Mind Over Medicine
Self Improvement, Empowerment, Intuition, Psychology, Inspirational, Spirituality, Health & Healing, Alternative Health, Diet/Fitness
We've been led to believe that when we get sick, it's our genetics. Or it's just bad luck—and doctors alone hold the keys to optimal health. For years, Lissa Rankin, M.D., believed the same. But when her own health started to suffer, and she turned to Western medical treatments, she found that they not only failed to help; they made her worse. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Through her research, Dr. Rankin discovered that the health care she had been taught to practice was missing something crucial: a recognition of the body's innate ability to self-repair and an appreciation for how we can control these self-healing mechanisms with the power of the mind. In an attempt to better understand this phenomenon, she explored peer-reviewed medical literature and found evidence that the medical establishment had been proving that the body can heal itself for over 50 years. Using extraordinary cases of spontaneous healing, Dr. Rankin shows how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can alter the body's physiology. She lays out the scientific data proving that loneliness, pessimism, depression, fear, and anxiety damage the body, while intimate relationships, gratitude, meditation, sex, and authentic self-expression flip on the body's self-healing processes. In the final section of the book, you'll be introduced to a radical new wellness model based on Dr. Rankin's scientific findings. Her unique six-step program will help you uncover where things might be out of whack in your life—spiritually, creatively, environmentally, nutritionally, and in your professional and personal relationships-so that you can create a customized treatment plan aimed at bolstering these health—promoting pieces of your life. You'll learn how to listen to your body's "whispers" before they turn to life-threatening "screams" that can be prevented with proper self-care, and you'll learn how to trust your inner guidance when making decisions about your health and your life.
By the time you finish Mind Over Medicine, you'll have made your own Diagnosis, written your own Prescription, and created a clear action plan designed to help you make your body ripe for miracles.
Dr. Lissa Rankin and her new book Mind Over Medicine is continuing and furthering the important work of turning the beliefs of Western medicine and health care on its head.
As I read Mind Over Medicine, I couldn't help but feel that it was the start of something earth shattering and life changing, not only for its readers but for the healthcare system at large. Dr. Rankin is one of the visionaries, like Christiane Northrup and Marcelle Pick, who not only sees the flaws in the system, but who has the solutions for how to heal it. Solutions that need to be listened to and heard.
Every chapter in Mind Over Medicine is remarkable and eye opening. What I probably found most profound, though, was Dr. Rankin reiterating that there is sometimes a difference between healing and curing. Very touching was her story about her father's own struggle with illness and how, although he had been healed, he had not been cured.
This is a book that I believe that absolutely everyone should read, but readers should also allow themselves the time to process all of the information it contains. I foresee that Dr. Lissa Rankin's Mind Over Medicine is only the start of broad global changes across all healthcare systems.
This is my review of Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin. I acknowledge that I received this book free from Hay House Publishing to review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment.
Satoru Hiraoka was a good kigyo-senchi or corporate soldier. A middle manager for a factory in Osaka, Japan, Hiraoka tirelessly logged 12 to 16 hour days and 95 hour work weeks for 28 years without complaint.
He never called in sick, never took a “mental health” day, never skipped work in favor of attending his child’s school play.
Even on the day of his death, Hirako dutifully pulled in a 15 hour work day. Satoru Hirako was a victim of “death by overwork.”
In her book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, Dr. Lissa Rankin examines Hiraoka’s story to make the case that our work impacts our health and our ability to live meaningful, happy and productive lives.
But Dr. Rankin’s book is not yet one more doomsday pronouncement on the perils of “stress” that leaves the reader feeling hopeless — unless, that is, you are willing to quit your job and live off the grid in a cabin in the woods (or maybe become a farmer!). Rather, Dr. Rankin introduces her readers to the incredible power of our minds to create health and well-being in our lives.
You might wonder why a book on health would be of relevance to an audience focused on law and happiness, but Rankin’s book goes far beyond the standard health and wellness text. It is a prescription for a beautiful life. While the book is an excellent companion for sick patients who want to take control of their health, it truly shines for those who are healthy in body but who experience the soul sickness of a life only half-lived
For lawyers who long to quit law but continue to toil away in jobs that don’t align with their passion, or even for the thriving insider who works too hard and plays too little, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself provides both the diagnosis and the prescription for a more balanced and healthy life.
