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The Wisdom of the Healing Wound: A New View on Why We Hurt & How We Can Cure Even the Deepest Physical and Emotional Wounds

The Wisdom of the Healing Wound: A New View on Why We Hurt & How We Can Cure Even the Deepest Physical and Emotional Wounds

by David Knighton

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Wounds are universal. We all experience them—to our bodies, our psyches, and our spirits. According to David Knighton, M.D., wounding is nothing to fear. In fact, wounding is as essential to life as healing—the two working together in an intricate biological dance that permeates all of nature. The Wisdom of the Healing Wound offers a new view on


Wounds are universal. We all experience them—to our bodies, our psyches, and our spirits. According to David Knighton, M.D., wounding is nothing to fear. In fact, wounding is as essential to life as healing—the two working together in an intricate biological dance that permeates all of nature. The Wisdom of the Healing Wound offers a new view on why we hurt, how we heal, and how we wound ourselves for our own benefit. Paradoxically, wounding is probably our greatest stimulus for health.

Armed with this new, positive outlook on wounding, readers can enjoy profound healing—even in wounds that have been diagnosed as chronic or incurable. Whether those wounds are physical, psychological, or spiritual, readers of The Wisdom of the Healing Wound will find many new and effective healing strategies—and renewed hope.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wounds are tricky things to cope with, whether they are mental, spiritual, or physical. The healing process can leave scars visible and invisible and can be as painful as acquiring them. Knighton, founder of the Wound Healing Institute at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, is an expert in all manner of wounds, particularly physical, and he advocates a holistic approach to cure—one that is focused on massage, self-examination, thoughtful care and embracing the person in all aspects. His advice explores everything from proper exercise to forms of psychotherapy and the latest advances in stem cells. Perhaps because of its wide range of topics, this book seems to stumble at times from serious scientific information to New Age sensibilities. While this is part of the holistic approach, to be sure, it leaves skeptical readers uncertain of how much to believe from the science and how much to dismiss from the spiritual. Readers will wish that he had stuck to exploring either physical or emotional wounds in greater detail, rather than offering small amounts of information on both. (June)

Product Details

Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Miracle and Mystery of Healing

Wounds are universal. We all experience wounds—to our bodies, our psyches, our spirits, and our relationships. In fact, wounding is such a common experience that we take it for granted as a normal part of life. How many times in a day do you say 'ouch'? Each 'ouch' is evidence of a wound.

Wounding unites all life. Even molecules can be wounded. The DNA that carries our genetic code is constantly being wounded by cosmic energy and other forces that cut its strands in two, tear off a molecule or two, or destroy whole segments. Luckily for us, our cells have sophisticated emergency systems that recognize the problem and repair the damage.

Without this healing, life would not exist. Yet wounding is every bit as essential to life as healing. In fact, the two work together in an immensely intricate biological dance that permeates all of nature. The processes of evolution and natural selection are all about wounding and healing. The organism that heals most effectively survives to reproduce.

We even wound ourselves for our own benefit. We do this every time we exercise. Our muscles are made up of cells, as well as tiny blood vessels called capillaries. These capillaries carry nutrients to all our cells, and carry away waste products from those cells. When we're at rest, the amount of blood flowing through our capillaries easily provides for every cell's needs. But when we exercise, our muscle cells require many more nutrients to support their increased workload. They also produce more waste that needs to be carried away.

At first our body responds by increasing our heart rate. The arteries that supply blood to our muscles expand, and the microscopic valves that regulate blood flow to our capillaries open wide. But if we keep exercising, we'll feel our muscles burning. This is because each muscle cell's need for nutrients has outstripped our body's ability to supply it with nourishment through the capillary system. Deprived of sufficient oxygen, the muscle cells become wounded. In response, these muscle cells produce signals that tell the body to grow more capillaries in order to provide more nutrients the next time you exercise. The muscle cells also grow a little larger so they can produce more energy.

In short, exercise is a matter of regularly wounding your muscles and letting them heal. Strange as it sounds, wounding yourself helps you stay fit.

Wounds and Memory

Now for an even stranger truth: wounds are a form of memory. They enable your body to store information about where danger lies and when you need to be careful.

Think of the earliest physical cut, scratch, puncture, break, or burn that you can remember. Then mentally relive that incident from beginning to end. Replay the events, the smells, the sights, and the sounds.

