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Book Review  |   February 2012
The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Gilbert E. D'Alonzo, Jr, DO
    Editor in Chief, American Osteopathic Association, Chicago, Illinois
Article Information
Book Review   |   February 2012
The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2012, Vol. 112, 99. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2012.112.2.99
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2012, Vol. 112, 99. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2012.112.2.99
Web of Science® Times Cited: 113
Three highly experienced researchers in manual therapies have edited The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy, a multidisciplinary, internationally authored reference text that has great practical value for clinicians, researchers, and students. The 17 heavily-referenced chapters are based on research presented at the International Research Symposium on Somato-Visceral Interactions and Autonomic Mechanisms of Manual Therapy, which was hosted by and held at the Osteopathic Research Center at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth in 2008. Of importance, the symposium was supported in major part by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The symposium brought together, for the first time, international clinicians and scientists from the fields of osteopathic medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Goals were to discuss and evaluate the current state of knowledge of the effects of somatic stimulation and movement on visceral and autonomic function. 
The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy compiles research on the benefits of manual therapy and manual medicine in treating patients with systemic disorders. In addition to the well-organized text, a number of useful tables and diagrams are included throughout the book, such as a table on the application of the basic tenets of osteopathic medicine categorized in terms of disease and a
AOA ARCHIVES
schematic representation of the viscerosomatic reflex. 
After an introductory chapter on past and present concepts of osteopathic medicine, The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy consists of 4 sections, which clearly delineate the book's purpose, value, and distinctiveness. The first section explores current knowledge of peripheral and spinal viscerosomatic mechanisms, establishing a scientific framework for all subsequent information. Section 2 includes chapters that focus on segmental and suprasegmental mediation of somatovisceral interactions, covering such subjects as the spinothalamic system and viscerosomatic motor reflexes, the role of oxytocin and oxytocin-related effects in manual therapies, and the use of sham or placebo controls in manual medicine research. 
In section 3, the authors discuss the clinical impact of manual therapy on physiologic functions and systemic disorders, such as chronic skeletal and visceral pain syndromes, otitis media, asthma, pneumonia, gastrointestinal disease, and cardiovascular conditions. The 4 chapters in this section are each presented from the perspective of 1 of the professions that was represented at the symposium. The last section of the book presents 2 consensus statements that have strong implications for future basic science and clinical research. In these statements, longstanding models of manual therapy mechanisms are critically assessed with respect to current understanding of somatovisceral interactions and physiologic and neurophysiologic functions. 
The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy is a unique text that should appeal to a variety of health care providers, basic scientists, clinical investigators, and—very importantly—students. We as osteopathic physicians should have a keen interest in this book, from both a theoretical and a clinical perspective.