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Spontaneous Healing : How to Discover and Embrace Your Body's Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself Mass Market Paperback – April 4, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

It is clear that all organisms have highly developed mechanisms for self-repair and healing -- but according to Dr. Weil, Western medicine often interferes instead of working with these systems. In the course of his argument, he describes several extraordinary case studies of drastic spontaneous healing. Perhaps the most valuable feature of the book is his more gradual eight-week program of strengthening the ability of your immune, endocrine, circulatory, and nervous systems to provide such spontaneous healing. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

As others argue the politics of health care, Weil (Health and Healing) turns away from the usual practice of Western medicine, which is focused on alleviating symptoms rather than strengthening internal mechanisms of health, to closely consider the nature of the healing process. "At every level of biological organization, from DNA up," he writes, the "mechanics of self-diagnosis, self-repair and regeneration exist in us." To buttress his point, he cites such evidence as the placebo effect, inexplicable remissions and the commonplace repair of wounds, often marginalized by the medical community. In an effort to make the process of healing seem less obscure, Weil reports a wide range of dramatic case histories. Other sections detail various means, e.g., diet and breathing exercises, available for optimizing one's healing system, and suggestions for approaches to illnesses. Also included are an "Eight Week Program for Optimal Healing Power" and a guide to finding practitioners, supplies and information.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804117942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804117944
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,492 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

184 of 188 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andrew Weil, who is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and the author of a number of best-selling books on medicine, consciousness, health and diet, is one of those rare men who have managed to acquire a prestigious conventional education and then build on that with unconventional experiences in other parts of the world. He has studied botany and medicine in the Amazon jungle and elsewhere, and alternative medicine in the far east before establishing his practice in the United States. This book, first published in 1995, is the result of what Weil has learned over the years. There is nothing spectacularly new here, but there is a carefully presented, enormously compelling argument for the power of our bodies to heal themselves if only we would give them the opportunity.

Problem number one is a medical establishment that sees its interventions as the cause of healing, when it occurs, and the failure of the body, when it does not. Every physician should humbly realize that it is the healing mechanisms of the body that defeat disease, not the treatment. Weil makes this point even in the case of antibiotics: "Antibiotics reduce numbers of invading germs to a point where the immune system can take over and finish the job. The real cause of the cure is the immune system, which may be unable to end an infection because it is overwhelmed by sheer numbers of bacteria and" their toxic products (p. 110). I would add that even in the case of setting a bone or removing a bullet, it is the body that does the healing. Properly understood, Weil advises, the function of the physician is to aid the defenses of the body. This is how medicine is understood in cultures of ancient linage around the world, particularly in the time-honored Chinese and Ayurvedic systems.
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99 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Dolan on February 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Andrew Weil is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and was for 15 years a research Associate in Ethnopharmacology at the Harvard Botanical Museum. He is founder and Director of the Program of Integrative Medicine at the U. of Arizona. His educational background, medical formation and years of professional experience are formidable and, I feel, give him the authority sufficient to write a book of this caliber.
For the last 7 months I have been receiving his monthly newsletter which discusses natural remedies to health problems and maintenance. They are wonderful. Over the Christmas holidays I purchased three of his books. By the time I finished reading Spontaneous Healing I had already sent a copy of the book to my mother, an LPN under treatment for Leukemia, and a friend of mine with Rheumatoid Arthritis. With another friend, who suffers from chronic eczema, I've shared my copy.
In this book Dr. Weil covers a number of case studies and explains how traditionally non-conventional medicine (herbal treatments, Traditional Chinese Medicine, hypnotherapy, creative imagery, etc.) has alleviated or cured sicknesses or health problems for which conventional medicine offered little to no relief. However, that is not to say he is an opponent of conventional medicine. He names instances in which he feels it is best to turn to it.
One of the case studies which made me reflect deeply on "alternative" medicine was of a 70 yr. old woman who had suffered her entire adult life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. After a series of dietary changes he recommended to her, her symptoms (i.e. her pain) decreased significantly.
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95 of 106 people found the following review helpful By James L. Grubb on January 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
The idea that your body possesses natural ability to heal and maintain itself is usually not within the realm of believability for many. But this Harvard M.D. presents evidence and explains body mechanisms that can overcome life-threatening illness and pain.
A "how to" book, on the one hand, Dr. Weil also points out shortcomings of our medical system. He calls it "medical pessimism" because the end result is that often nothing more can be done. This comes about, he contends, because modem medical practice is based on the view that human beings are an assemblage of structures that can be neatly programmed. Western medicine, the Chinese, for example, believe the human organism has defensive spheres such as ~onsils, adenoids and appendix, which can be stimulated and are components of an immune system. Modem medicine, he believes, also writes off the importance of the mind, looking instead for physical causes of changes in health or illness.
A realist, Dr. Weil concedes that life is uncertain and while we don't have control over life and death, we have the ability to understand how the human organism can heal itself and this is reason enough for doctors and patients to be optimistic.
"My purpose in writing this book," he states, "is to convince more people to rely on our innate potential for maintaining health and overcoming illness but, he goes on to say, "I cannot easily give you a picture this system (I) because there is a lack of organized research (2) the human organism is complex and (3) the ability of the body to repair itself is a complex function."
The DNA healing system: Is always on call and works continuously; it diagnoses damage; removes damaged structures and replaces them; acts to neutralize injury and make corrections.
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