In Review: books and apps

Myofascial Release, Dementia: the One-stop Guide, The Mystery of Pain, TrackActive and The Vital Glutes

Myofascial Release, by Ruth Duncan

Fascia has been called the ‘Cinderella of orthopaedic tissue’. It is the largest system in the body and is totally integrated with other structures. It lies in the immediate environment of every cell in the body and yet until recently very little attention was paid to it by clinicians.

However, that situation is changing. Researchers have discovered that fascia contains 10 times more sensory nerve receptors than the muscle it surrounds and that it is a tensional network that adapts its fibre arrangement and density to local and systemic conditions.

In vivo filming of tissue has shown that it is a threedimensional dynamic fluid web that due to trauma, poor posture, the inflammatory process or an emotional state can shorten, solidify and thicken resulting in movement disorder.

Myofascial release is a ‘hands-on’ treatment approach which applies a slow, sustained mechanical tension force to the tissue in order to restore flexibility and function.

Ruth Duncan’s book may be difficult for many musculoskeletal practitioners to accept as it deals with the concept of the whole body as a single unit and that structures other than the brain can carry biological memory.

In practice this means that a patient may present with a shoulder dysfunction but the root cause may be sited in a link of the fascia chain some distance away.

If that idea excites you then this book is an excellent introduction. It has referenced chapters on the anatomy and physiology of fascia, the rationale behind treatment and a guide to assessment and technique that is easy to follow and has high-quality colour photographs.

Its target audience is physiotherapists, sports massage practitioners and complementary therapists. More experienced therapists may find the initial assessment chapter a little basic but the section on facial drag during movement illustrates the extent to which fascia can affect dynamic posture.

For many, the chapter on using palpatory skills to assess not just the state of connective tissue but health in general will be a revelation.

  • Bob Bramah, Salford University

Dementia: the One-stop Guide, by June Andrews

This book is written by Professor June Andrews, director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling.

It aims to offer practical advice to families, professionals, and people living with dementia and
Alzheimer’s disease.

The Mystery of Pain, by Douglas Nelson

The author is a licensed massage therapist who has been practising in the United States since 1977.

Among other things, Mr Nelson’s book looks at the diagnosis and measurement of pain, and how different models of thinking affect the relationship between patients and clinicians.


CSP member Ian Prangley, a sports physiotherapist and physical performance coach, has helped to develop some exercise prescription software called TrackActive.

The patient mobile application aims to help patients feel connected and supported. They can, for example, communicate their progress, access clinic details and request appointments.

For more information, visit

Health Intervention Research, by Souraya Sidani

This book, written by a professor at the school of nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, aims to deepen readers’ understanding of research design and methods.

It outlines the theoretical reasoning behind a range of trails, including randomised clinical trials.

The Vital Glutes, by John Gibbons

John Gibbons aims to teach readers how to recognise pain and dysfunctional patterns that arise from gluteal muscles.

An osteopath, Mr Gibbon specialises in assessing, treating and rehabilitating sports injuries for the University of Oxford sports teams.

The author has also written about muscle energy techniques.

Bob Bramah, Frontline staff

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