Review: ‘One Spirit Medicine’ by Alberto Villoldo

One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness
Alberto Villoldo

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Published by: Hay House
Publication Date: 5th May 2015
ISBN: 9781401947309
Price: 24.99
Currency: USD
Edition: Hardcover

Blurb
Today our minds, our emotions, our relationships, and our bodies are out of kilter. We know it, but we tend to ignore it until something brings us up short—a worrying diagnosis, a broken relationship, or simply an inability to function harmoniously in everyday life. When things are a little off, we read a self-help book. When they’re really bad, we bring in oncologists to address cancer, neurologists to repair the brain, psychologists to help us understand our family of origin. But this fragmented approach to health is merely a stopgap. To truly heal, we need to return to the original recipe for wellness discovered by shamans millennia ago: One Spirit Medicine.
Through One Spirit Medicine, the shamans found that they could grow a new body that allowed them to live in extraordinary health. They learned how to switch off the “death clock” inside every cell, and turn on the “immortality” genes that reside in password-protected regions of our DNA. Cancer, dementia, and heart disease were rare. The shamans of old were truly masters of prevention.
Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as a medical anthropologist—as well as his own journey back from the edge of death—acclaimed shamanic teacher Alberto Villoldo shows you how to detoxify the brain and gut with superfoods; techniques for working with our luminous energy fields to heal your body; and follow the ancient path of the medicine wheel to shed disempowering stories from the past and pave the way for rebirth.
Using the principles and practices in this book, you can feel better in a few days, begin to clear your mind and heal your brain in a week, and in six weeks be on your way to a new body—one that heals rapidly, retains its youthful vitality, and keeps you connected to Spirit, to the earth, and to a renewed sense of purpose in your life.

MY REVIEW

The contents of this book can be divided between the dietary and the spiritual. While I have no problem with the spiritual, the dietary parts rubbed me the wrong way. The spiritual content was actually very interesting and I found some of the ideas resonated with me; seeing the world as Mother and being connected to all life, like a wave in the ocean, connected to something in me. I can see why the ‘medicine’ Alberto Villoldo prescribes helps some people.

As for the dietary strictures, I made more notes than usual while I was reading this book; my favourite is “Do you even science?”.

Since the writer claims to have his PhD and to be an anthropologist as well as a psychologist, I should hope he does. A few times I made notes about evidence for the claims he was making; I checked the bibliography, some of his claims have actual peer reviewed papers to support then, but quite a few – including his gluten scaring and other food hype/fearmongering – seems to come from other authors; since I don’t have their books I can’t check their sources. Also, anyone with a PhD who repeatedly says that “nature designed…” needs smacking with a GCSE biology text book. There is no design involved, it is evolution. Other worrying statements include the following:

Eating the superfoods and supplements in this chapter can all but eliminate your risk from. Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases of civilization.

And, that he had to include so much science because:

..people who have a medical background…always want to know the scientific research that supports my statements…

Well, yes if course, if you’re making big claims about your dietary recommendations, such that by following them people will

Grow a new body

And recover from debilitating or life threatening conditions, of course medical practitioners want to see evidence.

You see, I am rather skeptical, I like evidence, not anecdotes. With controlled double blind tests and repeatable results. Please, show me the evidence! If you can’t I’ll keep my skepticism.

That being said, some of Mr Villoldo’s dietary advice, such as eating plenty of Omega 3 rich oily fish and nuts, being sparing with the red meat, and get plenty of colourful vegetables in your meals, is sound. I have less trust in his insistence that carbs need to be removed entirely from human diets. Only those with clinically diagnosed gluten intolerance and caeliac’s disease need to avoid gluten, for the rest of us complex carbs are slow release energy sources, just don’t overdo it. The fibre keeps you regular too. I’ve had the ‘ideal diet plate’ shoved in my face a lot, some things stuck.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you have disordered eating patterns; I don’t have an eating disorder but I do have a questionable relationship with food and this book triggered my obsessive tendency; almost made myself do a three day fast. I was planning it out and everything. Luckily, I’m getting help for my mental health conditions and I was able to stop myself, but it was a struggle. I gave myself a talking to and then prepared the next two days meals while is was in a positive mind frame. Now I just have to convince myself that eating is not a sin.

The writing style is easy to read and fluid, with illustrative anecdotes and references to myths to illuminate the author’s points. I have no doubt this book will be very popular in some circles.

3/5 Unsupported science, but interesting spiritual insights

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