Suggested Reading- Heart Valve Surgery, Social Support, Stress Management

Heart Valve Surgery

Opening My Heart: A Journey from Nurse to Patient and Back Again,  Tilda Shalof. An insider’s look at going through heart valve surgery and recovery. Tilda is an experienced nurse so has great insight into the medical system.

The Patient’s Guide To Heart Valve Surgery, Adam Pick. Adam recounts in detail his own open heart surgery, and also gives many tips for other patients who are facing the procedure. Adam also started and maintains a website on heart valve surgery. This has a lot of useful information, a surgeon finder, a patient news feed where you can get your questions answered, and success stories from many patients (including yours truly).

Social Support

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples, John Robbins. John covers some healthy and long-lived populations like the Okinawans, the Hunzas of Central Asia, and the inhabitants of Vilcabamba in the Andes. He shows the importance of their diet as well as other lifestyle factors, of which social support is vital.

Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health, Dean Ornish. Dr Ornish shows how intimacy improves our health as well as the quality of our lives. Support groups are an important aspect of his lifestyle programs for good health.

Stress Relief and Meditation

The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson M.D., Miriam Z. Klipper. A pioneering demystified and scientific description of meditation and its health benefits, with good instruction on meditation. The original version from 1975 has stood the test of time. This updated 2009 edition has interesting new information.

Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make you a Happier, More Fulfilled Person, Mackenzie L. Havey. A good discussion of how to achieve “meditation in motion” while running, but the techniques discussed can readily be modified for other repetitive activities like walking, cycling, and swimming as well.

Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Dr Kabat-Zinn was a pioneer in introducing mindfulness meditation to Western medicine, founding Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. This book gives his advice on mindfulness and meditation.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh. The first book I encountered on mindfulness by a Buddhist monk from Vietnam who founded Plum Village in France during the Vietnam war. This is a simple and elegant introduction to mindfulness practice.

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory, Deena Kastor, Michelle Hamilton. Olympian Deana Kastor’s memoirs of using positive thinking to improve her athletic performance and her life.

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