People often use the phrase “I feel you pain” when trying to comfort somebody, but usually it has a figurative meaning. That’s not the case with Joel Salinas, a doctor suffering from a rare condition called mirror-touch synesthesia which actually allows him to feel the physical pain of his patients.
Salinas, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that he has had the condition since childhood. Whenever he would observe other people hugging, for instance, he would feel hugged as well. And when he saw people get hit, he felt the discomfort too. “When I see people, I have the sensation of whatever touches their body on my own body, and it’s kind of reflected as a mirror,” he explained.