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What’s the Difference Between Re-Habilitation and Habilitation?

January 14, 2013

As someone who is undergoing a process of rehabilitation from a stroke, I have noticed a recurring theme in my introspection: “what is the difference between learning something for the first and second time?”.  Yesterday, I was musing on this topic and my rehabilitatiion in general, and wondered, is there such a word a “habilitation”? Of course there is:

1. To clothe.
2. To fit out or equip (a mine) for operation.
3. Obsolete To impart an ability or capacity to.
v.intr.

To qualify oneself for a post or office.

Setting aside semantics, I think that this has a fundamental role in determining our training and re-training.  This question has many potential implications to both athletes and non-athletes.  Put more specifically:

  • Do people who are re-strengthening an injured muscle do the same training as someone who is strengthening for the first time?
  • Do people who are re-learning a movement pattern use the same training as someone who is learning it for the first time?

These questions are asked from the “rehabilitative perspective”, but they are just as important coming from the “habilative perspective”:

  • Do people who are strengthening a muscle for the first time do the same training as someone who is re-strengthening an injured muscle?
  • Do people who are learning a movement pattern for the first time use the same training as someone who is re-learning a movement pattern?

In other words, “what are the similarities and differences in the optimal approaches to training and re-training?”

At first blush that the study of habilitation is older than the study of rehabilitation, but that might be a very narrow way to look at things, especially as our population of athletes gets older.  As out athletic careers span years and eventually decades, it is a rare individual indeed who is not rehabilitating from something.  Indeed, most of us are blending the two processes, so the answer to this question is essential to allow us to find the proper balance.  Or perhaps we already have?

  1. http://blog.asha.org/2012/01/04/habilitation-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters-to-you/
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habilitation
  3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Habilitation
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One Comment
  1. robb smith permalink

    nice article! i am now questioning exactly what i am doing ….. compensating for the lack of a lung (more specifically, the lack of muscles to make that lung work), i feel i am more of a “blender”. i find i can do what i used to, except for needing as bigger break. i’m mind over mattering it, so to speak. needless to say, your article has giving me much to think about (and weigh both sides). thanks r.b!

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