So far in this short series on the biomedical model, I have looked at three of its founding principles: specific aetiology, germ theory, and Cartesian Dualism. In this post we’ll examine one of the facets of modern medicine that is perhaps the most familiar and tangible concept for modern-day physiotherapists – objectivity and experimentation. In the previous post on Cartesian Dualism, I explored how the French 16th century philosopher René Descartes argued that there was no way to prove the existence of anything, because our dreams were so real we could never prove that we were not dreaming right now. What Descartes showed was that we could not trust our senses and that seeing … [Read more...] about What is the biomedical model #4
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running a series of blog posts on the biomedical model. Biomedicine is, without doubt, one of the most powerful discourse affecting the way physiotherapists think and practice, but it is also rarely explained or explored. So over the next few blog posts I’ll be unpacking its essential features. The first two posts in the series focused on specific aetiology and germ theory. In this post, we’re going to tackle Cartesian Dualism. Cartesian Dualism gets it’s name from the work of the French skeptical philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) who, perhaps more than anyone, captured the zeitgeist of the Renaissance by defining a distinction between the mind … [Read more...] about What is the biomedical model #3
A lot is said about physiotherapy being biomedical and following 'the biomedical model', but what exactly is this, how and why does it underpin physiotherapy? Over the next few blog posts, I'll try to explain the idea of the biomedical model in a bit more detail and show why and how it has influenced physiotherapy. I'm going to tackle 7 key aspects of the model. There are more, of course, but these are considered by most people to be the main ones. Specific aetiology Germ theory Cartesian dualism Objectivity and experimentation Reductionism Normalisation Body-as-machine Understanding something about these will give you a stronger sense of why they're so … [Read more...] about What is the biomedical model #1?
Not so long ago, physiotherapists had a very close, perhaps paternalistic, relationship with the medical profession. But it seems now that our quest for professional autonomy is pushing us further away from physicians and surgeons. There are few in the profession, I think, that would dispute the obvious benefits of greater independence for physiotherapists, but this is a critical ideas blog, so I'm going to do just that. Physiotherapy has, for much of its history, been wedded to medicine. Indeed, the modern physiotherapy profession only survived and later prospered because its founders made subservience to medicine a condition of entry. Memberhip of the Society of Trained Masseuses … [Read more...] about Doctor knows best
When physiotherapists refer to the body, they're often referring to the body that's defined by biomedicine: organised into systems; physical; patho-anatomical; cellular; the place where injury and illness can be located; biological. But this only accounts for a small group of 'bodies' that we encounter in practice every day. A recent conference announcement highlighted some of the bodies that Victorians were interested in, and many of these still interest physiotherapists: busy bodies body markings disabled bodies prosthetics bodies behaving badly the body as spectacle fragmented bodies queer bodies raced bodies disciplined bodies animal bodies … [Read more...] about There was always more than one body in physiotherapy
This post comes from CPN member Carley King. Carley is a physiotherapist who has developed an interest in evidence based medicine during her Masters in Clinical Research. Here Carley reports on the recent debate on the value of Evidence based medicine at the CSP Congress. Spoiler alert: I’m not sure that evidence-based medicine (EBM) as we understand it at the moment is fit for purpose. That’s my bias out in the open! But on hearing this opening line, I couldn't help but allow a small part of me to wonder if it was ridiculous to even consider an alternative...a very clever debating ploy there! As the debate progressed, it became clear to me that there were some key issues … [Read more...] about Evidence based medicine: why are we even debating it?
For a lot of its advocates, and there are many, pain has become a touchstone for new kind of physiotherapy practice: a more holistic, complex and person-centred practice that is more in tune with the modern face of healthcare; a healthcare where people want more from their health professional than 15 minutes of interferential and a quick manipulation. Some of the pain specialists in our profession are treated like rock stars and their presentations are guaranteed to fill out venues whenever they speak. People like Lorimer Moseley and David Butler have built their careers on bridging the divide between science and practice, the profession and public, and finding ways to make pain … [Read more...] about Pain or suffering?