I believe that harmony (balance in movement and position) between many different layers in the body is what leads to improved organization. I am deeply impressed by practitioners who can isolate very particular structures to treat (here, I’m especially thinking of neural and vascular work), and I always aspire to improve my skills in that realm…but what interests me most is the practice of organizing the whole.
Practicing whole-body assessment keep us on that track. In particular, our weight-bearing palpation protocol continues to flower and deepen. Over the last few years, we’ve clarified and simplified the way we teach it, and our own perception of body patterns in the clients we touch feels more and more immediate. You can see a bit of weight-bearing palpation demonstrated in this video:
Additionally, we wave the flag for integrative principles of assessment and treatment. It makes sense to us that, to the degree that we’re about tissue mobilization, we should be able to apply the same rules to lots of different kinds of tissues: muscles, fascia, bones, viscera, nerves.
One exception that’s a big presence in my practice is my long-time interest in so-called special tests: those that specifically identify a clinical condition. Whether we’re talking about knee arthritis, shoulder impingement, or tennis elbow, that kind of clarity really helps to clarify client needs and treatment options.
I consider myself lucky that the orthopedic side of my work developed separately from (and earlier than) the structural side. That’s made it easier to appreciate the differences between two good things—whole-body treatment and specific problem-solving—and to strive for a balance between them.