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Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom Paperback – June 25, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Quite possibly every female over the age of 12 will find this huge book enlightening, pain saving, and perhaps even lifesaving. Think of it as a much more empowering and holistic Our Bodies, Ourselves. Northrup is a gynecologist who acknowledges the power of natural therapies and herbs, but also maintains that allopathic treatments, including surgery, are sometimes best. In Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, she covers the treatment of many physical concerns--among them PMS, menstrual cramps, breast cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, depression, childbirth, abortion, cystitis, and menopause--explaining how many of these physical problems have roots in emotional upsets. For example, a woman who is unhappy with her marriage may be infertile because deep down, she knows that her husband is not the right man to have children with; a teenager who has cramps may be having problems accepting society's expectations of her as a woman.

Some readers may be put off at first by Northrup's obviously unconventional ways of thinking. Her medical approach is decidedly feminist, blaming our "addictive" and patriarchal society for many of the health problems plaguing women. She clearly illustrates her ideas, however, by drawing upon two decades of experience from her medical practice and citing dozens of her patients' remarkable personal stories. Northrup also delineates the best way to go about tuning in to one's body and mind in order to start the healing process, a self-induced therapy of sorts. She also includes in the book a copy of the eye-opening health inventory she gives her clients. It includes unusual questions such as "Are you bored with your life?" and "Do you have enough friends or neighbors?"

This book will be of special benefit to women who are pregnant or entering menopause. Northrup is an unequivocal believer in natural births and her dialogue on the birthing process will remove the fears of even the most petrified mother-to-be. She criticizes episiotomies (she should know; she's given birth without one) and supports midwifery. She also warns against the harmfulness of cesarean births and includes illustrations of acupressure points that help turn around a breech baby.

For women in perimenopause or menopause, Northrup will help turn this life phase into one of peace and personal growth instead of one of suffering. She was one of the first doctors to use natural progesterone to treat menopausal symptoms, and this revised edition includes a clear primer on the latest in hormone replacement therapy and how to determine if it's right for you. Northrup also expounds upon the benefits of acupuncture and herbalism--as well as emotional self-analysis--for alleviating hot flashes and mood swings. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This guide goes far beyond standard self-help books, assessing women's health within the context of their work, families and society. The author, a holistic physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, seeks to illuminate the basic conditions of women's lives that lead to their health problems. A founder of Women to Women, a clinic that practices within the context of conventional medicine, Northrup, in 17 years of caring for women, was led to take a holistic view of women's health. She cites dramatic and affecting cases of women healing from long-term illnesses, through alternative medical methods such as herbal medicine, dietary changes and relaxation techniques. The book begins with an exploration of how society influences the way in which women think about and care for their bodies. Part two provides a comprehensive description of women's anatomy and includes a list of conditions and concerns from fibroids to hysterectomy. The book's third portion discusses what type of guidance to look for in a health care provider: it is essential, Northrup says, to develop a working partnership with a health care team. Her work is based on the belief that the cultural context of a woman's life affects her mental and physical health. And so, women must learn that their wounding, if any--physical, psychological and spiritual--is part of a larger cultural wound. Northrup's book is as accessible as it is empowering.
Copyright 1994 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: 906 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Rev Upd edition (March 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553382098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382099
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christiane Northrup, M.D., visionary pioneer in women's health, is a board-certified ob/gyn, former assistant clinical professor of ob/gyn at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and New York Times bestselling author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and "The Wisdom of Menopause". In 2013, Reader's Digest named Dr. Northrup one of "100 Most Trusted People in America."

Internationally known for her empowering approach, Dr. Northrup embraces medicine that acknowledges the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit, and teaches women to create health by tuning into their inner wisdom. After decades spent transforming women's understanding of their sacred bodies and processes, Dr. Northrup now teaches women to thrive at every stage of life in her latest New York Times bestselling book "Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-being".

As a business owner, physician, former surgeon, mother, writer, and speaker, Dr. Northrup acknowledges our individual and collective capacity for growth, freedom, joy, and balance. When she's not traveling, Dr. Northrup loves dancing Argentine tango, going to the movies, getting together with friends and family, boating, and reading.

Don't miss Dr. Northrup's cutting-edge information. Join her worldwide community on www.drnorthrup.com, Facebook, Twitter, and her Internet radio show Flourish!


