The best alternative medicine books

10 authors have picked their favorite books about alternative medicine and why they recommend each book.

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Soteria

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Book cover of Soteria

What would happen if instead of throwing people into jail-like mental wards and hammering them with tranquilizing drugs, we instead welcomed them into home-like settings and spent time listening and caring, patiently giving them time and space to explore the emotional roots of their crisis? Psychiatrist Loren Mosher did just that in the Soteria House research project in the 1970s and 80s, and the results were clear: people do better without medications and with listening and caring in a safe environment instead.

Mosher was the first chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia of the National Institutes of Mental Health but you’ve probably never heard of him – his innovative project proved that psychosis can be healed more effectively without medication and outside of  hospitals, but came at a time when biological and pharmaceutical solutions – and the profits they generate – came to dominate psychiatry, so he was…

Soteria

By Voyce Hendrix Fort, Loren R. Mosher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soteria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I was an imaginative and sensitive kid – growing up in the confusing oppressions of the US south and raised by parents who are themselves trauma survivors. When I started to go into altered states, hear voices, withdraw in frightened isolation and drift towards strange beliefs, I was forcibly locked up at Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital in San Francisco. I was drugged, put in restraints and solitary confinement, and told I was schizophrenic and would never live a normal life. Today I don’t take medication, work as a therapist teacher, and advocate, and have joined the international patients’ movement working to change an abusive and misguided mental health system. I am not anti-medication, but I see psychiatric meds for what they are – tranquilizers, not treatments, tools not solutions. We need compassionate approaches and caring communities for individuals suffering from a psychotic crisis like I was. I am also the author of the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.


I wrote...

Book cover of Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness

What is my book about?

We need to realize that it is our world that is crazy, and those of us who lose our minds might just be having a sane reaction to an insane situation. We need to listen to the voices of people diagnosed with mental illness, not push us into the shadows. Today I’m deeply inspired to see more and more people questioning what it means to be called crazy in a crazy world, and believe we can push past the failed treatments of pharma and psychiatry and bring in a new way to respond to “madness.”

Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness reveals the human side of mental illness. In this remarkable collection of interviews and essays, therapist, Madness Radio host, and schizophrenia survivor Will Hall asks, "What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world?" More than 60 voices of psychiatric patients, scientists, journalists, doctors, activists, and artists create a vital new conversation about empowering the human spirit by transforming society.

Do You Believe in Magic?

By Paul A. Offit,

Book cover of Do You Believe in Magic?: Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain

Dr. Offitt invented one of the most important vaccines introduced in recent years, against a common childhood illness rotavirus, that was deadly in developing countries. In this engaging and sometimes very funny book, he takes on the alternative medicine world and makes a strong case for relying on the scientific method. This is a fact-based book you can share to help people assess false claims.

Do You Believe in Magic?

By Paul A. Offit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do You Believe in Magic? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am a journalist and author who has been lucky enough to follow my curiosity wherever it led – from politics and presidents to climate change and crime. Most of my books explore a theme that fascinates me – the tension between science and religion, faith and reason, that is a defining challenge of our era. I have a deep respect for science, but, like most, an amateur’s understanding of it. The global pandemic has confirmed the need for accessible science writing to help us bring our understanding in line with what’s going on in the labs.


I wrote...

VIRUS: Vaccinations, the CDC and the Hjacking of America’s Response to he Pandemic

By Nina Burleigh,

Book cover of VIRUS: Vaccinations, the CDC and the Hjacking of America’s Response to he Pandemic

What is my book about?

Virus is a short book assessing what went wrong with the government response to the pandemic, what went right with the landmark COVID mRNA vaccine science, and the roots of the culture of conspiracy theories and disregard for expertise that has delayed our national recovery.

Book cover of Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Powerful, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescents

If you have a child who suffers from OCD, this is the only book you really need. Dr. Chansky is one of the nation’s experts in pediatric OCD, and this book is the most informative and practical book I have read on the subject. This book with help you understand OCD (how it presents, what causes it) and how to help your child overcome this disorder. 

Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Tamar Chansky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 


I wrote...

The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

By Mark E. Crawford,

Book cover of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

What is my book about?

OCD can be debilitating for those who suffer from this disorder. Many people suffer in silence because symptoms can be confusing and embarrassing. Most people have a stereotype of what OCD looks like, but this disorder can masquerade in many forms. The good news is that OCD is a well-researched biological disorder with very effective treatments that can help people overcome intrusive thoughts and the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

This book was written as an easy-to-understand overview of OCD in order to help people demystify and understand this disorder and to learn ways to overcome it. 

