Products I recommend

I’ve recommended body care products, supplements, food and nutrition books, and more on this blog and in my private practice. Now, for convenience, I’ve consolidated my best-sellers on this page. These are goodies I recommend that can add to your knowledge, skills, and overall well-being.

Most of the links are to Amazon.com. The number of stars and prices may change; please consider these ballpark figures.

Scroll down to view these categories:

  • Body Care Products and Books
  • Supplements
  • Food and Nutrition Books
  • General Books for Well-Being

Free!

I’m enjoying the free smart phone app Insight Timer. The app has 5 pages. Home shows how many people world-wide are meditating right now with this app. You can see which of your friends is meditating and also who’s meditating near your location. Guided offers over 3,000 guided meditations and music. Timer is for unguided meditation, yoga, whatever: you can set various lengths, save presets, and more. Click Groups to join groups for women, lucid dreaming, insight, Rumi, teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, and many more. Profile is where you create your profile and view your activity and stats. I’m MaryAnn in Austin, Texas, with a photo of a deer.

Body Care Products and Books

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 6.21.18 PMInner Balance Sensor. $129-$159. This sensor (using Bluetooth or plugging it into your phone) clips to your earlobe and to your smart phone (Android or iOS). The sensor measures your heart rate variability, an indicator of well-being, when connected to the free Inner Balance app on your smart phone. You can use the sensor and app to train yourself into a calmer nervous system, quieter mind, and more positive emotions, using visual feedback that you can compare over time. HeartMath recommends using it 3-5 minutes twice a day. It’s like meditation on steroids!

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Gravity Pal. $379, 5 stars. I tried this low-angle inversion table and loved it. Just one minute lying on the table and another minute resting on my side afterwards were enough to relieve tension and induce relaxation. Great for pain due to compressed spinal nerves. There are three models: a beautiful wooden bench (made by Amish craftsmen and women) that would look good in the bedroom, a lightweight model that would fit in in any gym, and a portable model that folds up (this one has a couple of options for carrying cases, including one for airline standards). Angled at only 13 degrees, it’s much easier to get on and off than inversion tables or gravity boots. Get your brief daily inversions easily and safely to relieve tension and pain, boost mental clarity, improve circulation of blood and lymph to the face, and speed recovery.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.33.29 PMAdissage Athletic Sandal. $25-36, 4.3 stars. These sandals are the bomb for getting a foot massage with each step. Tiny nubs do the job, providing you with easy-on, easy-off treats for the feet. Non-slip, contoured for arch support.  Adjustable foot strap closes with velcro to fit your foot width. Available for men, women, and children; colors include black, black and white, navy and white, blue and black, silver and red, black and pink, camouflage. Whole sizes only, and sizing may run large (if you wear 7.5, order 7). These may take a little getting used to, so don’t expect to wear them all day at first. You can wear them with socks if the nubs are too intense. Wear them around the house, when running errands, after a workout, after being on your feet all day. Some reviewers claim they relieve their foot pain and plantar fasciitis. I’ve loved them so much, I wore some of the nubs off.

Arnica. $6.88 for 2.6 oz. gel, $13.97 for 3 tubes. 4.5 stars on Amazon. Arnica montana is a European herb that relieves muscle pain, stiffness, and swelling and prevents bruiScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.40.35 PMses. You can get it as a cream or gel to apply directly on sore muscles and bruises. It is unobtrusive, with very little smell and no cooling/heating feeling like some muscle rubs, and it absorbs quickly. Arnica pellets come in a tube and are handy for when you’re sore all over. You can take it before you do strenuous work to prevent or lessen muscle pain. Arnica is sold in health-oriented grocery stores and in compounding pharmacies. Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.39.45 AMI’ve never seen an ad for it, so I imagine most people learn about arnica via word of mouth from coaches, dance teachers, trainers, etc. Great for athletes, weekend gardeners, people who are moving, going on long hikes, and such. I use it on my clients, and I frequently recommend they keep it on hand at home because muscle pain is such a common occurrence.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.47.26 PMBacknobber. $29.95, 4.7 stars on Amazon. This S-shaped tool is recommended in The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook listed below. Use it to find and release those painful, hard-to-reach trigger points, especially on the back of your body. You can really dig in with this tool!

