March newsletter, 2018: Clinicians and education
I was at an eye appointment recently, getting my contact prescription renewed. Part of the exam involved taking an image of the back of both eyes. If you have ever needed your eyes checked, most eye doctors will dilate your pupils to check for glaucoma. The imaging takes place of the dilation, which is great for those of us who don’t particularly like having our pupils dilated.
Towards the end of my visit, the eye doctor pulled up the images of my eyes. She explained that my arteries and optic nerve looked extremely healthy. “If you had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar,” she explained, “I would be able to see it in the imaging of the arteries in your eyes.”
I found this fascinating, both because I haven’t had my blood work done in 15 years, so knowing I am still physiologically healthy is a good thing, but also because the health of my eyes reflects the health of my entire arterial system, just like the health of my gums reflects the health of my heart. It really is all connected, and the benefits of regular cardiovascular activity shouldn’t be ignored.
What also struck me about our interaction was the fact that she patiently explained what I was looking at in the image. She knows I have an interest in health and wellness, and I care about how things interact. (She noted the vision in my left eye had improved; when I told her I regularly do eye exercises, she looked a little surprised, but said it looked like it was working).
A good clinician educates, not by forcing the information upon clients, but by gently pointing out patterns and directing awareness. Clients that come to me for help moving through pain issues are particularly interested in what their habits and tendencies are; they also become almost giddy when a subtle change is made that reduces the sense of discomfort. Understanding how to sense where the body is in space is the education, not a long list of muscles that are firing or not firing, or terminology that scares people because of it’s negative sounding connotations. Education should make people curious about the impact the new knowledge could potentially have on their lives, not scare people away from improving their health and well-being.
Be aware of the words you use when talking with people, particularly if you are trying to help them move through a sticking point, whether it’s pain, apathy, or a sense of self consciousness. If you interact with people in a way that is kind and considerate, teaching them about themselves, you will impact their lives in a meaningful way.
Your in health and wellness,
I will be in LA at 360 FitHaus Saturday, March 24 teaching a 4 hour workshop from 12:30-4:30 on unlocking the power of the hips through the foot and ankle. To register, click here:
I am at a workshop this weekend, so my normal list of recommended reading will have to wait until next time. However, my most recent piece on Breaking Muscle explores the differences between flexibility and mobility. Check it out here: