By Kathy Gruver, MS, LMT,RM,NHC, Doctorate in Traditional Naturopathy.

Review by Scott Keith

If somebody suggests alternative medicine, you may either roll your eyes or say something like, “Wow, that’s for me.” Whatever your opinion, you’re going to enjoy “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet” by Kathy Gruver. It’s a chance to open your eyes to remedies that, in some cases, rely on ingredients direct from the earth.

Gruver, who has earned a Masters in Natural Health and an ND as a Traditional Naturopath, began her journey as a massage therapist about 20 years ago. “It started to become almost like a health counseling session, when they were on the table…I started to really appreciate that education process,” says Gruver, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing. Gruver started teaching massage and nutrition at a local business college. Eventually, she decided to help people understand natural health and alternative medicine. After spending time writing articles and speaking to the public, Gruver decided to put her Ph.D on hold and write a book. “It was a very organic process, it really evolved over the course of years.”

The book begins by explaining the health benefits of massage. Gruver writes, Research has shown massage lowers blood pressure and heart rate, can lower and stabilize blood sugar and moves lymph throughout your body. Gruver describes several message techniques, including Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Trigger Point, Barefoot and Shiatsu. If you’re wondering how to communicate with your message therapist, fear not. Gruver lets you know what concerns to bring up with the therapist.

You’ll learn about Classical Homeopathy and Constitutional Homeopathy. Gruver writes that The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines homeopathy as a nontraditional system for treating and preventing disease, in which minute amounts of a substance that in large amounts causes disease symptoms are given to healthy individuals. This is thought to enhance the body’s natural defenses. Gruver touches on herbs, which have been used for centuries. It’s pointed out that several prescription drugs have their origins in herbal medicine. Did you know that aspirin is derived from white willow bark?

As a youngster, Gruver became interested in alternative medicine. “My mother got very sick (with cancer) when I was young. I watched her go from MD to MD…even as a young teenager, I thought, ‘This doesn’t seem to be working,’ maybe there’s something else,” recalls Gruver. Since there was no Internet in the early 80s, Gruver relied on the library to learn about alternative medicine. She suggested her mother consider herbs, or perhaps, hypnosis for pain. Gruver says, “I always thought there were other options than what the mainstream was doing.”

Gruver recognizes there are differing opinions on alternative medicine. “I have met people, members of my own family, who are so stuck in this paradigm of ‘My doctor didn’t tell me to do it, so I’m not doing it.’”Gruver says the flip side is “people who have 100 percent rejected western medicine, and if it’s not an herb or something they got at their local Whole Foods, they don’t pay any attention to it.” According to Gruver, “There are positives and negatives to both. Let’s meld the two. That’s the whole point of complementary alternative medicine. It’s bringing the two together so we can look at nutrition as well as going to get your EKG.”

Not only does Gruver’s book introduce you to a wide range of alternative remedies, it also delves into health tips you can practice, to achieve improved health. Read Nutrition: Kathy’s Top 10 Picks. Discover why you should blend blueberries, wild-caught salmon, broccoli, garlic, olive oil, eggs, spinach, avocados, filtered water and red wine (unless you can’t drink) into your diet. Gruver says, “blueberries are great antioxidants…they’re tasty, too. You can do anything with them. It’s good breakfast, you grab a handful in the middle of the day. It’s a great dessert after dinner.”

Gruver’s compact guide to alternative medicine is great for people “on the fence,” or not quite sure whether to embrace the idea. “I wrote the book simply to give information to people. To help them navigate it (alternative medicine), to learn about different methods of natural health.” Gruver encourages people to explore the subject, noting, “it’s such an individual thing.”

Softcover, 141 pages, Infinity Publishing, $11.95, available at and at

Visit Kathy Gruver at, and