Death By Overwork: The Anatomy of an Over-stressed Life
Every year, 48 % of American workers forgo at least some of their vacation days (Keller Research Survey, 2011) — this despite the fact that Americans accrue much lower vacation benefits than their European counterparts.
For lawyers, the figures are even more troubling. According to NALP statistics, average required billable hours at Biglaw range from 1899 to 1918 per year (although we know the reality is far worse!) The numbers at smaller firms are not markedly better — ranging on average from 1778 to 1846.
The evidence is clear that Americans, and certainly American lawyers, are working harder than ever.
In Mind Over Medicine, Dr. Rankin demonstrates how this devotion to work (forced or otherwise) impacts our health. In two separate studies conducted over 20 years and 9 years respectively, researchers concluded:
Women who vacationed once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than women who vacationed twice a year.
Men who failed to take annual vacations had 21 percent higher risk of death from all causes and were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack
Rankin insists there is ample evidence that Americans experience “death by overwork,” but Japan is one of the few countries in the world to identify and track the phenomenon.
The Japanese call it Karoshi. It is said to afflict approximately 10,000 workers each year.
Karoshi is defined as the sudden death — primarily from heart attack or stroke — of an otherwise healthy worker. According to Dr. Rankin, Karoshi victims are “typically otherwise healthy men in their 40s and 50s who are middle managers in stressful jobs that require them to work more than 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.” The trajectory of the disease seems to follow a set pattern. The worker complains of such vague symptoms as dizziness, nausea, severe headache and stomachache.
In 95 % of Karoshi cases, the victim dies just 24 hours after the onset of severe symptoms.
Lack of vacation is not the only point of stress Rankin identifies. Additional sources include, the “golden handcuffs,” interpersonal conflict at work, soulless work or work that expects you to sell your integrity, and organizational constraints — tedious and frustrating hurdles that just get in the way of getting things done. For lawyers (and others), one could add the stress and uncertainty of layoffs and job losses in the face of a rapidly changing profession.
These stressors can lead to minor physical distress such as backaches, headaches, eye strain, insomnia, and fatigue, but as Rankin notes “when exposed to stress at work, the body whispers before it begins to yell.” “Yelling” means the appearance of more serious diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes or worse.
“As it turns out, you really can work yourself to death,” Dr. Rankin concludes. But the corollary to such a startling revelation is that “you can also follow your bliss back to health.”
The Path to Wellness: Physician Heal Thy Self
While stress can come from a variety of sources, the path to wellness stems from one: It begins with our commitment to “radical self-care.”
Rankin’s definition of radical self-care goes far beyond the usual prescription one might get from the doctor’s office: “Take this pill twice a day and call me in the morning.” While it includes the use of necessary medicines, as well as nutritional and stress-alleviating guidance, it goes far beyond the traditional:
Radical self care also involves things like setting boundaries, living in alignment with your truth, surrounding yourself with love and a sense of connection, and spending time doing what you love.
With such a radical approach to health and healing, one has to wonder whether Lissa Rankin is yet another doctor great at dispensing advice she herself would never follow. She answers that question with courage and vulnerability by sharing her own story. And it isn’t the oh-so-pretty, airbrushed version.
By the time I was 33 years old, I was stressed out, burned out, and living in a near constant state of fear, anxiety, and overwhelm.
Rankin’s life at that point was filled with dysfunction. She had a lucrative and prestigious job as a full-time partner in a busy obstetrics and gynecology practice, but the work required her to see 40 patients a day in addition to pulling 36 or 72-hour shifts in the hospital. Her heavy workload likely contributed to her two divorces, and the slew of losses of people she loved only added to an already stressful life.
I was taking seven medications, getting allergy shots, and had undergone surgery in my cervix. But in spite of all the drugs and procedures, my blood pressure was still out of control, my allergies were so bad I could barely leave the house, I couldn’t have sex without feeling like I was getting stabbed with a knife, my heartbeat was skipping around like a Mexican jumping bean, and my cervix still showed precancerous changes even after surgery. In short, I was a hot mess on my way to an early heart attack.
What changed? Baldly stated, Rankin realized “my current life was killing me.”
