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.
Thomas Cowan, MD, has studied and written about many subjects in medicine, including nutrition, homeopathy, anthroposophical medicine, and herbal medicine. He is the author of Human Heart, Cosmic Heart, 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), has lectured throughout the United States and Canada, and is the co-founder of a family business, Dr. Cowan’s Garden. He has three grown children and currently practices medicine in San Francisco where he resides with his wife, Lynda Smith.
Over the past fifty years, rates of autoimmunity and chronic disease have exploded: currently 1 in 2.5 American children has an allergy, 1 in 11 has asthma, 1 in 13 has severe food allergies, and 1 in 36 has autism. While some attribute this rise to increased awareness and diagnosis, Thomas Cowan, MD, argues for a direct causal relationship to a corresponding increase in the number of vaccines American children typically receive—approximately 70 vaccine doses by age eighteen. The goal of these vaccines is precisely what we’re now seeing in such abundance among our chronically ill children: the provocation of immune response.
Dr. Cowan looks at emerging evidence that certain childhood illnesses are actually protective of disease later in life; examines the role of fever, the gut, and cellular fluid in immune health; argues that vaccination is an ineffective (and harmful) attempt to shortcut a complex immune response; and asserts that the medical establishment has engaged in an authoritarian argument that robs parents of informed consent. His ultimate question, from the point of view of a doctor who has decades of experience treating countless children is: What are we really doing to children when we vaccinate them?