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The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing [Paperback]

M.D. Mimi Guarneri M.D. FACC
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2, 2007
Every day, 2,600 Americans die of cardiovascular disease -- and despite remarkable interventional and surgical procedures, over 650,000 new heart attacks occur annually. In The Heart Speaks, Dr. Mimi Guarneri reveals groundbreaking new research that the heart is a multilayered, complex organ, possessing intelligence, memory, and decision-making abilities independent from the mind -- and that healing the heart can have more to do with healing the mind and soul than we ever knew.

From childhood in a family riddled with heart disease to a medical career facing the pounding heartbeats of cardiac emergencies, Dr. Guarneri draws us into the intimate moments of life and death, and leads us on a riveting exploration of the heart's many mysteries. Through her compelling memoir we see that it is only by knowing the whole heart -- its mental, emotional, spiritual, and universal aspects -- that we can truly heal.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A lyrical writer as well as a cardiologist, the author, founder and medical director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, describes how she learned that beyond the power of our most sophisticated medical equipment is a physician's humanity—"the listening ear, the healing touch, the devices of healers throughout time." Guarneri became highly accomplished at angioplasty and stent procedures, but came to realize that those she treated could also be helped by proper nutrition and stress reduction techniques such as yoga and visualization. She became committed to practices such as those of Dean Ornish, with whom she has worked, to reverse coronary disease with diet, exercise, meditation and support groups. Guarneri studied the link between depression and heart disease, and opened her mind to the validity of other alternative treatments, including energy healing, visualization before and after surgery, and spiritual practices. What is particularly attractive about this chronicle is the author's graceful integration of her own story—the destructive effect on her of stress and overwork—into those of her patients. Guarneri deplores the financial constraints that prevent doctors from spending time with patients and that many physicians have developed "a mechanic's mentality," focused on fixing rather than getting to know their patients.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This deeply personal book...can change your life and might even save it."
-- Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love & Survival

"[A] groundbreaking and heartwarming book...blending the latest research with unforgettable true stories."
-- Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., author of The Heart's Code

"This is an honest, informative, and moving book by a leader in the transformation of medicine and health of medicine and health care. I recommend it."
-- Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging

"Like all genuine healers throughout history, Dr. Mimi Guarneri knows the power of story to heal, to make whole. She is a physician of the heart in all its many meanings."
-- Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Extraordinary Power of Ordinary Things

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 Reprint edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743273125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743273121
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Laws of Health and Healing have been gradually evolving over the last century.

Some treatments that worked well at times in the past seem less effective now, while some other methods are becoming more stable and more reproducible. As clinicians and individuals in all walks of life learn more about how to work with these transformations, they also learn about new ways of thinking. We have to move beyond simple dualities, such as ill/not ill, sick/healthy right/wrong; we have to learn that meaning and diseases of meaning are central to much of what ails us, and that it is difficult to maintain wellness without a sense of purpose. We also learn to move beyond a constant need for certainty and to understand the importance of metaphor in our lives.

Dr. Guaneri's book is admirable for many reasons. She has embraced many of these principles, and one of the messages from her book is not just a plea to understand the whole person but also to understand metaphor. It is no coincidence that over many centuries, cultures the world over have spoken of people having a "broken heart," or of being "heart sick." Empirical research has shown not only the dreadful effects of anger and hostility on the heart, but also the dangers to the coronary arteries of living in an angry, unbalanced relationship.

As a young medical student I had the great good fortune to come across the writings of Rudolf Steiner. I was always struck by a seemingly odd comment about the heart being not just a pump. Particularly since I read this at the same time as the discovery of the first cardiac-derived hormone.

Dr. Guaneri reviews some of the evidence that the heart is more than a pump, and that it has, in fact, an active little brain of its own that communicates with the one in the head.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Path to Healing February 1, 2006
By Jimolly
Format:Hardcover
A physician that prescribes 'a small dog' for treatment, supports a patient's vision of angels at the bedside and embraces the 'laying on of hands' for healing, has my vote of confidence. Dr. Mimi Guarneri sensitively intertwines her personal path to healing with her patients' experiences in such a way that you instinctively start reflecting on your own life journey. And that is a wonderful gift this book offers everyone. I have often wondered how much damage my own life experiences have had on my personal health. You will enjoy the book, however, if you or a family member suffers from heart disease I highly recommend this easy read. I was left hopeful for a day when more physicians stop pushing pills and start having compassionate interactions with patients who have a unique story to tell. I am grateful my physician already does.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt stories shared by a compassionate healer. January 26, 2006
By K. J.
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Guarneri is a rare healer. She has excellent technical skills, and what makes her so special is that she is also a kind, attentive, warm, caring, spiritual, and compassionate healer. Dr. Guarneri listens to her patients and makes them feel special and cared for at a time in their lives when they are vulnerable and afraid. She teaches as well as learns from her patients. Dr. Guarneri teaches her patients that through diet, nutrition, exercise, stress management, spirituality, faith, hope, and the love and support from family and friends, you can make your life better and your heart stronger. She treats the whole person, body, mind, and soul. She has devoted her life to healing the hearts of her patients and family. Through her patients' and her own heartfelt stories, Dr. Guarneri shares with us how healing it can be for us to listen to what our hearts are telling us for what our hearts say, may save our lives, to be compassionate to ourselves and each other, to be open to complementary medicine, to have hope, faith, gratitude, forgiveness, and spirituality, and to connect our hearts to one another and a greater power.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you die of a broken heart? ;-l March 11, 2006
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent, fascinating and insightful read. Dr Guarneri knows her stuff and has writen this book well. She wrote it because obviously we need to think about nutrition, cholesterol and excercise, but there are deeper issues too like peoples emotions. She believes that heart problems can be caused by the stress's in our lives and our emotions - we could litterally die of a broken heart. Emotional events can weaken heart muscles. You produce stress hormones when you are upset which raise blood sugars and blood pressure etc which ultimately weaken or can destroy the heart. She talks about this in the book and on the flip side, talks about happy people too and how positive emotions and feelings do good for our hearts. When we are happy, our hearts beat in a coherent rythym. She says we have to look at our hearts in various ways. We need to look at it as a pump to keep us alive but to also look at the emotional heart, the mental heart and the spiritual heart in order to keep us healthy.

