insights

Empathy and Mindfulness Research With David Rakel, MD

In addition to being a sought-after educator and lecturer, David Rakel, MD, has conducted research into the effects of mindfulness and empathy in medicine. Some of his findings include the following:

  • Empathetic clinicians can reduce the duration of the common cold.1
  • Mindfulness interventions may reduce burnout for healthcare providers.2
  • Meditation and exercise can reduce acute respiratory infection rates.3

In the video below, Dr. Rakel discusses how he has changed his approach toward the treatment of depression over the course of his career.

Dr. Rakel is professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, as well as editor of several textbooks and editor-in-chief of Practiceupdate.com.

Key Points:

  • How fluoxetine was once his favorite prescription
  • Prescription vs. placebo
  • How to improve efficacy and shorten duration of anti-depressants

References

  1. Rakel D, Barrett B, Zhang Z, et al. Perception of empathy in the therapeutic encounter: effects on the common cold. Patient Educ Couns. 2011;85(3):390-397. doi:1016/j.pec.2011.01.009
  2. Fortney L, Luchterhand C, Zakletskaia L, Zgierska A, Rakel D. Abbreviated mindfulness intervention for job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in primary care clinicians: a pilot study. Ann Fam Med. 2013;11(5):412-420. doi:1370/afm.1511
  3. Barrett B, Hayney MS, Muller D, et al. Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection (MEPARI-2): a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2018;13(6):e0197778. doi:1371/journal.pone.0197778

Related Insights

Insights
Group 2

Understanding the Psychoemotional Roots of Immune Disease

For centuries, people have contemplated the connection between the mind and body; the interplay is deep-rooted and complex, calling into question whether different mental states can positively or negatively affect biological functioning. What stress-reducing interventions may positively affect the immune system and potentially prevent immune imbalance?

Read More
Insights
Group 2

Video: My Approach to Fibroids

Joel Evans, MD, shares the lifestyle interventions he finds most successful for treating women with fibroids.

Read More
Insights
Group 2

Sleep Dysfunction & the Importance of Relaxation

Sleep can be an emotional topic for many patients. Balancing a life full of work and family dynamics with healthy eating, exercise, and self-care is challenging enough for many, without the added effort of good sleep hygiene. As a Functional Medicine clinician, how do you talk to your patients about sleep and give them tools to improve this important lifestyle factor?

Read More