When a publicist reached out about Katie Beecher’s Heal From Within: A Guidebook to Intiutive Wellness, I was cautiously intrigued. The idea of intuitive, holistic wellness often gets a bad rep, bringing to mind “yoni crystals” and other practices which seem eccentric at best, harmful at worst.
And yet, since I have become more aware of the shortcomings of our current medical system here in the U.S., I’ve become more curious about the idea that I can do anything to take my health and wellbeing into my own hands. The concept of “intuitive wellness” resonates with the part of me that is tired of having my symptoms ignored, my desire to look into root causes swept aside in favor of band-aids to treat symptoms.
So, with one eyebrow raised, I dove in to Heal From Within. I am grateful to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review. I also want to throw out the caveat that a review of this book will be difficult to untangle from all the complexities and challenges of healthcare in the U.S. Many of my feelings about this book are intertwined with my feelings about the medical practices I have experienced. In other words, your bookish mileage may vary.
All that said, what is Heal from Within? Here’s a Goodreads synopsis snippet to give you a sense:
Each and every body is different and oftentimes our physical ailments are connected to emotional and spiritual traumas. In Heal from Within, nationally recognized medical intuitive Katie Beecher shares a revolutionary, customizable approach to holistic health that encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Readers will learn to be led by their own intuition as they move towards healing that encompasses body, mind, and soul.
What I Liked
This book could be useful for someone who hasn’t explored the ways in which their upbringing and emotional states might be impacting their health. Each of the early chapters invites you to reflect on various physical and spiritual symptoms that may arise in each chakra area and how the physical and emotional can impact one another.
Whether or not the chakra framework resonates with you, I think this process can be a helpful refflective tool. Personally, not much of this was news to me, since I’ve been in therapy for years and have read about the mind-body connection a good bit as part of that work. But if you’re just starting out with understanding the ways past trauma can manifest in the body, this aspect of the book could be helpful.
What I Didn’t Like
While I was initially quite curious to see where the book would go, ultimately it left me feeling frustrated with the lack of actionable steps. For a guidebook that implies healing will take place, I didn’t find a lot that I could take away. The questions are a great reflective tool for identifying possible issues, but I would’ve liked to see more of a framework on addressing them.
There are also some tone issues throughout that gave me pause. Some statements come across as problematic characterizations of mental illness and physical ailments. I don’t think this is the author’s intention, as there are other sections of the book which are quite thoughtful and careful in wording.
Part II of the book lays out possible treatments for various common ailments, but goes in the same infuriating spiral as many wellness texts — always consult a medical professional before trying any of these treatments, but also, most medical professionals aren’t aware of said treatment option. Um? So what am I supposed to do here, exactly?
In general I think my issues with this book stem from the issues I have with the overall tension between modern medicine and holistic wellness. Which is that they feel very at-odds with one another in a way that can be deeply overwhelming and exhausting if you’re trying to find relief for an ailment.
For instance, ashwaganda is recommended as supplement which can help support/alleviate anxiety in wellness texts, including this one. WebMD is quick to tell you that there are no studies supporting the effectiveness of this adaptogen. Yet wellness texts claim scientfic support for the effectiveness of this adaptogen. One can go in never-ending spirals trying to determine what is and is not safe and effective for their health.
I wanted this book to help me feel empowered with actionable steps that could support my wellbeing. Instead, I spent a lot of time thinking about my symptoms and then scratching my head about how to address them. For me, this book feels very much like Step One in a longer process.
In all, I don’t think I can recommend this book unless it’s used with caution and in conjunction with support from a therapist and a medical professional with an awareness/acceptance of non-Western medical practices. Which, good luck finding one of those.
If you are someone who enjoys self-reflection and approaching a text with a healthy skepticism, this book may be an interesting read and framework for thinking about the mind-body roots of your health concerns, if used responsibly.