Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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New Medicine - Complete Family Health Guide

Drs. David Peters and Kenneth Pelletier and their publisher, Dorling Kindersley Limited of Great Britain, have released the book New Medicine, subtitled Complete Family Health Guide into the U.S. The original publication date in the United Kingdom was 2005. The book is 512 pages in length, very well illustrated, and carries a retail price of $35 U.S.

New Medicine is a quite well written compendium of information intended to present, side-by-side, information that allows the reader to understand choices for therapy from both “western” (traditional) allopathic medicine and from “alternative” or “complementary” medicine. Combined, all of this medical knowledge generates an “integrated” approach to wellness, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This is a timely topic for medicine in general, and particularly germane to wilderness medicine. We are all fully aware that there are innumerable varieties of medicine practiced in remote regions worldwide, ranging from the herbalism and rituals of shamans to the sophisticated interventions that can be accomplished with the use of such tools as pulse oximeters, mobile surgical units, and portable hyperbaric chambers.

The world has suffered too long from lack of communication between “east” and “west” and can no longer afford to discount all reasonable approaches to acute and chronic debilitating conditions. It is rare that any faction has “the answer,” so we have much benefit to obtain if we can learn to integrate our knowledge and approaches to healing.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first section, there definitions, philosophical explanations, and general descriptions and introductory instructions that define the different types of medicine discussed in the disorder-specific topics that appear in the second section of the book. The chapters in the first section include well-being and health, conventional medicine, nutritional medicine, bodywork therapies, western herbal medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, environmental health, mind-body medicine, and psychological therapy. I found this portion of the book to be a refreshing overview of a general approach to practicing medicine. It more than serves its purpose of exposing a lay audience to the important principles and practices within each topic.

The second major section is entitled Disease & Disorders. It includes general advice & precautions, brain & nervous system, skin, eyes & ears, respiratory system, digestive & urinary systems, circulatory system, musculoskeletal system, hormonal system, women’s health, pregnancy & childbirth, men’s health, children’s health, mind & emotions, allergies & systemic disorders. It covers the 100 or so diseases and disorders most amenable to an integrated approach, as estimated by the editors. This is terrific stuff.

In a subsequent edition, I would love to see the book expanded to cover as many diseases and disorders as possible. Furthermore, it would be fascinating to see additional complementary approaches added from diverse cultures.

I am very favorably impressed by New Medicine and see a clear need for something like this at the doctor level. Given the vast amount of medical information available, it would be quite useful to have a reference source that puts a “New Medicine approach” Furthermore, I am convinced that personally taking some of their advice to heart would be instrumental in improving the health of anyone, including this reviewer.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.