SHORT REVIEWS OF WORKS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
BY Daniel Redwood, D.C.
After the Baby’s Birth: A Woman’s Way to Wellness, by Robin Lim (Celestial Arts). There are many popular books on pregnancy and childbirth, but few on the postpartum period. Lim, a poet and mother who lives in Maui, Hawaii, covers this ground admirably, from nursing to weaning, from yoga to diet, with proper emphasis of each aspect of the body/mind/spirit triad.
The Big Book of Relaxation, edited by Larry Blumenfeld (The Relaxation Company/20 Lumber Road/Roslyn, NY 11576). This is an excellent introduction to a broad range of holistic self-care methods, presented by highly respected authorities in their fields, including Lilias Folan on yoga, Kay Gardner on music for relaxation, Dan Millman on conscious exercise, and Shakti Gawain on creative visualization. The material is presented clearly, at a level suited to the intelligent reader who is beginning the journey into these areas.
Bodymind Energetics: Toward a Dynamic Model of Health, by Mark Seem, Ph.D., with Joan Kaplan (Healing Arts Press/Inner Traditions). One of America’s foremost acupuncture educators, Seem has put together a major work, one which reflects years of practice and thoughtful reflection. Chinese healing philosophy is presented with clarity, and Seem’s explanations of the mind-body interface are excellent.
Beyond Pritikin: A Total Nutrition Program That Goes Beyond The Pritikin Principles By Adding Essential Fats For Rapid Weight Loss, Longevity and Good Health, by Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S. (Bantam). When she was the director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center, Gittleman saw some wonderful healing taking place, but also saw certain limitations to the Pritikin Diet, particularly with regard to its extreme position on the presence of fats in the diet. This book is her contribution to the evolution of the Pritikin legacy, which in many ways provides an excellent nutritional foundation. Many recipes are included in the final section.
Cancer Prevention and Nutritional Therapies. By Richard Passwater, Ph.D. (Keats). This is a revised, updated version of Passwater’s superb bestseller. His grasp of the subject is thorough, and his writing is straightforward. A valuable, informative book.
A Diet for All Seasons, by Elson Haas, M.D., with Eleonora Manzolini. Celestial Arts.Elson Haas’s books, including Staying Healthy with Nutrition and Staying Healthy with the Seasons, are consistently clear, informative and non-dogmatic. Quite affordable at $12.95, this new book consists mainly of recipes, with a well-crafted introductory section that presents the essentials of a healthy diet. The idea that foods are most beneficial when they are in season is a well-accepted natural health principle, which Dr. Haas explains clearly and applies consistently.
A Different Kind of Healing: Doctors Speak Candidly About Their Successes with Alternative Medicine, by Oscar Janiger, M.D. and Philip Goldberg (Tarcher/Putnam). Dr. Janiger, a medical school faculty member at the University of California at Irvine, interviewed hundreds of physicians about their use of unconventional methods. Included in the book are stories about their use of nutrition, herbal medicine, hands-on healing, and a wide range of mind-boy methods. All the doctors remain anonymous, keeping the emphasis on the methods rather than the doctors’ personalities. A particularly worthwhile book.
The Drinking Water Book: A Complete Guide to Safe Drinking Water, by Colin Ingram(Ten Speed Press). Ingram began a five-year investigation of water quality when an epidemic of cancer broke out in the area where he was living. A scientific writer and researcher, Ingram pulls no punches in addressing the false and misleading claims that too often are part of water-purifier sales pitches.
Enzymes and Enzyme Therapy: How to Jumpstart Your Way to Lifelong Good Health, by Anthony Cichoke. D.C. (Keats). Cichoke is a prolific writer, and perhaps the foremost nutrition expert in the chiropractic profession. Enzyme therapy is one of his passions, and this book clearly and thoroughly covers the field in language understandable by the lay reader. Aside from covering the fairly well-known effects of enzymes on the digestive system, Cichoke introduces the concept of high-dose enzymes as an anti-inflammatory without the side effects commonly associated with anti-inflammatories, and discusses their value in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.
The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy and Power,by Christopher S. Kilham (Healing Arts Press). A clear and practical brief course in Tibetan-based yoga and meditation.
