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The Creation of Health.

The Creation of Health

A Book Review

How does holistic medicine differ from the prevailing allopathic system? According to Dr. Shealy, a neurosurgeon:

"From a holistic perspective, disease is generally considered the integrated result of all cosmic, environmental, electrical, mental, physical, emotional, attitudinal and spiritual stress."

Thus, there is no single "cause," the physician goes on to say, but "any given cause may produce either no illness or any conceivable illness depending upon the weakest spot in an individual's constitution."

By contrast, the dominant medical philosophy lacks a unified concept of health and disease and in general considers an external attack upon the body while ignoring the crucial role of spiritual, attitudinal, and emotional factors in health status.

An illness is the result of all stress with varying degrees of relevance," Shealy contends. As co-author Myss points out, "the strongest message of the holistic health movement in the doctor-patient relationship is patient self-responsibility and `personal improvement.' This differs from the conventional patriarchal practice where authoritarian attitudes and failure to share information with patients tend to make them feel helpless."

Is holistic medicine a passing fad or will it displace traditional medicine to become the prevailing system in the 21st century, as this book would have us believe? Recent research on mind-body relationships in health and disease would certainly appear to foster broader acceptance of the work of holistic practitioners. Among studies cited in Shealy and Myss's book are:

* A year-long study of 100 family members by Harvard Medical School pediatricians Roger Meyer and Robert Haggery, which found streptoccocal illness and other respiratory disease illness to be four times more common after episodes that the family defined as stressful.

* A study of differences between the helpless and the hardy by Suzanne Kobasa and Salvatory Maddey of the University of Chicago, who noted that the sense of personal control is essential to maintaining health. Kobassa and Maddey's study of 200 business executives at the Illinois Bell Telephone Company showed that those with many symptoms complained that change constituted a threat to their security. In contrast, they also found that the healthier executives considered change an opportunity for growth.

* Harvard psychologist Allen Lander and Yale psychologist Judith Roden recently demonstrated that the death rate of those who demonstrate strong responsibility and retain a positive outlook suffer one half of the mortality rate.

Shealy also calls for the use of "intuitive diagnosis" as a supplement to methods of traditional medicine. Using Myss as an example of intuitive diagnostician in his work as director of the Shealy Institute, the author asserts that case studies have proven Myss to be 93% accurate.

The day of the solo practioner is passing. Shealy believes, since "no one person can learn and integrate all the facts." Instead, he predicts, we will have health teams which would comprise at a minimum a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy, a nurse, a physical therapist and a psychotherapist, all working with the patient who would also be recognized as part of the healing team.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Roosevelt, Edith Kermit
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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