I used to find it odd that healthcare provider’s called their work “practice”. Generally, I didn’t want a doctor practicing with my health; I wanted them to treat my health with accomplished perfection and confidence! My understanding of the word practice was mostly applied to sports. I would go to rugby practice or train during a swimming workout. After all, weren’t we always told that “practice makes perfect”? Shouldn’t healthcare professionals be arrived at that “perfect” place already?
It wasn’t until I got a little more into yoga that this all started to make sense. Yogis refer to their yoga practice and this was a different kind of practice than running suicides back and forth across a field in preparation for a big game. There was no end game. There is no point when you have “arrived”. In yoga, your practice in an attempt to express to fullest each moment as it is occurring and in light of your life as a whole. There is more of a “be here now” mentality while at the same time deliberately living each of those moments connected together through a greater set of values that create your way of living. I liked this concept of practice better.
I started referring to everything as “my practice”. I had my clinical practice, my yoga practice, my running practice, and I practiced my faith. It drove my husband insane, but it was a nice outlook. It liberated me from the obsession of “arriving” at the end point of perfection. Today’s perfect yoga pose or running stride might not be the same as yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. One is not necessarily right or wrong, they are just different expressions of where you are in your journey at that time. I could focus on that moment for what it was and allow it to build together with other moments to move forward to reach my goals and progress in my various practices. More often than not, growth in one practice complimented or encouraged progress in another.
So what does this look like clinically? How can I “practice” chiropractic care and clinical nutrition? Would that make it experimental and dangerous? Not at all. When someone entrusts me with their health, I take that charge very seriously. I must do my absolute best to guide them along their healthy journey and encourage their body to achieve its optimum balance. Because we are each so unique, this does not mean that the same treatment is the right treatment for every person or even for the same person at a different point in time. I can never become complacent. I read, I study, I learn. I travel to conferences and seminars to find out what the experts are up to. I observe and I listen. I treat, I do my best, and I evolve with the health of patients. That is what clinical practice is. Health is dynamic. There is always more to learn and ways to improve. I consider it a privilege and an honour to partner with others in their journey through a healthy expression of life practice.