Customer Reviews: The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing
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on March 11, 2006
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. She mentions the important work being done at the HeartMath Institute and also takes a brief look at some of the challenging reports of some heart transplant recipients who appear to take on some of the characteristics and even memories of their donors.

The whole book is well written and thought provoking. This is not just a book for those who have heart disease: I recommend it to anyone interested in the new science of medicine that is now emerging and the extraordinary possibilities that it carries with it.

Think about and apply some of the principles in this book. It could profoundly change your life for the better.
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on February 1, 2006
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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on March 11, 2006
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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on January 26, 2006
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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on October 8, 2006
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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on March 1, 2006
BTW,I took the title of this review from Dean Ornish's remarks on the back cover, 'This book can change your life and might even save it.' I only wish this book had been available before and after I had a heart attack 3+ years ago...

Given the subject matter --heart disease -- you'd think this book would be depressing, but it's not..Very hopeful and helpful..It's also a great read...I couldn't put it down.

I've done a great deal of research on heart disease in trying to come to terms with my own challenges, but that's raised as many questions as answers...Using a more wholistic approach, Dr. Guarneri helps provide insights into aspects of heart disease that are puzzling and can't be explained by conventional research or medicine....In fact, in all my earlier reading, I can't recall another book or article that integrates explanations of state of the art cardiology with alternative medicines as well as Dr. Guarneri's does. (Ornish's book on Love and Survival comes closest)
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Guarneri makes a compelling case for psychological and environmental causes of heart disease. Her stories are delightful I loved the story of "Jean," a 70-something whose life was turned around when she adopted a dog. I loved "Joe," whose cross-country journey let him die with a smile.

Unfortunately, most of us won't have access to doctors like Guarneri. We're more likely to encounter doctors like one colleague she describes, who calls patients "idiots" when they're non-compliant. We won't find doctors like Guarneri working in most PPOs, let alone HMOs.

So it would have been helpful to offer some advice to ordinary people. Now that Guarneri's given us the secret language of healing, it's time for learning the secret language of getting decent, humane health care.

How do we cope with a heartless medical system? Guarneri describes a woman with a heart condition whose doctors ignored the signs in her EKG; instead, they diagnosed gallstones. Doctors (even women doctors) tend to be especially arrogant when dealing with women patients, so I'm not at all surprised.

We are given an eclectic (but not annotated) list of books at the end. No doubt some conservative doctors will raise eyebrows. I'd have liked to see more resources. Where, for instance, can we learn more about the diets Guarneri describes?

And how do we avoid stress, depression and loneliness in the twenty-first century? My career change clients share horror stories of life in many contemporary workplaces.

Regardless, I enjoyed this book immensely. The stories are heart-warming and Guarneri (or a nameless editor) writes warmly and well.
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on January 26, 2006
The Heart Speaks is a concise and fascinating examination of the underlying causes of heart disease. Like Dr. Guarneri, heart disease runs in my family. The book has given me much to think about.
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on May 15, 2008
Dr. Guarneri, MD has written a very fine book. While there isn't a great deal of new material within the book, there is still enough new and insightful information to rank this book as a first choice read.

Guarneri covers three aspects of the heart, the physical, the "language" and items going beyond the physical heart. The language of the heart outlines the non-physical factors that do affect heart health. To me, this isn't new information however the fact that an esteemed doctor as deemed these factors as extremely problematic for one's heart health certainly lends much creedence to the factors.

I must advise any readers that it is not my style to give a book report review but to simply advise if the book is worth the read or not and to give some simple information. With this in mind, I would recommend this title to anyone and everyone. She is a good author using examples that are tangible, she writes in an extremely readable fashion and she keeps the book interesting. She also gives new information that will change your outlook on your heart and encourage you to maintain its health through your healthy habits and surroundings.

Buy it, borrow it, read it. It's worth it.
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on March 5, 2006
Having heard Dr. Guarneri speak at out Healing Touch Conference I was so looking forward to reading her book. I was not disappointed! While Dr. Guarneri is a skilled and competent cardiologist, she is also warm, funny, informative and really grounded. These qualities come through in her writings. If you want to know what true healing is about, this is the book for you. I am recommending it to everyone.
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