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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Dana J Lawrence, DC, MMedEd, MA (Palmer College of Chiropractic)
Description: This brief book provides a good introduction to visual postural assessment. Two introductory chapters provide an overview of the process of visual assessment followed by four chapters designed to provide information about conducting postural assessment from various perspectives: lateral, posterior, anterior, and seated.
Purpose: The book is intended to provide an overview of postural assessment for a variety of healthcare disciplines in which this information is used for diagnosis and treatment considerations and examines how postural presentations may relate to underlying conditions. As a result, it is appropriate for a wide range of fields: chiropractic and osteopathy, as well as massage therapy and even Pilates. There are few such standalone books, so this will find use. To that extent, the book successfully meets the author's objectives.
Audience: The audience, according to the author, includes both practitioners and students in physical therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, sports massage, sports therapy, and bodywork. However, because it is written at a fairly basic level, it would appeal more to students than to practitioners. The level at which it is written may make it more appealing to massage therapists and bodywork practitioners than to those training as manual therapy physicians, though it would be a useful adjunct for those disciplines.
Features: The book is beautifully constructed — illustrations are clean and crisp and the paper is a high quality, heavy stock. It clearly demonstrates what normal posture is, what deviations from normal may look like, and what those deviations may mean. This information is tied in to clear descriptions of normal muscular actions, thus relating normal to abnormal findings and function. The illustrations show actual people with actual findings; graphics provide additional information. The color art and photography is a great help in this book. However, it lacks an index, and it relies upon a small group of older references. This may reflect the topic area, but more recent references would be a help.
Assessment: While rather basic in scope and coverage, the information in this book will be useful to those who assess the body visually. As a chiropractic physician, I think this would be good complement to other books our profession uses, and I can see direct usefulness for physical therapy students and others. I can find no books with which to compare this and, as a result, I think it will find a good audience among those who rely upon palpation and visual assessment as part of their diagnostic protocols.