Book and Paper Reviews

fascia-in-the-osteopathic-field book cover

Liem, T. Tozzi, P. & Chila, A. 2017.  Fascia in the Osteopathic Field. Handsprung Publishing, Edinburgh.

The back of the book reads:

“Fascia is one of the most intriguing tissues and one of the least understood.  In recent years it has been a major focus of interest for both researchers and clinicians from a wide variety of professional fields.  In Fascia in the Osteopathic Field the Editors offer a multidimensional foundation of fascia from an osteopathic perspective.”

Comprising 583 pages and with so many contributors I stopped counting after 25.  In four main sections the book covers concepts, physiology and function, anatomy and structure, and clinical.  We know what conceptual, theory and modular thinking does to the brain!

First thought, on my part, was to take a step back and take a broad look.  It seems that so many people have been drawn in to making contributions that, and call me cynical, I get an overall sense of insecurity.  Historically, in publishing, when you have so many people together the result is, “if there’s lots of us saying the same thing then it must be true.”  Similar to the Catholic Church.

Moving a little closer I began to notice that this weighty tome was in itself a formulaic presentation style that began in the 1980s.  Concepts, anatomy, physiology etc etc. Not much thinking going on there.  Some of the chapters have little or no references and some are over referenced which indicates poor editorial policy.

I was pleased to see a chapter by Jaap C. van der Was on A Holistic Approach Based upon Phenomenological Embryology and Morphology.  Only when I read the chapter it made me feel like the school boy who runs to get an ice cream from the ice cream man only for him to drive off as I arrive. Unfortunately, van der Wal falls into all the traps of a counterfeit holism or worse a unity in multiplicity.

As McConnell wrote true wholeness is a multiplicity in unity as did Goethe:

The whole living structure (not just the backbone) which embraces function, or vice versa, is something more than just a sum of the parts; and the sum of the parts is not confined to one class of tissue, e.g. bones…The practical everyday problem resolves itself into what the individual measure of the particular case is. It is not a composite collective one, but composite and unified, with multiplicity in unity.  Carl P. McConnell, DO, JAOA March 1935

We were also warned by McConnell that all this tissue worship is an idol:

“The idea of separateness should be obliterated. Not appreciating this to the full is a pitfall. So striving to get the bones in normal position, per se or perhaps to keep them in position is simply hopeless. In this regard, the bone item is simply an idol, and a similar idol could be made of the muscles, and so forth.”  Carl P. McConnell, DO, JAOA April 1935.

Besides taking A. T. Still out of context (a method of the conceptual approach) the contents of this book are a little like mud being throw at a wall, some bits stick while other lumps fall to the ground.  Sticking parts are barely hanging on and when they fall leave a nasty mark.  It is the sum of its parts and parts with me.  When so many people agree and think the same way then nobody agrees and no one is thinking at all.  Oh, Did I say “weighty tome” sorry, I meant “weighty tomb.”

Please share this so that others don’t waste their money and time.  You can get your money back but not your time.

Walter Llewellyn McKone, DO (03 April 2017)