My mother was a “by the-seat-of-her pants” cook and boy howdy could she cook. Nancy Jo Slade Lovejoy, or Nancy Nice, as we called her, was creative in feeding her 6 kids.
I love this photo of my mom and me from the mid-1960’s in Woodland Hills, CA.
Nancy Nice & Loraine
Making a hypothesis
When learning to cook, it is best to follow directions from a recipe. However, once you become proficient, it is fun to experiment like my mother did. Cooking is a science and an art. Using the scientific method you make a hypothesis or a “what if” style of question. In cooking, you might say, “what if I add beans to this soup”? Then you would go about doing systematic observation while making measurements, and changes in your experiment.
You continue testing and making changes to your hypothesis or soup as needed until you find something you like. The scientific method tells you if the change you have made has the intended outcome or something worse. Such experimentation in cooking is fun.
Changing one variable at a time
The important thing about experimenting with any activity is to change one thing at a time. In cooking it is best to try making small changes and then testing the dish to see if that change made the food taste better or see if it needs something else. By adding salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and rosemary, it is difficult to tell which ingredient made the soup taste better or worse. Using the scientific method, it is best to change one variable at a time. For example, if you were to put in all the spices listed above, that would be changing several variables at the same time.
If you want to add salt to your soup, try adding only the salt and start with a little at first because you can always add more if it is not enough. But if you add too much of something it is difficult to undo. By changing only the salt this allows you to see the effects of the salt specifically. Your experiment of soup making will be a great way to decide if you like the changes you made and give you the best soup in the end.
Scientific method experimenting on the human body
As a physical therapist, I like to teach my patients and students how to use the scientific method to decide the best protocols to follow. I run tests to find what I think a patient’s problem is which helps me decide if my hypothesis correct.
Next, I teach them one treatment approach. Then together we set out to find out if that treatment method changed something. Ideally, the change is for the better but sometimes things may worsen. We continue working to find the treatment methods that work the best and stick with those. Trying too many approaches at the same time makes it difficult to decide which method works or does not bring benefit.
When feeling more pain is a good sign
When trying a new treatment method or protocol, it can be a good sign if there is any change, for the good or even for worsening symptoms. This indicates that a change can be made. So we continue to try to find the things that will actually improve the symptoms.
Choosing from the menu
The other way to find if a treatment approach worked is to stop doing that specific treatment approach. If the symptoms worsen without the treatment technique, then start doing it again. With improvement, you can figure out that this treatment is effective. When you like the outcome, such as more movement or less pain, then continue doing this technique. By not doing it and you worsen then you are choosing this outcome as well.
If you find an exercise that works and you stop doing it you are choosing to worsen. It does not seem that we are choosing to worsen from a menu, but if you found improvement with a specific technique or exercise and you choose not to do this then you are definitely choosing to worsen.
Have a little fun being a scientist
Have fun using the scientific method in your daily life. Experiment with smiling more. If you like the outcome, such as people smiling back at you or saying something nice, then keep doing it. If you do not like the outcome then stop doing it. Learn to keep doing activities that give you the outcome you want and avoid those things that cause frustration, suffering, or pain in your life.
My purpose of sharing this information on this site is to give you some of the treatment tools I use in the clinic so you can see if you like the outcome when you try them.
I will introduce a technique I like to call Releasing Joint Restrictions (RJR) which is a simplified version of Strain and Counterstrain (SCS). SCS is an osteopathic technique which is a very specific stretching protocol discovered by Lawrence Jones, D.O. (doctor of osteopathy). It is my favorite technique to use as a physical therapist and as a patient myself.
My plan is to also share the information I have learned as a lymphedema specialist in treating swelling problems. As most of the pain in the body comes from swelling, I find it very helpful to use techniques that specifically address swelling.
It is also important to learn to work on preventing continued trauma or injury; improve strength, ability to get out of a chair, walking, conditioning and balance. I also want to explain how muscles and nerves work.