Health and Healing

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9780395911532: Health and Healing

In light of the health care crisis and the proliferation of HMOs, Dr. Weil has written a new introduction to this groundbreaking study of conventional and alternative medicine. Health and Healing presents the spectrum of alternative healing practices - holistic medicine, homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Chinese medicine - and outlines how they differ from conventional medicine.

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Review:

Why do we get sick? How do we get well? How do we avoid getting sick again? Dr. Andrew Weil attempts to answer these fundamental questions in Health and Healing, but the real joy of the book isn't in learning the answers, but in following his mind down the path to an answer.

He starts with homeopathy, a treatment that, to an outsider, seems more like a leap of faith than an actual system of healing. Weil recounts how homeopathy cured--completely cured--an annoying intestinal problem he suffered. Then he discusses the principles and history of this type of treatment, including the surprising ways in which homeopathy has affected the course of modern medicine. Finally, he gets to the real question: does homeopathy work or is it simply a placebo effect? The only reasonable answer is "maybe," but accompanying Weil as he gets to that answer is a fascinating experience.

One of the strongest points made in this book is that "perfect health" is simply unattainable. We're all going to feel bad sometimes. Another is that the body eventually heals most of its injuries, illnesses, and infections--up to 90 percent of them, by some estimates. But it's the other 10 percent that raise havoc. Weil, trained as a medical doctor, believes that conventional medicine is great at handling trauma and sudden, life-threatening conditions like heart attacks, but it's less good at dealing with chronic conditions like arthritis. Health and Healing examines the strengths and weaknesses of both conventional and alternative medicine, and offers a roadmap to determine which is best for what ails you. --Lou Schuler

About the Author:

Andrew Weil, M.D., has degrees in biology and medicine from Harvard University. Author of the best-selling Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, he traveled the world experiencing and studying healers and healing systems and has earned an international reputation as an expert on alternative medicine, mind-body interactions, and medical botany. He is the associate director of the Division of Social Perspectives in Medicine and the director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

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