The first thing I did when I received this review copy was to Google "Bastyr University" and find out exactly what the N.D. degree means since that is the author's official medical degree. I'd recommend any reader do that first before reading the book. "The university is located north of Seattle, Washington. Named by the "Princeton Review' as one of the 168 best medical schools in the country, the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University is committed to developing leaders in the evolving field of natural medicine. Bastyr's fully accredited naturopathic doctor (ND) program is internationally renowned for its rigorous curriculum, comprehensive clinical training and ground breaking research." The University also gives various kinds of degrees in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Nutrition, Health Psychology, Herbal Sciences, Exercise Science and Wellness, and has graduate schools of Midwifery Certification and Applied Behavioral Science. With the book author's medical credentials out of the way, the reader can then dive into this interesting study done by "one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine." He is co-author of "Textbook of Natural Medicine" and has written 20 other books as well.
"Naturopathic medicine," unlike conventional or "allopathic medicine" that focuses primarily on treating disease rather than promoting health, naturopathic "is a system that emphasizes prevention, treatment and the promotion of optimal health through the use of natural, nontoxic therapies."
The author warns the readers that "when people refer to me as an expert in alternative medicine, I usually correct them. I am a proponent of what I like to describe as `rational' medicine, which combines the best of both conventional medicine and alternative methods."
The book contains eleven major chapters that include "A Matter of Trust--Making Medicine or Making Money: The Number One Thing that they Don't Want you to Know: An Overlooked Goal of Healing--Removing Obstacles to a Cure: Functional Medicine Versus the Treatment of Disease: Is Symptom Relief a Path to Bad Medicine: Creating a Market Versus Providing a Cure; Exploiting the Cholesterol Myth: Drugs are Less Powerful than Our Attitude: Drugs Cannot Overcome a Poor Diet or an Unhealthy Lifestyle: Looking Behind the Headlines and Through he Bias: and How to Get Well. Stated simply, that is what is included in this book along with dozens of examples and nearly a hundred pages of Appendix, Notes an a very good Index.
This is another very good book of common sense backed up with studies that help prove the common sense. In addition to pointing out the way to naturally maintain optimum health and wellness, as the book's title indicates it also exposes much of the current medical culture of treating illness mostly with drugs alone. Americans have come to expect to substitute healthful lifestyles with short cuts and quick fixes provided by taking pills. Even medical doctors don't know the full truth behind some of drugs they recommend. "The drug industry spends about $60,000 in marketing per physician annually." "Drugs like Paxil, Zolft, and Prozac contribute to obesity, but weight gain is not listed as a common side effect of those drugs" and it hardly needs to be said that patients taking those drugs don't need the kind of extra stress and worry produced by uncontrolled obesity.
A couple more quick samples of the kind of information provided by this volume are that "Olive oil contains a heart-protective monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid. It also contains several antioxidant agents that prevent circulating LDL cholesterol from becoming damaged and then subsequently damaging the arteries." As most of us have heard for years, "Fish oils can also lower the risk of many cancers--particularly breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer--and many other chronic diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, asthma, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis."
I found this book fascinating, but I should probably mention that I grew up as a devoted Christian Scientist, and many of these healthful lifestyle practices were a part of my everyday life without my having any idea why. I'm definitely not a doctor, diet guru, exercise fanatic or somebody who has ever paid much attention to medical theories so I can't vouch for how much of this book's information is true, but it does seem to square with my life experience. Every reader will have to judge that for themselves.
One minor recommendation for this volume that I encountered first-hand was that as soon as I'd finished it, two adult members of my family were arguing about who would get to take the book home. It was out of my hands in a flash.