How Healing Works: Book Review

How Healing Works: Get Well and Stay Well Using Your Hidden Power to Heal by Wayne Jonas, MD, if you just read the title this book may sound like a bunch of self help nonsense. Anyone that has been sick for any extended time knows that there isn’t always a cure. I was certainly skeptical when I saw this book on the new release shelf of my local library in the spring. I didn’t borrow it then, but it niggled at the back of my mind until I couldn’t resist anymore.

The first thing I want to say about this book is that I truly and wholly buy into what Dr. Jonas is saying. He’s not advocating some new age mumbo jumbo in lieu of modern medicine. Ok, so some of the practices he talks about may fall into the so called “new age” category, but only if that’s your thing. And some people not in the know may call it “mumbo jumbo”.

Here’s the thing, he uses science, research, experience, and patient case studies to back up his approach. This isn’t some self-help technique he invented just to write a book. It’s a compilation of what’s he’s learned in his years of being a physician and interacting with patients.

Dr. Jonas says that about only 20% of our healing comes from what we receive in the doctor’s office. He uses whole system science to explain how we can tap into the 80% capacity to heal ourselves. In terms of healing, whole system science treats the whole person, not just the disease or injury.

Dr. Jonas walks the reader through four dimensions of healing: body, behavior, social, and spiritual. He addresses each one with experiences from his own medical practice as well as discussions with practitioners of other traditions like Ayuervedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. He also examines how other cultures address these dimensions around the world such as the Navajo “The Beauty Way” ceremony.

The aspects of this book that were most compelling to me were the patients own stories. Many had tried and failed at several treatments before finding the right approach with Dr. Jonas. The four dimensions that Dr. Jonas describes are discoveries I’ve unknowingly made the last 10 years of attempting to heal. The question is, would I have been open to these suggestions 10 years ago, or did I need to find my own way to healing?

I do believe that you have to be open to the idea that you won’t find complete healing in the doctor’s office alone. I do know from personal experience that it is not easy to address all dimensions of healing as Dr. Jonas describes them, but they are worth the work to achieve health.  For anyone who is living with a chronic illness or chronic pain and for anyone who treats patients with chronic conditions, this is a worth while read, and can open up a new path to healing.

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