Fascinating bioscience on the phenomenon of spontaneous healing.
Board-certified psychiatrist Rediger, who is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, first began exploring the mystery of patients with incurable illnesses and their miraculous regenerations early in his medical career. Raised with traditional Amish principles, the author was astonished by what he learned and now shares in this book, which also doubles as a pragmatic guide to improving general health. Rediger spent nearly two decades interviewing and studying survivors of irremediable diseases and conditions, and his expert analysis drives much of this intriguing volume. He first examines immune system “prodding” and hyperactivation and how factors like diet, stress, and emotion directly affect it—though, as the author notes, these factors are “often passed over in routine medical care.” He chronicles his visit to spiritual healing centers in Brazil, where the ill astonishingly recovered from dire diagnoses. He probes the complex and hotly debated mind-body connection and how one’s sense of identity and healing capacity are interconnected. Rediger, who also has a seminarian background, acknowledges that these episodes are exceptional, and while his research suggests that their instances have “slowly increased in both number and frequency,” they are relatively unexplainable by medical science. He stresses that since there are no clinical trials or double-blind studies to substantiate these incidences or ways of replicating their results, physicians “have to be anthropologists, detectives, and medical investigators.” Science aside, ultimately, it’s the dramatic survivors’ profiles and their moving stories of miraculous second chances that have the most profound impact. These patients illuminate how medicine, identity, diet, the mind, and human biology intersect to possibly trigger curative spontaneous remission. Arrestingly written and chockablock with practical, empowering medical information, this thought-provoking and convincing chronicle of disease avoidance and “remarkable recovery” will give even skeptics something to ponder. Though the text offers no ready answers or explanations, Rediger instills a glimmer of hope and possibility for those who may believe they have none.
Though certainly not the last word, this is an engaging “investigative journey into the phenomenon of spontaneous remission.”