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.06.21 PMCaldera Back, Rib, and Abdomen Therapy Wrap. $30, 4.2 stars. Closes with velcro and can hold heat or ice packs (comes with 2 gel packs). Use it as a sacroiliac belt to keep the ligaments connecting the sacrum to the rest of the pelvis tight. Wear while sleeping and when doing physical work, including twisting, turning, and lifting. You might want to order two of these so you’ll have one to wear when the other is in the wash.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-12-07-02-pmStill Point Inducer. $19, 3.8 stars. Inducing a still point is a craniosacral therapy technique. This device is intended to encourage still points on your own by placing pressure on the back of your head as you lie down. It can increase relaxation, release tension and anxiety, lower fevers, relieve headaches and neck/back pain, and reduce congestion, among other benefits. Made of solid foam. Comes with a CD of music designed to relax you. For best results, experiment with positioning a few times. This and other YouTube videos may assist you with placement.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.49.31 PMCranioCradle. $35, 4.4 stars. Place it under your head, neck, shoulders or back — position to induce relaxation and provide profound renewal for body and spirit. Comes with links to online videos showing you a variety of ways to use it. Use it to traction tight neck muscles and vertebrae for headache relief. 2-5 minutes at a time recommended.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.51.39 PMEpsom salt. $15-55, depending on size, 4.9 stars. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and although it can also be used as a laxative and a plant fertilizer, I recommend it to people for muscle soreness and stress (I use it myself). Put two cups of epsom salt into a tub of hot water and soak for 12-20 minutes. You can add your favorite essential oils if you like. Or add 1 cup to a gallon of water to soak feet. Makes water feel silky and softens your skin. Magnesium is a mineral that an estimated 80% of people are deficient in. It is easily absorbed through the skin without giving you diarrhea. It calms the nervous system and helps you sleep better.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.01.35 PMThe Gaiam Pressure Point Massager. $10, 4.6 stars. This tool, shaped like a rolling pin with three spiky roller balls, does things to the body that I cannot do with my hands. (I think it interrupts the nervous system messages that keep muscles tense and in pain.) Every workplace could benefit from people using this tool on each other, and if you come home with tight shoulders, get someone to roll your shoulders (and then reciprocate). Best used over clothing, not over bare skin. I use it mostly when I do chair massage. Must be felt to be believed!

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Listen to Your Pain: The Active Person’s Guide to Understanding, Identifying, and Treating Pain and Injury by Ben Benjamin, 2007. $4-18 (used or new), 4.9 stars. This book explains how to identify which tissue is injured with recommendations for self-treatment as well as advice on when to seek expert help. Good for tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, ankle strains, frozen shoulder, and many more conditions. Every home with active people needs this reference book.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.07.44 PMProKinetics Natural Body Balance Insoles. $60, 4.0 stars. Costs less than a one-hour massage in most places. For people with Morton’s foot (a common condition where the second metatarsal is longer than the first metatarsal, which can cause postural issues over time). Keeps your feet from pronating with each step. When I first started wearing these in my shoes, right away I felt more stable, like the weight of my upper body on my hips was finally in just the right place. If you have this foot condition and you have sore joints or muscles, alignment problems, neck pain, back pain, jaw problems, head forward posture, and other musculoskeletal issues, it’s well worth your while to try these to see if you can get some relief. Google Morton’s foot if you want to learn more about it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.17.10 PMSacroWedgy. $35, 3.6 stars. For people with low back and/or hip pain, pelvic girdle tension, or pain or numbness radiating down the legs, try the SacroWedgy. Place it under your sacrum while lying on your back. Rest for 20 minutes. You’ll feel relief from tension you probably didn’t even know you had. Read the comments on Amazon because it doesn’t help with all low back/hip issues, but about 60% of those who tried it gave it 4 or 5 stars, and maybe it will help you. Smaller women and women with narrow hips may find the male version fits better. It’s the same as for females, only longer, narrower, and blue.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.25.09 PMThe Spine Aligner. 5 stars on Amazon. This tool does wonders for backs that feel twinge-y, stiff, or tender. Place it under your spine when lying on a bed so that the two inner knobs straddle the spaces between two vertebrae. Lying on it lets gravity do the work as it presses into your back. When that first area feels relieved, roll it down the next pair of vertebrae. You can release back stiffness from between your scapulae all the way down to your sacrum. Use the end knobs under your glutes and roll the serrated parts under your feet.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.20.15 PMThe Stick. $34 with shipping, 5 stars. Fantastic for rolling out your own tight calf muscles! Can also be used on forearms on a flat solid surface with a partner doing the rolling. Be sure to turn your palms both down and up. Also: use it on your quadriceps, hamstrings, IT band, gluteals, upper traps, and more. Much more portable than a foam roller and does a super job.

