10. Specify the procedure for determining your dominant hand and eye.
I. Dominant hand and eye - knowing your dominant hand and eye may make your findings more objective, reproducible and accelerate the development of good palpatory skills
- A. Dominant hand – this is important to know and may be different than your “handedness.” A right handed person may be left hand dominant and vice versa. Why is this important? When palpating an area, your dominant and non-dominant hand may have different levels of perception and transmit different information. You may be able to perceive more information with the dominant hand. The ultimate goal is to become more ambidexterous and use both hands equally in osteopathic diagnosis and treatment
- 1.While standing or sitting and without thinking about it, clasp your hands. You will usually put the dominant hand on top.
- 2.While standing or sitting, without thinking about it, interlace the fingers of both hands. The thumb that is on top is usually your dominant hand.
- B. Dominant eye – some believe that palpation and the interpretation of palpatory findings are more accurate if palpation is performed with the dominant eye over the area being palpated. Again, it is another way to make your findings more reproducible and objective.
- 1.While sitting or standing, look at a distant object (clock) with both eyes open.
- 2.Extend your dominant hand and make a circle with your thumb and index finger that encircles the object you are viewing.
- 3.Close one eye, then open it and close the other eye. The eye that continues to see the distant object through the circle made by the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand is your dominant eye.
II. Layer palpation - self
Skilled palpation requires integrating your mind with your hands. It is not a mindless task where you are “feeling tissue” while thinking about what you are going to do the following weekend. Keep your mind relaxed yet focused on what you are palpating. Stress interferes with palpation. Keep your intention and attention in your hands and what they perceive. As your knowledge and skills grow, you will be able to use palpation to develop a 3- dimensional image of the area you are evaluating.
We need to keep the room quiet during this exercise. Noise affects perception!
A. Take a moment to sit with your eyes closed and relax. Tension affects perception and reduces effectiveness. You need to be relaxed. Find a seated position that is comfortable for you. Adjust the height of your chair or table if necessary. Learn to use your body wisely and ergonomically so that you don’t injure yourself while evaluating or treating a patient. “You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.”
B. Rest your nondominant arm on the table. Focus your attention through the palpating fingers of your dominant hand.
C. Lightly palpate the dorsum (back) of the nondominant hand using the fingers of your dominant hand. Barely touch the surface. Feel the contour of the hand.
D. Try palpating with both the dorsal and palmar aspects of the fingers of your dominant hand. Is one side more sensitive than the other?