Andrew Weil, M.D. has packed all of the latest lifestyle information about heart disease into a small box,
called The Healthy Heart Kit. It can help you maintain a healthy heart, prevent cardiovascular disease,
and speed your recovery from heart disease. Dr. Weil has teamed with Stephen Devries, M.D., a noted cardiologist
who uses integrative methods in his practice, to contribute to the kit. In addition, Dr. Weil has brought in the
expertise of Erin Olivo, Ph.D., a clinical phsychologist and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at
Columbia University; and Martin L. Rossman, M.D., leader in the use of therapeutic guided imagery and founder of
The Healing Mind.
Dr. Weil has provided long-term strategies for improving and maintaining a healthy heart. He includes his
Anti-Inflammatory diet with lots of omega 3 foods, good carbs, and lots of choices. Dr. Devries emphasizes
adopting other lifestyle changes, including exercise, supplements, getting rest, and stopping smoking. Dr.
Olivio then provides activities which manage stress and cultivate mindfulness and lovingkindness. Dr. Rossman
offers guided imagery as a practice for healing the heart.
All of this information is presented in two audio CDs, a 52-page booklet, and a set of 25 reminder cards.
The booklet is called a workbook but it really is an information booklet since there are no blanks to fill in or
responses to make. The booklet just presents the information in a handy, readable format. The tips on diet,
exercise, supplements, meditation, and stress reduction are echoed in the 25 cards. They are divided into four
categories: diet / exercise, self care, heart inspirations (cultivating lovingkindness), and mind-body. The
cards become handy references and reminders for each of the categories.
The mind-body cards have eight exercises divided into steps. One or two of these cards could be tucked into
a briefcase or put on a dresser for easy reference when you donít have time or the means to listen to the CD.
The information is also presented via two CDs containing short lectures by all of the contributors to this kit.
The first CD, Session One, has discussions by Dr. Weir and Dr. Devries on various topics covered in the booklet.
The second CD, Session Two, presents activities to do to help you manage stress, calm your heart, and develop a
loving state of mind called lovingkindness. Dr. Devries offers a breathing exercise. Erin Olivo presents a
mindfulness meditation, a stress release practice, and the lovingkindness meditation. Dr. Rossman guides the
listen in an inner journey called Healing the Heart.
I found the kit to be very complete. It provides the teaching in several different ways: a booklet, bulleted
lists on cards, and aurally. No matter what your learning style is, there is a way for you to absorb this
information and begin to use it.
I was especially impressed with the mind-body practices; even the simple breathing exercise was good. But the
stress relieving meditations and guided imagery practices were exceptional. All of the meditation leaders had
pleasant voices to listen to, and I was able to respond to their guidance easily.
The Healthy Heart Kit is a great tool for the person who wants to stay healthy. However, for the
person struggling with heart risk factors in their various forms (hypertension, high cholesterol, coronary
artery disease, or stress), this kit is vital for preventing heart disease or for healing and recovery. The
information has been boiled down to simple steps which are doable. The mind-body support is a crucial supplement
to the medical litany we have been hearing about diet and exercise.
The Healthy Heart Kit could possibly save your life.