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Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease Hardcover – November 3, 2016
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"There’s only a few books a year that I think really deserve to be in everyone’s library. This is one of them. . . . It’s loaded with great information, and it can save your life or the life of someone you love.”--Dr. Joseph Mercola, founder and director, mercola.com
"Heart disease is a national crisis, and the most common treatments don’t lower the risk of death in most cases. Rather than despair, Thomas Cowan meets these devastating realities with the firm belief that there must be another solution. Through many years of research and medical practice, he challenges the common notion of what the heart is for―to pump blood. Through observation, geometry, and scientific insight, he proposes that the heart is a hydraulic ram rather than pump because it uses suction rather than force to build the momentum of the blood. And he makes it clear that this change of perspective makes all the difference by exploring heart attacks, what they aren’t and what they are. The treatment Cowan advises in Human Heart, Cosmic Heart is personal and holistic (whole-body remedies), driven by the patient’s own life story in order to show the whole of the nervous system. The result is a refreshingly balanced approach focused on responding to the needs of the body rather than reacting to the problem experienced in the heart. Throughout the book, Cowan shares his personal journey of learning, making the book approachable and warm as well as logical and authoritative. By sharing his learning process, he conveys a deep understanding of the cardiovascular system and its needs. Cowan, a self-proclaimed doubter and nonconformist, brings a voice of skepticism and hope into a genre packed with dry, black-and-white thinking. His insights are relentlessly rooted in research, and he explains medical science in an accessible way, including clear diagrams and step-by-step explanations that move at just the right pace for educated adults without moving too slowly for medical professionals. This book is life-changing for those trying to understand their own bodies, or those of loved ones, and it’s truly transformative in the hands of medical professionals, especially young doctors.”
“This book blew my mind. I will admit . . . I thought I was simply going to be reading an interesting memoir of a good physician. Instead, I discovered the most groundbreaking, unorthodox, outside-the-box treatise on the heart I have ever stumbled upon. If you have a heart and you want to live a long time, you must, must read this book.”--Ben Greenfield, author of the New York Times bestseller, Beyond Training; founder and owner, Greenfield Fitness Systems; www.bengreenfieldfitness.com
“What happens when the medical profession views the heart as a mechanical pump? We get ghoulish surgeries, medications with horrible side effects, and soulless low-fat diets. Tom Cowan asks us to look anew at the heart; first step is the demonstration that the blood pumps the heart, not vice versa. From this observation comes a way of treating heart disease that is more effective, more gentle, more felicitate than conventional protocol. Part biography, part wisdom, part practical advice, Human Heart, Cosmic Heart will change the way you look at the process of healing and the miraculous world of the human body.”--Sally Fallon Morell, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation
About the Author
Thomas Cowan, MD, has studied and written about many subjects in medicine including nutrition, homeopathy, anthroposophical medicine, and herbal medicine. He is the principal author of The Fourfold Path to Healing and co-author (with Sally Fallon) of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dr. Cowan has served as vice president of the Physicians’ Association for Anthroposophic Medicine and is a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation®. He also writes the “Ask the Doctor” column in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts (the Weston A. Price Foundation’s quarterly magazine) and has lectured throughout the United States and Canada. He has three grown children and currently practices medicine in San Francisco where he resides with his wife, Lynda Smith.
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I’ve been working on my own health for years now, and have come to many of the same conclusions as Dr Cowan. I expect his prescription for a healthy diet and lifestyle will help the people who follow it, as I’ve seen the results first-hand.
But I also found much that was new to me, from an exploration of how the structure of the heart is shaped by its function, ideas about how the heart really works and integrates with blood transport, a description of the mechanics of heart attacks that is very different from mainstream concepts, but which makes total sense and fits with everything else I’ve learned. The book speaks to more than the mechanics of how our bodies work, also talking about our spiritual nature and our connections to other people and the nature that surrounds us. The book leads naturally to more questions, and new paths to explore, and I am much indebted for these signposts!
As someone that suffers from high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease, I was exited to read this as I've always been a fan of alternative thinking when it comes to medicine (I use the word alternative not so much as a replacement for homeopathic, but in a sense that more "modern" treatment thinking tends to be more effective). Unfortunately, I felt the ~120 pages of this book came up empty.
What I loved about this book:
-Dr. Coawn's thoughts on hydrophilic tubes and how the heart isn't a pump is fascinating. Truly cutting edge thinking and I hope that more research is dedicated towards the idea that our circulatory system is really a series of hydrophilic tubes.
-The book is a short, easy read.
What I didn't like about this book:
-The book never really figures out what it is trying to accomplish. It can be a memoir at times, it can branch out into extraordinarily philosophical exploration, and finally it can be, albeit brief, a manual for healthy living. Outside of one single supplement and one single alternative treatment method, there is no real plan on fixing a diseased or broken heart.
-Dr. Cowan sometimes goes...really...really...far out in his thinking. There are whole chapters dedicated to the fact that we should think of the earth in geocentric terms instead of the almost universally accepted understanding that the sun is the center of our solar system. The author also spends a chapter trying understand gold and the human obsessions associated with it. These feel like utter distractions from whatever lost thesis Dr. Cowan is trying to explore and unfortunately consume the latter half of the book.
-The book, in my opinion, completely lacks a "so what." There really isn't a conclusion and Dr. Cowan spends the final chapter contemplating why heart transplant recipients often receive the feelings of their deceased donors. This is interesting, but the author spends no time trying to scientifically explain what his thought process is, which is what it felt like throughout most of the book.
Don't get me wrong, listening to Dr. Cowan on the podcast convinced me he is a deeply intelligent doctor. Unfortunately, his thoughts are completely unorganized in this text and perhaps could have used a better editor.
DO NOT buy this book if you're looking for a guide/manual/instruction on a sick or diseased heart. You'll find yourself just as confused as I am trying to understand why you just read about the geographic and acute angles of the heart as an organ, why there are poor people in the world, and how the author's lifelong curiosity with gold will somehow heal or abate your ailments.