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?
I did some research into the writings of Hanne Blank, the author of 'Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Sexuality,' see this brief interview with Thomas Rogers at Salon. I realised that there are some surprising and interesting links between Hanne's work and the history of physiotherapy. Firstly, Blank reminds us that heterosexuality was a social construct invented to normalise sexuality at a time when late-Victorian anxieties imposed some now taken-for-granted, but no less draconian notions of 'normal' sexuality. This was exactly the time when physiotherapy as a profession was being formalised. Normative values around (hetero)sexuality were pivotal to the founders of … [Read more...] about Blank H (2012) The surprisingly short history of heterosexuality. Beacon Press
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!
I know that physios often complain that the public doesn't know what we do and that we've often used this lack of understanding as an explanation for the chronic underfunding of the profession and our lack of political clout, but I've often wondered whether our relative invisibility doesn't also, sometimes, have its advantages. Take the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's latest 'Occupational Outlook for 2014' The new tool is targeted at people looking for career advice and includes a funky new infographic-inspired way of profiling the profession's current income, costs/fees required to become qualified, and job prospects. There are Apps for your smartphone and … [Read more...] about Occupational outlook for physiotherapy
There has been a lot of interest in the problems of anxiety in the media recently. About a month ago, Scott Stossel - editor of the high profile Atlantic Magazine - appeared on the Kim Hill Saturday morning radio show here in New Zealand having written a very moving account of his lifelong battle with crippling anxiety. Scott is a very successful editor and well known personality, so it came as a shock to many people that he had suffered so long (and seemingly managed) with this condition. (You can hear the full interview with Kim Hill here). More recently, Australian writer, singer and broadcaster Sian Prior spoke candidly about her own battle with anxiety. A few days ago, the … [Read more...] about Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom
I was really moved by this piece by Harry Smith in The Guardian on Wednesday. It described perfectly the sadness I'm sure a lot of British people feel with the slow decline of the NHS and the cynical way governments - of the left and the right - have used the rhetoric of neoliberalism to dismantle this once proud institution. I can remember the stories my parents told me about the hardships they had suffered and the huge impact social welfare had in their lives. My grandfather was a coal miner in the English midlands and his family were so poor that my great grandmother would rattle plates around on Sundays so that the neighbours thought they were eating Sunday dinner. Like Harry Smith's … [Read more...] about Eulogy to the NHS
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the way we may be able to transform ourselves as humans in the not-too-distant future. The trans-humanism movement is gaining momentum, with some people writing about a future where people will be able to take a pill to make themselves vastly more intelligent, or unlock the possibility of unlimited memory. Others are talking about never again growing old and using robotics and prosthetics to vastly enhance our physical capabilities. In the latter case proponents ask why should we restrict ourselves to adaptive devices only when we become ill? And then why should those adaptive devices only seek to mimic so called ’normal’ activity? What if, … [Read more...] about A pill to make you a better physio