A warmhearted and encouraging, if dubiously scientific, alternative-medicine guide.


A form of energy healing can work medical wonders, according to this New Age therapeutic primer.

In this debut work, McLaughlin recounts her battle with severe, multitudinous allergies, an ordeal that she says ended only after a “Sacred Source” communicating through dreams and automatic writing revealed the principles of “Cognitive Energy Healing.” The first half of her book lays out the theoretical foundations of CEH in a model of bodily energy flows, taken from traditional Chinese and Hindu notions of qi and chakras; the author also holds that physical ailments have roots in emotional disturbances, and that the subconscious mind can diagnose and alleviate them. The book’s second half discusses CEH clinical procedures, which mainly consist of light touching, incantations, and complex hand gestures aimed at unblocking and redirecting energy flows. Diagnoses are made by “muscle testing,” in which a practitioner gently presses a client’s arm while saying—or “subliminally communicating”—words to elicit a muscular response from the person’s subconscious; for example, if a client is allergic to apples, the communication of the word “apple” will cause the person’s arm to weaken and drop. The author presents case studies showing her methods alleviating allergies, back pain, psoriasis, indigestion, hairlessness, and ADHD, and even inducing a two-year cancer remission. McLaughlin allows that there is “no available scientific explanation” for CEH and its results; it’s not clear how subliminal communication actually works, and some readers conclude that CEH’s results are due to placebo effects, coincidences, or the soothing influence of an empathetic practitioner. Others may find McLaughlin’s creativity, effusive tone of spiritual uplift, and reassuring success stories to be just what the doctor ordered. She also offers detailed descriptions of her treatments; “Centering Attunement Modality,” for example, tells the practitioner to subliminally recite an invocation—“Divine love, light, and healing, through the Earthly plane to where I am”—and then follow step-by-step instructions: “Starting over the middle of the left eyebrow, trace one fluid horizontal line across the center of the third eye to the other side, then without interruption spiral this movement back over itself drawing three inward curling spirals.”

A warmhearted and encouraging, if dubiously scientific, alternative-medicine guide.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982208-00-4

Page Count: 198

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

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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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