If you have ever had a discussion about health or fitness with me, you have most likely heard me wax poetic about the mind/body connection. Phrases like “sometimes you have to eat that candy for your mental health” and “if a placebo works, is is really a placebo?” come out of my mouth in a slightly embarrassing frequency. So, when Blogging For Books offered me a review copy of this book, I jumped on it. I was genuinely excited about reviewing a book that looks at my google educated perceptions. I was not disappointed.
Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant was a really good blend of scientific evidence presentation and personally gripping stories and it was a pleasure to read.
To say Ms. Marchant is a scientist is an understatement. Words like microbiology and genetics sprinkle her bio and her writing history includes a vast amount of very technical subjects. So when you use terms like “spiritual healing” and “mind power” you can only imagine that she would roll her eyes. But as she tells it, she simply could not ignore the steps that were being made into legitimate scientific research into the mind-body connection.
This is where this book was born. The author completes a very skeptical, yet open-minded at the same time, review of several areas of medicine that are working on non-traditional ways of healing. There is a gut-wrenching section on treating war veterans with virtual reality, reviews of religious miracles, and close looks at how the mind-body connection is being used to help athletes break records. She calls the bad science where she sees it, and lauds the good science just the same. It is an apparently very unbiased look at what is helping people legitimately, what needs more review to prove it’s legitimate, and what is lacking in legitimacy; but all of it is done with respect.
The highlight of the book is that she tells the science through the stories of real people. It moves this subject from being something cold and data driven to something warm, people driven (albeit sometimes in a heart breaking way), but fully backed by good scientific review.
If you have any interest in the mind-body connection, health improvement, “new age” medicine, “traditional” medicine, or just love to read compelling stories of real people, this book is well worth your time.
Please note that I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review but have received no other compensation.