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The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life
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The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  486 ratings  ·  79 reviews
One day Donna Jackson Nakazawa found herself lying on the floor to recover from climbing the stairs. That’s when it hit her. She was managing the symptoms of the autoimmune disorders that had plagued her for a decade, but she had lost her joy. As a science journalist, she was curious to know what mind-body strategies might help her. As a wife and mother she was determined ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 21st 2013 by Avery
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Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Donna Jackson Nakazawa was and is a sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses, at the worst of which she was paralysed. Trying to balance her illnesses and raising her family, she turned to the possibility of healing herself with her own mind and body. Especially notable is the fact that Nakazawa is a science writer, and approached everything from a scientific basis, which is a truly refreshing thing in any kind of "self help" book.

This is a fascinating read, and one that I was drawn to because I s
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I too received an early copy of this book. I just fell in love with the authors story. What unfolded surprised me. She is an award winning science journalist but she writes about her efforts to find joy through the science in a memoir form and weaves the two together beautifully.

The author finds out about an area of research relating really difficult things in childhood to later having physical conditions in adulthood. On two levels this really captured me. First, the science is riveting and I f
Sarah Judd
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book! I was very lucky to receive an early copy of this incredible book, which will be released on 2.21.13. I had been waiting for Nakazawa's next book, because I had loved reading Autoimmune Epidemic and had learned so much from it. I read her last book really for my loved ones who suffer from autoimmune disease, so I could understand their struggles more clearly. I wasn't expecting this book to speak to me personally, knowing that the author was going to be writing ab ...more
Gretchen Heber
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who knew a book about neuroscience could be such a page-turner? “The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy and My Life” is that and more. You’ll weep and exalt with author Donna Jackson Nakazawa as she labors to find her health and her happiness in this amazing tale of self-discovery and self-healing. A brilliant science writer, Nakazawa makes complicated topics approachable and understandable. She makes you want to do exactly what she did ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that has the potential to "go bad" at any time. It's about the mind-body connection, something I've long acknowledged and worked with, but which has a bad side. That is the extremely common slide into "if you just had a positive attitude, you wouldn't be sick." Us disabled folks get this a lot from people who haven't experienced what we're experiencing. But it worms its way into the medical profession too.

To her credit, Nakazawa never goes there. She skirts the edges a
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by a friend/co-worker, who said everything about this book screamed my name. Really? Ok, I'm curious now. This is the story of Donna Jackson Nakazawa and how she went from suffering from a debilitating auto-immune disease, feeling horrible all the time to being a happier and healthier woman with tons of energy. One of the scenes in the beginning that touched me so much, because I've been her lying on the floor after climbing a flight of stairs. She jus ...more
Mario Streger
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it
The book is filled with researches and studies that support the view of the author. In fact, if you look for in the Internet, there are studies available on all kinds of subjects that support all possible outcomes. The author tries to convince the reader through lots of those researches, but sometimes it just seem as if she is trying to force a point of view, using all possible arguments. The exact opposite in fact could also be proved the same way.
The basic idea of childhood trauma influencing
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from NetGalley. I was drawn to reading it because Nakazawa I too suffer from autoimmune disorders though not the same ones that she has. In this book she investigates and writes about mind-body strategies for healing. I admit I was skeptical going into this book because there are far too many hey look how I cured my illness by doing such and such and you can too. That turned out not to really be what this book was about though. Nakazawa is a scie ...more
Bev Siddons
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: healing
As a woman struggling with her own autoimmune disease, I'm always looking for new "cures" or reinforcement for research already done (and sometimes applied). Nakazawa's story touched my heart and my motivation button. She is a science/health journalist so she has access to doctors, scientists, and other health authorities. Also as a journalist, she is able to take science and make it quite readable. Her personal anecdotes add authenticity.

Being nearly immobile and extremely fatigued, Nakazawa b
Gary Meade
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was a revelation.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Riveting from start to finish, there was rarely a moment that felt tedious or laboured.

I don't like long reviews, so in short I'll say that there was so much for me to absorb and use. Considering my own chronic illness issues, I was very excited to read about Donna's healing journey which was very much grounded in science.

Forget all the fads and expensive remedies: in t
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book just a couple weeks ago and cannot put it down. Fascinating and informative, with the author's own story, it is an amazing journey through the process of finding who we really are and the process of how we got there. For anyone who suffers from any autoimmune disease, this book will be the answer for healing, or at least the jump start to get you back to health. And, you will find that the answers lie within, if we are just willing to go deep , listen, and accept ours ...more
Amanda Osenga
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never could have imagined how much I would enjoy this book. Not only is it fascinating from a scientific point of view but its a page-turner as well. I haven't found myself this captivated by a book in this genre for a long time- and I read a lot of books in this genre! I hope my friends with chronic health issues, mental health struggles, and neural retraining friends will read this. It's inspired me to change some of the practices I have in my life and to keep up with my daily yoga practice. ...more
Gillian Neimark
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Donna Nakazawa is a very likeable narrator, and I hoped I might find some novel guidelines or insights here. It's a lively narrative, and sincere, and the science is credible. However, I came away feeling it had all slipped through my fingers. How do multiple serious chronic health problems, including Guillain-Barre, and many others, resolve with the tried and true interventions: therapy, yoga, walking meditation, and acupuncture? In the end, these are such standard therapies it is hard for me t ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-faves
This book highlights how bringing mindfulness and mindful practices, such as meditation and yoga, into your life can have profound effects on your physical well-being. This is not just a book for people who are ill. This is a book for anyone going through a period of heightened stress or suppressed health who wants to get to a better place emotionally and physically. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, a science writer and sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses, discusses how your Adverse Childhood Experien ...more
Rivka Levy
I picked up this book half by accident, as the title belies what is actually an amazing personal story of one woman's journey to see if meditation, acupuncture and yoga could help her regain her health, after years of serious chronic issues that kept landing her in hospital.

