The Connection Between Positive Thinking And Healing In Physiotherapy

When it comes to physiotherapy, and many other treatments, there might be a connection between positive thinking and healing. Here's what we know so far

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August 8, 2019
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Physiotherapy is a vital type of treatment for longterm pain. Many people take physiotherapy sessions in old age. Others need these sessions to recover from accidents. We all know how physiotherapy is designed to improve the body physically, but how can positive self-thinking have an impact on treatment? Are positive thinking and healing intertwined at all?

Does Positive Self Thinking Matter?

You may be wondering if there’s any evidence that positive self-thinking matters. This has been studied in the past. One study from the UK took 1,000 patients, in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire and the University of East Anglia, and measured the impact of self-belief. The results were stunning. It was concluded that there was a connection between patient recovery and level of self-belief. Patients who had a higher self-belief that they could achieve their recovery goals and regain a full range of motion were more likely to go on and do it. Of course, this is just one study and more research needs to be performed, but it demonstrates that the connection is there.

Why is There a Connection?

For now, we have no conclusion as to why self-efficacy leads to better recovery. We only have theories. So, it’s necessary to attempt to examine the connection using current knowledge to determine why self-belief could help. We know that in cancer patients a lack of mental health can kill them. One study even found that there’s a 19% higher mortality rate in depressed patients. The reason for this is simple. People with no self-belief and people who are suffering from mental health issues are not going to take their treatment seriously. If you don’t take physiotherapy seriously, less likely to put effort into it. So, you’re not going to get the benefits.

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Depression and Anxiety Changes the Chemical State of the Brain

Few people have examined the changes in the brain when it comes to a lack of positive self-thinking. However, if we cross over to other areas of treatment, we can see that there’s evidence to show that mental health issues do change the chemical makeup of the mind. For example, studies have shown that depressed patients don’t react in the same way to chemotherapy because there are more of certain proteins in the brain. They make them less able to withstand treatment. Although physiotherapy is very different, we shouldn’t discount the idea that increased dopamine levels will have an impact on the effectiveness of treatment.

Mental Health Should Be Treated Like a Symptom

According to the physiotherapists at White Pine Health & Wellness Centre, An increasing number of doctors are advising that anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are treated like a symptom of the problem. A former sportsman who’s suffering from chronic shoulder pain might be depressed about it. But if nobody is taking care of his mental health, physiotherapy can only have a limited effect. It’s important to consider mental health when undergoing physiotherapy so they can believe in the treatment and focus on getting better.

What’s the Next Step for Physiotherapists?

Physiotherapists need to become better at explaining what they do and why their treatment will provide benefits to patients. Early research is firm in the idea that positive self-thinking will have a direct effect on the effectiveness of any treatment. And physiotherapists need to take that into account to provide a more holistic approach to treating pain.

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Final Thoughts: More Research Is Needed

It does need to be mentioned that more research is needed in order to measure the exact influence of positive self-thinking. Current studies have barely scratched the surface of this subject and more is needed. Do you think that positive self-thinking has a major effect on physiotherapy treatment outcomes?