On Learning to Heal: or, What Medicine Doesn’t Know
by Ed Cohen
Duke University Press

"Healing is one of the essential tendencies of all living organisms, and without it none of us would still be alive."

Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age thirteen, author Cohen’s life would always be affected by “its stigmata,” or so he assumed. Afflicted with daily, often horrific, diarrhea that sometimes included bleeding, he was mercilessly teased by his fellow students until he was finally allowed to use a bathroom generally reserved for menstruating females. He managed to cope through high school and then into Stanford University. In graduate school, he had a life-threatening bout with Crohn’s, spending several months in the hospital. No matter how kind or competent his doctors were, none had any positive prognosis; he was stuck with the disease as long as he lived, using whatever new pill pharma might devise to palliate, but not cure. However, he found over some years that the illness was not necessarily incurable. Through varied therapies involving the power of the mind, which he examines in fine detail in this memoir/treatise, Cohen finally brought into reality a satisfying victory over his torments, encouraged and enlightened by wise teachers, psychologists, and self-help advisors.

Cohen, a professor at Rutger’s University, now vigorously states that all humans have self-healing powers, reminding readers that medical science may offer only a narrow view that many times incorrectly ignores any suggestion that such remedies as psychosynthesis, magnetism, and Eastern disciplines—techniques that the author utilized to his advantage—can be of any use. His extensively researched book exudes erudition based on experience and includes engaging narrative, historical and medical data, and personal observations appropriate to the depth of knowledge he conveys. Cohen’s work should be read, considered, and shared by anyone with Crohn’s or similar chronic ailments and by anyone who expects to face similar challenges of disease and distress at any time of life.

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