May 1, 2014
In this outstanding and inspirational talk, Lissa Rankin, MD explores the scientific literature, reviewing case studies of spontaneous remission, as well as placebo and nocebo effect data, to prove that our thoughts powerfully affect our physiology, when we believe we can get well.
What has been found is that the nurturing care of a physician or loved one (and the lack thereof) may play a bigger part in this that has previously been recognized. She says, “To say you can heal yourself is sort of a misnomer…the scientific data proves that you need the tending, loving care of a healthcare provider of some sort; of a healer to facilitate that process. It’s not an easy process to go through, alone. So, it makes a big difference, if somebody is holding that positive belief with you.
From this, she concludes, “In order to heal ourselves; In order to be optimally healthy, we need more than just a good diet, a regular exercise program, getting enough sleep, taking your vitamins, following your doctors’ orders – those things are all great…but I also came to believe that we need healthy relationships, a healthy professional life, a healthy creative life, a healthy spiritual life, a healthy sex life, a healthy financial life, a healthy environment. In essence, we need a healthy mind…
“Relationships matter. People who have a strong social network have half the rate of heart disease, compared to those who are lonely. Married people are twice as likely to live long lives than unmarried people.
“In fact, curing your loneliness may be the most important measure of prevention that you can enact upon your body – more so, than quitting smoking or starting to exercise.
“Your spiritual life matters. Those who attend religious services live up to 14 years longer. Your professional life matters. You really can work yourself to death. In Japan, they call it “karoshi”, “death by overwork”…and the survivors of those that die of karoshi can apply for Workman’s Comp-like benefits in Japan.” (!)
The data about one’s mindset; optimism and pessimism are head-spinning as well.
Stress hormones wreak havoc on your internal organs and in today’s society, many people experience over 50 stress responses per day. But a relaxation response, which shuts off the stress hormones has been discovered, which enables neurotransmitters, like oxytocin and dopamine to come into play, to heal our bodies. Creating time to engage in pleasurable activities is important, depending on your preference: yoga, tai chi, meditation, getting a massage, socializing with friends, doing work that you love, playing with animals, etc.
Dr. Rankin believes that the modern healthcare system is broken and has become arrogant, in its negation of the body’s own ability to heal itself. Conversely, patients need to stop thinking that their bodies are not their business and just handing them over to the healthcare industry. “Your body IS your business,” she says. “And your mind has tremendous power to communicate with your body, such that it can heal itself…
“Just because things have gotten bad, doesn’t mean they can’t get better…I believe that just as there are no incurable illnesses, there are no incurable systems – and it’s going to take all of us to open our hearts and open our minds and bring the care back to healthcare…BE the love that you want to see in healthcare and I believe miracles can happen in healthcare. As we do this, we’re releasing oxytocin and dopamine and we start to heal as ourselves – and as we do so, we can heal healthcare.”