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Heal Thy Self (by Saki Santorelli)

As someone who has been interested in mindfulness for a few years now, I was excited to read this book and learn more about how mindfulness can be applied in the context of illness and medicine in general.

The book follows the structure of the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I found the book less useful than I had hoped because I struggled to follow the format. There was little development as it mostly consisted of reflections on various stories.

Also, I thought the information was presented fragmentarily rather than in a fluid and organised way, which made it difficult for me to connect with it.

Finally, this book may not be ideal for beginners to mindfulness. In fact I found it to be more of a refresher than an introductory guide.

For those looking to learn more about mindfulness, I recommend “A Monk’s Guide to Happiness” by Gelong Thubten, which remains my favourite book on the topic of mindfulness.

Title: Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine
Author: Saki Santorelli
Year First Published: 1999

From Goodreads:

Today we are experiencing extraordinary technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of illness while at the same time learning to take more responsibility for our own health and well-being.

In this book, Saki Santorelli, director of the nationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic, explores the ancient roots of medicine, and shows us how to introduce mindfulness into the crucible of the healing relationship.

His approach revolutionizes the dynamics between the patient and the practitioner. In describing the classes at the clinic and the transformation that takes place in this alchemical process, he offers insights and effective methods for cultivating mindfulness in our everyday lives.

As he reveals the inner landscape of his own life as a health care professional and we join him and those with whom he works on this journey of human suffering and courage, we become aware of and honor what is darkest and brightest within each one of us.