pillowTherapeutica Sleeping Pillow. $74-109, depending on size (comes in 5 sizes based on shoulder width), 4.1 stars. Designed by a chiropractor and an ergonomic designer, this pillow will serve you well if you sleep on your left side, right side, and/or back. It keeps your neck vertebrae aligned with your thoracic vertebrae, relieving and preventing problems that can accrue over time from poor habitual sleeping positions. Also designed to relieve TMJ pain. It can take a week or two to adjust to it. Measure shoulder width before ordering! I love my Therapeutica sleeping pillow, and it’s wonderful to wake up every day with a neck that feels great. Comes with a 5-year warranty.

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The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, 3rd edition, by Clair Davies and Amber Davies, 2013. $15, 4.7 stars. Written for lay people to use when chronic pain that doesn’t respond to regular massage is caused by trigger points. (Also, many massage therapists use and value this book.) For ease of use, you can take it to a print shop and have it coil-bound for about $5 so it will lie open and flat while you’re using it. Be sure to get the 3rd edition as it’s significantly easier to use than previous versions. You may want to purchase a backnobber (see second item in this section) to work on those hard-to-reach trigger points.

Supplements

I prefer buying supplements that I know have gone through some quality control process. A lot remains to be done in the area of testing, labeling, and quality control in the supplement world, but this is the system we have now. These brands are sold in Whole Foods, which employs supplement buyers to ensure they sell high-quality supplements from reputable brands. I also recommend reading reviews on Amazon.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.51.35 AMGelatin, unflavored, from Great Lakes. $40 for a 2-pack, 4.5 stars on Amazon. Made from grass-fed beef. I take a tablespoon every day for hair, skin, nails, teeth, bones, joints, cellulite, liver detoxification, intestinal health, recovery from muscular work, and more. If I don’t have bone broth on hand, this is an easy substitute with the same benefits. I whisk 1 tablespoon into water first thing every day and drink it right away (adding 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 scoop L-glutamine powder, and 1/2 teaspoon good salt to taste make it healthier and tastier).

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.54.58 AML-Glutamine Powder from Now Foods. $41 ($1.16 per oz.), 4.7 stars. This container holds 2.2 lbs. If you have leaky gut, digestive or bowel issues, need to boost your immune system, are under stress, have muscle soreness, and/or experience sugar or alcohol cravings, L-glutamine can be helpful. I started out taking capsules (750-1,000 mg) but only noticed great results from mixing 1 scoop (5 grams = 5,000 mg) every morning in water. Hence buying L-Glutamine powder in bulk makes sense.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.29.59 AMBlue Ice Royal Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pastures. $53-56 with shipping for 120 capsules, 4.3 stars. If you are trying to remineralize your teeth, it’s worth taking this supplement, especially if you don’t eat foods high in vitamin K2. This product contains a superfood discovered by dentist Weston A. Price in the 1930s that he named “the X factor,” which is now understood to be Vitamin K2. K2 helps your body get calcium into the right places – out of your arteries and into your bones and teeth, preventing both cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. The butter oil and cod liver oil work synergistically to provide an optimal ratio of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Helps with skin bumps, acne, dry eyes, hair, nails, energy, tooth decay, bone density, and more. Do not take if you have a fish allergy.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.56.07 AMN-A-C (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) from Jarrow Formulas. $10, 4.5 stars. 100 caps, 500 mg. N-A-C by itself detoxes, disinfects, heals infections, increases immunity, speeds recovery, and more. Cysteine is one of the three precursors of glutathione (along with glycine and glutamate), and glutathione is the mother of all anti-oxidants. The human body does not absorb glutathione well from supplements, so you need to consume its precursors to ensure your body has the raw materials to make its own glutathione. Glutathione helps eliminate heavy metals like mercury and lead, helps with the absorption of various nutrients, amplifies the effectiveness of other antioxidants, and aids in liver cleansing.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.57.15 AMRhodiola rosea from Jarrow Formulas. $16, 4.3 stars. 60 caps, 500 mg. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb (it exerts a normalizing process on the body after stress) that boosts energy and reduces fatigue by recharging your adrenal glands, producers of cortisol, the stress hormone.  If you have been under stress, suffer from trauma or PTSD, have low energy from thyroid issues, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, or have adrenal exhaustion for any reason, take as directed.  Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.58.17 AM

