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One of my more enlightening moments was in the early days of my professional development. A light bulb went off when I was first introduced to the two concepts of efficacy and effectiveness. I was on the road to better health.
I continue to relate and use these concepts in my practice daily… especially when it comes to advising on better health strategies or take-home exercises for my patients.
Without being too technical let’s take a look at them.
the extent to which an intervention is beneficial or it produces desired results in ideal circumstances.
Whereas effectiveness is:
the measure of the extent of how the intervention works in the ‘real world’.
“what kind of exercise do you think is best? Everyone told me I should go swimming”
Of course swimming is great!
It is definitely efficacious in building strength, getting you fit and keeping you healthy.
But, it might not be effective for you.
In the real world, you might hate water. You might not be comfortable in a swimsuit.
The thought of soaking in a pool with hundreds of strangers stresses you out.
In that case, it is definitely not an effective tool to help you achieve your health goals.
Does that make swimming non effective?
Yes, for you.
But it is definitely efficacious.
Now, why is this an important message for me as a practitioner and perhaps for you too?
Today, there are heaps of health tips and good advice out there…right at the tips of your fingers… and sometimes, perhaps a little too much?
Is this a better health food or that? Should I run or swim?
My personal general rule of thumb is this:
all exercises or super foods are good; but which one is the one that appeals to me most!
Which option, leaves me more likely able to achieve a consistency in doing? Which helps me achieve better health?
And most importantly, do I enjoy it?
The two concepts are of course a continuum. We must first establish that an activity has the efficacy in helping us reach our health goal.
But we must also understand that it has to be very applicable to ourselves, and in the life we lead as each of us is unique.
To finish, another example!
I have lower back pain.
Both chiropractic care and acupuncture is efficacious in managing it.
Which is more effective?
Depends on whether if you’re a person who hates (or loves) needles or an adjustment.
I personally will have both thank you very much! 🙂
Dr Woon Jee has achieved a Double degree Bachelor of Science (chiropractic) and Bachelor of Chiropractic….she treats a diverse group of people that include elite athletes and musicians. Dr Tio’s treatment helped them to quickly recover from injuries or strains and maintain the intense training and practice regime required of them.
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