The Journey is an ambitious survey of medical and lifestyle factors affecting overall health. Among the topics covered are running, rehabilitation from injury, strength training, “tone,” arthritis, energy levels, and osteopathic manipulation. If that sounds like a lot to cover in 139 pages, well, it is.
Dr. Paul Scheatzle is clearly passionate about his work. After suffering a spinal cord injury during a high school wrestling match, his long path to recovery ultimately led to a career as an osteopath (he is also a clinical associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine). There’s little doubt that he knows his material, but The Journey fails to effectively share it with readers for many reasons.
Some chapters are overstuffed with medical jargon inappropriate for lay readers. Others are repetitive and lack focus. (For example, although Chapter Six is titled “Exercise Techniques,” it spends more time discussing motivation for exercise, prioritizing exercise and potential injuries than the subject it’s intended to cover.) And it’s unnerving to read a book making absolute recommendations to readers (running is the best exercise; stop eating white foods for optimal health) with no sources cited beyond a modest seven-title bibliography. Repeatedly misspelling the names of Dr. Atkins (of diet fame) and Jack Lalanne further undermines the author’s credibility.
Much of what Scheatzle recommends is the sort of common sense advice Americans have ignored for too long, leading us to obesity and diabetes in epidemic proportions. His intentions are entirely good; he wants us to be as healthy as possible and wisely recommends that the reader “Keep asking questions and be a student of exercise.” While his book may not be the best starting place on a journey to better health, readers will find that it covers a lot of ground.
Also available as a hardcover and ebook.