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Coming To Terms: Movement In 2021

Movement; what does it mean to you? In 2008, Skjaerven and colleagues suggested ‘movement’ had more than 60 meanings. How many are there in 2021?

The meaning of movement Regular readers of CMS blogs may have a sense of what is coming if we mention the term ‘interpreting movement’. Often, we are referring to the observation and appraisal of specific characteristics of an individual’s ‘movement’; a process of evaluation accompanying not only practitioners’ initial assessment of their clients but one that is ongoing throughout all their interactions.

‘Movement’ is kept under a close watch. But which of the 60 different meanings of movement are considered? When we hear a clinician/practitioner suggest they have adopted a ‘movement’ approach, what is the image that comes to mind? And would that image match your colleagues or even patients/clients’? One term that may emerge is ‘movement quality’; yet, does quality refer to characteristics, as in ‘property’ or do we mean a ranking; a movement ‘hierarchy’? The quality of choice The ‘property’ of movement we are frequently assessing is the possession of ‘choice’; can an individual display choice in their movement coordination strategies (Dingenen et al., 2018) as they perform a cognitive movement control test? Do they have choice in how they use their movement system in the rest of their day, and their life? In the case where the answer is ‘yes’, the individual corresponds to definitions of Movement Health (McNeill & Blandford, 2015). The individual can access a range of movement choices to meet their daily demands. In the case when the answer is ‘no’, we suggest they are displaying a loss of movement choices (Mottram & Blandford, 2020), which may be linked to clinical presentations/outcomes.

It seems since 2008, the meanings of movement have increased. Indeed, we are certainly a little guilty of expanding the list. However, if ‘movement’ to you means ‘choice’ in how your clients interact with the world, it seems you might have adopted a Movement Health approach. That’s a quality choice. Dingenen, B., Blandford, L., Comerford, M., Staes, F., & Mottram, S. (2018). The assessment of movement health in clinical practice: A multidimensional perspective. Physical Therapy in Sport, 32, 282-292. McNeill, W., & Blandford, L. (2015). Movement health. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 19(1), 150-159. Mottram, S., & Blandford, L. (2020). Assessment of movement coordination strategies to inform health of movement and guide retraining interventions. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 45, 102100. Skjaerven, L. H., Kristoffersen, K., & Gard, G. (2008). An eye for movement quality: a phenomenological study of movement quality reflecting a group of physiotherapists' understanding of the phenomenon. Physiotherapy theory and practice, 24(1), 13-27.


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