How Healing Works: Get Well and Stay Well Using Your Hidden Power to Heal by Wayne Jonas M.D. challenges the efficacy of our current health care system by advocating a holistic approach to healing. Dr. Jonas is a family physician, an expert in integrative health and health care delivery, and a widely published scientific investigator. He is eminently qualified having served as the Director of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health from 1995-1999, and prior to that served as the Director of the Medical Research Fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature Medicine, the Journal of Family Practice, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and The Lancet. Dr. Jonas is currently the Executive Director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs designed to empower patients and doctors by providing solutions that enhance health, prevent disease, and relieve chronic pain.

His emphasis throughout the book is that 80% of healing can be attributed to the mind-body connection and other naturally occurring processes, “Healing comes from the meaning and context in which these various treatment agents get deployed” (p. 26). This is a reason for the ineffectiveness of many medical treatments, “Most drugs for pain, mental health, ulcers, hypertension, and diabetes, for example, show little benefit – often only 20% to 30%” (p. 15).

Dr. Jonas’ holistic approach involves four dimensions of healing, “. . . body/external, behavior/lifestyle, social/emotional, and spiritual/mental . . .” (p. 73).  What does integrative health care look like? Integrative health is the coordinated delivery of evidence -based conventional medical care, complementary medicine and lifestyle for producing optimal health and wellbeing.

Medical access and optimal medical treatments are important, but healing involves an integration of one’s lifestyle, environment, and the social and personal determinants of health. Dr. Jonas reminds us, “Remember, only 20% of health comes from the treatments you get by walking into a doctor’s office or visiting a medical clinic. The rest – the 80% – comes from you, from using the dimensions of healing already embedded in your life” (p. 236). The writer of Proverbs instructs us,

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

This is an excellent book helping you see your responsibility in the healing process. (I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review).

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

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