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Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body

Jo Marchant

  • awardShortlisted, Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, 2016
  • awardLonglisted, Goodreads Choice Awards (Science and Technology), United States, 2016
  • A rigorous, sceptical, deeply reported look at the new science behind the mind’s extraordinary ability to heal the body.

    Have you ever felt a surge of adrenaline after narrowly avoiding an accident? Salivated at the sight (or thought) of a sour lemon? Felt turned on just from hearing your partner’s voice? If so, then you’ve experienced how dramatically the workings of your mind can affect your body.

    Yet while we accept that stress or anxiety can damage our health, the idea of ‘healing thoughts’ was long ago hijacked by New Age gurus and spiritual healers. Recently, however, serious scientists from a range of fields have been uncovering evidence that our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs can ease pain, heal wounds, fend off infection and heart disease, even slow the progression of AIDS and some cancers.

    In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine. We learn how meditation protects against depression and dementia, how social connections increase life expectancy, and how patients who feel cared for recover from surgery faster. We meet Iraq war veterans who are using a virtual arctic world to treat their burns and children whose ADHD is kept under control with half the normal dose of medication. We watch as a transplant patient uses the smell of lavender to calm his hostile immune system and an Olympic runner shaves vital seconds off his time through mind-power alone.

    Drawing on the very latest research, Marchant explores the vast potential of the mind’s ability to heal, acknowledges its limitations, and explains how we can make use of the findings in our own lives.

    ‘A thought-provoking exploration of how the mind affects the body and can be harnessed to help treat physical illness, by an award-winning science journalist.’ Best Books of 2016,  Australian Financial Review 

    ‘A thought-provoking exploration.’ Best Books of 2016, Economist


    Watch Jo Marchant on ABC’s The Drum.

    ‘How to Thrive on Stress.’ Read Jo Marchant on LinkedIn.

    ‘Marchant envisions mind-body medicine becoming a routine part of healing, and not only in the form of placebo drugs. “We don’t just want to be giving people dummy pills,” Marchant said. “We want to look at how we can change the way we care for patients.”’ Read the full feature in Boston Globe.


    Radio NZ



    Jo Marchant
    About the Author

    Jo Marchant is the author of Decoding the Heavens, shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize. She has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology and has written on everything from the future of genetic engineering to underwater archaeology for New Scientist, Nature, the Guardian, and Smithsonian. She lives in London.

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    1 May 2017
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    Praise for Jo Marchant

    ‘This is popular science writing at its very best. Cure beautifully describes the cutting-edge research going on in the fascinating and, until now, often unexplored area of mind-body medicine. I would recommend this book to anybody who has a mind and a body.’

    Cure represents a journey in the best sense of the word: a vivid, compassionate, generous exploration of the role of the human mind in both health and illness…A fascinating approach to medicine, full of human detail, integrity, and, ultimately, hope.’

    ‘The evolving science explored in Cure is intriguing and trailblazing, and Marchant’s account of its pursuit is often gripping…There’s a lot to this impressive book, and it has the potential to have the same dramatic impact on our understanding of our self as Norman Doidge’s blockbuster, The Brain that Changes Itself.‘

    ‘Ms Marchant writes well, which is never a guarantee in this genre…The studies are irresistible, and they come in an almost infinite variety.’

    ‘Marchant has developed a powerful and critically needed conceptual bridge for those who are frustrated with pseudoscientific explanations of alternative therapies but intrigued by the mind’s potential power to both cause and treat chronic, stress-related conditions.’

    ‘A well-researched page-turner…raises questions about the role of culture, environment and neurochemistry in our responses to treatment—and may very well lead to widespread changes in the ways we practise medicine.’

    ‘A balanced, informative review of a controversial subject.’

    ‘Writing with simplicity, clarity and style, and covering an enormous range of material, [Marchant] surveys with grace what we think we know, and what we would like to know, about the mysterious and troubling relationship between our minds and our bodies.’

    ‘This is jet-pack journalism and pop science at its best.’

    ‘The author has a gift for writing that is both clear and vivid, and communicates complex ideas in a way that is comprehensible and uncondescending.’

    ‘Wide-ranging and compelling.’

    ‘Recommended for anyone who is interested in medicine as patient or carer or practitioner, and especially if you enjoy a good, fascinating read.’

    ‘This is science writing at its best, engrossing, interesting, personalised.’

    ‘Remarkable…Like any good researcher, the author keeps an open mind about what she is told, even about what she sees or experiences first-hand.’

    ‘A thought-provoking exploration of how the mind can affect the body and can be harnessed to help treat physical illness…Convincing.’

    Other editions ofCure
    • Cure
      ISBN: 9781922148728
      27 January 2016
      Buy ebook