Wednesday, March 09, 2011

3 therapies every doctor should prescribe !

Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-RaziDoctors come in all shapes and sizes . This is just as well, as patients come in different flavours as well, and in the best of all worlds, each patient will find the doctor with whom they can work best with.

This is why doctors prescribe all kinds of therapy - medicines; injections; vaccines; acupuncture; supplements; diets; and surgery. However, there are 3 kinds of therapy which all doctors should prescribe routinely, which they often forget to do !

1. Information Therapy. This should be number one ! The word doctor is derived from the word " docere" - which means to teach. Educating patients is critically important, both for the doctor and the patient, so that they both have realistic expectations of what each expects; and what the likely outcome is going to be. There are many tools available for educating patients - and this can be done online; before , during and after the visit; and by assistants as well.

2. Humour Therapy. Humour is one of the most effective coping mechanisms available and a regular dose can help all of us - patients, as well as doctors ! Good doctors try to make the patient feel comfortable and at ease and humour can be a very useful tool in doing so. It's a good idea to prescribe Laughter Therapy ! For example, I tell all my infertile couples to watch the movie, Maybe Baby. This is not an educational film - it's a romantic comedy about an infertile couple trying to have a baby. It stars Mr Bean - and most patients find watching the movie helps them cope better with their infertility !

3. Biblio Therapy. Many patients - especially those with chronic illnesses - feel cut off and isolated from the rest of the world. It's hard for them to find someone who understands what they are going through - and this adds to their unhappiness and stress. Reading books about other patients who have dealt with a similar problem can be very powerful medicine ! It helps them to realise that others have "been there and done that" - and this can inspire them to fight back !

These are common sense measures, so why does a doctor have to "prescribe " these ? For one, when a doctor advises a patient to do something, he is much more likely to do it. Even more importantly, it helps the patient to realise that the doctor is an empathetic human being, who has his best interests at heart - he's not just a technician. And finally, prescribing these will help the doctor to become a better doctor , as he learns to see things from his patient's point of view - and become a better human being !

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