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by Harriet Griffey

listed in vaccination

[Image: Immunization]

Everything you need to know about vaccinations and immune-boosting therapies for your child

Presenting an impartial view on a highly controversial subject such as vaccination will never be an easy task, and on reading this book I had very mixed feelings about its content.

The author, a former paediatric nurse, even states in the introduction how she "became increasingly aware of how polarized the debate has become" and I would agree. There is no half-way house on this issue; one either sees vaccination as an effective health measure or not. Most holistic practitioners are concerned by the increasing number of vaccines given at such an early age and many do not view the long-term effects on the immune system in a favourable light. Even amongst orthodox professionals there are some doubts emerging too.

As a parent myself who has spent the last nine years researching vaccination, I have formed a definite opinion on this topic; hence I have obviously reviewed it with a pre-established view. However I am very much 'for' impartial books about vaccination provided that they present balanced information; therefore I was disappointed that Harriet Griffey did not include more critical analysis of the vaccines and the procedure itself. Also, when quoting figures and medical data, full references to the scientific literature should have been provided.

The first three chapters of this book focus on the immune system and the role vaccines play in possibly protecting our children against disease. The author looks briefly at the history of vaccination, the production, testing, monitoring of side-effects, vaccination policies and covers the main infectious diseases one by one. While the book is presented in a clear, understandable and easy-to-read manner, I felt that the overall picture conveyed was that the evidence on vaccines was generally favourable, giving parents an indication that there is really no cause for alarm. I would also have liked to have seen more epidemiological evidence, especially since there are some very interesting data showing the decline of the infectious diseases which clearly demonstrate that major declines occurred well before the introduction of the vaccines.

Having said all that, I felt the second half of the book had a lot more to offer and provides the reader with an all-round introduction to the many ways of boosting ones child's immune system. In chapter 4, Harriet Griffey takes a look at nutrition, breast feeding and diet, giving straightforward details on how particular foods and drinks enhance or debilitate our immune systems. I particularly liked the following chapter which focuses on lifestyle and how it affects our general well-being. This area is so often overlooked, with most of the emphasis on diet and nutrition. It is well-known that emotional stress, lack of rest and relaxation and lack of outdoor activities can have a profound effect on our development and our immune system. Harriet Griffey presents these areas well and even covers aspects such as 'light' pointing out that, for example, a daily walk not only benefits us physically but also exposes us to natural daylight which many of us neglect these days. She informs the reader in detail how these experiences can affect our child's body and also discusses the role emotions play on their development.

The final chapter covers the many alternative and complementary therapies available to parents for boosting their child's health. The author gives a basic description of these with a scattering of real-life comments from parents who have had some experience of the various therapies. This acts as a useful guide for parents who are just entering the world of holistic medicine, and may help them with health choices for their offspring.

Included at the end the author lists further reading suggestions and some useful addresses.

As I stated above this book left me with mixed feelings and I would have to say in honesty that I was much happier with the latter half of the book than the opening chapters. As a founder member of The Informed Parent I always encourage parents to read across the board and come to their own conclusions. I have never hidden the fact that I have grown to see vaccination in an unfavourable light, and I always emphasized that parents must come to their own conclusions based on their own research. This book is certainly worth a read as it will boost parents' knowledge on immunity to a degree but I could not agree with the subtitle of this publication – 'everything you need to know...' – there is more out there!

Magda Taylor
Element Books Ltd

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