January 14, 2012
The Rituals of Healing
Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, the director of Harvard's Program in Placebo Studies and Therapeutic Encounters, was recently interviewed in the New Yorker magazine about his quest to understand the placebo effect and how it influences quantifiable measures of health. Could our belief about whether a treatment is effective or our level of trust in routine rituals of healthcare, such as placing a stethoscope on the chest, physiologically change our ability to heal?
Dr. Abraham Verghese, author and physician, ponders whether we, as a society, are in danger of losing the art of medicine as we have increased access to technology to support the science of medicine. In his recent TED talk, Dr. Verghese argues that while it is important to have modern tools of medicine, which are enabled by science and technology, the art of medicine is essential as well. For it is the art of medicine that allows for the human connection between patient and healer to emerge and the rituals of healing to be sustained.
What are your thoughts?