Despite being of a green persuasion on numerous topics, from conservation to consumption, I’ve always had trouble believing in holistic remedies. Getting in touch with your spiritual side? Sounds like New Age cobblers to me. How about a tofu detox? Erm, I’ll pass thanks. So when Dr Fabrizio Mancini’s latest tome, The Power of Self-Healing: Unlock Your Natural Healing Potential in 21 Days landed on my desk, to say I was skeptical is a bit of an understatement. After all isn’t ‘self-healing’ just a euphemism for ‘grin and bear it’ or as we Brits prefer to call it, a stiff upper lip? But no; according to Mancini, what self-healing is really all about is leading a healthier life that takes into account your emotional and spiritual needs. So far, so sensible, but isn’t it a bit obvious that a better life will result in better health? Once again, Dr Mancini begged to differ and after a quick Google, it turned out that actually, he has a point.
Take obesity for example. Obesity not only leads to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, it also is a direct contributor to heart disease and costs the NHS somewhere in the region of £4 billion per year; a figure expected to rise to £6.3 billion by 2015. What’s more, shocking Department of Health statistics reveal that a staggering 61 per cent of UK adults are overweight along with 28 per cent of children. This is clearly not healthy and sensible eating advice of the sort served up by Dr Mancini would go a long way to ameliorating these figures. That a healthier lifestyle, if adopted by the majority, would cost the taxpayer less, hasn’t gone unnoticed by Dr Mancini either. ‘In the United States, almost one third of our budget is dedicated to healthcare expenses,’ he said in an interview with the Ecologist. ‘When we look at the statistics, over 80 per cent of the expense is coming from individuals and the choices that they’re making for their lifestyle.’ In other words, smoking, obesity, stress and so on are all direct contributors to over-stretched health budgets.
Economic considerations aside, Mancini has a compelling message for environmentalists beginning with the idea that pharmaceuticals, which by the way, around a fifth of us ingest on a daily basis, might not be the only answer to low-level woes. He tackles the quick fix culture head on, suggesting that rather than looking at health as something that comes from ‘outside in’, we should look at it as something that comes from ‘inside out’. In other words, rather than munching on additive-laden food and wondering why you’re getting fat, try pro-actively switching to organic healthy food. Wonder why you always feel so stressed? Have you checked your sleeping patterns? And what about feeling low? Do you really need a pill for that? Wouldn’t a hug do just fine?
It’s the latter that has the capacity to prove controversial, along with his championing of some scary-sounding supplements. For instance, he suggests methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for sufferers of osteoarthritis. Personally, I’d be a bit wary of taking something with methane in the name, although to be fair to Mancini, he does provide details of research backing up his assessment of the benefits of MSM. On to the hugs, which he recommends, not just as a way to help beat a black mood but also as a means of fighting addiction. I can see where he’s going with it – there’s no doubt that a jolly good hugging genuinely does brighten your day and there’s scientific evidence to prove it – but isn’t suggesting it as a means of kicking a serious addiction a little too wishy-washy?
But the odd outbreak of touchy-feeliness aside, The Power of Self-Healing is, at heart, a sensible entrée into the world of natural health and wellness. Mancini is not suggesting that we should all start swapping drugs for remedies in all cases; simply that by living better and cutting down on unnecessary medication we’re doing our bodies a favour and boosting its own internal healing power. After all, that’s what white blood cells and antibodies are there for anyway. He isn’t reinventing the wheel; instead recalibrating it to appeal to a skeptical Western audience. And for all my initial concern, I think he’s done a good job of making something that sounded like a medical manifesto for New Agers into something that everyone can benefit from. So for me, it's goodbye additives and aspirins and hello healthy living.
The Power of Self-Healing: Unlock Your Natural Healing Potential in 21 Days by Dr. Fabrizio Mancini (£12.99, Hay House) is available from Amazon
The Ecologist meets… Dr Fabrizio Mancini
The concept of ‘self-healing’ might sound like mumbo jumbo but it’s actually a sensible way of giving our lifestyles a healthy overhaul says Dr Fabrizio Mancini - starting with organic food, plenty of sleep and lots of exercise
The truth about food additives: how they threaten your health
In an extract from his new book, The Power of Self-Healing, Dr Fabrizio Mancini explains why sugar and food additives - from aspartame to trans fats - could have a severely detrimental effect on your health
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