The Women’s Book of Healing – Diane Stein

The Women’s Book of Healing (Revised Edition)
Diane Stein
Ten Speed Press, 2004
313 pages

Note: This review was originally written in 2005; I’m not 100% sure whether it got published or not, since it’s rather on the long side.

This book came into my life right when it was exactly what I needed. I’d been beginning a process of correcting internal imbalances, everything from emotional upsets to shifting my diet to compensate for my recently-diagnosed hypoglycemia. While traditional medicine offered a standard set of ideas to aid me in my quest for a healthier self, Stein’s book gave me an alternative healing path to work with. Thanks to the information conveyed it’s a path for which now I possess a greater understanding and appreciation.

First published in 1984, The Women’s Book of Healing is easily as relevant now as it was twenty years ago. It’s an excellent reference for those interested in natural healing methods ranging from chakra adjustments to the use of stones in healing to laying on of hands. Each chapter explains its subject clearly and thoroughly, often pulling reference from complementary chapters to enhance the healing regimen offered. This valuable material is summarized by tables of correspondences that punctuate the text.

I found the interweaving of the chapters to be particularly useful; rather than being separate entities they flow together very well and the information from each can be combined with ease. Most of the time, however, Stein includes the pertinent information in regards to the requisite colors, minerals and other correspondences when describing each specific area of healing. She eliminates much of the jumping back and forth from chapter to chapter that so many other reference books require—if I want to work with my root chakra, for example, I need only to turn to that section. Not only do I have its basic qualities but also what colors, minerals and other tools I’ll need to perform my work.

She’s also very thorough about her information. When I first started reading I’d had the desire to work with chakras, but had no previous experience or knowledge to work with. The second chapter goes into what each of the seven primary chakras represents, drawing both from classic and modern texts. Stein also details the effects of imbalances of the chakras—not only when they’re not open enough, but also when they’re open too wide, a condition I’d not even known existed. Finally, she offers up meditations useful in adjusting the chakras to a healthy end.

Stein is particularly adept at recommending mineral allies for each area of the body, mind and spirit covered. She describes not only what corresponds to each stone in her healing toolkit but also what ailments each stone is best at counteracting. In some instances there’s even advice on what time of day to best work with the stones so as to gain the best possible use of their qualities. In fact, the second half of the book is dedicated to this valuable topic, though the other chapters have strategically placed references.

I found the recurring theme of using our mindsets to aid the healing to be a very important one. Too often we sabotage our own efforts by second-guessing and doubting our abilities to create change on a non-visible level, thereby negating whatever effort we’ve put towards healing ourselves and often worsening the condition. Stein makes the concept of healing through thought understandable and her consistent use of meditation throughout the book backs up her confidence in its ability to destroy our dis-eases. Her explanation of healing on a molecular level further bolsters the ability to believe that which cannot be seen but nonetheless is.

While the primary portion of the book is well worth the read the appendices are superb references at short notice. With these Stein has successfully summarized all of the information she’s passed on in the previous chapters, making it an invaluable reference. Reading the entire book, of course, is recommended. It’s not a difficult task, as Stein’s writing style is wonderfully conversational, easy to understand, and yet conveys the information without skimping on the important details. I honestly came away from this book with no questions about just what it was she was trying to explain.

If there’s only one complaint I have about The Women’s Book of Healing it’s the fairly negative treatment of Western medicine and way she often seems to blame its inadequacy solely on the male sex. While in her preface Stein extols the virtues of equality she constantly maligns “male medicine”. I find this to be a great disservice not only to the men who have been involved in alternative healing for far longer than she gives them credit for but to people of all sexes who have made great progress in the field of Western medicine. Rather than perpetuating the dichotomy of conflict that continually puts both forms of healing at odds, I believe it’s much more constructive and beneficial in the long run to find ways for these medicines to complement each other.

Indeed, Stein’s superb writing is an excellent reference whether used alone or in tandem with traditional medicine. My complaint is primarily stylistic, and I can say from experience that the information provided has proven incredibly useful in aiding my self-healing. I recommend that both novice and experienced healers add The Women’s Book of Healing to their shelves. It has been a valuable resource for the past two decades and promises to be just as relevant in years to come.

Four pawprints out of five.

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