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Healing Ways

Reviews of Healing Ways

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By Dr Robin Kelly

book2.jpgWhat's it about? The holistic treatment and healing of the body and mind. Who should read it? Those who have an interest in 'alternative' healing, those who are ailing or those know someone who is. You will learn a lot. For best results, read this when you have plenty of time and feel like learning.If it were a cup of coffee, it would be herbal.

Combining the philosophies of the ancient world with contemporary science, Dr Robin Kelly is now able to help people regarded as "untreatable".

It's taken me a while to get through this book. I read it twice. Had to. I opened its pages one night when I couldn't sleep, finished it three hours later and found myself more awake than when I'd started.

A few days later I started the book again, and I read some of the chapters twice.

Robin Kelly's book was a pleasure to read - I was not bored at any point. Some of what was written reconfirmed my opinions, the rest opened my mind to new ideas and taught me new lessons.

Kelly moved to Auckland from England 20 years ago and through his experience as a GP and acupuncturist, he made the foundation for this book. He has mastered the art of listening and through this, learnt much from those he sees.

He didn't weigh then book down with stodgy anecdotes or ego stories, nor did he explain things as if his readers were idiots. There was no doctor/patient talking down. He kept the book informative and intriguing. Every few pages I learned something completely new - often about myself.

The book covers an awful lot for 215 pages: Clearing the way for grief, learning to say no, smoking, fear, diet, mindful healing, bonds, informed healing, Chinese medicine, modern theories, childhood cancer, electromagnetic stress and so much more.

The insights into Chinese Medicine, the exercises and views on stress and its management were especially interesting to me. The whole time I was reading it I was folding the corners of pages thinking "I must tell 'insert one of 20 names here' that."

This book would be essential for those faced with some kind or illness or disability and feel there is no where to turn, and also for loved ones of those who are ill. Importantly however, those that boast a fit bill of health and are interested in how their bodies relate to others and their environment, would also enjoy this.

The book kept its promise to be refreshing and optimistic while it covered:

Overcoming barriers to healing

Developing healing relationships

Understanding your body

Simple meditation and relaxation

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Tune into Nature

Exploring the new science of healing.

Don't read this as if it were some kind of textbook and don't use it as a springboard to test your own knowledge. Read it slowly, enjoy the exercises, and jot down the best quotes. Set aside chunks of time to fully absorb the messages. Then read it again.

Gina Bricklebank, NZOOM.(TVNZ) Oct 2000

Healing Ways: A Doctor's Guide to Healing

Dr Robin Kelly (SMN)

Reviewed by Yvonneke Roe

Journey to Integrated Care

'Healing Ways' is a gentle and thoughtful story of one doctor's journey and experience of the Healing Profession. Dr Robin Kelly qualified in Medicine in the UK and emigrated to New Zealand in 1977 soon afterwards. He settled into a general practice in Takapuna in Auckland after a couple of years in hospital practice. There, one of his colleagues had an interest in acupuncture, and he quickly followed suit, combining both orthodox and complementary medical practices. Eventually he left and in 1991 set up a holistic non-prescribing practice where he still works.

Dr Kelly describes his own journey from orthodoxy to integrated medical care. This parallels the evolution we have seen from fringe, to alternative, to complementary to integrated health care approaches around the world, with the slow but steady acknowledgement of the importance of treating each patient holistically. Indeed some of his case histories echo back to the work of the British Psychiatrist Dr. Balint with local GPs as long ago as the 1950s. The book is filled with interesting and touching case histories illustrating his concepts of healing and the factors that can 'hold up' people's healing. This has echoes to another holistic healing system, that of Homeopathy and Dr Hahnemann's concept of "obstacles to cure".

Dr Kelly defines healing as a "return to the pure state of health", "where life has meaning and purpose", and "joy, harmony and health co-exist". He describes the unresolved grief, unhappy relationships and anxieties over ailing loved ones that can lie dormant and contribute to our disease. In his current practice he sees many 'failed patients' who are chronically ill and through his approach of combining complementary therapies and listening to the patients story, he and the patient are able to achieve a deep level of healing.

He talks of working closely with the body-mind and sees the two aspects as different reflections of the WHOLE. In his case histories he illustrates the power of groups, the power of prayer and laughter and the power of personal recognition of one's own traumas and stresses in finding peace and healing. At the end he also discusses some of the modern theories and possible explanations for the efficacy of complementary therapies, for those who like to try and understand the whys and wherefores. But it seems most appropriate to end with ones of his Chinese quotes "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."

(Dr Yvonneke Roe is a GP Principal in South London. Review appeared in Network, The Journal of the Scientific Medical Network.)


Robin Kelly demonstrates an insightful perspective on the total picture often missing in the healing journey. Intelligently linking the body's complex systems together to demonstrate the nature of the "bodymind", the reader is given hooks on which to hang subjective experience in order to make sense of chronic health problems. From a healing perspective, this book is a great encapsulation of many of the truths we perceive in the jouney of helping others. I have taken some small snapshots of the text, to give you an idea. Recommended reading for anyone involved in the healing process….

"Healing is not just a medical term. It means returning to a state of joy harmony and health; a state of being where life has meaning and purpose… "

In the population of chronically ill people who have "failed" to respond to both orthodox and other treatments, including those with chronic pain…… "the most common ingredient missing from their health care…….. is themselves".

Dr Kelly states that Psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI) works on links between our emotions, our nervous system, and our immune system. He calls this "mindbody medicine". This embraces the theory that our body has a mind of its own - outside the direct control of the brain, a subconscious system of communication distinct from the conscious mind of the brain. The neurophsyiological basis of this statement is competently put forward, again giving the reader a framework for thinking about how all the body systems can affect each other, and give a health outcome.

"As a provider of health service we …. should be free to laugh, have fun and discuss spiritual issues…."

"…for years I was reluctant to tell patients of my struggles. I now know the importance of sharing these experiences, in some cases it is vital if we are to form a bond that is potentially healing. Most need to know I take my own advice. And how I, too, struggle to get it right".

"I have been free to explore the meaning of symptoms, seeing them in the overall context of healing - an interpreter rather than interrogator. I have been able to observe the subtlety of healing, as patients leave behind the controlling chaos of chronic illness and embark on their journeys of self discovery. It continues to be a privilege to accompany them along the way".

"There are many reasons that prevent us listening to the needs of our bodies. The stressful conditions of today's work environment is an obvious example. If our bodies continue to be ignored, the messages can become more complex and difficult to fix….."

Reviewed by The Chronic Health Group, Sydney, Australia. 2001 .