care professionals who are caring and compassionate to their concerns. These attributes are usually seen in alternative medicine practitioners compared to those who are into western medicine, who are usually distant and detached from their emotions in dealing with their patients. Well, I can't blame this kind of relationship with those in the western medicine. I remember when I was still a medical intern, we are told by our consultants, not to be attached emotionally with our patients, so, we can only focus with our treatment, with a clear mind and not bugged by emotions. This is the reason why, when our parents, children, or very close relative is sick, we usually give them to our colleague, because we don't want emotions to blur our thoughts.
There was one study on 262 irritable bowel syndrome patients, which found out that 61% of those who got placebo acupuncture coupled with a patient-practitioner relationship that is compounded with warmth, attention, and confidence for 6 weeks had significant symptom relief. What is interesting with that study is that the magnitude of effect was much better than the best drug that you can find in the market for irritable bowel syndrome. And here's the real treat: the acupuncture is even sham. The moral of the story for health care professionals is: be warm to your patient and treat them well, your patients will believe that you are the only ones who can make them well, and not anyone else.
I remember when I was sick, when I was about 10-12 years old, there was only one physician in the whole wide world I believe can cure me. It was because my mother had been bringing me to other doctors before and even specialists in their fields, but I cannot see any relief. In the end, I will tell my mother to bring me back to the doctor who can only heal me. That doctor was not even a specialist. But, I can always remember his wife who would give me that warm care and has been exuding with compassion. But, here's the best part, I have always believed way back then, that the wife was the doctor, it was only when much later that I knew that she was a nurse. Oh, lala.. But, what is important is, I got cured.
But, oh, here we go again, we are out of space again, so, let me then again, continue this in my next issue. Until then!
(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, "Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz." She is also a faculty in a College of Pharmacy. For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o SunStar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, (former Department of Foreign Affairs office), across Ateneo de Davao University and beside Holy Child School of Davao, or you e-mail them to email@example.com. If you don't wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)