on April 5, 2006
Great book written by a prominent doctor and backed by solid research. The book discusses how modern medicine is way off track in treating depression, anxiety etc... and preaches seven natural, simple and effective remedies that anyone can follow to improve his or her well being. All recommendations in the book are backed by hard medical evidence. Highly, highly recommended.
on July 2, 2004
This book provides some useful insights and empirical data concerning the importance and efficacy of mind-body "alternative" approaches to relieving mental health difficulties. It focuses on the importance of the subconscious mind and related brain hemisphere in the nature of these issues, explaining why conventional approaches may have limited utility in addressing issues that are embedded in a realm that is not addressed by standard therapies. This book examines Chi/Qi-based therapies, EMDR, nutritional therapies, and other common holistic approaches that have helped many resolve emotional issues and distress. This book is an important contribution, although it is somewhat restrained in getting to the heart of certain matters. It does not really address the issue of whether the mind is a metaphysical construct that merely uses the brain as an interface or is a product of the brain [parapsychology research and related scientific investigations have clearly shown that the mind is not a product of the brain]. It also fails to meaningfully consider the possible hazards and ethical violations associated with drug treatments for mental health issues, as most health care professionals are reluctant to admit that what they have been practicing may contribute to unnecessary harmful effects for patients. This book, coming from a physician who has been immersed in the worlds of both modern western medicine and various old and new techniques of holistic medicine, should be a wake up call for many physicians and mental health professionals. With psychotherapies being not any more beneficial than having regular support from caring laypersons and drug therapies merely suppressing symptoms and often presenting further confusion and hazards to an already disturbed mind-body system, it is important for people to become aware of a more sound, holistic understanding of mental health treatment, which includes some simple techniques and interventions that don't even require an outside professional to apply. The present dominant mental health system often uses extensive and costly resources to maintain problems rather than to resolve them - isn't it a wonderful idea to make changes that would empower and heal patients while lowering health care costs?
on February 29, 2004
Record numbers of people are on Ritalin and other behavioral drugs. Yet, they are not cured of what ails them. They simply get alleviation from the symptoms. Others have been in talk therapy for months, or even years, and yet still grapple with the problems that sent them there in the first place. Is there any hope for these people? After reading "The Instinct to Heal," one can only answer with a resounding "Yes."
Behavioral drugs treat only symptoms, and they carry undesirable side-effects. Talk therapy seeks to resolve the underlying problems, but it addresses our conscious thoughts to do so. And therein lies the problem.
The human brain is composed of two structures, one imposed over the other. These two structures are very different in construction. The logical brain--the one that contains our conscious thoughts--forms a sort of covering over the emotional brain. This emotional brain is composed of limbic structures--and these are the same in all mammals.
The key to effective healing is to "reprogram" the emotional brain. This may sound like an impossible job, but it's not. The emotional brain contains natural mechanisms for self-healing. Thus, Servan-Schreiber's "instinct to heal" concept.
Servan-Schreiber explains this concept in a logical, lucid manner. But, he does this in a way that allows us reach our own conclusions. Topics covered include brain structure, heart coherence, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, the energy of light, the power of Qi, the role of Omega 3 fatty acids (or lack thereof) in depression, the role of exercise, and emotional communication.
Throughout, Servan-Schreiber provides solid evidence, anecdotal accounts, research data, and even diagrams. You can't help but learn, and enjoy doing so, as you go through this book.
Servan-Schreiber ends the text of the book by providing practical guidance for the reader to begin his or her own healing process. He makes this part easy for the reader who, though knowledgeable at this point, might still be overwhelmed by trying to put all of this together. Servan-Schreiber provides a nine-step approach, which solves that problem.
Many books that hold out promise of a better life are often thick with paper and thin with intellect. That is not the case, here. Lest you have any doubts, Servan-Schreiber has provided an extensive appendix of resources, which anyone can use to explore this topic or related ones more thoroughly. He's also provided an extensive notes section.
If you really want to tap into your own inner resources, if you're tired of expensive "cures" and false hopes, if you want an end to medical myopia in your own life or that of someone you love, this book is for you.
on March 6, 2004
With millions of Americans suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber offers seven holistic alternatives to the usual chemical-baring the soul solution. Using his work as a Doctors without Borders participant where economics forces non cost solutions, Dr. Servan-Schreiber provides other possibilities that he has observed work. Though anecdotal and the author agrees greater scientific testing should occur, he combines his observation with data in an easy to follow and even easier to use format. Readers learn about Qi (acupuncture), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, dawn simulation, heart coherence and nutrition, etc. As in the third world nations, economics plays a vital role in American as Dr. Servan-Schreiber feels many of these stand-ins are not given a chance because there is not a lot of money to be made on them. Adding a chapter on the importance of and improving personal communication in any relationship (including with one's self - "to thine own self be true"), readers receive a terrific constructive and effective reference book that offers help to those who find drugs and chit chat failing.
on March 5, 2004
"The Instinct to Heal" takes a combined look at healing through various non-traditional techniques and the most recent research in the interconnectedness of our various systems. Several relationships are examined in detail starting with neurobiology and the relationship between the emotional and logical brains. From there the author moves to the heart/brain relationship and how heart coherence affects so many parts of your emotional being. He also examines more surprising relationships like those involved in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing techniques. This particular technique uses rapid eye movement to quickly heal emotional problems. Other healing techniques examined include the energy of light, the power of Qi, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the emotional brain, love, and emotional communication. This is a fascinating journey into the relationships between our various biological and emotional systems that shows how we have an instinctual ability to heal ourselves. This is a definitive work on new research in the relationship between the mind and body and a recommended read.
on March 5, 2004
Instinct to Heal is a wonderful book on mind-body healing. The case studies are excellent and drive home the points the author makes with interest and clarity. The book is easy to read, yet filled with useful and practical information. The chapter on the cognitive and emotional brain is the best explanation I've ever read about how the brain functions. The chapters on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and acupuncture invite us to try two methods that have shown to be enormously beneficial from treating trauma to emotional blocks. Dr. David Servan-Schrieber has written a provocative book on how we can take responsibility on our journey to holistic healing. I highly recommend it.
on January 19, 2013
This is a wonderful book with a practical approach to dealing with depression. It was a gift, therefore I did not read it through - but it seemed to have structured strategies, without resorting to endless testimonials. Thank you.