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This is a fine idea--to teach a holistic approach to relieving chronic pain that considers physiological and psychological sources and treatment; but Gelb (N.J. College of Medicine and Dentistry) is unsure whether to address patients or professionals, and on what level, and in the end seems to suggest that only he can treat this problem correctly. His aim is, salutarily, to help readers find and treat the source of their pain; and he provides a number of good exercise programs (many from Hans Kraus) to reduce muscle tension and pain in the back, neck, and head. But the ""self-awareness training"" techniques are fairly complicated for self-teaching (""The Circulation Awareness Technique is designed to help you feel changes that occur in your blood vessels. . .""); the level of background assumed is high (""Brain wave therapy should be called for with the epileptic. Combined with muscle-relaxing biofeedback it could also be helpful for the insomniac""); and Gelb's support of certain drug therapies is dismaying. Borderline hypothyroidism and estrogen deficiency are two ""common"" hormone disorders that should, in his view, be treated; and he complains that the recent ""unwarranted estrogen-cancerophobia"" means that women have given up their pills and thus now have more backaches. There's little reference here to the work of the numerous chronic pain research/treatment centers around the country, and altogether too many testimonials from Gelb's own patients. For a balanced assessment of conventional and unconventional therapies, see rather the Bresler and Truko Free Yourself from Pain (1979, p. 903).

Pub Date: March 12th, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row