Siberian eleuthero root from Nature’s Way. $11, 4.8 stars. 180 caps, 425 mg. Eleuthera root enhances physical and mental vitality and endurance, calms, and lifts mood. It’s a form of ginseng, which is also an adaptogen. Take as directed for stress, trauma, and adrenal exhaustion.

Taken together, rhodiola and Siberian eleuthera help you recover more quickly from stress of any kind (emotional, physical, mental, existential) and get back to feeling good.

Food and Nutrition Books (and a slow cooker)

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.07.26 PMNutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, 2009 (8th edition, 23rd printing). $24, 4.7 stars. Weston A. Price (“the Charles Darwin of nutrition”) was an American dentist and researcher who traveled the world in the 1930s studying the relationship between diet and health. He identified groups eating traditional diets in which nearly every member of the group enjoyed superb health, compared to members of the same group eating a modern Western diet consisting largely of industrially-processed foods, who suffered from rotten teeth, infectious diseases, infertility, and degenerative illnesses. He observed that the Western diet of refined carbohydrates and denatured fats and oils, as well as the lack of fermented foods and nourishing bone broths, led to poor health. Weston A. Price is credited for discovering much that has become the basis for eating a Paleo diet and for recovering from autoimmune diseases. Far from being a flaky, woo-woo alternative health care provider, Price was the head of research for the American Dental Association and published his findings in prestigious journals (JADA, JAMA). Makes you wonder what happened.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.09.11 PMNourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon, 2001. $9 (used paperback), $48 (new hardcover), 4.6 stars. The first comprehensive cookbook containing recipes and outlining dietary principles based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, written by Sally Fallon, now head of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Dispels the myths of the low-fat diet way before it was considered cool. This book is a textbook as well as a cookbook. Even if you don’t cook, you’ll learn a lot about nutrition and how to improve your health through dietary changes.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.10.04 PMThe Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle by Jennifer McGruther, 2014. $9 (used) to $48 (new hardcover), 4.6 stars. Recipes for the traditional foods lifestyle. Jennifer McGruther takes you on a tour through her kitchen. She teaches you how to cook with animal fats, how to avoid using refined sugar in sweets, how to make bread with ancient grains and leaven with sourdough, how to make your own butter (and buttermilk), how to cook wild game like rabbit and elk, how to ferment food and beverage, and much more.  Sections address how to prepare foods from the garden, orchard, pasture, and foraged wild foods from the fields, waters, and more. Her recipe for roast chicken gets many kudos, and you can learn to make your own sour cream and olive oil mayonnaise. Includes many photographs. This comprehensive cookbook is a must-have for Paleo/Weston A. Price Foundation diet cooks.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 7.56.25 PMWild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz, second edition, 2016 (available August 19), $30, 4.6 stars. Sandor Katz, a James Beard Award winner and Craig Claiborne lifetime achievement award winner, is one of the world’s foremost experts in how to ferment foods. Michael Pollan calls him the “Johnny Appleseed of fermentation”. This new edition includes color photos throughout and many new recipes. The book includes nearly 100 recipes for fermenting vegetables (such as sauerkraut — “the gateway ferment”, kim chi, and pickles), beans (miso, tempeh), dairy (yogurt, kefir, cheese, and vegan alternatives), grains (sourdough bread and more), and alcohol (beer and wine, cider and champagne), as well as vinegar-making.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 7.52.32 PMThe Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz, 2012. $22 (used) to $28 (new), 4.6 stars. A New York Times bestseller, this book by Sandor Ellix Katz, the renowned expert on fermentation,  is a practical guide to fermenting foods safely and preserving them. Focusing more on exploring the concepts and processes of fermentation from various cultures around the world, it makes an excellent companion to the recipe-laden Wild Fermentation. Includes information on fermenting fish, meat, and eggs, growing molds, and the roles fermentation plays in different cultures. Includes information on tools, containers, bacteria, with color photos. Katz’ interest is to help people reclaim fermentation as part of a larger project of helping people reclaim the food that we eat.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.12.36 PMThe Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity by Donna Gates, 2011. 4.3 stars. This nutrition/cookbook was originally published in 1994 and is now in its third edition. Donna Gates was helping people restore their gut health and immune systems and well-being long before all the recent research on the gut microbiome started making the news and before the emergence of the Paleo/Primal way of eating. The 2nd edition was the first book I bought and read to overcome candida overgrowth back in 2007, and it helped me kick candida’s ass, which resulted in the new and profound experiences of well-being, energy, and mental clarity. If you have candida overgrowth, leaky gut symptoms, or an autoimmune issue, this book is a must-read that teaches you how to get your gut microbiome back in balance. Besides this book and others, Donna Gates also sells starter cultures for making sour cream, fermented vegetables, and coconut water kefir, as well as probiotic and other health-giving supplements.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 8.17.56 PMNourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, 2014. $15, 4.7 stars. Sally Fallon Morell is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and the author of Nourishing Traditions, described above. This is a follow-up, focusing on the science and benefits of homemade bone broth, a staple of the Weston A. Price diet, as well as including techniques and recipes for making broth. This reference guide and cookbook answers every question and shows you how to make broths, consommes, and stocks. Divided into three sections: the science of broth, how it heals, and recipes.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 8.19.11 PMBrodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook by Marco Canora, 2015. Hardcover is $9 used, $12.50 new, 4.7 stars. Written by a New York City chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author who revitalized his own health through making and consuming bone broths, Marco Canora began to sell his broths by the cupful out of a “to-go” window to warm and nourish New York City residents, selling out from the beginning. Here are his recipes for making delicious chicken, beef, fish, vegetable, mushroom, seaweed, mixed-bone, and more broths that are great for sipping as well as a basis for soups and sauces. Includes tips for buying bones, tools to use, techniques for adding flavor, and making broth weekly for daily consumption.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-00-50-amReal Salt from Redmond. $10 for 26 ounces, 4.7 stars. Okay, it’s not a book but something you use every day. Mined in Utah from deep salt deposits dating back to prehistoric times when North America was covered by a sea, Real Salt is a natural salt, unrefined, with no additives or heat processing, containing at least 60 natural trace minerals, which our bodies need but which are absent in processed food and refined salts. This pouch is great for when you need a quantity or your salt shakers need refilling. I keep the fine grind and the coarse grind on hand. This is my main cooking salt. (I use Maldon’s for a finishing salt.) Compare the taste to any other salt to see why it’s such a favorite. Note: If you are trying to remineralize your tooth enamel, this is a must.

