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The Healthy Heart Kit

by Andrew Weil, M.D. with Stephen Devries, M.D., Erin Olivo, Ph.D., Martin L. Rossman, M.D.

      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.

The Book

Sounds True
January 2008
Audio CDs / Booklet / Reminder cards
159179790X / 978-1591797906
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2008