THE HEALER WITHIN: The New Medicine of Mind and Body by

THE HEALER WITHIN: The New Medicine of Mind and Body

Email this review


Though presented in a thicket of such hedging phrases as ""seems likely,"" ""not yet clear,"" ""conceivably,"" and ""further study may prove,"" the thrust of the text is at one with the title, promoting the notion that individuals possess extraordinary powers both to make themselves sick and to make themselves well again. In this (increasingly common) view of biological reality, illness and disease are read as just so many individual struggles for the soul, i.e., one becomes sick in body because one cannot cope emotionally, because of poor parenting, because of a disappointment in work, etc., etc. Conversely, one recovers health by the imaginative exercise of willpower and the intangible restorative of hope. Given both the overemphasis on the technological in contemporary medicine, an interest in the innate capacities for healing is understandable. The problem, in this book and in a number of similar expositions, is the size of the leap they take from the observable fact that some patients do better than others to a theory of healing that implies a ""how-to"" pamphlet is in order. Some of the mysteries of the immune system have begun to yield to scientific inquiry, and certain techniques, such as biofeedback and hypnosis, have demonstrated considerable effectiveness in combination with more standard treatments. But in this uneven and poorly organized survey of what the authors call psychoneuroimmunology, the hype (and the hope) seem less promising than lucrative.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1986
Publisher: Dutton