Ok, first, let me say that today is a special day. My sister turns 40 today. I so wish I could be in Iowa to celebrate with her! Happy Birthday Angie!!!!!
Ok, now on to the book.
I have been wanting to read The Fourfold Path to Healing, working with the laws of nutrition, therapeutics, movement and meditation in the art of medicine, by Thomas Cowan, pretty much since I first found Nourishing Traditions. I'm glad I finally read it, but I also think it was best that I waited until now to read it. :)
It was a fascinating book. His theories of 'dis-ease' are very interesting and different from mainstream, and even different from a lot of 'holistic' books that I've read. But so utterly fascinating! It was good to get a more 'rounded' view of the human body and disease. It definitely ventured into the 'etheral', but I have really come to appreciate that the body is a 'whole' and needs to be addressed as such. The emotions are not separate from the body, they all work together in a synergistic fashion. I think if you lean too much on one or the other, it's not good. But I think it's good to have both sides brought to the table for consideration.
Cowan discusses the 'Four-Fold Path to Healing' and how all 4 points are important to understand and consider for 'wholeness' and 'wellness' in the body. The 4 points are: Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement and Meditation. He gives an overview of all 4 at the beginning, and then he deals with specific illnesses in the rest of the book.
The overall of nutrition is founded on traditional diets as studied by people such as Weston Price, Pottenger, Lee Royal Rudolph Steiner, and others. He feels this is the foundation for the rest of the 'paths' and must not be ignored. He talks about nutrient dense foods and eating a high-fat diet. He recommends fermented cod liver oil along with high vitamin butter oil for healing as well as daily health. He even suggests insects for those who dare eat them. :) He refers to Nourishing Traditions throughout the book.
Therapeutics is based on homeopathy, herbs and an overall 'balance' that he learned from Rudolph Steiner, Edward Cayce and Samuel Hahnemann. All people whose works I'd like to read. His definition of disease is good: 'the body's attempt at self-correction, or self-healing.' So rather then work against, it, his goal is to work with it, to heal itself. Makes sense to me! So his therapeutics are used after nutrition is firmly in place. He goes into details about how to use balance and herbs and homeopathy, etc. to heal specific ailments. I loved this section of the book. So much to learn about the natural means God gave us to heal and be healthy!
His section on movement is actually written by someone else: Jaimen McMillan. He gives a lot of specific movements and exercises for dealing with different emotions, body parts and diseases. I must confess, I did not read much of them. I'm still trying with the body mechanics and barefoot movements. :)
Meditation was, well, about the mind and meditating, etc. Again, I confess, I did not read nearly enough of this section to give any account here. It's not that I think the mind is not important. I truly do believe it's essential to have healthy emotions and thoughts in order to heal. But my meditation and prayer life are based on Scripture as opposed to more new-agey type things. But, for what it's worth. For a non-religious person who is trying to heal themselves naturally, I do think that meditation would probably be helpful, and his suggestions were in line with the rest of the book.
The chapters on specific illnesses are: infectious disease, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, diseases of adrenal insufficiency, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, women's diseases, men's diseases, weight loss, depression, back pain, arthritis and neurological diseases.
He gave far too much information for me to go into in regards to the various diseases. But it was so interesting to read his ideas on the 'whys' behind them. Most of it was not new to me, but one that was new and interesting was his explanation of the heart. But, alas, my brain couldn't wrap itself around it enough to be able to explain it 'in my own words', so I shall have to reread the book again later and hopefully it will sink in then. But it was a fascinating concept and one I mean to look more into, esp if we find we are ever struggling with heart disease. His overall answer to heart problems and cold extremities was to eat more good fats and to not drink too much water. As a matter of fact, he was pretty against drinking water in general, as he believes it messes with the natural balance of minerals in the body. That seems to come up a lot in the books I read. Good well water with the minerals is fine, or even water with some celtic salt.
Some specific things he mentioned at the end of the book that I found interesting were:
Bee venom as a way of helping with osteoarthritis. I'd never heard of it before! They take real bees and have them sting you as a way of helping the inflammation to go down.
Blessed Herb Internal Cleanse. I would love to do this, but it's expensive. But I hope to find some herbs that do similar things and incorporate them into our lives as necessary.
Castor Oil packs are something he highly recommends throughout the book. They apparently have been used for thousands of years in the medical world. They apparently create warmth in whatever organ they are placed over, almost immediately. And they also help the body to increase the flow of bile in the liver, which helps it to detoxify the toxins that are often stored there. I would like to get some good castor oil and some flannel patches of cloth and use them as a part of our healing protocol, along with enemas and liver cleanses, etc.
Bowel cleansing using milk of magnesia. I've been doing enemas, but I might try this sometime also. I just need to do more research. Gunky colons are definitely a problem in America today! Of course, this is just helping a symptom, not addressing the actual cause, which is of utmost importance.
Epsom Salt Baths, which we do often. He has you drinking tea with it as well, which I don't.
Hydrotherapy, which stimulates a fever. He has you take a warm bath for 10-15 minutes, and then stand under a cold shower for one minute. Then wrap up in a warm blanket and get into a warm bed and drink warm tea (elder flower, linden flower or peppermint to induce sweating).
I really enjoyed reading the book and would love to find it super cheap to add to my collection for reference when dealing with a specific disease or ailment. His use of therapeutics is esp useful, because he has such extensive use of herbs and homeopathy, etc. His combinations are tried and true and good to know!