Even though this wounding happened many years ago, you probably still have vivid physical and emotional memories of the incident. This is because your mind stored this information in capital letters and flashing neon, so that if a similar situation occurs again, you'll act differently—and, ideally, avoid being wounded again.

A wound may be memorialized in another form as well: a scar. Each scar is a visible—and visceral—reminder from our body, telling us, 'Don't do this again!'

On my right index finger is a scar from a deep cut I got from a tin can lid fifty years ago. I was eight years old. I will never forget being cut; bleeding and screaming; my parents washing out the wound; and my father holding me down while my mother poured iodine into the wound. When I think about this almost ancient occurrence, my heart starts to beat faster; I get a visceral ache in the pit of my belly; and anger and fear rise up. Even though this happened over fifty years ago, I can vividly relive the incident.

What People are Saying About This

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

"Wounding is essential to growth—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Those who dare not break cannot break through. But we need wise guides to help us understand the necessity of woundedness and how to use our wounds to grow. Dr. David Knighton is just such a guide, and his Wisdom of the Healing Wound will transform not only your understanding of woundedness, but your very self as well."

—Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Recovery, the Sacred Art

Melody Beattie

"The Wisdom of the Healing Wound had to be written now because of the role it plays in the current paradigm shift. In his handbook for healing, Dr. Knighton offers what many of us are waiting for impatiently—new, accurate information. After undergoing an extremely invasive surgery, I especially appreciated this breakthrough, accessible advice about healing wounds and then, surprisingly, how to learn from them too, whether the wound is physical, psychological, spiritual and inevitably all three. It's time doctors do what they swore to in their oath. Thanks, Dr. Knighton, for leading the way."

—Melody Beattie, bestselling author of eighteen books, including Codependent No More, The New Codependency, The Language of Letting Go,

The Grief Club, and Make Miracles in Forty Days

Erik Fraser Storlie

"Through powerful and moving examples taken from both his personal life and groundbreaking medical work in wound healing, physician David Knighton illustrates in this profoundly encouraging book how the remarkable regenerative powers of the human body to mend itself extend also to what we could call our emotional and spiritual bodies—and that this healing of our bodies, minds, and spirits can be furthered when we bring our wounds to the attention of wise and skillful healers. Knighton moves the language and wisdom of allopathic healing into the realms of emotion and spirit—and back again—enriching and deepening our understanding of how to help ourselves and others. I couldn't put this book down."

—Erik Fraser Storlie, Ph.D., teacher of meditation and mindfulness, Center for Spirituality and Healing,
Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota

Erik Fraser Storlie, Ph.D.

Dr. Garth T. Bolinder

"As a distinguished surgeon, inventor, and entrepreneur, Dr. Knighton has helped thousands of patients get on the pathway to healing. In his captivating new book, Dr. Knighton combines medical expertise, transparent story-telling, and a pastoral heart that will help thousands more. If it is true, as Dr. Knighton writes, that 'every wound creates an open space,' then this book may just be that gentle wound we all need to open our minds, hearts, and souls to 'the wonder and beauty of healing.' Thanks, David, for writing and living this book."

—Dr. Garth T. Bolinder, Superintendent of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Midsouth Conference

Thomas K. Hunt

"Dr. Knighton has examined a universal event—injury and our innate reaction to it—and finds in this process a little-appreciated link between our bodies and our minds. The best description of physical and psychological injury and repair for the layman that I have seen."

—Thomas K. Hunt, M.D., former Director of the Wound Healing Research Laboratory,

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Thomas K. Hunt, M.D.

Louie Anderson

"The Wisdom of the Healing Wound will help you heal better, faster, and more completely, no matter what kind of wound—physical, spiritual, or psychological—you have. It's loaded with practical advice, soulful honesty, and fascinating information about the human body and the human psyche. Dr. David Knighton is a healer extraordinaire."

Louie Anderson, comedian, game-show host, and author of the bestselling

Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child and Goodbye Jumbo…Hello Cruel World

Meet the Author

David Knighton, M.D., founded the Wound Healing Institute at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. He also developed a medically holistic approach to helping people with nonhealing wounds to heal. In addition, Dr. Knighton founded Curative Technologies, a medical technology and service company whose products stimulate healing in previously nonhealing wounds and whose wound-care centers serve people in several countries. For more information, visit Dr. Knighton at www.wisdomofthehealingwound.com.

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