Front cover - Book review of Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques

Alternative therapies that will help you heal

Kathy Gruver

[Infinity Publishing, 215 pages]

Though you can’t get rid of stress, you can change your reaction to it. The aim of Kathy Gruver’s recently released book Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques is to show readers exactly how to accomplish that. Gruver is a massage therapist and naturopath and host of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet who has written three books on alternative health, so has a strong understanding of the body’s response to stress and how to deal with it.

Gruver believes, based on empirical evidence, that working on our minds can help heal stress-related aches and pains within the body and reduce the amount of stress felt due to other illnesses. She draws attention to the fact that specific body pains are often connected with specific mental issues (for example, lower back pain is often connected with feeling like you’re unable to stand up for yourself). She also distinguishes between healing and curing. Curing is what usually happens after you pay a visit to an allopathic doctor—you receive a pill, or undergo a procedure, and that reduces your symptoms. With healing, the body is able to fix itself.

After the general principles of mind-body healing, Gruver goes on to give a detailed overview of several alternative therapies, including hypnosis, guided imagery and meditation, and brief descriptions of many others. For the therapies she is less of an expert on, she points to resources readers can consult if they want to learn more. In a humorous manner, she presents a few alternative therapies that she believes are “hooey.”

Even if you don’t have much understanding of medicine, from the first chapter, Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques will draw you in and make you interested in what she has to say. She writes in the first person, and includes a lot of funny personal anecdotes, so it seems as if she’s a friend or even your own doctor conversing with you. That isn’t to say that the book is short on factual detail—numerous studies and statistics back up her claims, and she’s not over-optimistic; she acknowledges when evidence isn’t 100 percent conclusive.

An especially helpful feature included in the book are the charts. The “How to Stay Sick List” and the “How to Stay Healthy List” make the difference between a healthy life and an unhealthy life perfectly clear. If you’re worried that some of the alternative therapies Gruver discusses in the book could harm you if your body doesn’t actually need them, fear not. While most of the therapies outlined will cause no harm, even if they do no good, Gruver warns readers which ones they must consult their doctor about before using, and which ones require the close assistance of a trained professional.

If you’re currently stressed out, or if you’re just looking to learn more about alternative health without having to read something dryly technical, give Gruver’s book a try. While she presents so many alternative therapies that you probably won’t have time to try them all, one benefit of being offered such a wide variety of options is that you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one that appeals to you.

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image: h.koppdelaney (Creative Commons BY-ND)