We could do better. We meaning all of the therapists trying to help our patients. The world of hands-on care is very subjective, and we are the seven blind men searching for the elephant. We tend to see and touch through our own limited training and our current passions. I would like us to have a bigger view and see the patterns more clearly. I would like us to engage our patients and teach each of them what they can do to help themselves. When you do a soft tissue technique, how do you get the patient to move through that area with more harmony, taking advantage of the new space you have created? That can mean stretches, toning, or an increased awareness of posture and movement. When you mobilize a stuck area, do you teach the patient how to self-mobilize that area? When you teach a functional core exercise, do you examine the area to both determine what exercises are needed and to assess what mobilization or soft tissue work would enhance the function of that area?
We all tend to live in our own little world. Expand your toolbox. He who treats with the most tools and the most integrated toolbox wins. Winning means you, the therapist, are fully engaged, and that means the patient has the best odds of getting better.
I have been in the musculoskeletal hands-on care world for 37 years, the first 6 as a massage therapist, the last 31 as a chiropractor. I have published about 100 articles in Dynamic Chiropractic, a chiropractic trade journal. I write about low force mobilization, rehabilitation, and soft tissue techniques. One of my main passions is to train and teach other therapists to be better at their art.