🧠 Wellness Book Review: Brain Weaver
Creating the Fabric for a Healthy Mind through Integrative Medicine
The wound is the place where the Light enters you
Happy Monday, Friends!
I hope January treated you well. Today, I’m writing from my childhood home in New Jersey, where I just spent some time with my family. Staying connected to the people we care about — and who care for us — is such an important part of staying healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
This fact was reinforced many times in the book I’m going to review today:
Brain Weaver: Creating the Fabric for a Healthy Mind through Integrative Medicine by Andrew Newberg, MD, and Daniel A. Monti, MD.*
Brain Weaver Review
First, I want to say that Brain Weaver is the perfect title for a book that explores the interconnected aspects of optimal brain health:
In my personal experience, these four dimensions are too often treated as separate entities rather than parts of a holistic approach to health. The authors do an outstanding job of weaving each together into an integrated whole.
I ordered this book at the end of 2021, and my only regret is not having read it right away. As I’ve mentioned, 2022 was an incredibly challenging period for my mental health — and overall health, really.
Reading this book was a compassionate reminder of the healthy lifestyle I dedicated myself to when I first decided to move away from medication in my mid-20s. Needless to say, I was long overdue for a refresher.
Brain Weaver is excellent science writing in that it references peer-reviewed research and explains it in a way that’s easy and entertaining to read.
If you’re tired of hearing about how great yoga and meditation are and want to “see the proof,” this book is for you. The belly of this book is filled with color images of brain scan data that show the benefits of things like prayer and meditation.
But the best part is how clearly it’s organized. Good science writing is equal parts putting words on the page and structuring it in a way the reader will easily digest and understand.
Part One: The Basics
The first section provides fundamental information on brain health. It’s written plainly enough that anyone could pick it up, even if you’ve never read a paragraph about neuroscience or medicine in your life.
In this section, the authors cover topics like:
Gut health and the benefits of probiotics
Toxicity (including heavy metals, which is relevant to my current situation)
They always encourage the reader to consult with a healthcare provider, but the book provides a solid knowledge base for anyone interested in taking steps toward interventions.
Part Two: Healing Systems
This section explores an integrative approach to optimal brain health. A decent chunk of it focuses on the mental health benefits of physical exercise. I love this for many reasons.
Firstly, every recovery I’ve made from depression has begun with a renewed commitment to regular exercise. And also, I feel like there’s way too much emphasis on exercising to lose weight or achieve your ideal physical form. When you think of exercise and proper nutrition as ways to improve your health instead of reducing your body, well, it just feels… healthier.
Other chapters in this section include:
The Effects of Stress and Stress Reduction on Brainpower
Art, Music, and the Healthy Brain
The Meditative Brain
Special Tools for Brain Health
This section introduced me to some new modalities I’d like to learn more about, such as the Neuro Emotional Technique.
Part Three: Dealing with Brain Problems
The last section focuses on various brain disorders, including:
The most common psychiatric disorders (anxiety and depression)
Headaches and migraines
One new thing I learned from reading this section was how similar a depressed brain and a brain with dementia can be. Honestly, this was kind of validating for me. Some of my most debilitating symptoms this last go-around related to cognitive functioning. It definitely made me feel better to know that was a result of my brain not working properly, not because I’m stupid or forgetful.
Another big takeaway was the importance of a healthy social life. This is an area I struggle in, especially since moving to a new state at the onset of a global pandemic.
I know that the isolation of living where I do means I need to be proactive about strengthening my meaningful connections and expanding my network of casual acquaintances. Reading this book felt like a doctor writing a prescription for me to keep eating my oatmeal, exercising daily, and laughing with friends. What’s not to love?
I highly recommend this book, whether you’re affected by a brain disorder or simply want to boost your overall health. It’s a pleasant and info-packed read for anyone!
You can order a copy here.*
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