In this debut guide to holistic approaches to neck pain, Meuser and McMaster guide readers through unconventional approaches to treatment. After an introduction and other material that includes case study, the book moves on to the specifics of alternative and complementary therapies. Each chapter features a different practitioner describing the treatments he or she has found effective for managing neck pain, from acupuncture to reflexology to Pilates. Meuser and McMaster ask readers to take an open-minded approach to the various methods; those who raise eyebrows at statements like “it is all about engaging the body, the breath, the mind, and the spirit to bring more oxygen and vital energy to the body and specifically to the areas that the individual intends to heal” may not find that the book meets their needs. Each chapter includes an explanation of a practitioner’s approach and his or her view of the causes of neck pain and most-often used therapeutic techniques. Besides exercise and stress management, many of the practitioners featured in the book advocate eating natural, unprocessed foods and minimizing wheat consumption. Each chapter makes a convincing argument for the validity of its treatment system, and at no point do Meuser and McMaster try to discourage readers from pursuing traditional allopathic medicine, particularly in conjunction with complementary treatments. The book concludes with a series of exercises designed to encourage readers to keep journals to help them reflect on its advice and decide how best to apply it to their needs. While some readers may remain skeptical about the effectiveness of reiki or yoga as treatments for neck pain, few will disagree with the book's broader message about the evolving nature of medicine: “[R]ather than something that is done to you, your care is performed with you in a partnership different from previous provider-patient relationships.”
A useful guide for open-minded readers looking for new ways to treat pain.