Emphasizing the importance of intimacy and social support for patients, the author discusses the healing power of love, connectedness, and spiritual transformation in preventing and treating heart disease
Love and survival. What do they have to do with each other?This book is based on a simple but powerful idea: Our survival depends on the healing power of love, intimacy and relationships. As individuals. As communities. As a country. As a culture. Perhaps even as a species.For the past 20 years, Dean Ornish, M.D., has directed clinical research, demonstrating -- for the first time -- that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse severe coronary heart disease without drugs or surgery. Now, this "impossible" idea has become mainstream.Although most people tend to think of Dr. Ornish's program as being primarily about diet, he has found that perhaps the most powerful and meaningful intervention is love and intimacy and the emotional and spiritual transformation that often results. Yet those factors are largely ignored by the medical profession, which tends to focus primarily on the physical and mechanistic: drugs and surgery, genes and germs, microbes and molecules.Dr. Ornish is a pioneer once more as he persuasively argues that love and intimacy are a root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what causes sadness and what brings happiness, what makes us suffer and what leads to healing. If a new drug had that same impact, virtually every doctor in the country would be recommending it for their patients.There is a deep spiritual hunger in this country as we approach the end of the 20th century and a new millenium. According to Dr. Ornish, the real epidemic in our culture is what he calls emotional and spiritual heart disease, the profound sense of loneliness, isolation, alienation and depression that is so prevalent today as the social structures that used to provide us with a sense of connection and community break down. We are only now beginning to appreciate what the radical shifts in our society in the past 50 years really mean.Love and Survival also chronicles Dr. Ornish's personal journey along with his experiences as a physician and scientist. He also provides a comprehensive review of research supporting the powerful role of intimacy in health and illness, reveals in very personal terms his own struggles with intimacy and meaning and describes strategies and techniques for enhancing intimacy and communication. Love and Survival is filled with powerful stories from Dr. Ornish's clinical and personal experiences. He takes his examination a step further by talking with eminent healers, scientists, theologians, psychologists, physicians, therapists and authors, each of whom provides a fascinating perspective on why love and intimacy are such powerful determinants of health and survival. In addition, Dr. Ornish's photographs, reflecting isolation and connection, illustrate the book.