By Anu Yagi
The Power to Heal Yourself
By Dr. Gina Kim, D.C.#SATORI–
112 pages. $20.
Imagine it’s your birthday and you’ve just unwrapped a hideous rainbow jumper, painstakingly hand-knit–especially for you–by an earnestly benevolent friend. The heartfelt card is signed “In Service with Love.” Your first thoughts fly to where in your wardrobe you’ll entomb this homely poly/cotton creature. But you reluctantly don it anyway–only to discover it’s the best-fitting, most comfortable sweater you’ve ever had the pleasure of pulling over your head.
I thought of that analogy while reading The Power to Heal Yourself, a new self-help book by Maui’s own Dr. Gina Kim. Straightforwardly penned, the book’s a compendium of practical advice “to put your body-mind-spirit in balance.”
Any evidently self-published work is scourged by stigma–that aesthetic should somehow indicate merit–and The Power to Heal Yourself is particularly plagued. It has every hallmark of being adorably homemade, with large Times New Roman font and the like. Also cutely, the edition notice lists the book’s first and second printings as September and October 2010. Fortunately for my critique, chapter seven (titled “Living Stress Free… Living Well”) advises readers to “make an agreement with your loved ones… [to] quickly say ‘I’m sorry, please don’t take it personally.'”
A Doctor of Chiropractic, Kim “quietly ministers her ‘Cellular Regeneration’ (CR) technique, a revolutionary natural healing modality she formulated in 1998,” from her Vineyard Street office in Wailuku. Kim writes that while “the inspiration for the title came many years ago after reading one of my favorite books, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale… the idea behind this book had been incubating for many years.” Kim says she was “guided to write this book, and then guided to donate all the proceeds to charities and scholarships, locally whenever possible,” and that her “goal is to eventually donate a million dollars.”
Divided into nine chapters and dozens of sections, the book focuses on reminding readers that “Nobody can do your life but you. How you take care of you is totally your business and your responsibility.” But, Kim writes, “like many of us, I grew up thinking it was selfish to take care of myself before others… [but] even the airlines ask us to put our oxygen masks on first before assisting another.” Her style is candid and unapologetic, as exampled in her section about how “another biggie in living stress-free is to be positive,” and in an anecdote about a couple healed of their “stinky farts.”
Most of Kim’s recommendations are basic–”eat real food, not processed junk”; “drink plenty of filtered water”; “minimize your exposure to chemicals”; “sleep should be peaceful, quiet, dark and comfortable”; “a positive attitude must be cultivated”–but she writes about a slew of unconventional teachings, too.
For example, chapter two outlines “four balancing exercises”–the “Brain Fluid and Nervous System Balance,” the “Z Technique,” “Divine Genetic Blueprint,” and “Relax and Soul Mode”–which Kim says she practices “every day, rain or shine.” The former-most exercise includes touching your tailbone, pinching the bridge of your nose and “say[ing] or think[ing] ‘to infinity.'” The latter-most exercise’s first instruction is to “pant like a dog three times.”
And in the section about dealing with constipation–for which prune juice or digestive enzymes are (obviously) suggested, as well as detailed instructions for abdominal massage (yep, so you can massage the shit out of yourself)–Kim encourages the costive to release “negative emotion[s] you may be holding on to, such as… not wanting to let go of someone or something.”
Though Kim often invokes the name of “God,” she urges readers, “Do not get hung up on definitions. When you see the word ‘God,’ think of the God of your understanding.”
Kim writes, “In 1992 the power of prayer came to life for me,” and in chapter five advocates prayer, saying, “You could be praying with every thought. No pious formality needed.” She goes on to include a few sample prayers like a “clearing your space prayer” to be used when arriving in “a new place like a hotel,” a “cutting ties prayer” to sever “soul ties” with those who you’ve “been intimate with and are no longer with,” a “prayer for cleansing new and used items” since “we usually do not know the people who owned them before us, how they may have used them, or their state of mind… [or] the state of mind of the person(s) who made them or the energy and intent of the company who sold them.” There’s even a prayer that says, “Where I’ve lost my shine, Lord, make me shiny again.” Chapter six goes on to advocate positive affirmations, which appears to differ from prayer in that it avers as opposed to asks.
The book closes with chapters titled “Miscellaneous, Yet Meaningful,” with sections on stretching (“wiggle, wiggle and wiggle”), “the evils of soda,” and “cancer situations,” as well as a collection of “Inspirational Words.”
In all, The Power to Heal Yourself is a quick, endearing read; and one that was made with love. It may advocate some far-out ideas, but it’s also more than chasing rainbows.