Hydrotherapy: Principles and practice

Hydrotherapy: Principles and practice

601 Hydrotherapy: Principles and practice edited by Margaret Reid Campion. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1997 (ISBN 0 7506 261 X). Illus. 336 pages...

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Hydrotherapy: Principles and practice edited by Margaret Reid Campion. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 1997 (ISBN 0 7506 261 X). Illus. 336 pages. €25.

This is a n excellent book which covers the practical aspects of paediatric and adult hydrotherapy. It is divided into four sections and the first includes chapters on the therapeutic effects of water activity, basic physics and assessment and recording. There is also a chapter on pool design and maintenance which presents useful information but appears out of place. The chapter on physiological, therapeutic and psychological effects of water activity is, given the literature available, inordinately short and the title misleading. Little discussion of immersion physiology is presented, the therapeutic effects are listed but not substantiated and the psychological aspects ignored. Furthermore, the discussion on training for hydrotherapy students and clinical standards is misplaced. Section 2 covers, in detail, the practice of paediatric hydrotherapy and essentially illuminates the Halliwick method. Chapter 7 provides a useful comparison of Halliwick and conductive education. This section of the book will, of course, be of most use to paediatric physiotherapists and therefore one could argue that half of the book is redundant for therapists treating adults only. However, there is a strong emphasis throughout the book which encourages the use of Halliwick methods in all treatment programmes, especially in neurological rehabilitation. Section 3 comprises chapters on practical hydrotherapy techniques for neurosurgical and neurological rehabilitation, rheumatology and

Facilitating a baby’s leg movements - in ‘Hydrotherapy: Principles and practice’

orthopaedic patients and sports injuries. Chapters on spinal cord injuries and spinal mobilisation techniques are also included. Section 4 considers elements of health promotion including aquanatal, aquarelaxation for mothers and babies and water fitness for older adults. A11 these chapters have a strong practical focus, sometimes at the expense of the evidence. For example, ‘the benefits derived from Watsu are decreased muscle tension and pain, stretching of soft tissue contractures, decreased anxiety levels, improved body awareness, increased joint range of movement, release of emotional stress, improved circulation, improved breathing pattern, less fatigue1 increased energy’. In summary, this is a book which describes, in detail, the practical aspects of hydrotherapy. It does this well but clinicians or researchers hoping for evidence-based practice will be sadly disappointed. Finally, the book is well referenced and would be of most use to hydrotherapists or undergraduates.

J Hall MPhil MCSP

Aquatic Exercise Therapy by Andrea Bates and Norm Hanson. W B Saunders, Philadelphia, 1996 (ISBN 0 7216 5681 1). Illus. 320pages. f27.

As stated in the preface, this book is the result of a requirement for ‘simple, therapeutic exercise protocols’. Readers should be aware a t the outset, through the title, that the book describes ‘aquatic exercise’, a term used in the USA, and does not include any detail of ‘hydrotherapy’ techniques such as Bad Ragaz, Halliwick, o r passive oscillatory techniques a s practised by experienced hydrotherapists in Britain. The book has 17 chapters. The first four relate to aquatic exercise therapy programming, the principles and properties of water, and aquatic equipment. Details, with clear diagrams and tables, give a good introduction to those with little or no knowledge of the subject t o a basic level; although subject areas are covered to varying degrees of depth. For example, chapter 2, covering aquatic facilities and the

Rehabilitation of the shoulder by shrugging, in ‘Aquatic Exercise Therapy’

aquatic rehabilitation plan, and chapter 4, on safety and exercise equipment, are very brief. Chapter 4 could be enhanced by photographs or illustrations. The subsequent chapters give details relating t o specific joint and musculoskeletal disorders, providing detailed structural information, a n indication of stretches and free active exercises, very brief details of common conditions involving joints and structures, and a specific aquatic exercise therapy protocol. The illustrations for ‘aquatic’ stretches do not, in any instances, accurately indicate positions for the effective use of buoyancy in assisting the stretch and there are no illustrations of facilitating stretches through the use of flotation aids or manual techniques. The descriptions and illustrations of exercises are basic and do not show much variation in starting position; for example there are no illustrations indicating the use of plinth lying or kneeling and few utilising float support lying. One of the authors writes in the preface: ‘We don’t present any new material or radical treatment techniques, but we t r y t o outline comprehensive exercise protocols. . . and it is for our patients, after all, that this book is really written.’ This is a n accurate summary of the book and I would recommend it only a s source of ideas for student physiotherapists or those with minimal knowledge rather than for knowledgeable and experienced practising hydrotherapists to buy individually.

Lesley Sayliss MSc MCSP

Physiotherapy, November 1997, vol83, no 11