Don’t forget about the art of manual therapy

For the past 23 years I have spent hours upon hours trying to learn and grow as a manual therapist. Early in my physical therapy education I remember watching one of my professors perform soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques on one of my classmates and I thought “wow, how do I make my hands do that.” I went to my professor asked that very question and I remember her response to this day and share it with my students (or anyone else who will listen). She said when you first begin to perform any hands on technique your hands are like cement and as you make a conscious effort to improve the cement chips away and you develop knowing hands. I never forgotten that advice.

Today there is a big push for evidence based practice, although I do understand the importance, I hope we, as manual therapists, don’t forget about the importance of practicing our art and listen to what our hands tell us. Experts say it takes 10,000 hours of meaningful practice to become an expert in any discipline. Next time you palpate a structure or perform a technique make sure you are doing it with purpose and thought,your hands can give you amazing information with you listen to them..

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