Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: The Fourfold Path to Healing

The Fourfold Path to Healing by Dr. Thomas Cowan had kept coming up on my amazon page every time I got the link for Nourishing Traditions (life-changing and fabulous cookbook) to recommend to someone (which happens all the time, actually- it is an amazing book).  Finally, I gave in and read it.  I am so happy I did this.

The book is in two parts.  In the first part, he describes each of the four parts of this fourfold path to healing: nutrition, therapeutics, movement, and meditation.  

He describes nutrition as healing the physical body.  He uses the principles in  Nourishing Traditions  but expands more on them, and makes it a bit more unified.  He uses Weston Price's research as well.  The information in this section alone is worth reading the whole book. 

He describes therapeutics as healing the life-force body.  He draws on the work of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy and Edgar Cayce's writings describes a few companies he sees as worthy of buying their supplements, like Dr. Royal Lee's Standard Process.  Most notably, he describes the hierarchy of healing interventions, describing how they work and which to try when.  He gives a detailed description of homeopathy and protomorphogens as well, which I found well-researched and informative.

Cowan describes movement as healing the emotional body.  This section has drawings and exercises to move the spirit through the body.  He later recommends specific exercises for specific conditions.

Lastly, Cowan says meditation is healing the mental body.  He argues that a patient's attitude helps determine the illness outcome, so spending time improving one's outlook pays dividends.  Thinking is also the highest function of the human being, and through it, we can reclaim perfect health.

In the second part, The Art of Medicine, Cowan goes through a number of diseases and gives specific recommendations using the four parts he described in the first part of the book.  Each chapter ends with an easy-reference chart to help the patient implement his suggestions.   These are interesting sections, and he spends time comparing diseases to the natural world and using these to come to remedies.  For example, in the women's health section, he discusses how women relate to the moon, and how silver is like the moon and is a useful homeopathic medicine for certain conditions of women.

The book ends with appendices with recipes and detailed therapy instructions.  His castor oil pack how-to is especially interesting, because he recommends it often and I have never seen one done.  He also has appendices for movement instructions which is largely repetitive of the first part, and then sources for products he recommends.

The about-the-author is at the end and, of course, he lives and works in the Bay Area and has a clinic in San Francisco.  Turns out he is also a founder of the Weston Price Foundation.

Overall, it is a good read.  It is a nice complement to   Nourishing Traditions (thanks, amazon!) because it gives specific suggestions of how and when to eat various items in the cookbook.  

My favorite part of the book was his idea of how to have children involved in their healing.  He suggests teaching children that their bodies will heal themselves, and sometimes we need doctors or medicines to help the body on its way.  I love that this language helps teach kids that their bodies are capable healers, but sometimes need a nudge.

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