The controversial premise of this book is that “health, happiness, and strength are a result of the affirmative choices we make, despite what life hands us, whether in our genetic makeup, our environment, or the things that happen to us” (p. 6). While this may seem self-evident, it is controversial for two reasons. First is the enormous weight the book attributes to personal choices in relationship to genetics, circumstances, and events. Second is the ever-present danger – when underlining personal responsibility for illness and healing – of blaming rather than empowering the patient.
Eva Selhub has written a guide that is persuasive and eminently practical in pointing to the choices that make a substantive difference in maintaining or recovering good health, and she has done it in a manner that shows the reader precisely how to develop “the systems your body and mind need to stay strong and vibrant.” Blame is not part of the book’s friendly, supportive, highly-informed, empowering message.
Dr. Selhub served for 13 years as the Medical Director at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine (located at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and founded by Herbert Benson, the internationally known cardiologist who wrote The Relaxation Response). She was at the center of many of the most vital, cutting-edge developments in medical practice. Her patients, and now the readers of this book, benefit from her experiences there. While I was reading Your Health Destiny, I could imagine myself as Dr. Selhub’s patient, receiving caring explanations and instructions offered in language that speaks to me simply and directly while energizing my inner power and sense of hope.
The first three of the book’s ten chapters establish what Dr. Selhub means by “taking responsibility for what you can change.” She teaches patients facing a medical challenge to “take charge of their own health destiny” by becoming so acquainted with the physiology of the problem as to be able to read the body’s unique signals for help; to support the body with beneficial practices such as exercise, nutrition, and adequate sleep; to cultivate a social network that fosters the healing process; know and appropriately use what is available from conventional medicine for addressing the illness; and identify, release, and reprogram deep-seated emotions and beliefs that may be feeding the physical difficulty.
The remainder of the book, a chapter at a time, applies these principles while also teaching you, in this order, about your immune system, heart, lungs, gastrointestinal system, musculoskeletal system, spine, and last but not least, your brain. You cannot come away from reading these chapters without a renewed relationship with and greater appreciation for your body and its remarkable intelligence, along with practical knowledge for keeping every system in your body healthy and vital.