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Power Healing: Use the New Integrated Medicine to Cure Yourself Paperback – June 1, 1998
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Basically, Dr. Galland is making the point that modern medicine has lost its way, and is now doing much damage in some cases, and little good in many others. Of course, this is a point rather stridently made by many authors advancing alternatives to the offerings of the medical establishment, such as meditation, acupuncture, herbal therapies, dietary supplements, and so on. Dr. Galland is sympathetic to many of these alternatives, but what is different about his approach is that he wishes to bring them into the fold, as it were, rather than break from the flock. He was trained as a physician in the usual way, a way he now feels is wrong, that modern medicine is expending much effort to solve the wrong problems.
Healing sick people by observing them, interacting with them, and restoring their balance is the foundation of medical art, but somewhere in the 19th century that approach got displaced when microorganisms began to be associated with disease. It was a short step to claim that these microorganisms "caused" the disease - one germ, one disease. Before long a new type of doctor began to dominate medical care, the "specialist". Specialists were trained to think of a disease as an entity with characteristics that were independent of the person it happened to be afflicting. They specifically rejected the view that individual differences mattered, except in a very superficial way. They were emotionally and intellectually ill-equipped to deal with the messiness of real people whose internal ecologies and external circumstances actually determined whether they got sick, and how it showed up. Many people are infected with the TB bacillus, but only a few get TB. And so for so many other diseases.
Dr. Galland believes that one's diet, exercise, habits, emotional life, physical environment, as well as one's intrinsic makeup and history (even one's developmental history in the womb!) should all be factored into any diagnosis, to interpret symptoms and suggest treatment. This he calls "patient-centered" diagnosis, to distinguish is from current practice, which might be called "disease-centered" diagnosis. He believes that many problems that are today attacked with a variety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, or, more radically, with surgery, are really the result of imbalances in a person's life. Some of these, such as diet, are rather easily correctable, and simple changes in eating habits, perhaps with a course of diet supplements, can reverse the course of what had been tenacious maladies. Other problems, such as stress or loneliness, can impair immune function, but may sometimes be difficult to correct, intertwined as they are with a person's entire way of life. This book has many case studies that bring home the reality of all these issues, and form an entertaining narrative backbone to the discussion.
In general, the author favors the restoration of balance over bringing in the big medical guns. But sometimes the guns are necessary. It may happen, for example, that a person has allergies or nagging illness that result from an undetected (because unchecked-for) parasite, acquired years earlier. In this case, the doctor might prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the parasite, along with dietary supplements such as live lactobacillus to restore the intestinal flora the antibiotic will also decimate.
This book gives good guidance in eating, in particular, and suggests methods to avoid the health hazards and toxins endemic to modern life. And for issues he does not discuss in detail he often refers to a book that does, so a reader can learn more if he or she is interested. Dr. Galland has no answers, really, to the social and emotional barrenness that afflicts many of us. (How could he?) But he observes that our health is as much a effect of our emotional well-being as it is of anything physical that happens to us.
What made this book so impressive to me was the references that backed up virtually everything the author said. And these were multiple references in the scientific literature to controlled studies. So the meta-message of this book is that you do not have to check your critical faculties at the door when you go in for an holistic approach to health.
but they changed it to be more "self-help-y" later on in re-issue. Dr. Galland seems to be semi-retired and his son has taken over his brand to no
good end. I mention this only so you do not think this book is like what you might find from the Dr. Galland brand these days. In fact when
Dr. Galland wrote this he made no attempt to "brand" himself, per se, as is so rampant these days by every person who has even a small thought.
Of all the books I have read on health and healing this is at the very top of my list. I feel like getting into too much "description" is just
going to fall short of the experience of reading the book. It's intelligent, sensible, intuitive and so well written. I can't imagine not being
enriched by reading this book.
No it does not have the little cartoons catchy captions or super-star author brand thing going on. This book was written before the
days of "Healing for Dummies" and "Waist Management" -- way back when integrated medicine was just coming into view in America
thanks to such great pioneers as Andrew Weil and Jon Kabat-Zinn. This is a seminal work and a great read. Everyone should read it.