Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Healing: The importance of the patient's sense of time

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Perceived time has a significant impact on the actual time needed to heal, as patients feel that more time has passed since the wound formed, and therefore heal better and faster.

Perceived time has a real impact on actual healing time

the study Emphasizes a broader psychological impact than previously thought on physical health, healing and scarring. The experiment actually consisted of volunteer participants sustaining minor injuries, and their perceived time in the laboratory was manipulated, with each study participant being “immersed” in one of three experimental contexts:

  • Slow time (0.5x real time),
  • Normal time (1x real time),
  • And fast time (2x real time).

The actual elapsed time was of course the same in all three cases. Experience reveals that:

  • Wounds healed faster when participants believed more time had passed (fast time);
  • Wounds heal less quickly when participants believe that less time has passed (slow time).

Research continues to better understand the underlying mechanisms and implications of these findings. However, the study does provide an illustration of the role of mind-body symbiosis in physical health and healing. To date, psychological influences on physical health have been primarily analyzed in terms of emotions (such as stress, which can promote inflammation) and beliefs (which can promote a healthy lifestyle).

This research suggests for the first time that abstract beliefs, impressions, or sensations about how our bodies work also directly shape physical health.

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