“I’m all for defending a rational worldview. I believe passionately in the scientific method: I have a PhD in genetics and microbiology, and I spent three years probing the inner workings of cells at a top London hospital. I believe that everything in nature can be studied scientifically if we ask the right questions, and that the medical treatments we put our trust in should be tested in rigorous trials. The skeptics are right: if we abandon science for wishful thinking we might as well be back in the dark ages…
But I’m not sure that simply dismissing alternative medicine is the answer. In my work as a science journalist, I encounter not just those who are cured by modern medicine but those who aren’t…
So although I believe that the alternative medicine advocates are deluded with their talk of water memory and healing energy fields, I don’t think the skeptics have got it completely right either. I started to write this book because I wondered whether they, along with conventional doctors, are missing a vital ingredient in physical health…”
I am a big fan of books that examine the unexamined in a Malcolm Gladwell fashion. The straightforwardness of a friend with the insight-fullness of NPR makes me practically giddy. As a result, it should come as no surprise that I was thrilled when reading Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body by Jo Marchant.
Her dedication to scientific tradition and Western medicine, but her awareness of the world (and wisdom) beyond is a compelling topic. The way in which she approaches this, though, is what makes this book so intriguing. By examining a variety of medical concerns (from fatigue to cancer, and pain to ADHD), and looking at how they are traditionally and alternatively treated, Marchant sheds light on the reality that the blending of two schools of thought are better then one. While some of the non-traditional treatments sound downright frightening (surgery when awake, for example), Marchant is straightforward and determined, never wavering from her goal of making sense of the realities of different models of care.
With an informative approach like that of a podcast, and the research savvy of an academic, Marchant manages to make the focus of the mind-body connection fascinating and relevant. Although magazine articles often focus on the power of yoga and meditation, this book dives deeper than that and takes awareness of the mind-body connection to the next level.
The beauty of this book is its awareness that mind-body connections tend to be denounced without much consideration. It is a fascinating read that will leave you considering how best to approach your next medical concern, and how to approach your own health. Stories of healing through meditation and the impact of DNA on health are fascinating, and make this book a compelling read.