Thomas Cowan was a 20-year-old Duke grad bright, skeptical, and already disillusioned with industrial capitalism when he joined the Peace Corps in the mid-1970s for a two-year tour in Swaziland. There, he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner and Weston A. Price two men whose ideas would fascinate and challenge him for decades to come.
Both drawn to the art of healing and repelled by the way medicine was and continues to be practiced in the United States, Cowan returned from Swaziland, went to medical school, and established a practice in New Hampshire and, later, San Francisco. For years, as he raised his three children, suffered the setback of divorce, and struggled with a heart condition, he remained intrigued by the work of Price and Steiner and, in particular, with Steiner’s provocative claim that the heart is not a pump. Determined to practice medicine in a way that promoted healing rather than compounded ailments, Cowan dedicated himself to understanding whether Steiner’s claim could possibly be true. And if Steiner was correct, what, then, is the heart? What is its true role in the human body?
In this deeply personal, rigorous, and riveting account, Dr. Cowan offers up a daring claim: Not only was Steiner correct that the heart is not a pump, but our understanding of heart disease with its origins in the blood vessels is completely wrong. And this gross misunderstanding, with its attendant medications and risky surgeries, is the reason heart disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide.
In Human Heart, Cosmic Heart, Dr. Thomas Cowan presents a new way of understanding the body’s most central organ. He offers a new look at what it means to be human and how we can best care for ourselves and one another.
About the Author
Thomas Cowan, MD, has studied and written about many subjects in medicine including nutrition, homeopathy, anthroposophical medicine, and herbal medicine. He is the principal author of The Fourfold Path to Healing and co-author (with Sally Fallon) of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dr. Cowan has served as vice president of the Physicians’ Association for Anthroposophic Medicine and is a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation®. He also writes the “Ask the Doctor” column in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts (the Weston A. Price Foundation’s quarterly magazine) and has lectured throughout the United States and Canada. He has three grown children and currently practices medicine in San Francisco where he resides with his wife, Lynda Smith.
"What happens when the medical profession views the heart as a mechanical pump? We get ghoulish surgeries, medications with horrible side effects, and soulless low-fat diets. Tom Cowan asks us to look anew at the heart; first step is the demonstration that the blood pumps the heart, not vice versa. From this observation comes a way of treating heart disease that is more effective, more gentle, more felicitate than conventional protocol. Part biography, part wisdom, part practical advice, Human Heart, Cosmic Heart will change the way you look at the process of healing and the miraculous world of the human body."--Sally Fallon Morell, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation
"There's only a few books a year that I think really deserve to be in everyone's library. This is one of them. . . . It's loaded with great information, and it can save your life or the life of someone you love."--Dr. Joseph Mercola, founder and director, mercola.com
"This book blew my mind. I will admit . . . I thought I was simply going to be reading an interesting memoir of a good physician. Instead, I discovered the most groundbreaking, unorthodox, outside-the-box treatise on the heart I have ever stumbled upon. If you have a heart and you want to live a long time, you must, must read this book."--Ben Greenfield, author of the New York Times bestseller, Beyond Training; founder and owner, Greenfield Fitness Systems; www.bengreenfieldfitness.com
"Heart disease is a national crisis, and the most common treatments don't lower the risk of death in most cases. Rather than despair, Thomas Cowan meets these devastating realities with the firm belief that there must be another solution. Through many years of research and medical practice, he challenges the common notion of what the heart is for--to pump blood. Through observation, geometry, and scientific insight, he proposes that the heart is a hydraulic ram rather than pump because it uses suction rather than force to build the momentum of the blood. And he makes it clear that this change of perspective makes all the difference by exploring heart attacks, what they aren't and what they are. The treatment Cowan advises in Human Heart, Cosmic Heart is personal and holistic (whole-body remedies), driven by the patient's own life story in order to show the whole of the nervous system. The result is a refreshingly balanced approach focused on responding to the needs of the body rather than reacting to the problem experienced in the heart. Throughout the book, Cowan shares his personal journey of learning, making the book approachable and warm as well as logical and authoritative. By sharing his learning process, he conveys a deep understanding of the cardiovascular system and its needs. Cowan, a self-proclaimed doubter and nonconformist, brings a voice of skepticism and hope into a genre packed with dry, black-and-white thinking. His insights are relentlessly rooted in research, and he explains medical science in an accessible way, including clear diagrams and step-by-step explanations that move at just the right pace for educated adults without moving too slowly for medical professionals. This book is life-changing for those trying to understand their own bodies, or those of loved ones, and it's truly transformative in the hands of medical professionals, especially young doctors."