Fortysomething: Claiming The Power and Passion of Your Midlife Years, by Ross Goldstein, Ph.D. with Diana Landau (J.P. Tarcher). Goldstein is a fortysomething psychologist in the San Francisco area, and is also the co-founder of a consulting firm that tracks baby boomer trends. If you’re in this stage or approaching it, this book will remind you that you can come out the other side of the crisis shining, and that you have plenty of company.
The Healing Benefits of Garlic. By John Heinerman, Ph.D. (Keats). A fine introduction to the science and lore surrounding this powerful plant, one of the great healing herbs of the planet.
Health Without Drugs: Alternatives To Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medicines, by Arabella Melville, Ph.D. and Colin Johnson (Fireside/Simon and Schuster). This is a convenient, first-rate reference book. It presents, for conditions ranging from emotional distress to respiratory allergies to pain to skin disorders, an explanation of the problem, the standard drug therapies employed, and non-drug alternatives including diet, exercise, vitamins, massage, etc. Melville’s Ph.D. is in psycho-pharmacology, and this background makes for a thorough, intelligent and practical presentation.
The Healing Cuisine: India’s Art of Ayurvedic Cooking, by Harish Johari (Healing Arts Press). Johari is one of the most prolific Indian writers in the West. Here he provides a substantial introduction to Ayurvedic nutrition, following this with a 200-page recipe section. For fans of Indian cuisine, a must.
Hearing Equals Behavior, by Guy Bérard, M.D.(Keats). A physician in a rural area of France, Dr. Bérard has developed convincing evidence that qualitative (as opposed to the usual quantitative) hearing abnormalities profoundly affect behavior. He has developed a method for auditory retraining that has achieved sometimes stunning results, in cases of autism and suicidal depression that had seemed hopeless.
Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West, by Steven Foster and Yue Chongxi (Healing Arts Press). With many books to his credit, Steven Foster has done a superb job of bringing herbal knowledge to the reading public in recent years. Here, he collaborates with one of China’s leading lights in the field, who traveled all the way to Foster’s home in Arkansas to pursue this worthy joint venture.
Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma Hutchins (Shambhala). Shambhala’s timely reprint of this classic will keep it alive and accessible. Hutchins’ book has played an important role in preserving and maintaining Native American healing lore.
Light: Medicine of the Future, by Joseph Liberman, O.D. (Bear and Co.). Liberman is a holistic optometrist with some fascinating information to share regarding the effects of light on our hormonal and metabolic systems. He also offers an alternative to the strident warnings about sunlight we’ve all heard, reminding us that sunlight and time outdoors is essential to good health.
Losing a Parent: Passage to a New Way of Living, by Alexandra Kennedy (Harper San Francisco). Personal pain and tragedy can sometimes catalyze growth and creativity, and in Kennedy’s case it was the healing process after her father’s death that led her to write this fine work. A psychotherapist, lecturer and workshop leader from Santa Cruz, California, Kennedy brings an insightful and poetic touch to her writing. Working through dream and imagery, finding meaning in the commonplace as well as the dramatic, Kennedy approaches her material in a way that provides wisdom as well as comfort.
Nutritional Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research, by Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D. (Keats). Now available in paperback, this is a fully referenced, 500-page treasure trove of research studies validating the use of nutritional therapies. Werbach is on the faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine, and has done a beautiful job putting it all together here. This book is a must for holistic practitioners, and would also be perfect as a donation to your favorite library.
Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide, by Deepak Chopra, M.D. (Harmony/Crown Publishers). Chopra is an Indian-born endocrinologist who is the author of Quantum Healing. Here, he presents Ayurveda, the ancient healing tradition of India. Perfect Health is a far more specialized book than the earlier work, and those looking for an in-depth introduction to this field (I am one) will find it hard to put down at night.
The Pinnacle of Life: Consciousness and Self-Awareness in Humans and Animals, by Derek Denton, F.R.C.P.(Harper Collins). Denton, an Australian physician and physiology researcher, has a truly inventive mind that takes him and his readers to all sorts of interesting places. He is a specialist in the biology of salt, but also demonstrates a fascination with the nervous system. There’s a superb section on the consciousness of bees which is in itself worth the price of admission.
