Authority over disease

I Recently revisited a landmark of the holistic health revolution—Norman Cousins's book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient. In his now-legendary account, the longtime editor of Saturday Review detailed his self-directed recovery from a crippling arthritic disease. The part of the story people tend to remember is how he rejected painkillers in favor of laughter—large doses induced by Marx Brothers' films and Candid Camera TV shows.

But the part of the story that impressed me most was his description of a chance meeting he had on the street in New York with one of the specialists who ten years before had pronounced his paralysis progressive and incurable. The men shook hands. Cousins squeezed hard until the doctor winced. He then asked Cousins what had brought about his obvious recovery.

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