Bob King Although I often wonder why some texts go through second and third editions, such was not the case with Joe Muscolino’s The Muscular System Manual! This new and spectacularly upgraded edition certainly establishes the author as the leading muscular system expert for manual therapists in this country. Indeed, the upgrades, resources, and knowledge base of this text are nothing short of brilliant. Initially, Chapters 1 to 3 provide new and innovative material on how the muscular system works with a detailed overview of the roles of bones, joints, and connective tissues. Dr. Muscolino’s valuable perspective on the muscular system, the primary user of body energy, provides a perspective and background that would be of value to any manual or movement therapy student, even the individual with a very limited knowledge base. The location terminology, color drawings, bony structure, and movement presentations provide a basic kinesiology foundation that serves as a cornerstone for the rest of the book. All of the muscles featured (yes, all of them!) are now re-ordered to their respective joints, making the flow and portability of this edition superior to other texts. Furthermore, it coincides with the way that most muscular/myology/kinesiology classes are taught in massage and other bodywork schools. This is an especially useful adjunct for today’s student of the healing arts, offering a more systematic portrayal of muscular system and body functioning. Remarkably enough, this edition is even more thorough than its predecessor in the presentation of muscle function.
The author painstakingly presents not only the muscular attachments, but also expands the functional information of each muscle to include the concentric, shortening mover actions, and the reverse mover actions, as well as the eccentric lengthening and isometric stabilization actions. Incredible! These features alone are missing from other bodywork texts, and this material provides a more comprehensive understanding of muscle functioning at all levels. Reverse mover actions are important because they explain, for instance, why the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) is not only a flexor of the thigh at the hip joint and an abductor and medial rotator of the thigh at the same joint, but also how its reverse actions anteriorly tilt the pelvis and ipsilaterally rotate and depress that side of the pelvis as well. This alone marks TFL as an overlooked source of low back pain, scoliotic compensation, sacroiliac dysfunction and a vitally essential muscle to release in the classic lower crossed syndrome. Useful hands-on and palpatory insights such as this abound throughout this exciting new edition. Simply reviewing this copy generated new clinical insights for me for several clients with whom I currently provide clinical massage. It will be a primary resource in my treatment room for years to come.