This 300-page practical book on Manual Therapy for Voice and Swallowing is written by a single author, Walt Fritz, who is a US-based manual therapist. The first 150 pages include an overly detailed introduction, including his personal view and journey as a manual therapist ‘treating a person and not a tissue’.
The use of shared decision making (SDM) is introduced as a new concept in manual therapy in the introduction section, and there are numerous real-patient stories included on how SDM has guided the author on ‘letting go of the paternalistic role’ and ‘sharing power between clinician and patient’. This of course is a good thing to strive for, but it feels a little outdated to present SDM as a new concept as literature has been focusing on SDM for two decades already. The 150-page introduction section also includes many five-star reviews by professionals that took the authors online class on his holistic approach in manual therapy. As a surgeon, it was interesting to read another narrative on treating muscle tension dysphonia and dysphagia, and the last section of the book is quite practical and hands on. It is richly illustrated with detailed photographs of the different manoeuvres used. The author states he uses a non-anatomical holistic treatment approach, although the various chapters on different manoeuvres are clearly anatomy based and not symptom based as I would have suspected.
Manual Therapy for Voice and Swallowing is, in my opinion, largely a praise of the author’s personalised approach based on SDM and quite frequently feels like a marketing tool to guide readers towards his online course. This book may be of interest to speech and language therapists, if you skip the first introductory section.