Six Quart Cook and Carry Programmable Slow Cooker by Crock-Pot. $49, 4.2 stars. (A manual version, not programmable, is available for $30.) Fabulous for making bone broths. I feel comfortable leaving the house while a big batch of broth simmers away in this slow cooker. It’s so muchScreen Shot 2016-06-26 at 10.11.34 AM safer than leaving with a gas burner on! You can program it to simmer for up to 20 hours, and then it automatically switches to warm. (Just reset if you want to simmer longer.) Also great for soups, chili, and roasts. I bought it more for the size than for the portability, but there’s that, too, if you want to make a big batch of something and carry it somewhere. The lid locks for easier portability, and the oval stoneware insert looks presentable on your dining table.

 General Books for Well-Being

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 12.30.24 PMThe Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day. $23. Increase your well-being by cultivating gratitude, anticipation, affirmation, reflection, and improvement. A couple of minutes early in the day and before you go to bed increases happiness using the science of positive psychology. Consistent daily use retrains your emotions. Recommended by megapodcaster and best-selling author Tim Ferriss, I can attest to the positive change in mindset.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.10.46 AMBuddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson, 2009. $4 used, $12 new, 4.5 stars. Change your brain, change your life. Describes how the flow of your thoughts actually sculpts your brain and includes neuroscience breakthroughs as well as ancient wisdom. Written in easily-understandable language, contains guided meditations and mindfulness exercises. Contains an appendix by the author’s acupuncturist wife on nutrition and supplements for brain health.

