Articles by Lissa Rankin, MD
Lissa Rankin, MD is an integrative medicine physician, author, speaker, artist, and founder of the online communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com. Discouraged by our broken health care system, Dr. Rankin set out to discover why some patients experience cure from seemingly “incurable” illnesses, while others remain sick even when they receive the best medical care. Fueled by a passion to determine what really makes people healthy and what really predisposes them to illness, she dug into the medical literature to study how doctors might better care for patients and patients might better care for themselves. Her research helped her understand and translate how thoughts and emotions originating in the mind translate into measurable physiological phenomena. She is now leading a health care revolution to help patients heal themselves, while encouraging the health care industry to embrace and facilitate, rather than resist, the possibility of patient-initiated spontaneous remission. She will be sharing the findings of her research about self-healing in her upcoming book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House 2013). Lissa lives in Marin County, California with her husband and daughter.
We don't need to tell you that certain dietary and lifestyle choices can impact your lifespan. But, believe it or not, some people neglect some of the most critical elements of wellness.
If you have a conscientious doctor, you’ve probably been asked important health questions such as:
Are you eating a mostly vegetable based diet?
Are you avoiding sugar and limiting glucose-spiking carbohydrates like white pasta and bread?
Are you choosing organic?
Are you avoiding habits that can harm your health, such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and drinking too much caffeine?
Are you exercising regularly?
Do you get enough sleep?
If your doctor is particularly hip, you may have also been asked about your stress levels and what you’re doing to keep your stress under control. But is your doctor helping you understand what stress really is? You may think it’s all about how long your “to do” list is, but you may not realize what stress is to your body.
We all know what it’s like to fill out detailed forms about our medical history at the doctor’s office. But is your doctor asking you the questions he or she really needs in order to get a good read on your health? When I read the following Facebook post from my friend Aviva Romm, MD, it struck me that if a Yale-trained physician who works with Mark Hyman, MD has this much trouble getting the kind of medical care we all deserve, we have a bigger problem than I even realized. As I wrote about here, too many patients hand the power of their health over to physicians who they believe will fix them, and then if the doctor fails to cure what ails them, they get frustrated and feel like helpless victims of bad luck or bad genes. But studies show that being proactive about your health not only results in better health care; it also strengthens your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and helps your body fend off illness. Positive psychology and New Age ideas about health and healing have flooded the internet and bookstore shelves in recent years. But as a doctor who wrote a science-based book about the physiology of the body’s natural healing process, it strikes me that some of what’s out there is giving the idea that the body can heal itself a bad rap. When my literary agent Michele read the first draft of my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, she said, “Lissa, before I read your book … I thought my body was like my car. When my car breaks, I hand it over to my auto mechanic and expect my mechanic to fix it and hand it back to me. I expected the same from my doctor. Becca Levy, an associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, studied how our beliefs about longevity affect how long we live. What did she find? Spoiler alert: Those who lived longest were those who believed they would live the longest. You already know how fear can paralyze you personally and professionally, rob you of your joy, and keep you from going after your dreams. But did you know it can also make you sick? Is it really possible to strike the perfect balance between achieving your lofty goals and maintaining meaningful relationships? Medicine is filled with good people doing the best they can to operate in a bad system. In my experience, most people in the health care industry are doing their jobs well. They just don’t realize that their job descriptions are just plain wrong.