A wide-ranging and enthusiastic wellness approach.



A health and wellness guide that mixes Western and Eastern healing philosophies.

This follow-up from obstetrician, gynecologist, and acupuncturist Kurosu and medical doctor Kuhn (True Wellness, 2018) also melds medical practices from the East and the West, but it also sharpens its focus to problems of the mind—from anxiety to sleep disorders to depression. The authors situate their latest book squarely in the hyper-connected, always-on modern world, with all its inherent strains: “The demands that modern society places upon us, and that we place upon ourselves,” they write, “are creating a situation in which we can never fully succeed.” It centers on how one’s health may be affected by “the way you live your life day to day”; one’s sleeping and eating habits, for example, can affect one’s “ability to sustain all the physiological processes your body needs to stay healthy and in balance.” The authors supply quick thumbnail sketches of the history of Western medicine and counterbalance it with an in-depth tour of the “powerful medical system” of Eastern thought. In it, readers receive introductions to subjects that some may find familiar, such as tai chi, herbal remedies, and acupuncture, and the ways that these and other approaches can influence the body’s “bioelectromagnetic” energy. Some readers may be skeptical of some of the material here, as when the authors talk about the “phases of the universe” being “water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.” It also necessarily obliges the authors to talk about the nature of the placebo effect, as mainstream Western medicine tends to dismiss the effectiveness of acupuncture, for example. However, the book is unquestionably correct in pointing out that the general-living concentration of Eastern philosophy can be something of a boon in the frenetic modern world they describe—one in which pharmaceutical and surgical interventions may not be enough. Skeptics of practices described here won’t find anything in these pages to convince them otherwise, but the faithful will be rewarded.

A wide-ranging and enthusiastic wellness approach.

Pub Date: July 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59439-664-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: YMAA Publication Center

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2019

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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