In an attractive, oversized format, enlivened with illustrations, sidebar quotes, personal accounts, techniques to try, and profiles of leaders in the field, Discovering the Body's Wisdom is a basic resource for well-being and natural health.
Body disciplines and therapies have enjoyed phenomenal growth in the past decade, becoming a major alternative to mainstream medicine and traditional psychotherapy. But with more than 100,000 practitioners and dozens of methods available in the United States alone, how can consumers choose the right one for themselves?
Mirka Knaster's richly informative guide provides an overview of the principles and theories underlying the major Eastern and Western body therapies, or "bodyways." It shows readers how to befriend their own bodies, getting back in touch with their internal sources of health and wisdom. It also describes more than 75 individual approaches, answering such questions as: How does each therapy work? What can we expect from one session or a series? What are the reasons for selecting this method? How do we find a qualified practitioner? What, if any, are the "consumer-bewares"?
If ever a book could have used a subtitle, this is one. An explanatory phrase like "Bodywork Therapies Old and New" would go far to alerting readers to the scope and purpose of this comprehensive consumer guide to the myriad bodywork disciplines currently available. After explaining the purpose of bodywork and the psychological and physical benefits ascribed to it, Knaster, a licensed massage therapist and former Ford Foundation Fellow, suggests how best to choose a therapeutic approach and what to expect from it, and how to find and evaluate bodywork practitioners. Knaster considers Western systems, with their emphasis on structure, function and movement, and Eastern approaches, which emphasize energy, or the life force. Each section concludes with information on training. The margins of the pages are distractingly busy with quotations, which, while relevant, make the necessarily complex explanations more difficult to follow. Long paragraphs set off by shading offer valuable first-person accounts or do-it-yourself exercises by which a reader can sample the practice of a therapy, but these too are interruptive. Despite its design flaws, Knaster's comprehensive study will be of considerable help to those who want to know the differences between the Alexander Technique and the Rosen Method or between Shiatsu and Aikido. (July)