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The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 6th edition, 2014. $58, 4.7 stars. Look up everything relating to Young Living essential oils in this definitive, comprehensive reference book. Definitive and thorough. Comes hardcover and spiral-bound for ease of use. Sections are color coded with many quick reference charts and a comprehensive index. 810 pages.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.28.24 PMLife Prints: Deciphering Your Life Purpose From Your Fingerprints by Rich Unger, 2007. $4 used, $14 new, paperback, 4.6 stars. This hand analysis expert helps you discover your life purpose through analyzing the patterns on your fingerprints. Is your life purpose being of service to others? (Mine is.) Is it exploring relationships? Or something else? Read it and find out! Based on 25 years of research, the book explains how to determine your own life purpose and includes readings for Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr., and others.

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Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement by Bradford Keeney. $4 used, $10-17 new, 4.4 stars. This book explores the value of shaking: It’s not just for trauma release, it’s also for ecstasy, balancing energy, surrender, deep healing, trance induction, therapeutic benefit, and spiritual attunement. Describes how the Shakers and the Quakers got their names and explores the role of ecstatic shaking in cultures as disparate as the Japanese and the Kalahari Bushmen. Includes a 40-minute CD of ecstatic drumming to facilitate your own shaking practice.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.17.17 AMStarfish on the Beach by Tom and Lindy Schneider, 2012. $5 used, $9 new, 5.0 stars. A children’s version of the starfish story in book form, with beautiful illustrations. The lesson in this story reminds me of Mr. Rogers relating that when a tragedy occurred, his mother told him to “look to the helpers.” This story helps teach children that they can be helpers, and that helping will make a difference, and that doing something is better than doing nothing. This book is often given as a gift.

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-10-44-44-amStrengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath, 2007. $13.00 hardcover (you need a code inside the hardcover book to take an online test, so don’t buy a used copy because each code is only good once, and the Kindle version doesn’t contain a code). 4.0 stars. If you are wondering what to do with your life, still don’t know what to be/do when you grow up, or you’ve worked to fix your shortcomings but don’t know what your strengths are, this book helps you identify your natural talents and strengths. Using a unique code in your book, you take a test online that identifies your top 5 (out of 34) strengths. The book then provides strategies for applying your strengths. Note that it is not the same as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This was developed by researchers at the Gallup organization. Here are my strengths.

 

Trauma Recovery Books and a Video

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Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine, 1997. $3 used, $8-10 new, 4.5 stars. The original book that tells of Peter A. Levine’s ground-breaking discoveries that trauma resides in the body and that recovery and healing must include physical release. Reading this book changed my life, helping me release the grip of a trauma I’d held in my body for decades. To me, this book was worth reading 10 other books on trauma to understand Levine’s then-novel approach to recovery, after he spent years studying how attacked prey animals in the wild that escaped their predators then rejoined the herd and shook off the trauma. Explores how to tap into resilience after experiencing a trauma.

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In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, by Peter A. Levine, 2010. $10 used, $12 new, 4.6 stars. The latest book from the renowned trauma recovery pioneer. Trauma is an injury that can be healed through learning how to self-regulate intense experiences. The part I found most valuable was Levine’s recounting of being a pedestrian who was hit by a car. His subjective, moment-by-moment experience of the trauma, which included feeling a wide range of intense emotions and unusual, unexpected physiological reactions, concluding with his realization that he was going to be okay, is affirming. He describes the reactions of different witnesses and helpers, noting which were helpful and which were not. Provides a template for how to process a trauma and for how witnesses/bystanders/helpers can behave to facilitate a victim’s healing process so that they recover from the trauma.

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The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times by David Berceli, 2008. $8 used, $14 new, 4.6 stars. David Berceli, a Catholic relief worker who worked in places torn and exhausted by war and disaster, after much personal experience, psychotherapy, and extensive research, developed these exercises to help people recover from trauma especially where psychotherapy is not available by releasing it from their bodies. Berceli studied bioenergetics, yoga, martial arts, and more to develop the exercises. The book includes photos and instructions for doing the exercises that help release the debilitating, depleting effects of trauma.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.49.20 PMThe Trauma Releasing Exercises, video instruction with demonstrations by David Berceli, 2008. $28, 3.8 stars. These exercises are helpful for those who’ve experienced trauma (especially when there’s no other help) as well as for those living with prolonged stress. The exercises help the body “shake off” the trauma and return the nervous system to equilibrium. If you learn better from viewing a video, get this video instead of, or in addition to, the book.

 

,l

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