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Eight Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power Paperback – June 16, 1998

66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Health," Dr. Andrew Weil writes, "is a dynamic and temporary state of equilibrium destined to break down as conditions change." In other words, there's no such thing as the type of health that allows you to feel equally great every day of your life. Instead, Weil suggests, your goal should be to improve your resilience to disease, and while you're at it, feel more joy and strength.

As to how you should gain this strength, joy, and resilience, Weil doesn't come on with a hard sell to give up every bad habit or all of the foods you enjoy. Instead, he suggests gradual changes: clean your pantry of whatever cooking oils you have there, except olive oil; start taking vitamin C three times a day; walk a few minutes a day; eat some fish and broccoli. The program is so simple and sensible that anyone trying it probably will feel better in a week.

The program then gets progressively more involved--more supplements; more of a shift toward a diet based on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; more exercise. Besides these steady changes, each week's program has a focus: In week 2, you start drinking bottled or filtered water; week 3 focuses on organic produce; week 4, on sleep; week 5, using a steam bath or sauna; week 6, trying a "universal tonic" like ginseng; week 7, volunteering in your community; and finally, in week 8, figuring out how to integrate permanently the elements of the program into your life.

Even those who don't go for the entire program will probably find something here to like--the recipes, maybe, or the suggestion that you cut back on strenuous types of exercise like running and competitive sports in favor of brisk walks. It's perfectly useful either way: as a total lifestyle overhaul, or a series of suggestions, any one or two of which will probably help you feel better. --Lou Schuler

From Library Journal

Reader, heal thyself. That's the idea behind Weil's best-selling Spontaneous Healing, which he expands on in his new book. Weil even customizes his book, offering specific advice to everyone from pregnant women to senior citizens. Look for lots of techniques?and lots of promotion; this BOMC alternate has a 300,000-copy first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (June 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449000265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449000267
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. His next book, "True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure," will be released October 9th, 2012.

View all of Dr. Weil's current speaking engagements here:

Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology. Dr. Weil received both his medical degree and his undergraduate AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University.

Dr. Weil is an internationally-recognized expert for his views on leading a healthy lifestyle, his philosophy of healthy aging, and his critique of the future of medicine and health care. Approximately 10 million copies of Dr. Weil's books have been sold, including "Spontaneous Healing," "8 Weeks to Optimum Health," "Eating Well for Optimum Health," "The Healthy Kitchen," "Healthy Aging," and "Why Our Health Matters."

Online, he is the editorial director of, the leading web resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine. He can be found on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Dr. Weil's Daily Health Tips blog at

See a comprehensive list of Dr. Weil's information:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

266 of 273 people found the following review helpful By sherman a nelly on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
In an age when so many Americans rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to cure their ailments, Dr. Weil has suggested a sensible, proactive approach to healing yourself and maintaining excellent health.
I will admit that I've not been totally successful in incorporating all his suggestions, but everything here is at least worth a read. Especially notable to most are Dr. Weil's recommendations regarding supplements and his dietary admonitions.
Initially, I was drawn to this book after seeing Dr. Weil on TV. At first, my critical mind wanted to cast his ideas as folksy mumbo-jumbo, with just enough medical rationality to make it seem legitimate. But the more I listened, the more I became intrigued. The next day, I picked up this book, wondering if it could do more for my recurring stomach problems than what doctors had done for me.
I had been in pain daily, and had even (wrongly) thought I was having a heart attack (several times). I was saddled with a bevy of drugs and antacids to give relief of this gastro-intestinal reflux disorder, which is VERY common, and is OFTEN mistaken for heart attack.
Within 2 weeks of ceasing ibuprofen and caffeine intake, and taking a few recommended herbal supplements, I was pain- (and drug-) free: I was even able to eat a spicy Thai dinner with no repurcussions!
Today, I rarely suffer any stomach discomfort, and feel much stronger and healthier in general, thanks in large part to this book. It makes so much sense.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to take an active role in their overall health, rather than just let health problems happen to them.
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Heather on May 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you know you need to give your lifestyle a "health makeover" but aren't sure where to start, this is the book for you. Dr Weil's eight-week plan helps you gradually phase out unhealthy habits and foods, and start enjoying a more health-enhancing lifestyle. By guiding you through moderate changes over eight weeks, rather than advocating radical change overnight, Dr Weil creates a plan that is easy to stick with. His well-researched, easy-to-read book is an excellent foundation for a lifelong commitment to healthy living. Following Weil's sensible plan won't result in "cold turkey" feelings, just a steady improvement in your physical, mental and emotional health. His lifestyle prescriptions will also result in weightloss. But the book's nutrition plan centres around abundance, not denial. Dr Weil's mantra is "quality" when it comes to food. If you're already leading a healthy lifestyle, and seek to expand your knowledge, this title will probably be a little basic for you. Dr Weil's new title "Eating Well For Optimum Health" may be a more enriching read. Dr Weil's eight-week plan, on the other hand, strikes me as being perfect "entry-level" material.
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Several years before the tipping point occurred and Americans were alerted in significant numbers to the dangers of trans fats (also known as hydrogenated oils), Weil, in 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, sensibly and clearly laid out the dangers of these kinds of processed fats and warned us of their dangers so emphatically that he made the elimination of them from our diet the first step in his 8-step plan. Weil uses credible science to backup his assertions, never offers fads or extremes, and best of all, he writes in an intelligent, personal voice, using phrases like "I'd like you to . . ." which give the book an intimate feel, as if you were consulting with a personal nutritionist. Further, he has the wisdom to see that improving our health is not based on micromanagement, tweaking one thing or another, but rather is a holistic approach requiring daily walks, bringing beauty into our lives with something as simple as having fresh flowers on the table, and meditating or doing yoga. While I don't embrace everything Weil suggests, I have embraced the gist of his message and, more specifically, have radically changed my diet. No longer eating refined sugar and hydrogenated oils, I have lost 40 pounds in the last five months. A great companion book that is compatible with Weil's philosophy on many levels and which has also helped me is The Philosopher's Diet by Richard Watson.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Karen A. Ferguson on April 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Dr. Weil is a Harvard-trained botanist and MD. More importantly, he has branched out into Integrative Medicine [his new name for alternative medicine] and is making the principles understandable to the general public.

He recently started a 2 year Post-Doc program for medical students and already practicing MD's at the University of Arizona teaching integrative medicine and an integrative clinic for practice. That clinic now has a waiting list of over a thousand people!

As the title states, this book breaks down the information into 8 weeks, simplifying the complicated process of changing one's whole life. Weil takes the reader by the hand and takes baby steps instead of huge leaps. [Which is acceptable if there are no current health crises].

One week, he asks you to find out about the water you drink, demonstrates a breathing exercise and asks the reader to go on a "news fast." No newspapers, evening news, or radio for a day.

The following week he asks the reader to research organic produce and requests that flowers be bought for the home environment.

These are tasks that are understandable making the reader feel successful each week. This work is grounded in good data, simply put and achievable over time. Weil "pads" the radical changes in between easy-to-make additions to one's life. One goes away feeling empowered instead of overwhelmed. An essential ingredient for changing one's lifestyle!

This book is a great beginning for the beginner on the path to wellness and prevention!

Dr. Weil is to be commended for breaking away from the myopic thinking of the traditional healthcare practitioner [which is changing!
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