Why Buddha Never Had Alzheimer’s: A Holistic Treatment Approach Through Meditation, Yoga & the Arts

Shuvendu Sen. Health Communications, $14.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7573-1994-5
Sen (A Doctor’s Diary) investigates the promising research behind the neuroscience of meditation, yoga, music therapy, and virtual reality therapy to recommend potential preventative measures against the ravages of Alzheimer’s in this informative but flawed book. Sen begins with a brief synopsis of 20th-century medical history and divulges personal experiences with the aim of getting readers to move away from prescription drug treatment and to understand the disease as something more complex than just a combination of memory loss and mood disorder. He emphasizes a hands-on, individual-based, intuitive, and preventative approach to patient care. Although he has plenty of advice for how Alzheimer’s treatments could be improved, Sen never provides concrete steps or organized plans. To combat Alzheimer’s effects on the entire spectrum of cognition, Sen recommends meditation, yoga, and arts therapy, explaining that they work to tap into “personal initiatives” (actions that require more agency than simply swallowing a pill) and motivate the inner regulation of the body and mind. Meditation instructions and basic questionnaires for assessing memory are provided, but the book is more didactic than practical. Although his argument against medication and for meditation is written with authority, some areas (such as sections covering how painting, visual arts, and virtual reality therapies have helped those with Alzheimer’s) feel like afterthoughts. Sen’s book admirably strives to make care for Alzheimer’s patients less clinical and more human but holds little practical value. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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