Back in 2014, Andrée Aubin and colleagues published an article entitled: “The seven-step palpation method: A proposal to improve palpation skills” in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Therein, the importance of palpation in osteopathic practice (requiring a reasonable combination of knowledge, skills, and attitude) is discussed alongside the challenges it holds for teaching (due to its complexity). Based on cognitive and motor learning theories, the authors developed a method to facilitate the teaching of palpation, which has been implemented at the Centre Ostéopathique du Québec for at least three years. The seven steps palpation method (PALPATE) include: 1) Position – comfortable positioning of the clinician; 2) Anatomy – 3D anatomic visualization; 3) Level – depth of tissue contact; 4) Purpose – clear identification of intention; 5) Ascertain – initiate motion with a relative point of reference; 6) Tweaking – fine-tuning of the five previous steps and perceptual exploration; and 7) Evaluate or normalize – apply technique parameters. This method might represent a useful guide to palpation in both education and clinical practice.
Aubin, A., Gagnon, K., Morin, C., 2014. The seven-step palpation method: A proposal to improve palpation skills. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 17, 66-72.