Drawing a long bow, I know, but with a few minor amendments, Loïc Wacquant could actually be talking about physiotherapy...or medicine...or any of the other health professions that adhere to the medical model: '...the [physiotherapy] merry-go-round is to [health] what pornography is to amorous relations: a mirror deforming reality to the point of the grotesque that artificially extracts [deviant movement] from the fabric of social relations in which they take root and make sense, deliberately ignores their causes and their meanings, and reduces their treatment to a series of conspicuous position takings, often acrobatic, sometimes properly unreal, pertaining to the cult of ideal … [Read more...] about Health as pornography
I start a week of teaching on the social determinants of health on Monday with our 1st year physiotherapy students. It's part of a course/module we run at AUT called 'Physiotherapy and Health Priorities' and it looks at applying public health principles to our practice. Social determinants aren't something that physios have spent a lot of time studying in the past, and it's a bit alarming to see how little research is out there that points to a role for the profession. We're not even driving the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff on this issue: we're the people who pick up the patients who have left the ambulance after its already crashed. Clearly this is not a wise or enviable … [Read more...] about Social determinants of health and physiotherapy
Because physiotherapy is so grounded in the biomedical sciences, most undergraduate students (and a fair few postgrads) tend to think that critical thinking is about the ability to analyze a research paper. At best this can result in a deep appreciation for the evidence that presently exists for a phenomenon, at worst the students follow a formulaic process to arrive at a score that is as predictable as it is banal. There is, however, another side to critical theory - a world of research and scholarship that these students are rarely, if ever, exposed to - the kinds of thinking that is commonplace in the arts, humanities, philosophy and sociology. I spend quite a lot of time in this … [Read more...] about Being really critical about thinking
The BBC has recently compiled a series of amazing documentaries which show what life was like for ordinary people in Northern England in the first years of the 1900s. The documentaries (click here to view on YouTube) derive from the work of pioneering film makers Sagar Michell and James Kenyon (more about them here), and have been restored to their former glory by the National Film Archive in the UK having been lost for many years. Documentary film of ordinary people's lives is commonplace now, but in 1900 - only five years after the invention of the film camera - people were still experimenting with its possibilities. There are many things that can be said about this film series, … [Read more...] about Movement/life in early 20th century England
As a follow up to the piece I wrote earlier this week, this article in Vox this week is interesting. … [Read more...] about Sitting is the new smoking…really, again!
Sitting, we are told, is the new smoking (see, for example recent articles in Runner's World, Wired, LA Times.) Apparently, 'Sitting for hours on end, every day, is bad for your health. Sitting at work is bad for you. Sitting after work is bad for you. Sitting is the new smoking, except that the furniture lobby probably isn't as powerful as the tobacco one' link. Now while I don't for one moment decry the volumes of research that are supporting this recent phenomenon, my question is why now? Why has prolonged sitting become what Gilson, Straker and Parry recently described as 'a contemporary and highly topical area of study within public health research'? It's not like people … [Read more...] about Sitting is the new smoking…really?
Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) released its 2013 Disability Survey yesterday - the first report of its kind since 2001 - and it says some interesting things about disability in New Zealand. The study's main findings indicate that: 24% of New Zealanders self identified as disabled - which equates to 1,062,000 individual people The 3% increase in self-reported disability since 2001 can be partly explained by our ageing population 59% of people aged 65 or over were disabled 11% of children were identified as disabled by their parents Māori and Pacific people were over-represented in the data For adults, physical limitations - note, not 'disability' - were the most common type of … [Read more...] about 76% of New Zealanders are not disabled!