Sat May 13, 2017 01:38PM
An expert suggests paying more attention to patients’ bodily experiences in diagnosis of disease.
An expert suggests paying more attention to patients’ bodily experiences in diagnosis of disease.

UK pain specialist Chris Eccleston has underscored ten physical attributes that he says are being neglected in the diagnosis of disease by traditional doctors.

Speaking at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anesthetists’ (ANZCA) annual scientific meeting in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, Professor Eccleston said the traditional focus of doctors is on the five main senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

The ten senses emphasized by the professor, who is the director of the British Center for Pain Research at the University of Bath, include balance, motion, pressure, itch, pain, fatigue, breathing, temperature, appetite and expulsion.  

The professor, who is also a member of the Marie Curie Scientific Research Committee, claims the traditional focus on the five main senses and the overall negligence towards the ten other senses has impaired doctors’ accurate diagnostic identification and understanding of a disease or disorder.

This file image shows a patient about to receive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of internal body organs in order to help doctors in their diagnosis. (Photo by AFP)

"It's a gap in our education. We know a lot about vision, we know a lot about audition, we know a lot about touch but when it comes to the fact that we are embodied we know next to nothing about it," the professor said.

Understanding the 'psychology of body'

He compared human bodies to a “taxi” used to carry the mind, emphasizing the healthy mind, healthy body connection as the key to a much happier life.

"When you think about bodies at all, we think about them as a taxi for the mind," he said.

He argues that the ten extra senses, as key body experiences, are just as significant for effective patient treatment in modern healthcare as the five traditional senses.

"Perhaps we have focused too much on the mind and now we need to start recognizing the psychology of physical experience,’ he said.

Doctors and health professionals could give their patients' improved and better physical experience by focusing on the other ten human senses which have huge impact on both our mind and body, according to the British pain specialist at the ANZCA annual scientific meeting.

In 2016, Professor Eccleston published his psychology of physical sensations, called “embodied” which sets an agenda for a comprehensive psychology of the body.