Yoga for Depression

By Amy Weintraub,

Book cover of Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga

It was hard to pick just one of Amy’s books. She’s written a fabulous novel called Temple Dancer and a great book teaching Yoga Skills for Therapists. I had to go with her original groundbreaking book though, Yoga for Depression. Amy was the first person to actively advocate using yoga to treat mood issues like anxiety and depression. Her work, integrating the practices of yoga with contemporary research on yoga and psychology, make it an important – practical book for your bookshelf. 

Yoga for Depression

By Amy Weintraub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yoga for Depression as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am someone whose trauma history came out of the blue…while living in a yoga ashram, meditating, and training for triathlons. After almost seven years of ashram life I left, went to graduate school, and explored trauma, attachment, and wisdom traditions in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, my private practice, and beyond.  I amassed skills sets in trauma treatment (as a supervisor under the guidance of Bessel van der Kolk and Janina Fisher), attachment theory (with Daniel Brown, PhD), compassion (Compassion Focused Therapy & Mindful Self-Compassion), body therapy (as a trainer for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, practitioner in LifeForce Yoga and Self-Awakening Yoga), and Internal Family Systems.


I wrote...

Becoming Safely Embodied: A Guide to Organize Your Mind, Body and Heart to Feel Secure in the World

By Deirdre Fay,

Book cover of Becoming Safely Embodied: A Guide to Organize Your Mind, Body and Heart to Feel Secure in the World

What is my book about?

It’s the essence of skills used with groups in person and online over the past twenty-five years; as Janina Fisher, PhD said, using the BSE skills “people got better faster.”  Whether you are healing from abandonment issues or from pain or from grief or other trauma/attachment wounding—or whether you are helping someone else to heal—Becoming Safely Embodied is your map and guidebook to finally feeling at home in your internal world, cultivating a body, mind & heart that’s a safe place for rest, reflection, and wellbeing giving you the life you want to live, instead of living in the life your history catapults you into. I can’t wait to share it with you!

The Yoga Effect

By Liz Owen, Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Chris C. Streeter

Book cover of The Yoga Effect: A Proven Program for Depression and Anxiety

I love The Yoga Effect because it is based on the cutting-edge findings of NIH-funded studies at Boston University School of Medicine and shares poses and breathing techniques that are proven to help the body and mind release fear, worry, and sadness. Not dissimilar to my book, The Yoga Effect offers a customizable prescription for maintaining centeredness, confidence, and balance with short, well-rounded practices that include breath work, visualizations, and clear explanations of how yoga contributes to emotional wellness.

The Yoga Effect

By Liz Owen, Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Chris C. Streeter

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Yoga Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover inner calm and balance with a programme designed to help you overcome the debilitating effects of depression and anxiety.

"An evidence-based yoga program that is easy to follow... with calming, empowering and balancing imagery to accompany the accessible poses. Every practice invites a self-affirming attitude of courage...I love this book...and I highly recommend it..." -Amy Weintraub, founder, LifeForce Yoga, and author, Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists

'Inspirational. Forges new ground for how yoga can be researched and validated within the Western medical framework..." -David Emerson, Director, The Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI; Author, Trauma-Sensitive…


Who am I?

As a lifelong asthmatic I’ve been working with the body for as long as I can remember. Childhood activities included getting lost in the woods, camping, and roller-skating, and grown-up life has included the professions of a modern dancer, choreographer, yoga therapist, and occupational therapist. If you can learn to slow down and find safety in your body, you can always manage to find your way home.


I wrote...

Yoga Bones: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Pain and Orthopedic Injuries Through Yoga

By Laura Staton,

Book cover of Yoga Bones: A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Pain and Orthopedic Injuries Through Yoga

What is my book about?

Yoga Bones - A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Pain and Orthopedic Injuries Through Yoga explains the common conditions causing bodily pain and the easy and fun ways to self-manage through yoga. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, Yoga Bones discusses conditions such as sciatica, lumbar herniations, and hip replacements among many others. By targeting specific areas of the body, Yoga Bones helps to identify problem areas and use yoga as a roadmap for developing self-care. Yoga Bones also offers lifestyle insight such as breathing, anti-inflammatory nutrition, stress-reduction, mindfulness, and the importance of leisure - teaching us to slow down and feel the powerful effects of self-care.

Book cover of The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook: Holistic Healing Rituals for Every Day and Season

I had to have this little square book when I saw that it comes with a satin ribbon bookmark, and I was not disappointed. I only wish I'd had this simple, practical guide to the healing tradition of Ayurveda, yoga's sister science, when I was new to it. Dr. Kucera (she's a chiropractor and a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner) cuts through 5000 years of history and tradition to give us the information we can use, enjoy, and benefit from right now. (I've become a total fan and have had Dr. K. on my Main Street Vegan Podcast three times.)

