An often overlooked aspect in the healing of body, mind and soul is quite simply human to human interaction.

Loneliness clearly leads to impairment of all aspects of who we are.  Failure to pick up and nurture new born mammals of all kinds, including us, leads to impaired physical and emotional growth.  It is a sad consequence of war, abuse, neglect and families that adopt children whose early days and months of life were devoid of appropriate human contact are faced with severely dysfunctional children. We just don't develop normally without the human element of touch.

It fascinates me, as well, to realize that the harshest punishment that prisons can impose on their inmates is –solitary confinement.  Who would suppose that the most hardened of criminals, those with clearly deviant interpersonal skills would fear isolation more than anything else.  But perhaps not so surprising since most were deprived of the human element in their formative years.

This truth is demonstrated to me in over 30 years of the clinical practice of medicine. I hear personal stories of loneliness, of separation.  Without verbalizing it I know that they  feel  unable or unworthy of connecting with other human beings.

I have seen this in patients of all ages–young, isolated, feeling unloved and unlovable.  The elderly, many having lost spouses, their children not living nearby or emotionally distant from them.

Clearly their impaired physical state is directly related to their emotional isolation.

Therefore, I often prescribe the human element to them.  Reach out to others, join groups–religious, social, nondenominational. Take classes at local schools. Call old friends.  It doesn't really matter who or what group they join.

It makes a huge difference.  I have seen the results.  Physical improvement correlates with emotional and spiritual healing. 

It is all connected.



  1. Do you see this manifest in certain types of GI complaints more than others? Has the human touch benefited those same patients more than others?
    Thank you

  2. Hi Ted
    I can only speak from my clincial experience in dealing with GI patients and clearly the answer is yes. The mind/body element in IBS in particular is clearly enormous and I have found that directing patients towards more such support is clinically helpful to them.

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