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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Laura Meints, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This book educates practitioners caring for women about the complementary, alternative, and spiritual aspects of healthcare. Tables, personal anecdotes, and summary points supplement the text.
Purpose: As stated in the preface, the purpose is to tie together traditional ways of understanding and treating disease with Western medical practices to provide integrative healthcare to women. In the process, the authors specifically seek to incorporate the art of medicine and gender-specific attention to disease states. The book aims to provide a broad-based approach to women's health through use of both anecdote and evidence.
Audience: It is intended for health professionals involved in women's health, although it fills a niche (complementary and alternative medicine) within the larger sphere of women's health.
Features: Chapters are separated into thematic subject areas of short length and depth for generalist practitioners. The book, although intended as a guide to women's health, varies between evidence-supported, practical chapters and largely subjective chapters based on the author's opinion. The chapters that use evidence tend to do so to support a particular way of thinking about the chapter's subject, rather than presenting all available evidence. Nonetheless, for practitioner seeking a basic introduction to integrative medicine as it relates to women, this is a good starting guide. The book covers lifestyle contributors to health and wellness (nutrition, dietary supplements, physical activity, mind-body therapies), world systems and philosophies related to disease (traditional Chinese medicine, energy medicine, homeopathy), reproductive health (premenstrual syndrome, the role of stress in infertility, chronic pelvic pain, menopause), and common illnesses in women (urinary tract infections, headaches, anxiety, eating disorders, osteoporosis). Concise sectioning of information in the chapters and good tables are the highlight of this book. There is much innovative information as it relates to the mind-body connection in health.
Assessment: This book superficially reaches its goals of educating the reader about integrative medicine. It only briefly describes topics, and the opinion-based chapters offer a single approach to integrative care. That said, I would recommend the book for someone new to integrative medicine as a basic introduction.