This book by Dr Ornish has changed the lives of millions of people by introducing them to a concept that was unheard of before. He was the first medical professional who gave evidence that heart diseases can be prevented and even reversed by making significant changes in one’s lifestyle.
With this book, the author’s aim has been to increase our understanding of heart disease and empower its readers to gain enough knowledge on the subject matter for better interaction with doctors. He wants his readers to gain insight on the topic so that both can work effectively to achieve enhanced health and happiness.
In the book, he has documented his analysis and given it a form of Opening Your Heart program that can help the reader transform his life for the better. Dr Ornish did a 14 years-long study and concluded that coronary arteries of people afflicted with heart issues began to open as they moved forward with this program. Its ultimate goal is to make readers feel freer and happier; on making them happy from the inside. The whole idea is to transform the sufferer’s personality by making changes at emotional, physical and spiritual level to have a proportional impact on his heart and overall health. This is an “open heart” procedure, based, not on drugs and surgery, but on accepting oneself as an individual, to aim for holistic healing.
The book is divided into 3 parts. In the first part, he talks about the conventional route of recovery that every individual suffering from heart disease takes. He mentions the medical rationale and scientific evidence for this program. He goes on to explain how he did a comprehensive lifestyle intervention research to bridge the knowledge-bank gap between the medical community and the public. He asserts on the importance of changing the diet and incorporating exercise into the routines of the sufferers. He goes a level deeper by making people feel more connected to themselves, to give and receive love more fully. From discussing the reasons that lead to coronary artery blockages, coronary artery spasm and even blood clots, he also talks about the effects of diet, exercise, nicotine, stimulants and emotional stress on overall heart health. The first part also has stories of individuals in detail wherein they’ve discussed their journey pre and post the Opening Your Heart program.
The second part focusses on the program in detail and how each one of the readers can choose a tailor-made program for stress management techniques, reversal and prevention diet, to quit smoking, and initiate the process of exercise in daily routine.
The stress management techniques include stretches, office stretches and progressive deep relaxation. Abdominal breathing, deep breathing, directed visualization, healing heart visualization, and receptive visualization have been explained from scratch. Once one has attained tranquillity in himself, he is now ready to open his heart to others. With the help of communication skills that help you to identify your feeling, express, listen and acknowledge the feelings of others in an empathetic manner, the book engrosses the reader and takes him to a level where he is now ready to open his heart to a higher self. Meditation and mindfulness are the key processes discussed before delving into the depths of dietary impacts on health. The inclusions and exclusions of food groups in reversal and prevention diets have been catered to as well.
The third part gives an introduction to a number of recipes with a glossary of ingredients that include grains, legumes, seasonings, flavourings and spices. General techniques and cooking instructions for each of these ingredients are followed by a list of recipes that include soups, salads and desserts.
This book is not just a collection of words, it is a collection of wisdom that can save lives and help people reverse their heart disease in a natural manner. A definite read for anyone who is prone to this illness or is just enthusiastic about role of natural lifestyle in healing.
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