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From The CriticsReviewer: Dana J Lawrence, DC, MMedEd, MA (Palmer College of Chiropractic)
Description: This comprehensive teaching manual for manipulative and adjustive skills emphasizes the psychomotor skills that students must master to render an effective chiropractic adjustment. Thus, it first examines the educational aspects of teaching such skills, briefly discusses biomechanics, and then spends the majority of the text taking a regional approach to the specific adjustive techniques that Dr. Byfield utilizes. For each region of the body (i.e., lumbar spine, cervical spine, etc.) a number of techniques are described, with specific information relating to the positioning of the doctor and the patient, as well as how to place the hand and deliver the force needed for the procedure.
Purpose: It is intended to provide the student with a sense of manipulative finesse — that is, a level of clinical competence in the use of these techniques — and to stress mastery of these skills through application of time and energy.
Audience: The primary audience is specifically chiropractic students. This book will be of less use to field practitioners, most of whom will have already gained a level of mastery in adjustive skills. There may also be interest in this text from others involved in manual therapy, such as physical therapists, osteopaths, etc.
Features: This book is supported by hundreds of photographic illustrations, demonstrating the many techniques discussed in the book. Each illustration also contains a lengthy caption, so that one can easily follow the procedure being demonstrated. There is a regional approach used here, with separate chapters given to different anatomical regions. There are three appendixes, on identifying spinal landmarks, cardinal rules, and a recommended sequence of manipulative skills.
Assessment: Certainly, as a teaching manual to be used in a chiropractic laboratory this will serve quite well. It does a fine job of demonstrating a slew of different chiropractic techniques. However, a few points hamper it. For one, the author references an older technique manual, the one by Al States (published in 1968) but fails to cite the more modern update of that text by Kirk, et al. (published in 1985). The Kirk version is in much wider usage, is more modern and should receive the citation, given that some of these procedures are close to those in that text. Some of the illustrations are hard to follow; those that try to demonstrate motion, in which two photos were laid on top of one another, become sort of muddy. The emphasis upon the psychomotor aspect is rather novel, and can be a good selling point. But, chiropractic technique books always have a hard road to acceptance because every college uses its own. If the book does not follow the specific manner of technique at a given college, then it cannot be used as a primary text. This is a good, but not essential, book.