“The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” Libby Larsen
In these times of uncertainty, in this human crisis caused by an unknown entity called coronavirus, that has shaken us, this is when we need to join strengths and come together. This is when we truly put ourselves to the test, when we evaluate ourselves as human beings, and our nature will always push us to pass that examination.
This is when, by gaining perspective and looking at things from a distance, we are able to see how we’ve changed, evolved or regressed, prospered or failed. It is a blow of reality, enriching and at the same time chilling.
I’m happy to see how in the information age, which some scholars call the age of over-information, we are observing that technology, through the internet, has helped us and continues to help us in a massive and sublime way.
Within the framework of our reality, physical therapy, with science leading the way, access to content has grown exponentially, and the interest of the physical therapy professionals has joined this movement, which enables us to prosper as a profession, which is reason for us to feel proud.
There are many physical therapists who each day, at a blinding speed per hour, publish proven information and share their concerns unselfishly with the network of professionals in their cyberenvironments, with a reach that knows no limits or borders, given that the network has no limits or borders.
However, I am sad to see how the message from the networks is often disseminated with delusions of grandeur, superiority or a desire to transmit the “great knowledge” that is held individually, filled with disproportionate advice, emphasizing the gap between being an “advanced physical therapist” and “farm league physical therapy”.
And all of that is replacing the fullness and the wonderful experience of favoring and facilitating collective learning and individual and group growth, communicating from a position of joy in sharing, transmitting the message in an informative way, or looking for the best way to promote the knowledge, not helplessness.
To prosper, it is necessary to enrich our community, not frustrate it; to improve as a profession and as human beings, we must reach out for social support, not distancing.
Still, I continue to hang on to the good things, which continue to significantly outnumber the less positive things. I still believe in human beings and in technology, despite the setbacks, despite the disappointments… because it’s worth it.
Because there are also many things that make me happy about this age, with respect to being a physical therapist. I will say that it is good to feel, despite all the work, the tremendous initiatives and the good intentions behind making online office visits, sessions or consultations available, patients always choose. And patients continue to believe above all in direct interaction, in the heart-to-heart, in the feeling of proximity and support from their therapist; in looking into one’s eyes, in contact, therapeutic contact and the healing power of words or a smile when they come face-to-face.
I don’t know about you, but I still choose to stay within just a few feet of my patients, and I miss that so much… But not just that. As a person, this period of so much uncertainty is showing once again how very necessary it is to be close to people, to students, family, friends, teammates, lines at the movies, the theater, the masses at concerts…
In fact, the greatest example we have right now is the complete need and dependency these days on those health care heroes who are on the front lines of the battle, in direct contact with the patients, those who from this blog and personally I want to thank infinitely for their essential work today and always.
I don’t know about you, but I agree with Douglas Adams in that “technology describes something that does not yet work.”
And I hope from the bottom of my heart that technology never replaces humanity, because I believe that by that time we will all be lost.
Juan Montaño Ocaña
Professor of the Master’s Degree in Manual Orthopedic Therapy in Treating Pain and member of the Eu’s research group in Muscular-Skeletal Pain and Motor Control