Empathy and speaking therapies are recognised in uncountable scientific researches as beneficial to our health. The immediate experience you can have of a sense of wellbeing and stress relief, also are proved to have a long term effect either preventative against illness later in life or to slowly start to reverse the illness that has been developed.
Long term stress and depression for example can not only lead to diseases, their treatment can also reverse the disease back to health. Dr. Dean Ornis from the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI) in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco and other leading academic institutions, has led researches the last 35 years into heart diseases and treatment through life style changes. In this he includes empathy in speaking therapies as well as diets. On his website are many articles about these researches, among others how long term empathy and stress reduction through psychological therapy can have the same effect on the blood vessels around the heart as an operation. He describes it as the reverse heart disease method. More about his researches.
From another continent in 2009, in the university of Jerusalem, a remarkable research came out on how depression increases osteoporosis. (loss of bone mass and thereby the bones break more easily) Hormones, the messengers that tell our body how to behave, also tell our body how we should be constructed. In science hormones are often presented as "what is more or less in charge of us" although there are many researches that proves it is more often the other way around, how we feel, act, think influencing what hormones we produce. Feeling long term deeply unhappy, or having no feelings at all any more, what depression is often described as and the effect it can have to illness later in the biography are made visible. Depression can be a lack of "happy making hormones" which needs to be treated medically, in other cases it is a need to look at your life and lifestyle, to find out what is there at the heart of it all. And, find ways how you can create a way of living, a life that is more fulfilling, taking the real you seriously. It takes enormous courage to face things and even more to try to create a better future. But by taking ourselves seriously, we also take our life and our body so, we can increase a healthier and physically stronger body. There is no use for working yourself hard and continuously "cope" with depression or stress, so that one day we can have a well deserved old age, when by living such a life we undermine our long term health, and old age, really becomes an age where our body is quite worn out. More about this research.