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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Dana J Lawrence, DC, MMedEd, MA (Palmer College of Chiropractic)
Description: This book presents a comprehensive approach to muscle palpation and human muscular anatomy, providing an overview of stretching as well as a thorough grounding in palpatory awareness of human muscles. It is amply illustrated and is complemented by a DVD.
Purpose: It is designed to fill a need in the training of students of massage therapy. It focuses attention on human muscles, their anatomy, and the most effective way in which each muscle should be palpated. There is an additional emphasis on stretching and on trigger points. A book like this is needed in the discipline, and its thoroughness will be an asset in marketing to other professions in manual therapy. Overall, it does a superb job of meeting the authors' objectives.
Audience: The primary audience is students in massage therapy programs, but it will also find a home in other professions which focus on manual care, such as chiropractic, naturopathy, napropathy and physical medicine. It is a book that students will embrace, but it is probably a bit basic for practitioners, although it might be a good reference for them.
Features: The first of the three main parts of the book looks at the art and science of palpation, as well as some information about stretching (from various viewpoints, such as contract relax and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). The second part looks at bony palpation and landmarks in the body, while the final part (which is the meat of the book) provides detailed information on how to palpate all muscles of the body. It is wonderfully illustrated, with hundreds of high quality illustrations, and the accompanying DVD demonstrates many of the techniques as well. All illustrations are in color, and the text looks quite professional. My only quibble is a lack of referencing for the latter chapters, which may reflect the fact that the book represents the clinical wisdom of the authors.
Assessment: This is a nicely done addition to the literature. It is logically organized, it covers the material well, and I cannot think of another similar book that has this level of detail. The DVD is a good addition. There is a wealth of good clinical information here, well beyond just the palpation skills. There is good information on stretching, and on trigger points and where they may be located and how they may be palpated. I would feel quite comfortable recommending this book to my chiropractic students.