“How too much medicine is endangering our health, and what we should do about it”

In the introduction the author, a retired GP, references that “In just fifteen years the number of prescriptions issued by family doctors in Britain has increased three-fold” (Daily Telegraph 1 April 2011).

The point of this book is too question over treatment, and in particular “Poly pharmacy” – combinations of pills, often with pill a causing side effects which need pill b which in turn leads to a need for pill c. All well and good, but sometimes the combined effects of these pill combinations can put a very heavy load on people’s overall wellbeing, leading to tiredness, listlessness, unexpected consequences and in general a much wider deterioration in health that the original condition implies.

The author explores this, and looks at the possibilities of taking a step back with pill taking to alleviate these down stream effects. In no way is this an anti medication work – instead he advocates a more nuanced and, no pun intend, less prescriptive, approach to medication.

In all, this book goes well beyond yoga or yoga therapy, but is of interest to any of us with chronic conditions, or approaching later years, and maybe is a call to “Caveat emptor” in terms of our relationship with doctors and surgeons, and a suggestion that we take more interest in holistic approaches to health – which of course, is where a therapeutic approach to Yoga can come in.

It’s a readable book, not overly technical but reaching a balance between detail and explanation. I certainly found it useful.

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