The Recovery Resource Book, by Barbara Yoder (Fireside/Simon and Schuster). This is another excellent reference book, in a large, readable format. It has frequent cross-references strategically placed in boldfaced boxes, which refer the reader to other related chapters. For example, the chapter on nicotine addiction refers smokers (and ex-smokers) to chapters on caffeine and sugar. “If you are a coffee-drinker, bear in mind that caffeine increases nicotine cravings, and the ritual use of coffee with cigarettes may trigger powerful urges to smoke. Temporarily cutting back on coffee consumption can reduce nicotine cravings, particularly in the first few days of abstinence.” The book has sections on all major addictions, not only substance abuse but gambling, sex and compulsive overeating. In addition, there is page after page of references to helpful books and organizations. This book is in the “must-have” category for helping professionals, as well as for anyone interested in getting off the addictive merry-go-round.
Regulating Death: Euthanasia and the Case of the Netherlands, by Carlos Gomez, M.D. (Free Press). This book adds some light to a discussion which has been notable for its intense heat. It turns out that the Netherlands, contrary to rumor, does not have legal euthanasia, but rather a system in which the courts have in certain circumstances decided to approve such actions after the fact. Mercy-killing is a hot-button issue there too, and estimates of the prevalence of the practice vary widely. Gomez is a young American medical physician who seems unenthusiastic about the idea, but seems willing to give both sides a fair hearing.
Second Spring: A Guide To Healthy Menopause Through Traditional Chinese Medicine, by Honora Lee Wolfe (Blue Poppy Press/1775 Linden Avenue/Boulder, CO 80304). Written by a Colorado acupuncturist, this homegrown book is full of practical information for women fortysomething and above. The perspective is essentially that of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but there’s more here than just acupuncture and herbs. This holistic approach to menopause will be of help to many women, and at the very least is a good jumping off point for exploration of holistic alternatives.
Third Party Rape: The Conspiracy to Rob You of Health Care. By C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. (Galde Press). Dr. Shealy, the founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association, makes a passionate case against the health insurance industry. His feelings are strong and never far from the surface in this book, and given the factual data he cites, that’s understandable. Beneath the contentious tone is a cogent and urgent critique of the insurance system and its failures.
Norman Shealy, M.D. Interview
Traveler’s Guide To Healing Centers and Retreats in North America, by Martine Rudee and Jonathan Blease (John Muir Publications, P.O. Box 613, Santa Fe, NM 87504). Just as it promises, this book provides an extensive list of healing centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The material is arranged geographically, with information about each center’s owner, facilities, services, and interestingly, purpose.
Ways to Better Breathing, by Carola Spreads (Healing Arts Press). Breathing technique, so crucial yet so unconscious, is one of the essential actions that determines our health. This reprint of a classic presents a yoga of breath, clearly defined and illustrated.
What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You, by Jane Heimlich (Harper Perennial) is a well-researched look at alternative treatments for a wide range of health problems, from cancer and high blood pressure to arthritis and constipation. Heimlich, a medical journalist whose physician husband invented the Heimlich Maneuver, does a fine a job of sorting out fact from probability from theory, while maintaining an admirably open outlook.
Wheels of Light: Chakras. Auras, and the Healing Energy of the Body, by Rosalyn L. Bruyere (Fireside/Simon and Schuster). Bruyere is an American healer who has a highly developed gift for seeing energy patterns in the human body. What makes her unique is that her power has been studied under laboratory conditions at UCLA, with results that largely confirm her claims. The rhythm of this book is a bit erratic at times, but the content is excellent.
Who Said So? by Rachelle Breslow (Celestial Arts). Told by her physicians that her multiple sclerosis was incurable, (“There is nothing you can do about it and there is nothing we can do about it”) and that she needed to resign herself to a progressively deteriorating life in a wheelchair, Breslow embarked on a long, sometimes difficult journey of holistic healing and self-healing of body, mind and spirit. An inspiring true story, in which the joys and the challenges she experienced come to life and leave you with a warm glow.
A Woman’s Best Medicine: Health, Happiness and Long Life Through Ayur-Veda. By Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., Veronica Butler, M.D., and Melanie Brown, M.D. (Tarcher/Putnam). Written by three female MDs who now practice Ayurvedic medicine, this work covers some of the same Ayurvedic territory as Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health. But A Woman’s Best Medicine makes its own unique contribution regarding the application of these traditional Indian health principles in the arena of women’s health.
These book reviews were published in Baltimore Resources, Pathways, Venture Inward, An Intelligent Guide, Re-Source, and various other publications