Roots of Healing - The New Medicineby Andrew Weil, MD, and 18 other contributors with Michael Toms. Hay House, Inc. Carlsbad, California 1997, 142 pages, $13.
Michael Toms, the co-founder of the award-winning "New Dimensions" radio interview series engages a number of scientist and thinkers in dialogues which are published in this paper back with nine chapters covering three major topics.
In the first chapter of six in Part I relating to patients with diseases, Helene S Smith, PhD, a cancer researcher is interviewed. When she developed cancer of the breast, she found that her doctors did not believe in healing. They were unable to give her hope. Since she knew the real cancer data, she also knew that doctors donít really know cancer. Dr Smith attributes this to our vertical system with the physician telling the patient what to do and knowing the answers for every patient. She states, no one knows the answers for anyone else. Physician need to change their perspective from being the chief to becoming a partner with the patient. And the patient needs to change the perspective from looking for a surrogate parent who like a mechanic will tell you how to fix it, to acknowledging responsibility for having to take charge of the body also. This awareness is leading doctors to reexamine what they tell their patients and improve their communications. Doctors must realize that patientsí psychological and spiritual condition is just as important as their physical health in the course of illness, she concludes.
The other five chapters may be variations on the above but each speaks from a different perspective. Ethics, mind/body interfaces, and belief systems complete Part I. In part two alternative therapies are discussed. In Part III, complementary medicine and new approaches to health are discussed which should begin in medical school. Toms is quite skillful at summarizing each interview. It is important for physicians to recognized their patients feelings and new attitudes. If we donít we may find no one waiting in our waiting rooms.