Today "living healthy" has gone beyond being just being smart about eating, exercising, and avoiding vices. It has become an almost spiritual lifestyle that counts millions of people as adherents. To support the cause, to broaden the understanding of the science behind health and medicine, there is now a daily book, The Intellectual Devotional: Health: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Digest a Daily Dose of Wellness Wisdom by David S. Kidder, Noah D. Oppenheim, and Bruce K. Young, MD. It is no surprise that the publisher is Rodale, Inc., which is a long time supporter of organic gardening, alternative energy, alternative medicine, and like causes. What might surprise some readers is how mainstream its daily essays about health and wellness are. I see little for conventional medical practitioners to challenge.
Everything about The Intellectual Devotional: Health is smart and practical. Each of the 365 essays drawn from seven broad topical area takes a single page, and a ribbon is sewn into the binding to serve as a bookmark. The seven areas of concern are:
- Children and Adolescents
- Diseases and Ailments
- Drugs and Alternative Treatments
- The Mind
- Sexuality and Reproduction
- Lifestyle and Preventive Medicine
- Medical Milestones
Week by week, these themes are repeated in rotation. In the process of reading, the devoted reader is introduced to (or reminded of) many medical topics, such as amino acids, white blood cells, Apgar scores, Valium, memory, natural childbirth, and Alzheimer's disease. My favorite essays are those with historical information, including "Edinburgh Medical School and Grave Robbers," "Trepanation: Ancient Incan Brain Surgery, " and "Influenza Epidemic of 1918."
While it makes more sense for individuals to have their own copies of The Intellectual Devotional: Health (libraries will not check it for a year), it has ready reference value and could still be used in public libraries. An index makes the concise essays easy to find. Still, its better place is on nightstands or desks. With the new year coming, it is a good gift for a wellness-minded friend.
Kidder, David S., et. al. The Intellectual Devotional: Health: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Digest a Daily Dose of Wellness Wisdom. Rodale, 2009. ISBN 9781605299495