As a doctor, I always thought that, to be healthy, you simply had to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and follow doctor’s orders. But after twelve years of education and ten years of medical practice, I took a job at an integrative medicine practice in Marin County near San Francisco, where most of my patients were “health nuts” doing everything right- but some of them were sicker than ever. I was baffled. I mean, these folks drank their daily green juice, ate a vegan diet, worked out with personal trainers, slept eight hours a night, took their vitamins, saw the best doctors, and optimized what Western medicine had to offer- and they were still ill.
From everything I had learned in medical school, these people should have been in perfect health. But many of my patients felt tired, they weren’t sleeping well, their libido went down the tubes, their bodies ached, they gained weight- they lost their mojo really. So sometimes I’d run specialized functional medicine tests conventional doctors might not order, and occasionally, I’d find something that would solve everything. But more often than not, the tests failed to uncover anything new because these patients had already seen many excellent health care providers before they came to me. It was clear that there was still a missing piece of the health care puzzle. I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
So I decided to do something radical. I changed my patient intake form, and came up with very different questions than what you’re probably used to being asked when you see a doctor, things like:
-If you could break any rule without consequences, what rule would you break?
-Are you in a romantic relationship, and if so, are you happy? If not, do you wish you were?
-Do you feel like you’re in touch with your life purpose?
-Do you feel stressed about money?
-Do you feel spiritually connected?
-If your health condition had a message to deliver to you, what would it say?
And the motherlode question:
-What does your body need in order to heal?
When I first started asking this last question, I thought my patients would give me treatment intuitions, like “I think I’ll skip that drug and try this supplement instead.” But that’s not what they said.
They said things like:
- I need to leave my toxic relationship
- I need to quit my job
- I need to forgive my father
- I need to finally write my novel
- I need to move to Santa Fe
So I said, “Well, you just wrote your own prescription. Go do it!”
And most of them would say, “Well, I can’t do that. That would be crazy.”
But a few of my patients got really brave, and they started doing exactly what they had prescribed for themselves, and they started experiencing these unexpected remissions. All of a sudden their health conditions were going away without medical treatment.
How did this happen? And what might you do to enjoy the same sort of spontaneous remission?
That’s what I’m teaching in Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine, the 90 minute public television special I filmed, which debuts tonight on national public television in my hometown of San Francisco on KQED and is based on my New York Times best-selling book, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof that Your Can Heal Yourself .
The public television special is a meticulously researched explanation of the critical role our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs play in our health and well-being – and how we can harness the power of our minds to enjoy great health and longevity with specific, easy-to-do steps.
Watch it on KQED 7:30-9:00pm tonight, August 29
Part 1: covers topics such as why Western medicine is very important; why your brain is the most important organ for your health; how patients sabotage their health by “learned helplessness”; and why one question Dr. Rankin will ask you could be the difference between life and death.
Part 2: includes an explanation of the placebo effect, complete with inspiring examples of patients who healed themselves, explains the placebo effect’s evil twin, “the nocebo effect,” the role the amygdala plays in the brain and how it controls stress; how the body has its own self-repair mechanisms, which are under the influence of the nervous system; and why the body’s self-repair mechanisms only work when the relaxation response is activated.
Part 3: covers the importance of reducing stress responses for self-healing and optimal health; Dr. Rankin’s groundbreaking new wellness model: The Whole Health Cairn; why physical health is only one aspect of whole health; the difference between being healed and being cured; and how by healing ourselves, we will help heal our broken health care system.
Not in the Bay area? I’d still appreciate your support spreading the word to your social media followers. And stay tuned! I’m going on a tour of PBS stations and my special will be appearing on local stations near you in September. I’ll be sending out a schedule of when the special will air on PBS stations after Labor Day, so stay tuned to your inbox. I so appreciate you helping spread the word to anyone who is battling a life-threatening or chronic health condition or to any healers who are in service to those who have optimized what Western medicine has to offer and are still suffering.
In order for this PBS special to be widely aired- and in order to be a force for healing for those in need, I need your help! Because it’s a fundraiser for PBS, stations will spread this word more readily if it converts to funds donated. So if you watch the special, please please please pledge PBS and help support commercial-free television that supports programs like this one. If you won’t do it for this movement to heal health care, please do it for Big Bird!
I’d so appreciate your support as I try to spread this message in service to those who will benefit from this mind-body medicine approach to optimal health. Thank you all for caring about my work and helping make all my big dreams about healing health care come true.
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