Reviewer: Joanie Holst, MS, BCTMB, CNMT (Northwestern Health Sciences University)
Description: Using a highly scientific and research-based approach, this book covers the topic of scar tissue management from the perspective of massage therapy. This is a relatively new topic to many therapists and healthcare providers, so this research-based approach important.
Purpose: The purpose is to facilitate "the healing of wounds" that leave behind scars that can have a significant impact on the healing process, as well as aesthetic, emotional, and functional implications. The stated goal is to provide therapists with an evidence-informed guide that will help develop their clinical expertise working with patients recovering from traumatic injuries. With the aging of the baby boomer population, more are experiencing surgeries, such as joint replacements, and so the incidence of scars is increasing. Working with scars and scar tissue is an untapped area within the world of soft tissue therapy. This book meets the objectives with a very thorough approach.
Audience: The intended audience is therapists working with patients or clients who have suffered trauma, whether accidental or surgical, that results in the formation of scar tissue. The authors are not necessarily well known, but it appears they both work in this area. One is also is a lymph therapist who teaches scar management classes, while the other is registered massage therapist in with 25 years of clinical and educator experience.
Features: This book addresses all aspects of working with clients: communication, the therapeutic relationship, building trust, the physiology of wound healing, and some techniques to address scarring and scar tissue, as well as therapist self care. The book begins with a thorough glossary/key concepts section of eight pages. Each of the subsequent 10 chapters includes boxes labeled Clinical Considerations with special notes of interest, which are research based with cited resources, and ends with a reference section, ranging up to six pages in length. Chapters also include some charts and tables. There are few photos, and this is a shortcoming. More before and after photos documenting changes that occurred as a result of the work would have been helpful, even though these would only show the visual changes. It also would have been helpful to include some of the more common surgeries, such as hip and knee replacements, for therapists who haven't encountered these yet. Also, much as I appreciate thorough research and agree it is incredibly important, I don't know that many readers will actually take advantage of the extensive references lists at end of each chapter. That is not a shortcoming, just a comment.
Assessment: For the last 10 years, a large focus of my private practice has been working with clients with scars and scar tissue. I found this to be an excellent book and it will be very useful for therapists interested in working with this population. I am not familiar with other books on this topic, but the level of research and evidence-informed practice in this one could set it apart from other sources. I would encourage therapists interested in the healing process of scar formation to use this book.