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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Can Compassion Heal Your Feet?

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Those of us who work in the health care profession and study medicine have long believed in the value of a kind, compassionate bedside manner. But now, this belief isn’t just a nice notion - it’s sound science!

CompassionAt first glance, there seems to be nothing new about valuing compassion. It’s something, after all, that has been around for thousands of years in both the religious and secular worlds. Perhaps it is the universality of compassion that has lulled us into underestimating its importance. Compassion is a treasure hidden in plain sight, one we often don’t notice.

This simple kindness comes from being moved by another person's suffering. It's a natural instinct, and one researchers have observed in children as young as one-year-old

Of course, everyone says compassion is important. But when serious illness strikes, compassion is often regarded as less important than physical interventions (such as drugs and surgical procedures). However, recent evidence suggests that compassion and empathy are correlated with positive health outcomes. We are learning that they should not be regarded as optional in medical care, but as fundamental factors that promote recovery from any illness – including the foot and ankle conditions we treat for our patients.

Lately, scientists have become fascinated by the inborn human ability to feel for one another. This has led to studies and research showing that—no matter if you’re on the giving or receiving end—compassion can deliver measurable, profound effects – including reduced depression, stress, and even faster postsurgical healing. As a result, there is now a growing body of research to explore and understand how and why we care, and what kinds of benefits are derived from doing so.

Brain scans of people in the act of giving have shown that generous deeds activate the same reward centers in the brain that pleasurable experiences do. When these areas are stimulated, dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters are released, resulting in feelings that can range from contentment to euphoria.

Scientific literature shows that when patients are treated with kindness—when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them, and respond to their needs—it can lead to the following outcomes:

  • Faster wound healing

  • Reduced pain

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Shorter hospital stays

In addition to receiving compassion, there’s powerful evidence showing that giving compassion is also good for your health. With that in mind, you may want to consider looking to your neighborhood school, church, or other community organizations and find out how you can help. This might be a matter of volunteering some time, donating resources, or even making a simple financial contribution. (Seriously, you do not have to give a lot of money to a charitable cause in order to experience benefits from giving!)

Find out what kind of difference compassionate foot care can make for yourself – come see us here at Patel Podiatry! Call (203) 876-7736 if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with either our Hamden or Milford offices.

Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
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Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.
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