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An attempt to show how the wisdom of ancient science explains the effect of hormonal shifts in the context of modern science, and how understanding and controlling hormones can improve people’s lives.

Peck illuminates how humans can tap into their higher powers using truths from ancient texts such as the Rudrayamala of India, and how those truths are borne out by the science of modern endocrinology. In chapters with titles like “Hormones and the Ancient Nectar of the Gods,” the author tries to connect the ancients’ claims–such as the ability to mentally gird one’s self, thus increasing outer physical powers–with his modern-day controlled experiments showing the success of such techniques to improve response time. Peck, a retired scientist, also addresses the process of becoming a god, through what’s best described as meditation and self-stimulation to produce hormonal benefits. Some of the author’s most interesting writing is offered through anecdotal material (he’s 80 and enjoys with his wife an “ever-increasing ecstasy, union, vitality, sexuality, and creativity”) and his free-ranging footnotes, from scientific journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association to bestsellers like The G Spot. The book also includes a variety of translations of texts addressing ancient hormone-controlling practices, including the Hathapradipika and the RigVeda; readers may be tempted to skip over the many sections containing the original verses in favor of the author’s interesting translations. The author’s discussion of self-directed hormonal changes–some of which involve stimulating the breasts and the perineum–may initially strike the reader as odd, but his frank discussion of how such subjects became taboo and how they make sense in light of recent scientific research (for example, on the benefits of tears and laughter in producing beneficial hormonal changes) makes them seem more credible. Though the author attempts to use direct, easy-to-understand language, the nature of his work–drawing on both current scientific research and ancient texts–inevitably leads into some challenging reading, despite his best intentions.

A periodically interesting, though occasionally dense discussion of human hormones.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-917828-12-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
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NonfictionHORMONAL by Martie Haselton
by Martie Haselton