Denise Tiran. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. 352 pages. £22.49 (pbk). IBSN: 978–1848193284
The author, Denise Tiran, has had an interest in complementary therapies since the early 1980s and has written extensively on the topic; this book is a welcome addition to the collection. The preface sets the scene nicely with some background history of the author’s career, therefore giving credibility to her longstanding interest and authority on complementary therapies.
The book comprises nine chapters which are very well referenced, enabling the reader to explore further avenues of research on particular areas of interest. Throughout the book concerns of safety are raised and the often considered misconception that in assuming something is ‘natural’ means it is also ‘safe’ is made clear (p11). Lack of understanding of the potency of such therapies can be a dangerous situation for women and midwives. Chapter One gives a comprehensive overview by way of introduction to the topic, and I could relate well to the suggestion on page 32 that midwives and doulas generally fall into one of five groups where complementary therapies are concerned. Having always been an enthusiastic advocate for ‘all that is natural’, I was guilty of belonging to the group of ‘those with little knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm’, with little understanding that this could be dangerous in certain situations. However, books such as this one certainly make the point clear and being a follower of the author I soon gained a respect for the power of complementary therapies.
Chapter Three is one of the most important in the book as it focuses on professional issues. The role of the midwife and accountability are discussed in relation to scope of practice and working within the rules of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which is a UK professional body. Readers from outside the UK would be advised to consult their particular professional organisations for guidance regarding this topic.
The other sections of the book explore commonly used therapies and then move through specific conditions affecting women during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, considering this from the woman’s perspective. The emphasis on safety and contraindications for use is noted throughout and can feel a little overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, the benefits of incorporating complementary therapies into midwifery practice are clearly demonstrated. All midwives should at least have basic training in complementary therapies to gain an understanding of the risks and benefits, enabling them to direct women to the most appropriate professional support. This book should be incorporated into the reading lists of students and recommended as post-registration reading.
Although there are many books on the topic, this one is particularly relevant and useful as it is unbiased, evidenced-based and considers both the professional and the woman and includes many alternative forms of therapy that can be utilised to meet the needs of the woman.
‘Complementary therapies in maternity care: an evidence-based approach’ can be purchased here.
Cathy Ashwin, Principal Editor, MIDIRS.
© MIDIRS 2018.
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