In review: featured books

A History of Exercise Therapy: From ancient to modern times by Alex Daulat.

I have a personal and academic interest in the history of physiotherapy as a practice profession, so was very pleased to be invited to review this book. The cover notes and the introductory sections promised an historic account of the philosophy and praxis of exercise in a 164-page volume written and published by a CSP member.
The publication is driven by the author’s desire to address the tensions appearing in contemporary practice about physios’ role in the design, delivery and evaluation of exercise programmes. The author wisely decided to contain the scope of what could otherwise become an encyclopaedic tome by limiting content to ‘exercise’ and by focusing attention on a condition experienced by societies across place and time – low back pain.
Chapters describe exercise in Ancient Egypt, China, India, Mesoamerica and Ancient Greece and Rome before moving into the Renaissance (a period marked by the rise of science and Cartesian dualism) and the 19th and 20th centuries (emergence of medical gymnastics and biomechanical models of practice). The account of medical gymnastic approaches to strengthening took me straight back to physiotherapy practical classes where we learnt the theories and techniques of muscle loading, endurance and strength training. The final two chapters describe the shift towards more integrated models of exercise emerging in contemporary practice. These chapters make connections with practice from the past, but I was left asking how and why praxis from other times/places were reappearing in the present and the implications of that for future practice.
So did the book fulfil its promise? The text is clearly structured and easy to read.
I certainly got a sense of how exercise has evolved over time and of how different world views generate specific approaches, but remain less sure how I might use that understanding in ‘choosing the best therapies’ for my patients.
  • Gwyn Owen is a CSP professional adviser for continuing professional development 

Brush DJ

With Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush TV series tackling the issue of excess sugar in our diet, paediatric physios, in particular, might be interested in an app encouraging people to brush their teeth. Brush DJ is an award-winning, NHS approved, free toothbrush timer app that plays two minutes of music taken from the user’s device to encourage brushing for an effective length of time. Evidence-based, age-specific information is in line with a Public Health England toolkit.

Physical Therapies in 19th Century New Zealand by David Nicholls

A video presentation by David Nicholls, a physiotherapist and lecturer at the school of clinical sciences, Auckland University of Technology. He looks at the role of physical therapies in New Zealand’s cultural development. Visit: 

Managing Long-term Conditions and Chronic Illness in Primary Care: A guide to good practice (2nd ed) by Judith Carrier

Systematic and evidence-based care, which takes account of the expert patient and reduces unnecessary hospital admissions, is vital, says this book.
Studying for a Foundation Degree in Health Mary Northrop, Jayne Crow and Sarah Kraszewski (eds)
The authors aim to provide clear, relevant knowledge and to support appropriate skills development among students on foundation degree and equivalent level courses in health and social care.

Critical Thinking Skills for Healthcare by Stephanie McKendry

Thinking critically is a key skill, both for students and for the modern, evidence-based, healthcare practitioner. The book aims to help readers find, understand and evaluate the evidence.

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