Top positive review
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Excellent resource for self-healing
on June 14, 2004
In clear, non-doctrinaire language, Jahnke lays out four techniques that can be used to open the door to the body's internal healing resources: Gentle Movement, Massage, Breathing Techniques and Relaxation. This book is not going to make you a "master" of any one of these techniques, but that's exactly the point: you don't need to be highly skilled to make a profound change for yourself (or eventually others).
As a long-time yoga practitioner, I was always very interested in the chapters on movement, breathing and relaxation, but for some reason resented reading the information on massage. Once I finally hunkered down and gave the techniques a try, I was amazed at the difference I noticed almost immediately in terms of stiffness and energy levels. I was even aware of some sensations in my organs, particularly my kidneys. This has now become my favorite part of the self-healing "practice".
This is an inclusive blue-print for health maintenance (or improvement). It gives techniques and then variation for all of them, but it demands neither that everything listed be done or that they be done in a particular order. Jahnke stresses several times that the person using the techniques should tailor them as needed. Also, over time the techniques used will change. He also gives permission for people to find other kinds of exercises and modalities that are useful. The motto seems to be "If it works, use it."
I particularly enjoyed Jahnke's chapter on relaxation. Meditation is something that yoga and qigong practitioners can, ironically, get very anxious about. The "ultimate" goal in many traditions is enlightenment, and it's humbling not to get there (time and time again). Jahnke tries to alleviate that anxiety by stressing that the goal here is relaxation, not enlightenment (although he does still leave the door open).
He takes the same soft tone in the chapter on massage. True, the system of acupuncture is vast and (rightfully) takes years to study and master. Jahnke, however, waves much of that off, advising the reader to instead focus on the degree of the sensation experienced rather than obsessing over the "correct" point. For what it's worth, as mentioned above, I have tried the method his way, and I noticed an immediate difference in how I felt.
What I found most compelling were his ending chapters where he discussed the potential of self-healing done in a group setting. While some of this statements may seem far-fetched (self-healing as the first step in a health and welfare revolution?), the descriptions of the "healing field" rang true to anyone who has ever participated in group prayer, chanting, meditation or even a really good yoga class. But if that's too much for some, that's okay- in keeping with his "line item veto" philosophy, it's a possibility, not a requirement.
I look forward to reading more from Jahnke.