Science, Practice and Motivation

I used to love the research process. I loved the order. Where others found the stats boring, I found “crunching the numbers” fun. Putting meaning to these by interpreting the results, “Wow, what a privilege!” I published several papers and presented these at International Conferences. I liked the prestige that came with this. I admit, it stroked my ego.

I’m not actively involved with research these days. I still read articles every week and follow trends in Health Care science. But I’ve become somewhat disillusioned by it. Why? One of the reasons is it takes the patient experience out of the equation. The outcome must be isolated, numbered and variables removed. The reductionist model doesn’t really fit practice, because we are the variables. Wellness Care takes into consideration the whole person. The quantitative scientific process gives us glimpses of what might be going on, but it can never tell us the whole story. We design elaborate studies with more and more complex statistics (I have to believe these will give me the answers without always understanding how they work, but that’s a whole other essay) to help us get insight into what or how things might work. Where does that leave the client or patient? Nowhere! Because they aren’t interested in being a number and they probably won’t fit the criteria for the study and even if they did – they will have variables that can’t be measured or even known. Even if they were an exact fit for a particular trial they might be the 10%, 20%, or 30% that didn’t respond like the rest.

From my experience as both practitioner and clinical scientist all patients want is: “to be well”. For some this is just getting out of pain, or being able to sit on the floor and play with their grand-kids and for others its being able to train for some epic physical challenge.

This is the part I like about practice: the variation within, the uniqueness of the person in front of me. The idea that flipped a switch in a 12 year old boy’s brain 32 years ago, “I can help people by working with the frame of the body and support the healing process without drugs or surgery!” is still alive in me today. So, having studied all those years, learned all these skills and helped thousands of people, what inspires me now?

Finding out what drives each person to seek their version of health; helping people identify their wellness goals; physically playing a part in their healing; educating; inspiring and motivating each patient or client to reach their health goals. In short: optimising their life experience through true health & wellness.

So, what started as blog about the limitations of science in practice, turned out to be a piece about my practice journey so far. Thank You Science for your contribution, Thank You passion and opportunity and most of all Thank You to all the patients and clients who have allowed me to be part of their health journey.  — Tim Wood

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