Tressler (True Health, 2012), a chiropractor, says there’s nothing complicated about health and well-being: It’s as simple as A, B, C.
With the brash rhetoric of a salesman and the impassioned testimony of a preacher, Tressler delivers some compelling arguments about health perceptions. He also has a chiropractic practice to promote. Tressler begins by envisioning one’s health like a chair that needs four legs in order to stand: “right thinking, good nutrition, consistent exercise, and chiropractic.” Anyone, he says, with “common sense and no desire to hurt yourself” should acknowledge the importance of those pillars of health. Frequent quotes from the New Testament offer scriptural support for his approach, and he uses them convincingly to argue that all Christians are obligated to care for their bodies as well as their spirits. The book is divided into four main sections, the first three dedicated to the eponymous ABCs: Attitude, Behavior and Chiropractic. Much of what he says makes sense: Avoid stress. Stand up straight. Get some exercise. Eat healthfully (the food choices he outlines are refreshingly reasonable). And, with a frequent assist from the Gospels, he writes persuasively about the whole-health benefits of chiropractic care, perhaps even enough to convert some skeptics. Embedded within these arguments, however, are some more controversial ideas: Beware of vaccines. Maybe you don’t really need all that medication: “Would you like less or even NO medication? Can you picture yourself feeling amazingly well and not depending on ANY medication?...Change your ATTITUDE. Change your LIFE. Change your OUTCOME!” Tressler encourages readers to unleash their bodies’ Innate (he capitalizes it) power to heal themselves—an argument that, along with the biblical quotes, skirts the precarious edge of faith healing. To be fair, Tressler advocates for plenty of practical, preventative health actions, and by his own testimony, he has no problem seeking medical help for his own family’s broken bones. Still, his liberal use of Scripture to promote his profession and his practice (“I like the verse in Matthew 11:25-26 where Jesus said, I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children….This reminds me of how simple but profound basic foundational health is—so simple that the educated cannot even see it”) might strike some as manipulative. The fourth and final section of the book, dedicated to testimonials by Tressler’s patients, does little to dispel that feeling.
True believers may find this book life-affirming or even life-changing, but those seeking a more evenhanded, secular explanation should look elsewhere.