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The Instinct to Heal [Paperback]

David Servan-Schreiber
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Diamond Pocket Books; New edition edition (15 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8128807161
  • ISBN-13: 978-8128807169
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D, is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and cofounder of the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. He's lectured at leading international academic centres, including Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and Cambridge Universities. His first book The Instinct to Heal was an international bestseller and France's bestselling non-fiction book of the year in 2004, selling over 600,000 copies in the trade edition alone.

Product Description


This book is an inspiring overview of the internal healing potential that exist with everyone.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is phenomenal. Well written, easy to digest chapters, meticulously researched and easy to implement. I was initially given the book by my 80yo uncle who is a "facts and figures" former nuclear engineer. I have given it to homeopaths through to veterinary surgeons, who all thought it was amazing, so its breadth of appeal is very wide. S-S wants you to make changes in your life after reading this book, and makes it easy to do this with the final chapter and the accompanying website.

I don't particularly suffer with stress, anxiety or depression but would still say it was amazingly beneficial in many facets of my life.

Buy it and I challenge you not to have bought another copy as a gift for someone you care about by the time you have finished it!
It is very sad that he passed away July 2011 but he leaves a great legacy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 14 April 2005
By Ruth Edlund - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This paperback appears to contain exactly the same text as the hardbound version of the same book with a very different cover color scheme. (I thought the paperback version might be updated, but it appears not to be.)

The recommendations in this book really intrigued me, although some of them (e.g, EMDR) are likely to be controversial. I did some research on the author and he checks out. His credentials are real. I did some research also into his sources by checking with a physician who has a holistic bent. They check out too. He is drawing on known authorities in the areas of, for example, neurophysiology, and his research is drawn from peer-reviewed journals.

This book does not offer miracle cures but a series of remedies that seem likely to bring improvement in anyone's state of mind:

(1) "cardiac coherence," a sort of relaxation technique (oversimplified description)

(2) acupuncture

(3) EMDR

(4) exercise

(5) fish oil

(6) meditation and

(7) fostering social connections.

"Curing," however, used in the title, is a less skillful choice than the initial use of the word "heal." Anxiety, depression, and stress are chronic, or at least recurrent, states of the modern mind that are more to be acknowledged and managed than totally made to go away (not all stress, for example, is caused by bad things).

I was already using four of these remedies before I read the book. I learned cardiac coherence easily, I'm about to give acupuncture a try now, based on this book...but I'm still on the fence about EMDR.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting look at alternatives for healing 6 Mar 2004
By Harold McFarland - Published on
"The Instinct to Heal" takes a combined look at healing through various non-traditional techniques and the most recent research in the interconnectedness of our various systems. Several relationships are examined in detail starting with neurobiology and the relationship between the emotional and logical brains. From there the author moves to the heart/brain relationship and how heart coherence affects so many parts of your emotional being. He also examines more surprising relationships like those involved in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing techniques. This particular technique uses rapid eye movement to quickly heal emotional problems. Other healing techniques examined include the energy of light, the power of Qi, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the emotional brain, love, and emotional communication. This is a fascinating journey into the relationships between our various biological and emotional systems that shows how we have an instinctual ability to heal ourselves. This is a definitive work on new research in the relationship between the mind and body and a recommended read.
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And end to medical myopia? 29 Feb 2004
By M. L Lamendola - Published on
Record numbers of people are on Ritalin and other behavioral drugs. Yet, they are not cured of what ails them. They simply get alleviation from the symptoms. Others have been in talk therapy for months, or even years, and yet still grapple with the problems that sent them there in the first place. Is there any hope for these people? After reading "The Instinct to Heal," one can only answer with a resounding "Yes."
Behavioral drugs treat only symptoms, and they carry undesirable side-effects. Talk therapy seeks to resolve the underlying problems, but it addresses our conscious thoughts to do so. And therein lies the problem.
The human brain is composed of two structures, one imposed over the other. These two structures are very different in construction. The logical brain--the one that contains our conscious thoughts--forms a sort of covering over the emotional brain. This emotional brain is composed of limbic structures--and these are the same in all mammals.
The key to effective healing is to "reprogram" the emotional brain. This may sound like an impossible job, but it's not. The emotional brain contains natural mechanisms for self-healing. Thus, Servan-Schreiber's "instinct to heal" concept.
Servan-Schreiber explains this concept in a logical, lucid manner. But, he does this in a way that allows us reach our own conclusions. Topics covered include brain structure, heart coherence, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, the energy of light, the power of Qi, the role of Omega 3 fatty acids (or lack thereof) in depression, the role of exercise, and emotional communication.
Throughout, Servan-Schreiber provides solid evidence, anecdotal accounts, research data, and even diagrams. You can't help but learn, and enjoy doing so, as you go through this book.
Servan-Schreiber ends the text of the book by providing practical guidance for the reader to begin his or her own healing process. He makes this part easy for the reader who, though knowledgeable at this point, might still be overwhelmed by trying to put all of this together. Servan-Schreiber provides a nine-step approach, which solves that problem.
Many books that hold out promise of a better life are often thick with paper and thin with intellect. That is not the case, here. Lest you have any doubts, Servan-Schreiber has provided an extensive appendix of resources, which anyone can use to explore this topic or related ones more thoroughly. He's also provided an extensive notes section.
If you really want to tap into your own inner resources, if you're tired of expensive "cures" and false hopes, if you want an end to medical myopia in your own life or that of someone you love, this book is for you.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book 20 Sep 2005
By Michael G. Young - Published on
Dr. Servan-Schreiber has broke new ground in summarizing practical therapeutics for the treatment of the emotional brain. As a health care provider who has had to heal my own brain after two significant head injuries and related traumas I can testify to several of the therapies he recommends, and am interested in trying some of the ones I had not heard as much about. As an acupuncturist the other thing I would add is that these protocols are not just for treating anxiety and depression, but they have relevance for every other chronic disease that is prominent today, the interplay between the emotional brain and all of the things we don't want to get is enormous.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise from a cynical customer 26 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on
After suffering from anxiety and depression for years I felt a bit helpless. This book helped to open a hopeful horizon. By simply following the guidance from this book I have become an absolute advocate of Mr. Schreibner's advice. This is a compassionate and human approach towards a growing epidemic in our culture. If you or someone you love suffers from anxiety and / or depression you can only be helped by this book. A+!
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