This review was first published in The Human Ecologist.
32 Tips That Could Save Your Life by Doris J. Rapp, M.D.
Paperback; 239 pages. 2011. Aurora, CO: Tendril Press. $14.95 from bookstores, online or the author’s website http://www.drrapp.com/
Dr. Doris Rapp is a well recognized and respected name for those with chemical injuries. She is a board certified environmental medical specialist and pediatric allergist with extensive careers in both academia and clinical practice. Dr. Rapp has taken her wide range of knowledge gleaned from years of experience in research, healing, and as a past president of American Academy of Environmental Medicine and put it to good use as an author. She has written eleven books including the New York Time’s bestseller Is This Your Child?, numerous articles and has produced a series of useful videos. Her latest offering, 32 Tips That Could Save Your Life, continues her tradition of well written, useful content.
32 Tips That Could Save Your Life is a short (239 pages) and small (6.5” X 4.5”) book that is crafted to look and read like a reference or guide book. There are more comprehensive texts that cover the same topics of diagnosis, avoidance, and treatment but this one is perfect for both the quick simple solution and a solid over view, thanks to its combination of scope and brevity. The tips are designed to be put into action; the suggestions, products, recipes, source phone numbers or websites are always easy and offered with price in mind. As Dr. Rapp writes, “The answer to many medical problems is not another overpriced toxic drug, even if it is covered by medical insurance. The answer is to find and eliminate the cause.”
Each of the thirty-two tips contain a section entitled “What Can You Do About It?” followed by a section “Why Is It So Important?”. This division of content provides the key element to the book’s flexibility. If the reader is well versed in exposure avoidance or is merely looking for a solution to a specific problem, then the first section could be all they need. If however, the reader is new to the subject, looking for a more in depth answer, or adding general knowledge to their better living lexicon then the second section can be read to enhance what they gain from the book.
Moreover, the information in each of these sections is delivered in bullet list formation which makes finding and understanding the content particularly efficient. The absence of narrative leaves the reader with just the facts. These facts are meticulously sourced, each chapter ending with multiple pages of notes and references. Dr. Rapp knows better than to throw out an alarming statistic without providing context and source information.
The first few tips cover some generalities like food and water, then twenty tips for inside the home room by room, and then five tips for outside the home covering pesticides to electromagnetic energy. The last two tips are “Detoxifying Your Body”, which covers most of the key detoxification factors in broad strokes, and “Become Proactive”, which is not an empty phrase but rather a list of things the reader can actually do and why it is so important to do something. Lastly she includes a thirty-five page appendix on harmful chemicals, allergic food ingredients, and where you’ll find these items.
Balancing the straightforward nature of most of the book’s content, about a third of the tips conclude with anecdotes about a patient’s history and treatment. For readers new to MCS and avoidance, the anecdotes force the reader to realize the severity of the issue and translate the statistics into reality. Dr. Rapp also refers to her website with links to videos of patients experiencing exposure reactions and subsequent corrective treatment using Provocation/Neutralization therapy.
Even a long time MCS patient can find either some alarming research in this book that inspires reevaluation in their life, like minimizing microwave usage or an easy tip on a tricky problem, like a recipe for home made non toxic edible art supplies. The succinct nature and matter of fact tone of 32 Tips That Could Save Your Life also make it an ideal starter source for those new to avoiding exposure. All readers will be moved by the overriding theme of the book, which is a call to personal action. As Dr. Rapp writes in her preface, “Please, read with resolve to make your personal nest more environmentally safe for the well-being of yourself and those you love.”