Aches and Pains by Louis Gifford – This is a 3 volume masterpiece by a physiotherapist who sadly died quite recently at a relatively young age. Easy reading doesn’t even begin to describe the joy of this book: a book that so directly speaks to the manual therapist that I think every graduate should be issued with one on entering practice. You will feel understood, helped, guided, stimulated and will laugh quite a bit along the way. If you thought osteopaths had nothing to learn from physios, well think again. I am only halfway through volume two (I did get slightly bogged down in the hardcore neurological section, I admit), but already plan to read a chapter a night, (they are in short manageable chunks) and when I’ve finished the entire three volumes, I might start again. A kind of Forth Bridge experience. Read a full review by Mark Andrews here
Autobiography of AT Still – The life story of osteopathy’s founder, straight from the horse’s mouth. If you liked Little House on the Prairie, you’ll love this. Get a sense of what life was like for the young Still. You will also learn about his superstitious nature, his spiritualism, his visions, his humanity and his originality.
Frontier Doctor Medical Pioneer: The Life and Times of A.T. Still and His Family – by Charles E Still, Junior – An interesting account by a descendant of Still. A couple of fascinating glimpses into how Still actually treated people towards the end of his life.
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre – I couldn’t put this down. He might scoff at homeopathy and expensive face creams, but his real wrath is directed towards poor science journalism and the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma as it seems to be known now). He is a lover of the scientific method, is an incredibly intelligent, clear and lucid writer and even though you might not agree with some of his opinions, tone and conclusions, it is still a good and fascinating read.
Drugs Without the Hot Air – David Nutt – excellent read. You’ll know more about drugs than you ever expected to, or thought you wanted to, and will bemoan the need of governments to pursue clearly wrong policies in order to keep voters on side.
The Feeling of What Happens – Antonio Damasio – Only read this if you are really, really interested in neurology and/or consciousness. It’s not a light read. What I took from it (maybe wrongly) was that consciousness is associated with awareness of our body through its proprioceptive function. So whereas normally you have a map in your brain of where your body is, how it feels and so on, when you have a heightened awareness of your body’s state and position changing, you create another map on top of the first, which he calls a second order map. He thinks it’s significant that the brain structures involved in this are all midline structures. And this creation of second order maps, in some way, represents consciousness, or a raising of consciousness? I think this might be a very important avenue to explore in cranial research. We are using our attention to scan someone’s body,and can often sense things remotely or subtly which then change in response to our attention (attention – another difficult thing to define – and we wonder why it’s so difficult to explain cranial.) Anyone who’s been on a biodynamics course will be aware that many people come away at the end feeling more alive, connected, present – in short, maybe more conscious. The two (cranial treatment and consciousness) are possibly connected, and not only by virtue of both being so hard to research (consciousness is notorious for being the “Hard Problem” in neuroscience.)
The First 20 Minutes – Gretchen Reynolds – (The surprising science of how we can exercise better, train smarter and live longer). Gretchen Reynolds writes for the New York Times, and this book is a fantastically well-researched easy and fun read. Yes, it’s that magic combination of evidence based and entertaining, and the advice is extremely palatable. Once you’ve read it, you will probably know more than the personal trainers at your gym. And if you take her advice on board, will drop the stretches before your workout, drink chocolate milk after your run, do squats at home and try to get even your 80-year-old patients to start doing more exercise.
Teach Us to Sit Still – TIm Parks – (A Skeptic’s Search for Health and Healing). Tim Parks had persistent pelvic pain. Disillusionment with orthodox medicine, vipassana meditation, and soul-searching feature in this entertaining account of an Englishman in Italy’s personal journey to health
Depressive Illness – The Curse of the Strong – Dr TIm Cantopher I heard Tim Cantopher on Jeremy Vine talking about depression and ordered is book straightaway. Probably suits the clinician or intellectually minded sufferer. An antidote to the “pull yourself together and go and socialize and do some exercise” type approach, he has found many depressives to be people who simply take on too much and won’t give in till their body literally won’t let them get out of bed one day.