Introduction: Although there is abundant literature that individuals express kinesiological preferences (KP) related to their handedness and other inborn and acquired factors, apparently this has not been considered in the training or practice of manual therapists. There is no evidence that spinopelvic manipulative procedures primarily based on typical static listings result in enhanced educational or clinical outcomes.
Methods: Participants were asked to perform 8 pairs of equivalent manipulative setups, differing in side of stance and/or tasks assigned to the left and right hands. They expressed which setup they preferred, as well as their degree of preference. Each pair of setups was analyzed descriptively by reporting percentage KP, and inferentially by calculating whether the KP lay outside the 95% confidence interval wherein it could not be distinguished from chance at the p=0.05 level.
Results: In a study where the COVID-19 pandemic limited enrollment and delayed research, a convenience sample of 35 subjects was recruited. Five of 8 KPs were statistically significant; 2 KPs showed an obvious inclination but were statistically insignificant. Only 1 of 8 setups clearly demonstrated no KP. Degree of preference did not impact the results.
Conclusion: Given the obvious role handedness plays in sports, art, and other manual skills, ignoring KPs may impact the learning of and eventual delivery of manual therapy skills, with possible negative impact on patient safety and outcomes. Given evidence in both medical and dental settings that requiring left-handed individuals to use equipment designed for right-handed individuals has negative consequences, chiropractic colleges and clinicians might best calculate the risk/benefit profile of ignoring KPs, , whether related to handedness or not, in relation to educational and/or clinical outcomes. Manual therapy institutions might be well-advised to refrain from insisting on the performance of adjustive skills in purely traditional opinion-based ways when more effective alternative strategies may exist.
Author keywords: Chiropractic; Palpation; Training and Education
Author affiliations: RC: Palmer College of Chiropractic West, San Jose, California, United States; JML: MS student, Madrid, Spain
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