The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook

By Sarah Kucera,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feeling burned out, unmotivated, or stuck? THE AYURVEDIC SELF-CARE HANDBOOK is here to help. This authoritative guide to ancient healing will introduce you to the role that ritual plays in overall health, and reveal how reconnecting our internaL rhythms to nature's cycles can create physical and emotional balance.

Whether you're looking for a way to boost and stabilize your energy levels, overcome the trials of transitions (from life or seasonal shifts), or prevent and heal disease, you'll find a solution in one of the more than 100 simple rituals that give structure and space to your day. Plus, reflective prompts…

Who am I?

I'm an American author of thirteen books (so far). Some are on vegan living (Main Street Vegan, The Love-Powered Diet); others (Creating a Charmed Life, Shelter for the Spirit, Younger by the Day) are about wellbeing and crafting an inner life. My passions are spirituality -- yoga primarily, but all the ways people find meaning; compassionate living: extending loving-kindness to ourselves and all beings; and creating vibrant health through yoga, Ayurveda, plant-based eating, and a grateful outlook. (Here's a little preview: I'm in the early stages of a book about aging like a yogi.)


I wrote...

Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World

By Victoria Moran, Adair Moran,

Book cover of Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World

What is my book about?

This is my heart's work for a way of life that's dear to me -- and to my daughter and co-writer Adair, a lifelong vegan who now works as an aerialist and stunt performer. People often think that going vegan is extreme, or that it's only for young celebrities and old hippies. Not so! It's a beautiful way of being on earth, of dining gently, living wisely, and making a difference.

I wrote Main Street Vegan because I'm a Main Street gal, originally from Kansas City where we're known for steak and barbecue. I learned that I can love my hometown and also choose to eat without harming animals (or my arteries) and help the planet deal with some of its troubles, too. This book is welcoming to you wherever you are on your vegan or veg-curious journey, and in it, you'll find everything you need to thrive.

An Epidemic of Absence

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff,

Book cover of An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

Long before everyone and their mother knew about the gut microbiome and its impact on overall health and immunity, Velasquez-Manoff blew my mind with this impeccably researched book about the connections between specific “old friends”—microorganisms that had long been part of the human species’ inner ecosystems—and risk of developing autoimmune disease. Forget the fearmongering explanations you’ve seen on social media blaming GMOs, gluten, lectins, or the dietary demon du jour; this book has actual evidence-based answers to the question of why allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise.

The author is a journalist with a knack for storytelling and making complex science accessible—and he is also affected by multiple autoimmune diseases himself. His storytelling takes readers all over the world to different societies at different periods and introduces us to specific bacteria, worms, and viruses—“old friends”—whose erasure from our collective inner ecosystems seems to foretell a rise in the…

An Epidemic of Absence

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Epidemic of Absence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!


I wrote...

The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

By Tamara Duker Freuman,

Book cover of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

What is my book about?

Since bloating can accompany many conditions, my book starts with a symptom-based quiz that helps narrow down the likelier causes of your individual problem. It then directs you to the most relevant chapters so you can read about these conditions in detail, determine whether they resemble your experience, and learn all about how they’re diagnosed and treated with diet, supplements, medicines, and/or other interventions. It includes several therapeutic diets tailored to different causes of bloating, 50 digestively friendly recipes, and an encyclopedia of common dietary supplements with a summary of the scientific evidence to support their safety and effectiveness.

Outside the Box Cancer Therapies

By Mark Stengler, Paul Anderson,

Book cover of Outside the Box Cancer Therapies: Alternative Therapies That Treat and Prevent Cancer

Many holistic cancer treatments exist, but how do you separate hype from effective, evidence-based therapies? Authored by two seasoned naturopathic oncologists, Outside the Box Cancer Therapies is a meticulously referenced guidebook to what’s working right now in integrative oncology. Many forward-thinking cancer clinics are employing naturopathic oncologists and are consistently getting better outcomes combining therapies, such as intravenous vitamin C, alongside conventional oncology protocols. This book will give you the confidence and the research to best communicate options with your healthcare team.

Outside the Box Cancer Therapies

By Mark Stengler, Paul Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Outside the Box Cancer Therapies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'[A] calm exposition of the latest research and not a rejection of mainstream treatment.' - Cygnus Review

With approximately 40 percent of men and women in the United States being diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, very few of us escape having cancer touch our lives in some way - whether it is our own life or that of a loved one. Scientific research continues to prove the benefits of nutritional and holistic therapies, yet, for the most part, these approaches to treatment still remain unexplored by the conventional medical establishment. With integrative and holistic healing being…

Who am I?

