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on May 3, 2014
Here is my brief story :
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.
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This book is one of many that challenge the conventional approach to medical care in which a patient is a passive character who just goes to the doctor and does (or ingests) whatever the doc tells them to. In the vein of works by Deepak Chopra and Bernie Siegal, this book is written by medical doctor who has different beliefs on healing. So what’s the niche of “Mind Over Medicine”, given that there are already a number of prominent medical doctors preaching the same message? That message is that your body is a healing machine and will do MOST (not ALL, none of these individuals advocates abandoning modern medical science) of the heavy lifting of healing, if you create the right conditions. Rankin presents results from scientific studies as the thrust of her book. I’m not really that familiar with Siegal, but you’ll find Rankin’s work a great deal less spiritual and more scientific than the works of Deepak Chopra.

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.
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on February 7, 2014
It's never too late to change your perspective on what health and wellness means. If you read this book today, get ready for some incredible revelations. The information Dr. Rankins presents may not all be new news, but its powerfully expressed and the time is right. People, like myself and most likely anyone reading this, are searching for answers on how to live healthy and simply. The answer of course is that we have everything we need inside us it just takes an eloquent author to tell us that! A book that has helped me realize the power of self-expression to self-heal is Art and Healing by Barbara Ganim.

What makes Mind Over Medicine so different from the other books is that she provides information that is grounded in scientific study from mainstream medical journals in accessible language. She challenges the Western medicine culture without disparaging it. Instead, she advocates the power of positive thinking, proactive self-care, and seeing wellness with an open mind. I wish there was an index, but she organizes her case well into three sections:

1) Evidence of mind-body connection
2) Areas in the body where the mind can create healing, which includes the real physiology/mechanics of what goes on in the body
3) Methods to change your belief systems and habits to a personal health prescription
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on November 16, 2015
I’ve found an incredible book.
It is Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin
Lissa talks about the power of the mind to heal. She talks of the placebo which is the positive aspect of directing the mind to heal. Then she tells of the Nocebo, which is destructive to the body and is imparted by many physicians. The knowledge here is to make sure that you go to a positive physician who cares about you. Positive caretakers are those who make a difference in your healing.
The book is about you taking control of your health. Lissa guides you through the process. Why do people have spontaneous healings? The tools that aid you through your health journey are given to you by Lissa. You only have to go to the books website to get them.
When I first got the book, I was having a significant health problem. Using her theory, I quickly got rid of it, and I must say was amazed by the efficiency of the process. Even if you don’t now have a health problem, get the book and read it. You never know when you or a significant other person would need the information.
One of the things that Dr. Rankin stresses is that people have a nurturing relationship. Too many people live alone and are lonely. If you know someone like that, show them they are loved. --Kaye
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As a teacher of Tai Chi, Qigong and Meditation, I was pleasantly surprised to come across Lissa Rankin's work through her P.B.S. special, which I found riveting and informative. This led me to purchase her book, which contains the most important message for our collective health that we can find anywhere. Though this message was not new to me, or for anyone who has been doing the practices outlined in this book, it was inspiring and heart-warming to find a resource that holds the key to true health and peace of mind.
As Lissa so rightly points out, we can eat all of the kale in the world, but if we haven't handled our stress levels, we are one step away from dis-ease. In this powerful book, she outlines the path that leads to true wellness (and yes, it does include eating a healthy diet!) but also includes simple meditation practices and other means to attain our optimum health. With the medical establishment increasingly broken, Dr. Rankin gives us the keys for taking responsibility for our own wellness and guides us down the path to our own healthy destiny. Highly recommended!!
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on June 2, 2016
I've been a big fan of Dr. Rankin for several years, and have read all her books and a lot of her articles and TV appearances. She's one of very few mind-body crusaders out there that I believe are making a real difference transforming mainstream medicine. It's an uphill battle, of course, because the entire medical matrix is profit-driven. The doctors are not rewarded for curing anyone--only keeping them sick. It's great that such articulate advocates as Dr. Rankin are carrying the torch of reform. Armed with impressive statistics, research data, and fascinating anecdotal stories from her own practice, you'll be convinced--if you never were before--that there is something to this mind-body connection stuff. Check it out!
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on August 19, 2014
I have been a caretaker for my wife who has been fighting stage four colorectal cancer for three years. This is a very helpful book as an addition to conventional medicine. Today in 2014 the way most cancer is fought is with chemo, radiation, and surgery. I would bet that 20 years from now people will wonder why in the world we were so ignorant. Maybe similar to the past when leaches were used? It is refreshing when MD's realize that not just drugs or radiation, or surgery is always the answer. In some ways it seems like my wife has just been torchured over the past months just to say they are keeping her alive. Her quality of life has been less than acceptable. Information in this book can help anyone with their quality of life medical issues.
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I like this book. I reminds me of doctors like Bernie Seagle, Andrew Weill, Richard Moss, and others who came to realize that there's a whole lot more to healing than pills and surgery. This book is newer so can add words like epigenetic and molecular medicine, but the basic premise is similar. People who have good relationships, good attitudes and so on are more likely to heal or not get sick in the first place than those who don't. This shouldn't be news to anyone but surprisingly is. So it's good to have another reminder that our attitudes and beliefs are crucial to our health.

Dr. Rankin forms her own opinions why attitudes affect health and covers the ideas of placebos and nocebos in good detail. What doctors tell their patients can be critical to the outcomes. Good stuff. (and fire negative docs, they are not healers) Her hanging the why of the process on the relaxation response seems flimsy at best. There's a whole lot more going on that.

There's a program to build a healthier attitudinal lifestyle that might work if anybody actually followed it. As a retired psychologist I find that almost nobody actually follows the steps laid out in self-help books. That's why there's always a market for the next book. It's much easier to just read than do the work to get better
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on January 12, 2017
I have had this on my shelf since it came out. I've been meaning to read it for a long time. It was finally time. I trust the inner voice in these things. I am full of anxiety and chronic illness and I am now in a place where I am ready to have faith that I can heal myself (with God). This book was both inspiring and let's be honest scary as hell to someone with anxiety. But coming up with a diagnosis and prescription is thorough and well done. I am excited and nervous to embark on the journey of healing. Hopefully, this will add years to my life and life to my years. I'd reccomend this to anyone who wants to be healthier and live a fuller and richer life.
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on January 2, 2014
It has been years since a "self help" book has actually gotten ME to DO something...this book has done just that. When I thought there was nothing else out there that could help me move further along my own journey and show me something new in the way of self care...I came across this book "by accident" - since I no longer even look for books of this type. It has shown me completely new ways of making life changes in the search for better wholeness...even for people like me who the author describes as "not sick but not really healthy". And for those out there whose mind "must" have scientific ways of understanding and dealing with things, like mine, this book is superbly done. Thank you so much for bringing this powerful information to me Lissa Rankin, and in very detailed exercises which are easy to follow and tools which are easy to use. Jane Abramowitz
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