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Healing Ourselves

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Healing Ourselves

A guide for learning how to prevent, diagnose and treat disease according to the teachings of Oriental Medicine.

-by Naboru Muramoto, Published by Swan House/Avon

In the mid-60's a most peculiar diet and set of health guidelines began to creep into the Great American Meatball Consciousness. It was a diet seemingly centered around "brown rice and seaweed"--a Zen diet, a diet based on dialectical materialism, a diet at once very simple and very complex (the dialectic at work), and a diet based on principles translated from ideographic oriental languages into linear dualistic English. All this was known as "macrobiotics."

Macrobiotics, meaning "large life" and or "long life" was a word coined by Japanese doctor Nyoti Sakurazawa known to the West as Georges Ohsawa. He attempted with his science of a greater magnitude of living to introduce on a practical level the wisdom of more than 60 centuries of Oriental Medicine to the Western (and Westernized) world. Although understanding of macrobiotics came to a few persons as brilliant flashes, macrobiotics and its diet were sadly and harmfully misunderstood by most folks who came into contact with it.

Healing Ourselves is a major breakthrough in the essential and urgent task of furthering understanding of a medicine that heals the entire active person rather a medicine that seeks to suppress complaints or symptoms.

Healing--wholing. Hale and hearty--whole and healthy. To heal is to make whole. This sense of "heal" then precludes the symptomatic "healing" which dominates western allopathic medicine. A complete medicine considers not only the whole person, but the dynamic interaction of that person and all aspects of his environment. It is then evident that as a book, Healing Ourselves, by its title, sets out on a task encompassing an understanding of the entire universe.

Actually, despite the inevitable omissions, this book of Naboru Muramoto's lectures, compiled and supplemented by Michel Abehsera, goes a long way toward doing just that. Healing Ourselves, after a short discussion on the fundamental differences between eastern and western medicine, explains the dialectical nature of the universe (yin and yang), and shows how the Five Element Theory reflects the rhythms of nature. Further chapters deal with the body's organs, the nature of disease, and a means for diagnosing the body's condition. Techniques for healing follow of which "Food is the Best Medicine." The diagnoses and cures are defined within the framework of yin and yang and the five elements. For fast symptomatic relief of pains and as an aid to healing through diet, internal and external remedies are presented.

The chapter "Using Herbs and Teas" is most remarkable in that this may be the only working herbal in the bookstores; the only one intended to be more than a coffee table decoration. Given the availability of herbs, one can use them very effectively. Of course much more information is needed on herbal medicine, and rumor has it that Muramoto may publish another book entirely devoted to herbs.

As herbal medicine, properly used, speeds the healing process so too may the various remedial physical exercises be used to aid healing. Further, exercise and physical therapy, especially martial arts such as T'ai Chi Ch'uanAikido, Kung Fu, etc., may serve not only to strengthen the body, but also serve to reorient the player in the aforementioned dynamic interaction with his environment. One's environment is of course social as well as physical. It is unfortunate that no mention is made in Healing Ourselves of the physical arts. While it is true that a book cannot teach dynamic physical arts, only a teacher can, the book should have stressed the importance of this activity.

Reading through Healing Ourselves is fascinating, but several re-readings, discussions with friends, and lots of practice with the foods and ideas are necessary to develop the healing art. At $3.95 this book can't be passed up. It very likely will change your life.

The book and many of the herbs and herbal teas discussed therein are available in Ann Arbor from Eden Foods, 330 Maynard.

--Bob Thorson


Image caption: SHOU-The Chinese flower symbol for long life.