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Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself Paperback – December 1, 2014
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About the Author
Lissa Rankin, M.D., is a physician, author, speaker, teacher, and founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute. She is passionate about what lies at the intersection of science and spirituality and is committed to awakening consciousness not just in the field of health care, but in how we align with our soul's purpose in all aspects of our lives. Lissa teaches several teleclasses, including Medicine For The Soul, Find Your Calling, and Visionary Ignition Switch. Her next book, The Fear Cure, will be published in 2015. She lives in California with her daughter. LissaRankin.com.
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After years of undiagnosed illness occurring off and on, I was faced with being put on anti-depressants for my newest illness, visceral (gut-brain) hypersensitivity.
This was a wake up call. Anti-depressants are absolutely necessary in some severe cases of depression, compulsion and so on. It was a wake up call because I realized I was scared to go on anti depressants because I would be forced to face the realty that my thinking and beliefs were the cause of my pain and anxiety. If the anti depressants worked then by definition I was literally making myself sick and I would have to admit this at some point.
However this book opened my heart to what my gut (not literally as referred to above) always knew: There are many factors in my life that are preventing me from relaxing and returning to my normal state of being, which is a state of healing.
My entire life has been lived in such a self-critical, self-doubting and self-hating way. I was too far gone to even realize it. This book made me realize that yes, indeed my state of mind was affecting my health. My thoughts, feelings and attachments to my living situation, finances, success, failure, parental relationships, partner relationships were constantly triggering my stress responses. No doctor had ever told me, as human beings aside from stress responses we also have RELAXATION responses that are triggered. This is simple yet life-changing information. Needless to say, I have been on a personal journey of self-compassion and relaxation. My pain is gone and I have a completely new outlook and attitude.
This book will change your life if you suffer from hypochondria, depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, etc. It is written with such compassion and love. I found this book at the library and I have now purchased my own copy to re-read and highlight all the incredible information presented. This book has deeply resonated with me and I hope it is required reading for all doctors at some point.
Thank you Dr. Rankin for writing this very necessary book. Always grateful.
There’s a lot of scientific interest in understanding why some people experience spontaneous remissions from the most lethal of ailments while others succumb to diseases that most people weather with ease. While many people will chalk it up to divine will or chakra nudging or having one’s demons expunged, these aren’t satisfying answers for the scientifically minded individual. However, neither is the extreme skeptic’s suggestion that these are just randomly distributed flukes of nature—and it’s a waste of time to try to explain the outliers. The latter being unsatisfying because phenomena like the placebo effect are well documented.
So what conclusion does Rankin draw from the scientific literature. As suggested earlier, the conclusion is that the body is extremely good at healing what ails it, but it has to be in the right mode to have this healing take place. What’s the right mode? It has to be in relaxed mode, or, in scientific parlance, the parasympathetic system must be engaged. The problem is that when a person is under stress, the body switches into a fight or flight mode. Humanity hasn’t really come to grips with the fact that work deadlines, fears about ailments, or fears that our spouse may be cheating aren’t really the same as our ancestor’s experience of being chased by a saber-tooth tiger. When that ancestor was being chased by a tiger, his or her body shut down everything that wasn’t germane to immediate survival (e.g. digestion is interrupted, blood isn’t evenly distributed but goes to lungs and skeletal muscles, etc.) The tiger chase is over shortly, and the body returns doing its regular at-rest functions (e.g. digesting, healing, etc.) However, if we let our stressors kick us into that immediate survival mode--and just having a disease can be stressing enough in itself--then our healing can be severely or completely curtailed.
Can faith healing, karma cleansing, chakra fluffing, or sugar pills contribute to healing? Sure, but not in the way that the faithful thinks. These systems--each of which has proponents who’ll swear they witnessed first-hand the power of faith or magic or invisible energy (and they are probably not lying)--work because the person who firmly believes in these therapies is able to relax and let their bodies can do what they do.
Does this mean that those who don’t believe in religion or cosmic energy manipulation are out of luck? No. You just skip the middleman and engage in activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or breathing exercises that allow you to put the body in a relaxed state. Secular meditation works just fine if practiced consistently, and particularly if one confronts, addresses, and eliminates the long-terms stressors in one’s life.
At the heart of the book is a discussion about how to go about performing one’s own diagnosis and writing one’s own prescription. As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t about cutting the doctor out. In this case one is diagnosing one’s stressors and prescribing activities to eliminate them. This doesn’t mean one should pass up medical treatment or doctor’s advice. However, it may entail switching doctors if you have a doctor that firmly believes you are incapable of getting better—you don’t need any doubts about your body’s ability to do its thing being foist upon you.
I’d highly recommend this book for scientifically-minded individuals interested in learning how they can help their bodies get into a state conducive to healing.