An intriguing, thorough, and well-illustrated guide by a certified reflexologist.



This conversational health guide offers tips on how to improve one’s health through proper foot care.

Debut author Villeneuve, a licensed massage practitioner, offers an overview of reflexology—a vast, varied field that studies the connections between the feet and the vital organs—in a book full of patient anecdotes and helpful illustrations. She asserts that certain foot-related techniques can have a tremendous impact on the health and vitality of one’s organs, including the thyroid, heart, and spleen. The book begins with a general summary of the history of reflexology, and then delves into mapping the connections between the brain and the different “reflex points” on the feet. The author also notes that one’s toes need plenty of room to move in order to maximize balance; constricting shoes, she says, can not only affect one’s posture and stability, but even one’s lymph nodes and blood flow. The author also recommends that young people, in particular, learn how to treat their feet in a heathy manner. Her stories of patients improving their health through the use of reflexology techniques are particularly compelling. In one example, the author describes how she applied pressure to a point on a woman’s hand, which instantly resolved a longtime problem that the woman had with her ear. Other anecdotal examples offer solutions to other types of ailments or imbalances. Toward the end of the book, Villeneuve usefully lists an array of common problems, such as lower back pain, calf cramps, and pains in the knees and hips, and explains their associations with specific areas of the feet. This list will be helpful information for many readers, who may find that they’re able to fix a perplexing problem with just a simple change of shoes or posture. 

An intriguing, thorough, and well-illustrated guide by a certified reflexologist. 

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7325-8

Page Count: 180

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2017

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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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