8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power

Overview

Now expanded and updated?the #1 New York Times bestselling book in which one of America?s most brilliant doctors shares his famous program for improving and protecting your health

Eight Weeks to Optimum Health lays out Dr. Andrew Weil?s famous week-by-week, step-by-step plan that will keep your body?s natural healing system in peak working order. It covers diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress, and environment?all aspects of daily living that affect health and well-being. This ...

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8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power

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Overview

Now expanded and updated–the #1 New York Times bestselling book in which one of America’s most brilliant doctors shares his famous program for improving and protecting your health

Eight Weeks to Optimum Health lays out Dr. Andrew Weil’s famous week-by-week, step-by-step plan that will keep your body’s natural healing system in peak working order. It covers diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress, and environment–all aspects of daily living that affect health and well-being. This revised edition includes the most up-to-date findings on such vital subjects as cholesterol, antioxidants, trans fats, toxic residues in the food supply, soy products, and vitamins and supplements, together with a greatly enhanced source list of information and supplies. Inside you will learn how to

• develop eating habits for greater health and well-being
• start an effective exercise program based on walking and stretching
• work with breathing patterns to decrease stress and improve energy
• solve sleeping problems
• eliminate toxins from your diet
• minimize environmental hazards in your daily life

Plus–programs tailored to the specific needs of pregnant women, senior citizens, overweight people, and those at risk for cancer.

“If there is a heaven, sixtysomething Weil is headed there, but if he practices what he preaches, probably not for some time yet.”
– London Times

“Dr. Andrew Weil is an extraordinary phenomenon.”
The Washington Post

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If there is a heaven, sixtysomething Weil is headed there, but if he practices what he preaches, probably not for some time yet.”
– London Times

“Dr. Andrew Weil is an extraordinary phenomenon.”
–The Washington Post

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345498021
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 112,449
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew  Weil
Andrew Weil, M.D., has worked for the National Institute of Mental Health and for fifteen years was a Research Associate in Ethnopharmacology at the Harvard Botanical Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout the world collecting information about the medicinal properties of plants, altered states of consciousness, and healing. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine and other national publications. He is under constant demand to lecture and appear on radio and television. He is currently Associate Director of the Division of Social Perspectives in Medicine, and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he practices natural and preventive medicine. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health is his seventh book.

From the Hardcover edition.

Biography

Since the early ‘70s, Andrew Weil has been bucking conventional wisdom about healthy living.

Weil began his career with a bang -- or maybe just a puff -- in The Natural Mind, a book containing ideas that remain controversial today. Most famously, it endorsed the idea of "stoned thinking" (induced not only by drugs but also by hypnosis, meditation, etc.) and identified a bias in traditional studies about mind-altering drugs. The book was fortified by Weil's own experience studying and taking various psychotropic agents, and while it suggested that non-chemical experiences were healthier, it also bore open criticism of American drug policy. Weil continued his exploration of altered mental states with The Marriage of the Sun and Moon and From Chocolate to Morphine (coauthored with Winifred Rosen).

In his next three titles -- Health and Healing, Natural Health, Natural Medicine, and Spontaneous Healing -- Weil turned to illness and alternative therapies, educating readers on then relatively unknown options such as homeopathy, herbal medicine, cranial therapy and other unconventional approaches. The fact that Weil was a Harvard-trained doctor lent his writings credibility and popularity with an ever-widening readership, even as he earned a somewhat heretical status in the world of mainstream medicine.

Some of Weil's views might rile practitioners of traditional medicine -- he has suggested that certain conventional treatments do more harm than good -- but Weil has never advocated abandonment of the medical establishment. Rather, he promotes integrative medicine: an approach to health that embraces nontraditional healing methods and takes the mind and spirit into account when assessing and treating problems. In response to Dr. Arthur Relman's assault in the New Republic, charging that assertions in Weil's books that lacked scientific backing, Weil responded on his web site, "If I had dismissed the successes I saw with [cranial therapy, for example] as ‘anecdotes,' we would not be in a position to take the next step and gather the data that Dr. Relman wants to see. It is important to note that paradigm shifts, in medicine as in other fields, are not quiet affairs. They occasion much screaming and kicking." (To both of the doctors' credits, they engaged in a public debate at the University of Arizona following Relman's much-discussed critique, minus the screaming and kicking.) Whatever the future holds for certain alternative approaches, it is a testament both to Weil's popularity and the growing interest in his ideas that studies of such practices have begun to win funding and attention.

Eight Weeks to Optimum Health was the most complete synthesis yet of Weil's ideas about holistic health and also helped cement his status as a health guru. Unlike most "diets" that focused mostly on meal plans and magical eating formulas, Weil's program is about a balance of nutrients, herbs, exercise, and mental salves such as turning off the news or keeping fresh flowers around. In particular, Weil became a well known expert on the growing field of herbal supplements.

Recently, Weil teamed with Rosie Daley -- Oprah's former personal chef – to create The Healthy Kitchen. The book operates on a bit of push-and-pull between Daley and Weil, with "Andy" offering substitute ingredients to some of Rosie's recipes. As with Weil's other tomes, The Healthy Kitchen does not operate on draconian edicts, offering options for individuals instead.

Good To Know

Weil is director and founder of the Program in Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. Also, his Polaris Foundation advances the cause of integrative medicine through public policy, education, and research.