I believe she knows her stuff and she wrote this well and has made it totally interesting and it's looking at our hearts in a different way from other books on the same subject.

If you have a healthy and happy outlook on life, you will also have a happy and healthy heart.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting October 8, 2006
By Dog Mom
Format:Hardcover
I found the book to be very interesting and well-written. It explained a lot of different reasons why people have heart attacks and heart problems. But, I was ultimately disappointed because Dr. Guarnei didn't give any suggestions on how patients could help themselves. Well, yes, certainly one could move to the San Diego area and attend her alternative healing sessions - at $50.00 a pop - and you have to do two to three a week! Not for nothing is the site located in one of the wealtiert communities in the nation - La Jolla. I'm sure a lot of heart patients wish they had an extra $600 a month to learn to breathe. I would have been more empressed if the doctor had included a section of things real, normal people can do.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Heart Speaks
This is a very worthwhile book for anyone interested in how the heart responds to the variety of experiences a person is exposed to in a lifetime. Dr. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Shirley Quinn
5.0 out of 5 stars FOR THE BROKEN-HEARTED!
A timely book as we're finding out the heart is the center of our emotions after all! I'm still reading it & will probably read it more than once because I have a "broken"... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Worsham
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This book has a an amazing flow to it.....it comes straight from Dr. Mimi heart.
The world would be a far more healthier place if we could all be so fortunate to have a doctor... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 3 months ago by Preeti Bangalore
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
One of the best, most compelling books I have read! I wish we had more physicians who were this insightful, thoughtful and caring,,,and able to embrace and combine new technology... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cindy
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing not uplifting
Depressing book unsuited post surgery. Book seems designed to scare people to eat better and exercise. Read more
Published 4 months ago by D. Crowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I loved this book. It really described how reactive the heart is to our life experiences. I wish all doctors were this caring and intuitive.
Published 4 months ago by Jennifer Damron
5.0 out of 5 stars De Manuelon
Excellent!! Miss Guarneri is una Santa!!
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Great book. Please read.
Published 6 months ago by Bill Threlkeld
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 6 months ago by Phyllis Stuart
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More About the Author

Board-certified in cardiology, internal medicine, nuclear medicine and holistic medicine, Dr. Guarneri is the founder and the medical director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Guarneri was an English Literature major as an undergraduate at New York University. Her medical degree is from SUNY Medical Center in New York, where she graduated number one in her class. Dr. Guarneri served her internship and residency at Cornell Medical Center, where she later became chief medical resident. She served cardiology fellowships at both New York University Medical Center and Scripps Clinic. Dr. Guarneri served as an attending in interventional cardiology at Scripps Clinic, where she placed thousands of coronary stents. Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive and more holistic approach to cardiovascular disease, she pioneered the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine where she uses state-of-the-art cardiac imaging technology and lifestyle change programs to aggressively diagnose, prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. She is a fellow member of the American College of Cardiology, Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Medical Women's Association, and a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. In 2009, Dr. Guarneri was honored as the ARCS scientist of the year.

Dr. Guarneri has authored several articles that have appeared in professional journals such as the Journal of Echocardiography and the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Guarneri participated as a member of the writing committee for the American College of Cardiology Foundation Complementary Medicine Expert Consensus Document. This expert consensus statement on integrating complementary medicine into cardiovascular medicine was published in 2005.

She is the author of The Heart Speaks, a poignant collection of stories from heart patients who have benefited from integrative medicine approaches. The Heart Speaks and her clinical work have been featured on NBC Today and PBS's To the Contrary and Full Focus. In her book Dr. Guarneri takes the reader on a journey of the heart - exploring the emotional heart, able to be crushed by loss; the intelligent heart, with a nervous system all its own; and the spiritual heart, which yearns for a higher purpose. With groundbreaking new research and unparalleled experience, Dr. Guarneri skillfully weaves the science and drama of the heart's unfolding. Her work was also featured in a two-part PBS documentary, The New Medicine.

Dr. Guarneri is regularly quoted in national publications such as the Yoga Journal, Body+Soul, Trustee magazine and WebMD. She has been recognized for her national leadership in integrative medicine by the Bravewell Collaborative and now serves as chair of the Bravewell Clinical Network for integrative medicine. In 2008 she was honored by Project Concern International for her work in Southern India, and she currently serves on the International sub-committee for Direct-Relief International. Dr. Guarneri also served on an advisory panel for the Institute of Medicine to explore the science and practice of integrative medicine for promoting the nation's health. The summit's findings were released Feb. 25-27, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Most recently, she was elected president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.

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The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing
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