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