Chalk one up for humans. In the battle between man and machine, it appears that man has an advantage. When it comes to healing, there’s power in the human touch.

A study out of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago showed that when training stroke survivors to walk again, they did much better when trained by a physical therapist than they did being trained by a robot. That’s right–walking speed doubled in patients who were assisted by humans compared to those who were assisted by a robotic device. Additionally, the time that patients were able to stand on one leg–a measure of progress–improved significantly only in the group treated by the physical therapist.

This is no surprise to me as I see the miraculous improvements every day in patients I treat with chiropractic care–the ultimate hands-on therapy. I see it in patients who’ve been on short and long-term drug therapy, as well as many who have already gone through surgeries. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes those treatments are valuable and necessary, but overall, there really is no substitute for the human touch.

And it’s not just seen with hands-on therapy, either; simply interacting with patients has healing benefits, as well. It’s one reason that chiropractic patients report better overall satisfaction rates than with the standard five-minute doctor-patient interactions found in most busy doctors offices (check this one out too)–something that medical clinics should be paying attention to.

This phenomenon may be due to psychological factors or there may actually be energetic exchanges that occur between living organic beings. I touch upon these ideas in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, I highly recommend it. We are uncovering a lot with regard to human health and healing, and we are finding that many of our old and outmoded ways are just not cutting the mustard any more.

So chalk one up for the humans. At least for now it seems that, when it comes to healing, you just can’t beat the human touch.

One Response to Man Beats Machine

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m writing this as an encouragement hopefully to chiropractors although it may sound like a criticism as well.

    First, let me say I LOVE chiropractic. I have gotten so much better in ways I don’t believe would be possible without it. Outside of self-help, I have such confidence in my chiropractor and his staff to take care of all my needs for health and pain IF only they had more time per patient and made the extra effort. I believe they have all the expertise and services available they need to help me. On the one hand I have full confidence in their ability to help me with nutrition/supplement advice, exercise advice, stretching, muscle, structural issues, etc, without having to go anywhere else.

    When it comes to hands-on/healing affects, my chiropractor is over the top in his compassionate, caring demeanor. He’s got to possess one of THE best, caring demeanor’s out there unseen in so many health-related offices today. Before I even knew I would be his patient, I said to myself just observing him, “now there’s a guy who really cares about his patients”. His demeanor and mannerisms portray caring without him saying a word so much so that it has inspired me to emulate that with others above all else be that kind of person – to be able to come across as caring, compassionate to those around me just by my demeanor without even having to say a word. In fact, I could see my chiropractor and we not even talk to each other and feel he’s said everything without even having to say anything.

    The biggest frustration, however, for me is that his office (a team of chiropractors) does pretty much “crank” patients in and out allowing about 10 minutes per patient for adjustments. The chiros and staff are usually as nice as can be but this gets cut into a little the busier they are. When my chiro has been in rush mode, even I’m sure he never intended to make me feel but I have felt more rushed in and out and touched more “roughly” in those times when that’s not him at all. Even if they are truly nice, they just don’t spend enough time per patient. I really believe spending time per patient in and of itself is a big help to healing.

    For my chiropractor, being a “good” chiro I feel comes at a cost to him and his patients. He seems to have gotten busier which seems to bring on more stress and making me feel more rushed. All the qualities I wrote above he still possesses but I see them less and less. Very sad for patients to not see his true compassionate qualities and him having to ditch showing those as much all in the name of such time limits per patient. That is not to mention all the services and expertise they possess I’m positive could help me if they had the time to invest in me and implement the help and services they have at they’re disposal. I’ve had to find help outside their office with massage and acupuncture when I firmly believe my chiro could do this given the time (not to mention much of it being covered by insurance as well). I would even pay more for more time spent with me. It makes me wonder also if they’re hands are tied spending more time due to what insurance will allow?

    It’s so frustrating to me because I love my chiro to pieces and have full confidence in what they could do for me but have felt like trying another chiro that may spend more time per patient.

    Yes, with supposed diagnosed fibro, tmj-type issues, or at least similar symptoms that I’ve seen and tried lots of help, I fully agree with your article. The hands on, touch, healing-touch, as well as amount of time spent with a patient is huge!!! and should be considered way more and not let slide in the health care realm overall.

    Kim W

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