The answer came as a huge surprise to the scientifically-minded author: Yes!

But only once she acknowledged and addressed the childhood issues that were actually at the root of her adult health problems.

There's lots of science
Dr. Sara Jean Barrett
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been recommending this book to many of my patients. Nakazawa beautifully articulates the struggle of chronic illness and the resilience of the human body and spirit. I appreciate the deep dive she does into the science around mind/body medicine. I was captivated by her journey, making this a quick read. It is so easy for patients to shrug off the importance of lifestyle changes in hopes that a pill or supplement will be their answer. I appreciate having this book in my toolbox to recommen ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, for laypersons, educators, mental health professionals, anyone exploring the life-long emotional, mental and physical impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). What we think and feel affects us at the cellular level. This was a page-turner of a memoir for me. Donna Jackson Nakasama shares her path to greater health and joy through her year-long quest to begin a path to healing years of emotional and physical illness.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donna Jackson Jakazawa is a medical writer who used herself as a research subject to measure the effects of meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and acupunture to treat her chronic conditions with the help of Hopkins doctor, Anastasia Rowland-Seymour. It not only provides extremely useful information and a "tool kit" but it reads as an interesting memoir. The author gave a talk at my library recently and this was the perfect year for this book to fall into my lap. A MUST READ!!!
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Not only did I spend the whole book rooting for the author to rediscover her health, I enjoyed every bit of science and detail she infused into this very readable book. I'll be buying copies for the acupuncturist and yoga teachers I know - plus a few friends living with chronic pain!
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating blend of memoir and science, and an enlightening read for anyone interested in the mind-body connection.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keeper
What did I think? I think about it all of the time. After reading this book I became really mindful of the different ways to obtain some non prescription relief. This is very helpful information for when you live in a world of "there's really no cure for what you have!" I loved the different techniques she used. I loved how she gave a voice to what I experience. I have arthritis in my spine and Polymyalgia. Polymyalgia is a rheumatic inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, e ...more
Hedvig Madisson
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Seeing the cover of this book, I was tempted to put it back to the shelf - but I'm thrilled that I didn't. It appears as if it could be a spiritual self-help book without any actual evidence or explanations, instead it's written by a scientific journalist that combines her own struggle with impairment and pain with neuroscience, psychology and alternative ways of treatment, all in a year-long experiment to see if any of the more spiritual approaches would actually help.
The end got slightly too
Stephanie Burke
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect timing for reading this since I have been struggling with chronic pain in my knee for months. The author and her experiences validated a lot of the beliefs I already have, but I have been fearful of doing something because I am afraid of the pain. I need to push myself to get back into a regular yoga practice and meditation. I always feel better when I do both so I will be exploring how to do both while keeping my knee from further pain. Also, I am encouraged to look into any emotional c ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
top book i've read on health and wellness this year. especially for folks with autoimmune issues, but truly, for anyone working through healing physical problems with emotional components.especially those of us who have experienced trauma in our lives - especially when we were children. i highlighted, highlighted, incorporated some additions to my routine, bought 3 copies to send to people i know, and will very much read again.

im now heading down the rabbit hole into these neural connections. a
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I read a non-fiction/self-help book that truly changes my life, and then I cannot stop talking about it. This is one of those. Nakazawa, a science journalist, chronicles the year she tried to heal her long and intimidating list of diagnoses with meditation, yoga, and acupuncture (and the regular guidance of a board-certified internist at Johns Hopkins -- this isn't an anti-Western medicine tome.) Spoiler alert: these approaches work, and Nakazawa expertly tells us why. If ...more
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Read" this as an audiobook - the narrator was a little annoying but the content was great. I know a lot about this subject already but still learned some new things in terms of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the healing modalities of mindfulness, yoga, and acupuncture. Nakazawa does a great job explaining the science behind the mind-body connection and psychoneuroimmunology and is thoroughly relatable in her style.
Ginger Essink
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story of somebody with really awful chronic auto-immune disorders changing her health and life. She is science journalist so writes really well with the scientific basis for what she experiences herself. This is a first-person story about one intense year of her life where she tried an all-new approach, and--as someone with chronic disorders--it was hard to put down. I underlined massive amounts and am now re-reading sections of it.
Nancy Madlin
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of interesting research explained very well. Very cool how much progress she got on her symptoms during the year. Kind of a mind-body primer with personal anecdotal experience as well.

On the minus side, it’s very obvious her strength is in researching and writing science; the first person stuff was way too ‘gee whiz’ superficial/annoying and could’ve used a more assertive editor.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook. I love this book. Goes into the biology of all sorts of health issues related to ACEs. Goes into the biology and how "nontraditional" treatments help. The author has also written A Childhood Disrupted. That book deals with more of the psychology and ACEs portion of the subject and this book deals more of the biology of ACES and treatment. This is a wonderful book.
Lois DiMari
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is Wow!

What a moving story! It gives me hope and the motivation and scientific evidence to do the things I've known on some level were good for me but haven't been faithful about practicing. A big thank you, Donna!
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Award-winning journalist and internationally-recognized speaker Donna Jackson Nakazawa began writing at twelve years old, after her father passed away unexpectedly. Recording her thoughts and feelings in a journal helped her to make sense of a world without him. When she came to the last page of her diary, she wrote, “I think I’m going to be a writer.”

Later, in college, she joined the staff of Duk

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