I was 32 when diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a clinician, and now cancer survivor, I’ve become increasingly focused on empowering cancer patients through and beyond remission. Nearly two decades of clinical practice have taught me that an informed and committed patient makes better decisions about their care, harmoniously interfaces with their healthcare team, and stays focused on living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve read countless books about cancer, but this list outlines the essentials that I recommend to patients beginning their healing journey.


I wrote...

Cancer, Stress & Mindset: Focusing the Mind to Empower Healing and Resilience

By Brandon LaGreca,

Book cover of Cancer, Stress & Mindset: Focusing the Mind to Empower Healing and Resilience

What is my book about?

I believe the most important anticancer strategy is an engaged and healing mindset. Cancer, Stress & Mindset explores the contribution of stress to the initiation and progression of cancer; how stress affects the body and mind; and simple strategies to cope with the stress of being a cancer patient, from diagnosis through remission. This is the book I needed at the onset of my cancer journey, mired in the stresses of decisions related to my care. Years later, I wrote this as a starting point to help patients and caregivers cultivate an anticancer mindset.

When There Is No Cure

By Craig K. Svensson,

Book cover of When There Is No Cure: How to Thrive While Living with the Pain and Suffering of Chronic Illness

I was drawn to this meticulously written book in part because the author is a professor of pharmacy and my father is a retired pharmacist. I found myself thoroughly enjoying, underlining, and learning from the wealth of insight into living with chronic illness. The author offers excellent tips for navigating relationships, the medical field, and evaluating treatment options. 

While this book (like mine) is written for readers of all faiths, I appreciated and related to the testimony in the final chapter in which the author discusses the importance of his Christian faith and how it has helped him find meaning and purpose through suffering.   

When There Is No Cure

By Craig K. Svensson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When There Is No Cure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am a school psychologist and Christian who has lived with multiple debilitating chronic illnesses for 25 years. As a result, I am all too familiar with how disruptive and life-changing they can be to our daily lives. Yet few books exist that offer practical guidance for living with chronic illness. And even fewer of these books are for Christian readers. Written with different areas of expertise and angles, my book and the books below fill this gap. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!


I wrote...

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment

By Christopher Martin,

Book cover of Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment

What is my book about?

Finding Joy presents a comprehensive, practical guide for living your best life with chronic illness. This psychology self-help book integrates personal and professional insights to give you tools for handling various aspects of living with a chronic illness. There is also a chapter specifically for the loved ones and caregivers of the chronically ill. While this book is designed for anyone with a chronic illness, the spiritual content early in the book suggests the value of sticking to your faith and offers several Bible references.

The Way Out

By Alan Gordon, Alon Ziv,

Book cover of The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain

Alan Gordon is such a great communicator and his book spoke to me personally. It probably does the same for many others and his compassionate tone outlines the reasons why pain can become persistent. The same calming explanations also offer real opportunities to reverse the pain and they are all based on scientific research. This gives validation to their use and their practical application is so easy to apply by simply reading the descriptions. I felt really excited that this book in particular could start to create a push back against many years of medical dogma, and support both patients and clinicians in this emerging field of healthcare for those in persistent pain.

The Way Out

By Alan Gordon, Alon Ziv,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

As a physiotherapist for 25 years, chronic pain has always fascinated me. Understanding the variety of factors that contribute to its development and continuance always felt enigmatic. It always seemed I was missing part of the puzzle or that the patient was. The pathway of trial and error, accident, and luck were part of a slow and frustrating journey to my level of understanding today. My recommendations have been fundamental pieces of my learning and as well as my own work, now contribute to one possible pathway for other patients and clinicians to interpret chronic pain and recover from it without the historic difficulty that many have attempted to overcome.


I wrote...

The Pain Habit: Your Journey To Recovery. Discover the Truth About Your Pain

By Drew Coverdale,

Book cover of The Pain Habit: Your Journey To Recovery. Discover the Truth About Your Pain

What is my book about?

Are you one of the one in five people worldwide who suffer from a condition that results in living with persistent pain? The ability to recover from pain, no matter how long we have experienced it, lies within all of us. It exists within you.

Not everyone knows how to achieve that. Do you? Those who do recover intuitively tap into that ability without thinking. Others don't know where to look, then look everywhere outside of themselves, then believe recovery is impossible and finally stop looking anymore. Has that happened to you? If you've suffered long enough and feel ready to take the steps towards becoming pain-free, you're ready for this book.

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