Mind Over Medicine: Can you heal yourself?

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Have you ever heard stories about people who were misdiagnosed with terminal illness and died only months later? Or someone who refused treatment and by all accounts miraculously went in to remission? These are the stories which increasingly have doctors and patients beginning to connect the dots between the mind and body.

This concept of mind body is not new, but each time I read something new it deepens my belief and when that information is backed by science…well it helps to overcome some of those lingering doubts which is exactly what Dr. Lissa Rankin had in mind when publishing Mind Over Medicine. Thanks to Hayhouse for providing me this book so I could explore these ideas further!

In fact this passage sounded so much like me and the hundreds of you who have emailed me that I knew this book needed to be shared:Mind Over Medicine

The Epidemic: “They feel depressed and anxious. They toss and turn at night…they complain of vague physical symptoms, such as muscle aches, back and neck pain, gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, chest tightness and dizziness.

Suspecting something is terribly wrong, patients suffering from the epidemic go to the doctor knowing something must be wrong. The doctor runs a series of tests and winds up pronouncing the patient “well”. Only the patient doesn’t feel well.”

Yes that was me. Yes one doctor told me I was stressed. Yes I was pissed off to hear him say that because it felt like he was saying I’d imagined all of these symptoms. Now, I understand that the physical manifestations were 100% real and likely caused by continued mental, physical and emotional stress. 

  • Emotionally I had moved away from my support system and had a lot of trouble making sincere connections in Miami. –
  • Mentally I was working long hours on projects that seemed riddled with issues. — The Japanese actually coined the term karoshi to refer to the approximately 10,000 people each year who die simply from working themselves to death.
  • Physically I was stressing my body with marathon training, plus trying to test out every new trend. – While exercise is a good stress, it takes an understanding of recovery to truly reap health benefits.

I wish it hadn’t taken my health hitting such a critical low point for me to begin accepting that my lifestyle was a major part of the problem regardless of how many organic foods I was eating or miles I was running. I started meditating. I started going to more group events. I quit my job. I started seeking out doctors who focused on the whole picture {shout out again to Dr. Lorenzo Gonzalez}. He helped to work on physical manifestations, but often prescribed things like watching a movie without working as my RX!

I book marked so many pages because they jumped out at me that I can’t even share them all…but here are a few of the key points which I hope will get some of you thinking.

whether patients get sick or stay healthy, whether they manage to heal themselves or stay sick, may have even more to do with everything else that’s going on in the patient’s life than with any “healthy” thing they do.”

The book Blue Zones, initially introduced me to the idea that friendship, community and a sense of purpose are core to healthy living. It sounds pretty reasonable when you say it that way, but how often have you ever connected your illness to your lack of time with friends or working too many hours.

People treated with placebos may experience boosts in immune function which result from flipping off the stress response and initiating the relaxation response…How can someone shed hair when given saline? How can they vomit when given sugar water?…Scientists believe the nocebo effect is caused primarily by activation of the same stress response the placebo effect relieves.”

Since a big portion of this book deals with changing your mental state, I wanted to check out some healing therapies that focus on this. From things you can do at home like meditation to using energy for healing with something like reiki! The key point in all of this is to remember that they are not saying don’t see doctors!! If you need surgery or break an arm see a physician! But recognize that taking actions for a balanced life may be part of overall wellness.

One area of holistic medicine that has started to pop up more and more in mainstream is Reiki. Many people are confused about what it is and what to expect…since I have no problem being the guinea pig I’m here to help break it down! I think a lot of people have experienced energy healing when they go to group yoga classes and leave feeling mentally and physically refreshed.

If you are unsure of what Reiki is, checkout my detailed article on CraveLocal.com. If you know what it is, but aren’t sure what to expect I demystify the experience in the following video about my own experience with practitioner Amber Melendy at Shine On Yoga in downtown Orlando.

Have you made the connection between your mental state and your health? Have you tried something like reiki before?
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I am grateful for how old ideas often become new again…maybe it’s our way of wedding out the good from the bad or maybe we all just have to learn for ourselves what works.

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