How does it make you feel when a doctor shakes you by the hand, or takes your hand when perhaps discussing/relating something of importance? Do you think doctors resist such contact these days? And what is the message behind such a demonstration? My former ME Specialist Professor Tony Pinching happened to feature on a BBC Radio 4 programme yesterday morning, that was talking about hand-holding and what it might mean: OK. It's a bit 'happy-clappy' for me in places but in relation to medical professionals and taking a patient's hand - as a matter of routine or one of especial significance - it made me think. I sometimes go out of my way to shake a doctor by the hand. On occasion they look 'odd' when I do. Throughout most of my life I can honestly say that of all the doctors I have seen, very few have offered me their hand. I think it should happen more often. I don't know why they don't practice this simple act. It establishes something - although I don't know what exactly; but because it doesn't happen often (and I was used to it in business) I think it takes something away from the relationship. This was brought home to me last Friday when I met with a neurologist I hadn't met before. He was from another country and that might have made a difference perhaps, but his taking my hand before and after our meeting, certainly did make a difference. Hard to quantify what that difference was though - sincerity? acknowledgement? endorsement? - it certainly wasn't a feeling of routine; but I'd hate to think that doctors in general only made the effort when imparting 'bad news' as with terminal patients. How would you feel if a doctor was to shake you by the hand? Shocked? Alarmed? Scared? I think I shall offer my hand to my non-hand-shaking GP when next I visit with him. See what he makes of it and report back. Will also see if he washes his hands afterwards - MRSA and all that!