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Muscle Energy Techniques: A Practical Guide for Physical Therapists

by by John Gibbons BSc(OST) Dip Manip Dip FTST Dip IIST Dip ITEC

listed in bodywork

[Image: Muscle Energy Techniques: A Practical Guide for Physical Therapists]

Lotus Publishing have done very well to add this book to their list of excellent tomes in the field of anatomy and bodywork. There have been other published works on the topic of Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), but this one is head and shoulders above the rest.
John Gibbons has managed to achieve that rare thing of making this book 'reader friendly', yet, not remotely in a 'dumbing down' fashion. Some other works that I have read on the topic have blinded me with science, making a very practical subject into pure academia.
Muscle Energy Technique is not, actually, anything to do with 'energy' - unless you take holistic methodology to the extreme in that 'all is energy'. When I first encountered the concept, over 30 years ago, I had assumed that it was akin to Applied Kinesiology or a similar method of combining the energy body with the musculature of the body - not a bit of it! The concept was discovered by Fred Mitchell Sr DO in 1948 who described it as “a form of osteopathic manipulative diagnosis and treatment in which the patient's muscles are actively used on request, from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction and against a distinctly executed physician counterforce.” That convoluted sounding definition disguises a practice that is a simple yet very effective procedure that has helped countless body workers to achieve better and more long lasting results with patients who have muscular imbalances.
John's book is direct, methodical, well laid out and beautifully illustrated. He assumes that his reader is a beginner to the subject so topics such as anatomical terminology, and planes of body motion are initially discussed. The next chapter discusses the muscles and their function in which he describes the different types of muscles, composition of muscles fibres, physiology of muscular contraction, muscle reflexes and musculoskeletal mechanics. This is all extremely well done in a way that many physical therapy practitioners would do well to read and internally digest. It never ceases to amaze me how many physiotherapists and osteopaths have not kept abreast of the new and exciting physiology that has been presented over the past decade.
Chapter Four discusses the theory of Muscle Energy Techniques. It outlines the different benefits that range from restoring normal tone to hyper tonic muscles to boosting local circulation. The physiological effects of MET is dealt with very well. I was particularly impressed with the explanations of muscles that become 'tight', 'short' or 'taut'. The relationships of the Core muscles is well documented here and will be welcome by many physiotherapists and others who practise Pilates. Sacroiliac and pelvic stability is explained in a somewhat shortened down to earth way, whereas this topic is surely worth more text -however, this is carping. Poor posture and 'Pain Spasm Cycle' is dealt with very well
There follows three 'practical' chapters describing how to assess and MET treat each muscle complex. These are on the upper body, lower body and trunk/pelvis with the hip. Some of the assessments offer alternatives to the main one. Each muscle assessment and treatment is accompanied with details of the muscle (origin, insertion, action and nerve supply) shown with super diagrams. The assessments and treatments themselves are beautifully described and accompanied with photographs of the author with his model. The final chapter deals with specific testing for muscle weakness. The author deals with four muscles in detail - the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, serratus anterior and the lower fibres of the trapezius. Each one is dealt with in a very matter of fact and down to earth way which is quite refreshing these days. I learnt quite a lot on the interactions of the gluteus maximus and the 'firing' pattern of hip joint extension.
Several pages in this practical book may be photocopied by the reader to help with their own assessment and treatment schedules. All in all, this is an excellent practical book with superb illustrations and photographs that has been painstakingly researched and written in an attempt to help the physical therapist create a new and different dimension in the treatment of his/her patient. I would thoroughly recommend it to you.

John R Cross
Published by Lotus Publishing

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