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Discovering the Body's Wisdom: A Comprehensive Guide to More than Fifty Mind-Body Practices That Can Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress, and Foster Health, Spiritual Growth, and Inner Peace Paperback – June 1, 1996
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There are so many different kinds of bodywork available these days, many people find it hard to choose. Massage therapist and health writer Mirka Knaster's comprehensive book is a good place to start. She covers just about everything in both the Eastern and Western traditions--from various types of yoga, martial arts, and massage to newer practices such as Rolfing and the Alexander Technique to esoteric movement and touching practices of which most people have never even heard. The one thing all these techniques have in common is that they seek to bring healing and self-discovery through physical practices. "Many people first turn to bodyways because the pain of an injury or chronic condition forces them to seek alternatives," Knaster writes. "The other motivation ... comes from a natural drive toward healthy or optional functioning." Either way, she says, these practices help us overcome our disconnection from our body and our feelings.
It would be hard to overstate how much sheer information is supplied in this book. Not only does Knaster describe each technique and explain what it's supposed to do for you, she gives its history and a brief biography of the inventors, along with addresses and phone numbers for obtaining more information. A chapter on working with a given practitioner helps answer the multitude of questions readers are likely to have: How do you know if he or she is properly trained? How should you feel after a session? What do you do if your relationship with the practitioner seems too intimate or even improper? While anyone looking to get involved with a given technique would do well to find books that discuss it in greater depth, some may find that Discovering the Body's Wisdom already provides everything they need. Either way, it's a fascinating book, and a great reference to keep around.
From Publishers Weekly
If ever a book could have used a subtitle, this is one. An explanatory phrase like "Bodywork Therapies Old and New" would go far to alerting readers to the scope and purpose of this comprehensive consumer guide to the myriad bodywork disciplines currently available. After explaining the purpose of bodywork and the psychological and physical benefits ascribed to it, Knaster, a licensed massage therapist and former Ford Foundation Fellow, suggests how best to choose a therapeutic approach and what to expect from it, and how to find and evaluate bodywork practitioners. Knaster considers Western systems, with their emphasis on structure, function and movement, and Eastern approaches, which emphasize energy, or the life force. Each section concludes with information on training. The margins of the pages are distractingly busy with quotations, which, while relevant, make the necessarily complex explanations more difficult to follow. Long paragraphs set off by shading offer valuable first-person accounts or do-it-yourself exercises by which a reader can sample the practice of a therapy, but these too are interruptive. Despite its design flaws, Knaster's comprehensive study will be of considerable help to those who want to know the differences between the Alexander Technique and the Rosen Method or between Shiatsu and Aikido.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Down to earth, honest and interesting.