Does telling patients they'll feel better work?

Small US study shows a few words of reassurance helps relieve patients' symptoms

Ever wondered if your kind, reassuring words to patients make any difference to their health?

Well, new GP research shows they do — even if it's just one sentence.

The study — which aims to show the value of consults where the doctor’s role is simply to assure patients they will soon feel better — has found that even a few kind words can relieve symptoms.

The small US randomised controlled trial investigated patient outcomes in 76 participants after they received a histamine skin prick to the forearm to trigger a short allergic reaction.

The patients were split into two groups. 

To the first, the doctor offered some encouraging words after the skin prick, saying: “From this point forward, your allergic reaction will start to diminish, and your rash and irritation will