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 223 people found the following review helpful By R Rheaume on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the first major book to look at women's health systematically from a holistic perspective. My sister, an ND, gave this to me many years ago. I have referred to it many times since I first read it and my friends always want to borrow it. It's a great reference.
If you are looking purely for an objective scientific book on women's health then don't bother with this. There is a lot of scientific info but there's a lot of "non-science" as well. Read the lowest reviews first which fairly summarise the weaknesses of this text. I agree that this book comes across as flaky in places however it is a breakthrough work in terms of systematically exploring the integration of mind and body and the effect of this balance on health.
While I applaud the effort to make people realise how their mental state can impact their health, the other side of that sword is that women feel they are to blame for having the "wrong state of mind" which leads to poor health.
For instance in one story a woman became infertile because, in the author's opinion, she didn't feel her husband was the right person to have children with. If you're pragmatic you can hear this story, consider if it applies to you and discard it if it doesn't fit. But some women could develop a guilt complex over something that is upsetting on its own without the added blame.
Ultimately, the problem with this kind of thinking is that it leads to a vicious worry cycle: you worry that you might not have the right state of mind for good health... and then you worry that your worrying risks your health further! But to ignore this altogether also poses risk. Stress does cause disease and an integrated approach to health cannot exist without considering a person's state of mind.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 1997
Format: Audio Cassette
The cassette tapes are of a lecture by Dr. Northrup. Although it is entertaining it does not have the depth of information you may be expecting from an "audio book". The lecture is lacking in that she shows information to the audience present at the taping which is not verbally discussed to transmit the information to the audio-only audience. If you are desiring Dr. Northrup's knowledge of the medical profession and the metaphysical knowledge of women's bodies, buy the book. Jana Sulliva
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110 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Becky on November 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a person who reads a lot, and I learn a great deal about myself by sifting through the wisdom of writers. There have been many books over the years that have touched me deeply and positively impacted my life; of all of them, this book is probably the most personally important book I have ever read. Dr. Northrup has a lot of facts about various conditions and ailments, but her book goes FAR beyond that. Her message is that we all have the ability to be completely whole, healthy people, in every aspect of our lives, and that each of us has the power to change our own lives for the better. She talks about how emotional issues of every type can affect our physical health, and illustrates over and over again how problems in our body are actually our souls' way of teaching us how to heal and grow. The stories she tells about her own and her patients' healings are amazing; her message of hope is the most real and specific I have ever read.
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123 of 140 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a compassionate, extremely well-written book that gets to the core of the physical and emotional issues related to every aspect of women's health. The idea here is NOT to instill self-blame for getting ill, but rather the issue is to instill self-love through understanding of our bodies and illnesses. Best of all, it's about health, not just illness.
This is a very empowering, healing book for women that includes the hardcore clincal data & references, the stories of actual women, and the nutritional, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing. It accomplishes all of this in clear, easy to read laymen's terms. It helps to debunk a number of misconceptions that affect our approach to health.
This book is by and for women. This book treats women with respect and acknowledgement for what we instinctively know about our bodies and our health. Every woman should own a copy of this superb health reference source.
Dr. Northrup's appearances on PBS specials, Oprah, and others along with her leadership at the Women to Women health care center, and her past presidency of the American Holistic Medical Association, to name just a few, provide all the credibility anyone could ask for. Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, as the name implies, is about and for WOMEN. It succeeds on every level.
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75 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Jackie M. Sthilaire VINE VOICE on December 4, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After seeing Christiane Northrup on PBS I immediately ordered my first copy from Amazon. This book is not to be read in one or two sittings. It should be read one chapter at a time, to digest every morsel of her expertise and knowledge. Keep this one close by, so you can pick it up on those bleak days. This book is remarkably low priced to make it affordable for everyone. It's the best gift you can give to any woman in your life. My three daughters will be getting each one at Christmas along with a weekend retreat at a lovely place that I found in Maine by the ocean. This will be my gift to them, so that they can take some time out of their very busy lives and get centered on the importance of taking care of spirit, body and soul. You can't be for others if you don't take care of yourself. You can't give what you don't have, if you push yourself beyond your limitations you get very negative, burnt out, depressed and overwhelmed. It's not easy to stay focused and centered but it is a must, if we are all going to survive in this sometimes very noisy world. Christiane Northrup, I salute you for taking the time in your busy life and giving of yourself in seeing this book published. Other books that have help me become more centered: Care of the Soul-Guide to every day by Thomas Moore and Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss.
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