Weil's parents owned a millinery store in Philadelphia, and his mother fostered his interest in botany. "When you grow up in a row house, there's very limited opportunity to grow stuff, but my mother knew some things from her mother, who was the one with the real green thumb," he told My Generation magazine. "And she did introduce me to growing bulbs in the house, and we had a little plot of ground to garden. That stuff fascinated me. And I always dreamed about the day when I could have enough space to do it."

Weil's undergraduate focus was ethnobotany, which focuses on the uses of certain plants by various cultures and ethnicities. His thesis title: "The Use of Nutmeg as a Psychotropic Agent." Under a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs, Weil traveled from 1971-75 throughout Central and South America to investigate cultural psychotropics and healing. Many of his findings from this time are collected in The Marriage of the Sun and Moon.

Weil lives in Arizona "by pure chance," he told HealthWorld Online. His car broke down in the mid-1970s, and it took so long to fix that he ended up staying in Tucson.

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    1. Hometown:
      Tucson, Arizona
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 8, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Biology, Harvard University, 1964; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1968
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One:

You have in your hands a tool for changing your life, an Eight-Week Program for improving your health and gaining access to the power of spontaneous healing in your body. I will guide you through this program step by step, explaining the changes I will ask you to make in how you eat, how you exercise, how you breathe, and how you use your mind. I will recommend vitamins, minerals, and herbs you can use to protect your body's healing system, and I will give you ideas about how you can change long-standing patterns of behavior that impair optimal health.

The Eight-Week Program consists of small steps that build on each other until, but the time you complete it, you have laid the foundation for healthy living. You can then decide how much of the program you want to maintain on a permanent basis. I assume that you want to make changes in your life -- otherwise you wouldn't be reading this book. I see my job as pointing you in the right direction. I have no doubt that you can change, because I know from my own experience that people can do so if they really want to.

In moving files recently, I came across a yellowed clipping from The New York Times of August 12, 1971, with the headline: "Meat-Eating 230-Pound Doctor Is Now 175-Pound Vegetarian." The story concerns a twenty-nine-year old physician in rural Virginia who gave up animal foods except for dairy products, with a resultant increase in energy, well-being, and overall health. There is a photograph of the doctor in his kitchen preparing fresh corn. He has a full black beard, is wearing blue jeans and a work shirt, and looks content. Next to the picture is his recipe for a rich corn soup containing milk and butter, and another recipe for a barley-and-vegetable casserole that calls for a quarter-cup of peanut oil. According to the article, the doctor's interest in consciousness led him to experiment with yoga and meditation, and "since yoga calls for a vegetarian diet, he gave up meat 'in order to really do it right.' He has been a vegetarian ever since, to the amazement of his friends, who remember him as a voracious meat eater and a fat person while at Harvard ... In one year on his new diet he has reduced from 230 to 175 pounds. His recurring colds and allergies have vanished..."

My beard is no longer black, and I have not been able to maintain my weight at 175-pounds. I am still mostly vegetarian (I have eaten fish for the past 10 years), though now I don't make rich soups with milk and butter , use oil in such quantities, or ever cook with peanut oil. I think I am wiser with age and in general feel much happier now than I did when I was twenty-nine.

I will try to accomplish three things in the pages that follow. First, I want to try to share with you my vision of the body's healing system and encourage you to rely on it in all matters concerning your health. Second, I want to convince you of the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle and the possibility of doing so quickly and easily. Third, I want to give you very specific suggestions about those aspects of lifestyle I consider most important to health and healing. I know that I cannot motivate you to undertake the Eight-Week Program -- you must do that yourself -- but since you have read this far, I believe you are already interested in moving forward, and I will assume that you now want to know what moving forward entails and how to do it.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents


The Capacity to Change
People Can Change     3
An Overview of Health and Healing     16
A Healing Story: Defying a Prognosis     25
The Whole Picture     27
A Healing Story: The Spiritual Roots of Health     32
A Healing Story: Better Breathing     35
Why Eight Weeks?     37
The eight-week program
Week One     47
A Healing Story: The Value of Supplements     66
Week Two     67
A Healing Story: Seeing Better with Carrots     87
Week Three     88
A Healing Story: Effects of Breathing Exercises     106
Week Four     107
A Healing Story: Giving the Liver a Chance     121
Week Five     123
A Healing Story: The Power of Ginger     138
Week Six     140
A Healing Story: A Testimonial to Ashwagandha (and Ayurveda)     158
Week Seven     161
A Healing Story: The Power of Intimacy     175
Week Eight     177
A Healing Story: A Couple Follows the Program     187
A Healing Story: Mind over Back Pain     189
A Healing Story: Report from Michigan     191
A Healing Story: K.G.'s Adventure     193
Week Nine and Beyond     196
A Healing Story: Selected Elements of the Program     198
A Healing Story: Report from a Barber     199
A Healing Story: A Patient with Multiple Sclerosis     201
A Healing Story: Peripheral Neuropathy     203
The Customized Plans
For Those Over Age Fifty     207
For Those Over Age Seventy     211
For Those Under Age Twenty     216
For Men     220
For Women     224
For Pregnant Women (and Those Considering Pregnancy)     229
For Parents of Young Children     233
For Those Living in Big Cities     241
For Those Who Travel Frequently     244
For Those Who Are Overweight     249
For Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease     255
For Those at Risk for Cancer     261
Acknowledgments     267
Finding Information and Supplies     169
Notes     281
Index     293
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