Health and Wellness

This section is dedicated to varying books of different levels of professional depth. All the books therein are interesting and useful no matter one’s level of knowledge or experience regarding the topic of health and wellness.

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Bland, Jeffrey S. The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life. New York: Harper Wave, 2014. Print.

This book is a primer on functional medicine that is designed for a generalist readership. I do not agree with all of the author’s assertions and I find it vaguely annoying when Western medical care providers act as though the precepts of Chinese medicine (nurturance of health, preventative care, and successful treatment protocols for chronic illness) belong to or were “invented” by Western physicians who follow the new interest in functional biomedicine. However, for someone who is a novice to Chinese medicine or to the notion of preventative and functional medicine, this is an easy read and full of useful information. Especially good are the quizzes that help to determine one’s areas of dysfunction.

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Gustafson, Ellen. We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World. New York: Rodale, 2014. Print.

This short book, written by one of the cofounders of Feed, persuasively and passionately argues for mindful eating and for the larger cause of social justice. Using the trope of the American plate filled with hamburger, French fries, and corn on the cob, Gustafson outlines the historical and political forces surrounding how this dinner came to be and what its larger effects are, both locally (starting from the waistline) and spreading globally. Gustafson argues for local eating, healthy eating, and educated eating. This is a well-written and thoroughly researched book that deserves more than one reading.

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Kiteley, Brian. The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 2005. Print.

This little book is not just for writers and those who wish to write. Its interesting, thought-provoking assignments are valuable to anyone who might wish to practice looking at things from different perspectives, anyone who wants to try out new reactions, and anyone who wants to work on mental agility. Whether or not one chooses to write out the assignments or simply opts to think about them, this how-to makes for a fun, useful way to practice mindfulness and effect change.

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Murray, Michael T., and Joseph Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 3d. ed. 1998. New York: Atria Paperback, 2012. Print.

This hefty tome (1219 pages, including the index) is easy to read and full of useful information for anyone who wants to learn more about the body, general health and disease considerations, and ways to remain healthy. Its authors are naturopathic doctors and their approach to health relies on prevention, good nutrition, and educated choice. This is a fascinating book for students of other medical approaches (Chinese, allopathic, or otherwise) and it is a useful resource for anyone who wishes to gain knowledge for personal use or ease in communicating with medical care providers.

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Muscolino, Joseph E. The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual with Trigger Points, Referral Patterns, and Stretching. Second ed. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2016. Print.

This comprehensive textbook is designed for bodywork therapists of all sorts but it is so exciting and so useful that anyone can profitably learn from it. The book outlines techniques for assessment of muscles and trigger points; it outlines techniques for palpation of bones and joints; and it demonstrates and illuminates the palpation of muscles in such a way that the local response and the referred pain responses are clear and accessible to anyone. This is a book that any exercise physiologist, manual therapist, or self-educated muscle enthusiast will love and use quite a bit. The photographs, drawings, and self-tests are superb.

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Nhat Hanh, Thich. Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. New York: Bantam, 1992. Print.

A lovely and succinct introduction to concepts of everyday mindfulness, this small book is one to read several times. With lessons on finding peace and calm in doing the dishes, for example, or on reining in and ultimately releasing destructive anger and frustration and other like emotions, the pearls of wisdom come one after the next in this volume.

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Nelson, Douglas. The Mystery of Pain. Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2013. Print.

This is a book for professional and layman alike. Douglas Nelson, a highly experienced massage therapist and teacher, offers a comprehensive view of the mechanisms and manifestations of pain. He outlines current scientific theories and practices and gives concrete advice to sufferers and caregivers. This is an excellent and accessible book.

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Siegel, Bernie S. The Art of Healing: Uncovering your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2013. Print.

Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles, explores the connection between science and spirituality in this book, and shows how miracles can happen in the case of illness and the human capacity to heal. This can be a heart-warming book, though an atheist might not appreciate it. Still, with its anecdotes and determined optimism, it is a book that anyone can enjoy.

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Sonnenburg, Justin, and Erica Sonnenburg. The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health. New York: Penguin, 2015. Print.

The authors of this lively, approachable introduction to gut bacteria and the digestive process are on the faculty at Stanford University. Their discussion of the role that bacteria plays in gut health is written so that a non-professional audience can understand it at the same time that it is intelligent, sharp, and obviously written by academics.

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Wen, Leanna, and Joshua Kosowsky. When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2012.

 When Doctors Don’t Listen offers useful advice couched within a cautionary tale of medical excess. By presenting a series of horrifying anecdotes of patients who get sucked into a series of expensive, generally unnecessary, and even damaging tests, this easy-to-read book teaches the average medical care consumer some very good lessons in self-advocacy.

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