You likely know that social interaction is good for us. I speak about it quite extensively in my “Healthy Holidays” talk which is now available on the Una Vita YouTube Channel. Before I delve into recent studies about the emotional and physical stress associated with a lack of social interaction, I want to share my personal perspective on recent events in my office.
Due to the wearing of masks, I had the hopefully unique experience of not seeing my patients’ faces for two years. When the masks finally came off I began to truly appreciate the value of being able to fully see the facial expression of people I am taking care of. Think about it for a second. There were hundreds of people who came in for two years, whom I had never seen their face.
Perhaps when prescribing a pill, a facial expression isn’t essential. Taking a pill requires no social interaction. Alternatively, when a chiropractor is working on somebody’s body, first hand, real time, constantly receiving feedback, intuitively adapting to their every movement, all feedback is precious. This includes facial expressions.
In the summer of 2020 I started delivering video reports to my patients. I now do video reports, not to “reduce the spread” but because people love the reports so much. It is a valuable reference for you and great to show your family.
Videos are no replacement for face-to-face communication. The most common reaction I had after taking the mask and seeing my face for the first time in person was “you are smiling!” With masks on, it may be easy to forget that getting your spine checked and healing is a happy event.
Isolation can result in significant stress and health problems. A recent article entitled “Effects of objective and Perceived Social Isolation on Cardiovascular and Brain Health: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association,” stated that social isolation and loneliness is associated with diseases including:
According to an article in Medical News Today on May 26th, 2022, People growing up with a large family (more than three members) during their first year of life are less likely to get Crohn’s disease. Interestingly, dogs may even have a benefit. Growing up with a dog may also protect against Crohn’s disease.
There are several possible explanations for reduced health under circumstances of isolation. For some, the ability to communicate with others is essential in order to process the most basic thoughts. For all of us, a structure of family and friends is vital to support us in cases where there is an emergency, a fall or even if we just need help getting up the stairs.
Social interaction is a vital part of our overall health. Chiropractors are always concerned with the three sources of stress (physical, emotional and chemical) that change the function of the nervous system and damage the body. What are you doing to optimize your relationships and have great social health? Let me know at your next visit.