03/21/2013 06:23 pm ET Updated May 21, 2013

New Medicine Is a Comprehensive Road Map to Integrative Medicine

I was raised on a small parcel of land, off of a dirt road, surrounded by almond orchards and livestock. Childhood was a blast for me, with oodles of outdoor activities. Along with said activities, of course, came injury and illness: I broke bones from miscellaneous endeavors, stepped on rusty nails that were littered around the barn, broke out in skin rashes from wild grasses, and had sneezing fits when the almond trees were in bloom. Amazingly, I made it into adulthood with minimal scarring and with all ten fingers and toes intact. That said, I was not what one would call an easy child to care for, and I certainly put my mother through the wringer.

Whenever I would come home with a bee sting or sprained wrist, or come down with the flu or strep throat, Mom automatically would reach for her healthcare bible, the Mayo Clinic Family Health Book. For easy access and quick reference, it resided in the kitchen, right next to Mom's culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking. The former book corners were well-worn, with the slip cover shredded from years of use. Mom never knew when it would come in handy, but she used it frequently.

When I picked up New Medicine: Complete Family Health Guide, by Drs. David Peters and Kenneth R. Pelletier, I instantly knew it would be my own healthcare bible. New Medicine is a comprehensive road map to all things integrative medicine, and Peters and Pelletier have done an amazing job of simplifying complex ideas and diverse modalities -- making them accessible and understandable to the lay reader.

The book is broken into large sections and is color-coded, for quick and easy reference. It begins with an overview of conventional, complementary, and alternative medicine -- replete with information about what modality is the ideal treatment for which ailments. From X-rays to surgery to nutrition to yoga, the reader will get to know the basics and contraindications of each option, making it both safer and easier to mix and match for a specific health need.

Next, the book breaks down different body systems and the various imbalances associated within each. Under the section on "skin," for example, the book explains the conditions of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more -- identifying what the condition is, how it occurs, and what are the most effective treatment options from the conventional , complementary, and alternative medicine camps.

Easy-to-understand and colorful graphics -- including diagrams, charts, and photographs -- fill the pages of New Medicine, making the book not only super user-friendly, but also downright fun to read. If you are the kind of person who is intimidated by medical books, buy this one. From blood types to micronutrients to tissue fibers, and from environmental health to preventive medicine to mental health, you will walk away with a deeper appreciation of your body and a clearer understanding of how to take charge of your wellness. In addition, because the book is broken into sections and subsections, with each clearly marked, you will be able to pick and choose exactly what you want to read - keeping in mind that each subsection delves more deeply into the select topics.

The icing on the cake is that New Medicine offers tips and references for finding a qualified healthcare practitioner -- invaluable information for someone dealing with a health condition. I cannot emphasize how critical it is to be selective when looking for a medical provider, especially when looking for one who will implement the best of Western and Eastern medicine.

Although I have no children running through the back door with an injury or allergy, I do have massage clients asking questions to which I do not have answers. And so, instead of getting worn from use on the kitchen shelf, the book resides on my office desk, right next to my massage table, for easy access and reference. It has been an invaluable resource for my massage practice and my daily life, and I highly recommend it to healthcare providers and consumers alike.