At this point, Dr. Rankin had remarried and given birth to a child for whom her husband was primary caretaker. She had a host of family and financial obligations that would have kept her locked in place had she let them, but “[w]hen the pain of staying put exceeds the fear of the unknown, you leap,” Dr. Rankin says. And leap she did. Rankin quit her job, liquidated her retirement to pay off a hefty malpractice “tail,” sold her house and moved the family from big city San Diego to a small, coastal Northern California town.
I spent two years licking my wounds, writing, painting, bonding with my daughter, and healing myself.
Out of that period of rest and reflection, Lissa Rankin would come to learn how to follow her bliss back to health — and how to train others to do the same.
The Path to Wellness: Introducing The Whole Health Cairn
One day, while on a hiking trip through her beloved community in Northern California, Lissa Rankin really noticed the artfully arranged stacks of stones that dotted the coastal landscape.
These cairns, as they are called, were delicate-looking yet perfectly poised against the harsh ocean environment.
A well-built cairn can withstand the crashing of the waves upon it,” Rankin observed, “yet if you move one stone too far out of balance, the whole thing topples. All stones depend upon the others for stability.
From that simple observation, Rankin constructed a map meant to guide us to a place of not only physical health, but of mental and spiritual as wellness. The foundation stone in Rankin’s whole health cairn is not the body. Indeed she begins the book with this provocative claim:
What if I told you that caring for your body is the least important part of your health … that for you to be truly vital other factors are more important?
In Rankin’s work, far more important to the health of the body is the health of the mind. Thus, her wellness cairn rests on the foundation stone of the “inner pilot light.” The inner pilot light is Rankin’s word for what others have called intuition, a “knowing,” or that still small voice within. But more important than its definition is the role Rankin sees our Inner Pilot Light playing in our healing:
If you let them, physical symptoms can build a bridge between you and your Inner Pilot Light. When you learn to listen to the nuances of what your Inner Pilot Light is telling you, the body will no longer have to manifest these messages physically, and you may prevent physical symptoms or serious disease. But if you’re not skilled at hearing this internal voice, your body can be your guide. Within your body lies the perfect compass that will guide you back home, if only you listen.
Lest you begin to think Rankin’s book is so-much “New Age” nonsense, (although it is admittedly “woo-woo” at times — definitely not for the feint of heart or the close-minded!) she does an excellent job of supporting her claims with science-based evidence gathered from reputable sources, including The New England Journal of Medicine and the well-regarded Spontaneous Remission Project. In addition, she creates a 6-step process to give guidance to those seeking to implement her prescription for a healthy life.
Step 1: Believe you can heal yourself
Step 2: Find the right support
Step 3: Listen to your body and intuition
Step 4: Diagnose the root cause of your illness
Step 5: Write the prescription for yourself
Step 6: Surrender attachment to outcomes
Admittedly, Rankin’s prescription is not for everyone. If you have a difficult time accepting the mind-body connection, or if you believe your health is best left solely in the hands of your doctors, then Rankin’s book is not for you.
But if you are willing to take a sometimes wild and unconventional ride, and if you can suspend disbelief long enough to give a fair chance to an intelligent and heart-centered physician seeking to “heal the soul of medicine,” Lissa Rankin’s Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself is definitely worth a read.
What Would Satoru Hirako Do?
It is hard not to wonder what Satoru Hirako would have done had he had access to the information in Rankin’s book. Would he have continued to work those inhuman hours? Would he have opted to fill Rankin’s prescription to follow his bliss back to health?
Of course we will never know, but those of us who read and internalize Lissa Rankin’s excellent book can choose to honor life. We can create a sturdy foundation for ourselves that allows for free expression not just of our professional lives, but also of our creativity, sexuality, our love of family, and so much more.
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself provides just the right mix of science, psyche and spirit for those of us who worked hard to achieve greatness in our professional lives only to discover we left large swathes of our deepest selves behind.
We now have the prescription. We know the way back to health and wellness.
What would you do?
For more information on Dr. Lissa Rankin and Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, check out her free resources or her interview with Johnathan Fields of The Good Life Project.
Note: I received this book as part of a Hay House program (publisher of Mind Over Medicine) that gives writers free access to certain books in return for a commitment to read and publicly review the book. Of course the views represented above are solely my own and could not be bought and paid for at any price. Moreover, all links to Mind Over Medicine (including that one) are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase the book through one of my links, I will get a few cents from Amazon to put in my Rainy Day Fund. I hope to one day be able to buy an umbrella with the proceeds — through Amazon, of course!)