Over the last few weeks, we've been running a series of posts on the biomedical model. This approach, perhaps more than any other, forms the solid foundations for a lot of physiotherapy theory and practice, so it makes sense to try to understand it better. Here are the links to all the respective posts that make up the complete set: What is the biomedical model #1 - introduction and specific aetiology#2 - germ theory#3 - Cartesian dualism#4 - experimentation#5 - reductionism#6 - normalisation#7 - body-as-machine Critique of the biomedical model #1 - mind-body dualism#2 - medical power#3 - what it means to be a person#4 - standard deviation#5 - (ab)normal … [Read more...] about The biomedical model – for better or worse
The last in the series looking at the biomedical model focuses on perhaps the most important aspect of the model for physiotherapists – the body-as-machine. If you’ve read anything in critical physiotherapy over the last decade, you will almost certainly have come across the idea of the body-as-machine. Dating back perhaps as far as René Descartes and the idea that the body could be understood as separate from the mind, the body-as-machine became a specially powerful metaphor for medicine after the Industrial Revolution. Machinery, it seemed, provided the perfect metaphor for how body should work, because if industrialists could organise the production of food, fabrics, … [Read more...] about What is the biomedical model #7
Our esteemed Roger Kerry (@RogerKerry1) asked a great question on Twitter last week. Is a detailed knowledge of anatomy (e.g. muscle structure/innervation; bone form; neural plexi structure; lung structure; etc) necessary to be a good clinician? (Here's a link to the full Twitter conversation). Interestingly, peoples' responses broadly polarised into two binary positions with roughly two-thirds of respondents arguing a qualified "yes", that anatomy was essential, with a third arguing "no". The posted comments also make for interesting reading. But it felt to me that one of the things missing from the debate was a discussion of what anatomy does for physiotherapy, beyond giving us a … [Read more...] about Anatomy and physiotherapy
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
Having talked with people about my last blog entry (Exercising our demons, 16th May 2010), one of the most interesting conversations centred around physiotherapy’s fascination with its heros; the ‘big names’ in the profession that are made famous by their inventions and innovations. The last blog entry touched on this only briefly, and only in the sense that I expressed my dislike for the naked evangelizing of some of the speakers at our conference. But there is a bigger point here that deserves consideration, because - as a couple of my colleagues pointed out - physiotherapy really does suffer, at times, from the cult of the hero. … [Read more...] about The cult of the hero
The vision for UK physiotherapy from csp.org.uk on Vimeo. The CSP has just released a new video titled The vision for UK physiotherapy, which is in a similar vein, and follows closely on from the Physiotherapy Associate of British Colombia's recent Choose to move video, which I wrote about recently (link), and the APTA's call for a 'transformative year in physical therapy (link). Each of these calls carry a similar message about the transformative possibilities of physiotherapy and the importance of physiotherapists reaching beyond the narrow confines of the body-as-machine. It's hugely significant that physiotherapists are now recognising this and seeing that unless they can connect … [Read more...] about Is this really a vision for physiotherapy?
There has been a lot of interest on social media over the last few days in this promotional video from the Physiotherapy Associate of British Colombia (PABC) called Choose to move (see below). What's really striking about this video is that it's all about movement; not the kind of movement defined by the American Physical Therapy Association as “a system of physiological organ systems that interact to produce movement of the body and its parts," but rather a humanistic, social and deeply personal experience. As @AdamMeakins opined on Twitter, [this is a] 'f**king awesome advert... No tape, needles, machines or manips in sight!' The advert does a wonderful job of connecting physiotherapy … [Read more...] about 'Choose to move' is powerful, but now show me how