The Language of the Heart

While this book can be strongly recommended to all readers, it deserves to be read on at least three different levels. The reader’s background will determine which level has the greatest impact.

On the first level, Lynch offers an excellent report of his treatment of both hypertensives and migraine headache sufferers at the University of Maryland. He contends that hypertension can be treated by showing patients with high blood pressure how to understand the relationship between poor “human dialogue” and rising blood pressure. He also argues that migraine headache sufferers have characteristically low blood pressure as a result of isolation and an ability to conduct satisfying human relationships.

On the second level, Lynch holds that medicine must rethink the separation of the study and treatment of human feelings from the study and treatment of the human body, which he sees as beginning with Rene Descartes and becoming solidified in the Enlightenment. For Lynch, Aristotle’s concept of the relationship between mind and body permits a unified understanding of human nature, and he urges a postmodern worldview combining the best of classical philosophy with the insights of experimental medicine.

On the third level, Lynch advocates a clear philosophical distinction between the study of human behavior and the study of animal behavior. This leads Lynch to provide a new model for clinical medical practice treating man’s social relationships together with his physical condition.